Post # 1
This week FI and I went out to visit our venue choices. We fell in love with one because it was everything we wanted. An old turn of the century stone pavilion, facing the beach on one side, and a huge park on the other side. It was fairly cheap ($600 + some fees), we get it all day long til midnight, and we get to bring in all our own catering/alcohol/etc. Perfect. We booked it today.
The only problem is, the beach in front of the pavilion is where we’d have the ceremony but it’s quite small (our guest list will be between 150-200), not to mention if it rains, there isn’t a backup plan available.
We found another venue about 20-25 minutes down the same road, a winery on the beach. It’s absolutely stunning, but it’s a few thousand just to host the entire wedding there. However, they have the option of a flat fee of $500 for just the ceremony (they provide the chairs/signing table as well as all setup and you are allowed to use their facilities to take photos) and it could be on the beach, with a tent facing the vineyards as a backup rain plan.
The only problem is, if we don’t book the reception with them (which we will not), we have to be out of there by 3pm at the latest. We are not doing a first look as FI is adament about seeing me for the first time when I walk down the aisle and I agree. We are having a non religious ceremony, so 20 minutes max. If we started our ceremony at 1:30PM, we’d have approximately an hour for photos there, which I feel would be enough time as we’d also take photos at our reception site.
Our reception won’t start until 5-6pm. I’d provide guests with a cocktail hour beforehand, but is a 2 to 3 hour gap rude? Almost all of our guests would be local, but the ceremony site is about 30 minutes outside of town.
Post # 3
It really depends on how you feel about it. I personally very much dislike the gap between ceremony and reception, but sometimes it’s unavoidable (I’m also Catholic, and there is oftentimes the dreaded “Catholic gap” between mass times and evening receptions).
I would try to minimize the gap as much as you can. Can you have a cocktail “hour” starting fairly close to the ceremony time on the beach/pavillion, but not have it as part of your reception? Alternatively, could you negotiate with the winery owners and have a later ceremony if your guests leave immediately but you stay for pictures, but promise not to be in the way setting up for a night-event there? Wineries are huge places, so I imagine there are loads of different backdrops you could use that aren’t immediately where a night event would set up. That way, its really just a handful of people taking photos, and will also reduce the time of your gap. Perhaps you could also arrange a later ceremony, but then have your guests take tours of the winery/vineyards, so they’re still making money but your guests aren’t in one spot where another event is trying to set up.
In the end, if you have to do a gap, you have to do a gap. It’s not ideal, and some guests (like myself) won’t be thrilled – but if they’re local, the worst that will happen is that they go home for an hour, or go to an area bar/restuarant to grab a drink, or maybe they’ll go inside the winery for a tasting. Also – if you’re in an area with a bunch of different vineyards, maybe you could provide directions for people to check out a different vineyard between the ceremony and reception (I’m always down for wine tasting, and wouldn’t mind doing that dressed up!)
Post # 5
I think if venue choices create such gaps they are the wrong choices. I find gaps to be incredibly rude and annoying (and I married into a very Catholic family and have yet to attend a wedding with a gap).
If you are creating a gap because your FI refuses to see you first and you have to be out of this place by 3 pm that is a bad reason for a gap. It isn’t one being forced upon you by Church rules, it is one you are creating. Please rethink this.
Post # 6
@hermom: Totally agree!
Personally, put guest comfort as my #1 priority. I would never ask people to wait for me, so that I can take pictures. Absolutely not.
Post # 7
As a guest – I hate gaps. They suck. I once had a friend that went to a wedding with a 5 hour gap. No. It’s your wedding so you’re at liberty to do whatever you want but I don’t think it’s right.
In order to avoid the gap we’re doing pictures before and rearranging things – it’s not ideal for us but I would do almost anything to avoid a gap of more than 1.5 hours (and that’s even with food for guests.)
Post # 8
Gaps are generally unpleasant. Last weekend I went to a wedding that had a 3.5 hour gap… with nothing walking distance. So we all drove to the bar, a few folks stayed sober, drove back to the hotel, then some of us hopped a shuttle to the reception. A 1, maybe 2, hour gap is ok by me, but over 2 hours gets irritating.
Post # 9
Eh. I probably wouldn’t do it. It’s one thing to have a gap because your church can only do ceremonies at specific times, but it’s a whole other ball game if you’re one the one creating the gap because you want pretty venue. I don’t think that’s very polite. I would try and work with the winery to do a later ceremony or find a different ceremony venue.
Post # 10
Most weddings I’ve been to have a gap. I think this is more common in Canada than the US. I don’t know about ON though.
Personally, I enjoy the gap. It’s a chance to be with the people I want to see, maybe grab something to eat, change if I want to, etc.
Post # 11
No. It’s very rude. Why don’t you have a lunch reception? That I think would be the right thing to do in this situation.
Post # 12
A 3-hour gap is pretty painful for the guests. If you must do this, make sure that the cocktail hour isn’t just an hour– it should run the entire gap– make refreshments available and provide some sort of entertainment. Music at a minimum, or something more actively engaging (lawn games or what-not). Be sure to communicate with your guests what time the different events will be happening WRT cocktail hour, dinner etc. And don’t be surprised if a lot of them leave early since they’ve been hanging around in the sun all day long.
Post # 13
I’ve never attended a wedding that didn’t have a gap – I think nothing is wrong with them, and I’m having one myself. Your guests are mostly local and they’ll know the times of the events in advance, so they can plan accordingly.