Post # 1
i’m hoping for some help from more experienced catholic brides…we are getting married at my fiance’s childhood parish. the latest ceremony time we can get is 2 pm, which is fine but i really always wanted an evening reception. so my question is, how long is an acceptable gap in between?
we are not having mass (since i’m not baptised we can’t) so i’m thinking the ceremony would be over by 3, 3:30? the reception venue is about 20 minutes away.
i’ve heard of having up to 3 hours in between, but that seems kind of rude since i can’t afford to entertain everyone in between. our wedding is in the summer, i’d rather not have the party peter out before it’s dark!
any input is much much appreciated. tia!
Post # 3
At my first wedding I think we had like 2hours in between…can’t really remember. But anyway we were planning on Big Band Music and hired a swing dance instructor for our guests!! No one seemed to mind the wait and they all had a ton of fun.
This time around our reception venue is within walking distance so we have planned an hour long cocktail party…although I am hoping to show up sooner!
Post # 4
Well, if you’re not having a full Mass, you can expect your ceremony to be over in about 30 minutes. So, if you build in a little extra time for cushion in case the ceremony starts late, you’ll be done by 2:45 pm. Would your reception start around 5 pm? If so, I don’t think that’s a terribly long break. That would only really be about 1.5 hours once you add in time to clear the church after the ceremony and time to drive to the reception. I think you can go up to 3 hours without causing too many problems. Most people understand the limitations on Catholic ceremony times and will not be too upset about the infamous “Catholic gap”.
If you are looking for ideas on what guests can do during the gap, here are some great threads on the subject:
Post # 5
We’re having the same problem. My fiance’s family is catholic, but mine isn’t. I’m not sure they’ll understand the gap. But our wedding is destination for most, in downtown Nashville, TN. We’re going to give them an option of going on a bus tour of Nashville (1.5 hrs), or we’re making a booklet of “fun” things to do downtown. Ceremony is at 2, we’d like to start the reception at 5.
Post # 6
From past experience, the longest gap between ceremony and reception I’ve seen is about 4 or 5 hours. The Catholic wedding was held at noon and cocktails served at 5 or so. It was surprising to see a huge turnout for the ceremony as the couple expected many to show up only for the reception portion.
I’m not sure how people entertained themselves during that gap, but know that it’s happened before. Try not to stress too much.
Post # 7
our ceremony is at 2 and our reception starts at 6. we’re doing a full Mass, so it will end up being about 2.5 hours in between. most of our guests are staying at the same hotel where our reception is being held, so we encouraged them (via our website) to check out the pool or tennis courts. i’m sure that some will start drinking at the hotel bar! don’t worry about it – people understand that we don’t have a choice to do it this way, and they will entertain themselves. i know that if i were a guest at my wedding i would probably sneak away to my hotel room with my fiance for an hour or so, and then catch up with some friends – the time would fly!
Post # 8
I don’t think your guests will find the gap rude, as long as they are informed of it. Make sure you state times on the invite and you should be fine. A 3 hour gap isn’t too bad.
Post # 9
Last summer I went to a wedding where the ceremony was at 10:00 a.m. on one side of town and the reception was at 5:30 on another side of town. As a guest, it really wasn’t so bad, because we had time to relax and get ready to party. I think guests tend to be understanding, especially for a Catholic wedding because the churches here book up fast and they have to be very strict about timing.
Post # 10
If you can, try to have the reception soon after the ceremony. The gap is a pain for your guests especially those from Out of Town. Even those who live close by have to find something to do with their time. Most are used to it, but I am sure do not like it. From my experience that gap=bar time=drunk before cocktail hour, and I am guilty of it myself. Take it as you will this is coming from a catholic girl who decided not to get married in a church. Also you can only try so hard to make the day perfect with your guests in mind. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Your guests will undersatnd. You are not the first bride to make them wait.
Post # 11
I think what people have to realize, is that with a Catholic ceremony the gap is almost inevitable. Our church had a ceremony at 12 and 2, we took the 2. Our reception will start at 5. Luckily we’re having a denistation for 90% of our guests, and there’s plenty to do in downtown Nashville.
I think the people who make really rude comments regarding “gap” brides need to put themselves in the gap bride’s shoes. The most important part of the wedding, IMO is the ceremony- hello?!?! And if that causes a bump in the day, so be it. I’m sure your guests will love the time to catch up with each other and explore the city. And guess what? If they’re going to skip out on one or the other because they’re bothered by the gap- frankly, they aren’t that great of a friend anyways.
Post # 12
My SIL is doing a Catholic wedding with the same time restrictions. The ceremony will be over by 3 and she is starting the cocktail hour at 5 with the reception beginning at 6pm. We also went to a wedding in July with the same timeline. We all went to a family members house after for a little bit and then went home to change before going to the reception. If you have alot of out of town people or even people that live nearby they will use the time to go home or maybe go out and get a bite to eat. I wouldnt worry about it too much. I would hope everyone would be understanding since its not something you have control over!
Post # 13
My ceremony at the church will be at 2 pm and we are not having a mass so it should take about 30 min. My reception is about 15-20 min away. The church says I’m not allowed to have a receiving line. My reception will be starting at 4:30. We are taking pictures after the ceremony, although I’m thinking about having family get together before to take family pictures before the ceremony.