Poll: How long was the gap between your ceremony and reception?

posted 3 years ago in Ceremony
  • poll: How long was the gap between your ceremony and reception?
    30 minutes : (36 votes)
    30 %
    1 hour : (34 votes)
    28 %
    1 1/2 hours : (16 votes)
    13 %
    2 hours : (12 votes)
    10 %
    2 1/2 hours : (6 votes)
    5 %
    3 hours : (8 votes)
    7 %
    More than 3 hours : (10 votes)
    8 %
  • Post # 3
    32 posts
    • Wedding: January 2014

    We are doing our bridal party photos from 1:30-3:30pm (with ‘first look’ photos), ceremony at 4, cocktail hour from 4:30-6 then the reception starts.  When we have our cocktail hour we will have photos on site with family and guests (only 8 family members total and 66 guests) so that should be short and snappy! I should add we are non religious too.




    Post # 4
    3618 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: October 2013

    @ju5tdance:  DO NOT have a gap that is longer than an hour! 

    I hate weddings like this because I just don’t see a reason unless it is for travel…

    One hour tops is my BEST suggestion! Maybe plan to do some formals before the ceremony and then use the cocktail hour to capture the last set of pictures with both you and the groom plus the bridal party. 

    You could also do a first look to try and get some photos done before the ceremony but I am being honest when I say that an hour should be enough time! 

    Post # 5
    2151 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: July 2015

    We are having a Catholic wedding and our gap will be 4 hours. I’ve actually never been to a wedding in my town (Catholic or non-Catholic) that had a gap shorter than 2 hours. Afternoon weddings, and therefore long gaps, are the norm here. 

    Post # 6
    2173 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: June 2017

    @WannaBeeMrsB:  THIS.  Though I actually have been to a wedding with a 30 minute “gap” (though not really because it was all in the same place), and it felt horribly rushed.  I really don’t understand the big deal about the gaps.

    And while I would never say it to someone in real life, inside I think that if you think the gap is too large and want to go to the reception and not the ceremony…  Secretly I will judge you and think that you’d better just stay home.  (And anyone can argue with me all they want, but I will 100% stand by it, unless there are extenuating circumstances.  And no, travel is generally not one of them.)

    BUT…  I’m Catholic, so I think I have a higher tolerance for this thing.  I like longer ceremonies and I understand the need for longer gaps.  I don’t consider them rude, I consider it a fact of life for Catholic weddings.  I mean, I don’t judge anyone for their hand-fasting, pouring sand, non-religious, outdoors, foreign language, whatever ceremony or vegetarian, backyard, dry, whatever reception, so it would be nice if the same understanding would be extended to me.

    Post # 7
    147 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: October 2013

    Our gap was meant to be 1.5 hours.

    There was a road accident on a major highway on our way to the ceremony and so we were 30 mins late.

    I was mindful of the gap and had booked an ice cream truck to serve free soft serve to everyone after the ceremony. People LOVED it!

    So, the combination of us being late, people sticking around for ice cream and the drive to the reception being about 20 minutes, that gap disappeared very quickly and there were no complaints at all! When people got to the reception the first 30 minutes involved cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.

    PS in terms of photos, we had a lot of photos BEFORE the ceremony. We also used the time while people were having ice cream to get all the family photos at the church, which was very beautiful and was a great backdrop for photos.

    Post # 8
    1629 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: October 2014 - Church

    @ju5tdance:  Probably around an hour 15 to 1.5 hours (figuring that out later). The reception is around a half hour drive (or longer if the first hockey game of the season is a home game, especially with rush hour traffic) alone from the ceremony location. We are doing a Friday wedding with ceremony at 3 p.m. (Catholic – Fridays allow a little bit of a later time compared to Saturdays, I guess). We are doing a one hour cocktail before dinner so people can choose to take a little longer if they want. We also will not have tooo many OOT guests (and the ones that will be are actually from here, except for some of his family if they actually make it but they would be with plenty of people they know). I think it is more of a problem if people are not from there. In town the gap allowed us to take care of our dog (little walk, dinner for her) and join some friends at a pub prior to the reception, which is always fun. I find that when it gets to 3.5+ hours then it is a little much, but can understand it because you don’t usually have control over timing.

    ETA: people typically have it during the gap. If the ceremony and the reception is at the same location photos usually seem to happen during cocktail hour. Others (very few) do photos before ceremony (we won’t).

    Post # 9
    2169 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: March 2014

    I think either a large gap – that gives people time to do sometime in between – or a very small gap which means they go straight from ceremony to cocktails to dinner makes most sense. It’s gaps that are too long to avoid boredom but too short to do anything are the worst. Our ceremony is at five, we’re doing first look pics first and max half an hour of photo after while our guests are having cocktails then dinner straight after. All at the same yacht squadron so no travel in between. Our friend’s wedding in October had almost an hour of travel between ceremony & reception, too long in my opinion! Lol (especially as it was even longer getting home, and it wasnt like we could get accommodation closer, it was in a historic barn in a field in the middle of nowhere! Lol). 

    Post # 10
    2341 posts
    Buzzing bee

    1 hour – having our ceremony & recpetion at the same location. During this hour we will be taking bridal party pics & the guests will be enjoying canape hour

    Post # 11
    1925 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: May 2013

    We had a catholic ceremony and avoided the gap by doing a first look and 90% of our pictures beforehand.  Our church has Saturday mass at 4:00 and they finish up by 4:45.  Our ceremony started at 5:30.  It was finished by 6:15 (no mass).  We lingered and mingled at the church for 15 minutes, then we had buses leave for the reception at 6:30.  The bus ride was 20 minutes, so guests got to the reception 10 minutes early for cocktail hour, which started at 7:00.  We had the bar open at 6:30 in case anyone had gotten there early.  


    I loved the  way our timeline worked out on our bid day!

    Post # 12
    2694 posts
    Sugar bee

    We did 90% of pictures before the ceremony so our gap was probably 30 minutes. Our ceremony and reception was at the same place so there was no rushing. The longest gap I’ve ever experienced was 2 hours. 

    Post # 13
    7630 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: January 2013

    We didn’t have a gap. Can you add an option for this? 

    Post # 14
    1768 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: June 2014

    I come from a predominantly catholic area (but am not catholic), so gaps are normal to me. I like them! It gives me a chance to change, check in to a hotel, or go to a casual bar with friends and enjoy some in scheduled fun together (hardly any of my friends live in the same area so we love a chance to catch up). of course I don’t have a problem if someone doesn’t have a gap, but save but parents who need to potentially arrange for a babysitter, gaps are awesome, and to me, build excitement.


    We’re having a 3ish hour gap- ceremony is schedule from 2:30, reception starts at 6:30. I read somewhere (A Practical Wedding?) that as far as timing goes, if youre having a gap you should aim for 1.5-3.5 hours. Less time your guests won’t have enough time to really do anything, more and you’re stretching into an all day and night thing. (FTR, to me, if you are feeding/entertaining your guests, that’s not a gap time. Cocktail hour: not a gap. Ceremony is over, see ya in two hours for cocktail hour = gap)


    Also, again, maybe it’s bc I’m used to them, but I give major side eye to people who skip out on the ceremony for the reception “because of the gap” barring a legitimate reason (work, child care, etc). I’ll admit, I did that once when a friend’a ceremony was in a town TWO hours away and her reception was in our town- but she specifically told everyone that she was okay with that.

    OH, and I don’t think it’s okay to have an unhosted (ie, no food or drink provided) gap if your ceremony and reception are at the same place.

    Post # 15
    330 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: October 2012

    Our schedule had about a 1 1/2-2 hour gap, but we did our best to close it by having a receiving line (yeah, the early people still had to wait, but by the time everyone milled around in the church long enough to find the folks they came with, it killed half an hour).

    Then our reception site, a public golf club, had a bar downstairs guests could hang out at if they got there early.  We weren’t paying for it, but it wasn’t an expensive bar, it had pretty standard drink prices, and no one gets hammered right before an open-bar wedding, so I’d say probably 40 people took that option.  A co-worker who lived sort of in between the church and the reception had the rest of the co-workers over his house for a beer in between.  MIL opened her home to family, and just gave someone a copy of her house key for the day.  And if people did show up a few minutes early, our venue was lovely about accommodating them.

    I didn’t hear any complaints, and neither did DH. I think the key to a gap is to give people options, even if you just spread them by word of mouth.  It’s also 100 times easier if your wedding is local to the majority of your guests, because at least someone will say “hey I know a place let’s go kill an hour here” and like 20 people might follow.

    Post # 16
    8680 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: October 2014

    Well, we aren’t really having a “gap” as we are filling it with cocktail hour.. but our cocktail hour will be about an hour long.

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