Post # 17
I think these are all still very common things to do, so there isn’t an etiquette at play.
But, honestly, I do think your concern is justified. You realize that these things may be uncomfortable/inconvenient for your guests. You can work around these, though. Here are my suggestions:
– Offer an inexpensive activity for the gap. It could be something as simple as arranging a tour of a local botanical garden (which usually have free admission) or as complicated (for you in organizing) as a scavenger hunt based on your relationship. Some people will be content to just go home, but many will appreciate having something to do with the time. Doing this will really kick it up a notch in terms of catering to your guests, and it would be cool.
– Let the SO know what is up first, and see how you can accomodate them. Let them know that you can’t really make exceptions, but you would be happy to find ways to make them comfortable.
Post # 18
Hello & welcome! The things you mention are really common and basically out of your control, despite the fact that they’re somewhat inconvenient for guests. If I were you, I would change the head table situation because it seems like one of those things that you have control over and would just be really considerate to the people who are doing so much for you on your wedding day. Maybe you can talk some sense into your Fiance on this issue! 🙂
Post # 19
Hi there and welcome to weddingbee!
1 – We had about a 2 hour gap in between our ceremony and reception. We had our wedding in my home town, and my parents offered a little “in between” at their house for guests who traveled far enough to not be able to go home, but didn’t have a hotel. I like the hospitality suite idea…it’s just a nice gesture to help bridge the gap, and I think our guests really appreciated it!
2 – We also had our wedding party in the limo with us for photos and whatnot while their dates found their way to the reception or in between party. I think that’s normal…at least in my neck of the woods. I’ve never been in a wedding party where this didn’t occur, so I think you’re fine. Plus, I always appreciated not having to worry about driving around on the wedding day and having transportation provided for me!
3 – I also had a head table! I’ve heard now that this was a huge no no, but it’s just something I always wanted. Our closest friends were in our wedding party, and their dates all really knew each other or knew others invited to the wedding. I don’t think they minded being separated to eat dinner. There were also a few weddings that I was in where I didn’t have a date or was single at the time. I always appreciated not being stuck at the singles table.
I hope that’s helpful! One other thought to cut down the gap time is a first look. Have you considered that to try to not use the gap time to take photos? I wasn’t sure if that’s what was causing the larger gap or if it was just the venues causing the gap. Just a thought!
Post # 20
- Wedding: January 2011 - Vintage Villas
Welcome to WB! I definitely think there is no problem at all with #1 & 2 – it happens all the time, no big deal.
The head table thing really depends on who the SOs are and if they have friends there. You said that they all know people and you aren’t worried about them being bored, so it should be fine. I will say that I would prefer to be seated with my SO, regardless of whether or not I knew other people, but if there is no way around it, then it’s no huge deal as long as they know other people!
Post # 21
- Wedding: June 2010 - Indiana Memorial Union
I’d want to sit with my SO regardless and if you don’t expect them hang out at the head table after dinner, why do it at all? 🙂
Post # 22
I think that’s what most people will expect. My upcoming wedding will be the first one I’ll attended with less than a 2 hour gap between the ceremony and the reception. I’ve actually been to several weddings where we had to drive 45 minutes to an hour to get from the ceremony to the reception. I would have rather have had some downtime at the hotel.
I’ve attended one wedding where the SOs travelled with the wedding party. I definitely don’t think people should expect it. In fact my FI’s sister didn’t ask me to ride with them when she got married and I wasn’t expecting her to.
I’ve only heard about SOs sitting at the head table, I’ve never seen it happen. Depending on how many people you have in your wedding party that could be a huge hassle for you. At the last wedding I was in my Fiance was seated with some people he knew. If the SOs don’t know anybody sit them with each other, at least they’ll have that in common 🙂
Post # 23
- Wedding: March 2010 - Calamigos Ranch
I don’t think you’re breaking any etiquette rules at all. I actually kind of enjoy the gap, because then I get a chance to take a nap, which makes me a much more fun party guest. 😉 I also expect to be separated from my date if he’s in a wedding party for pictures, and we’d figure out the transportation issue on our own. BUT I wouldn’t seat them separately from SOs if there were any other way to do it. We actually sat at a round table with the Maid/Matron of Honor and her SO, and Bridesmaid or Best Man and his SO, and scattered the rest of the wedding party throughout with people they knew or would probably get along with. I’d talk to your Fiance again about the head table.
This is bad to admit, but I was a bad bridesmaid once and didn’t sit at the head table. There wasn’t a seating chart or anything, so when my husband (then boyfriend) ended up at a table with no one he knew who were family friends of mine (all 30 years older), I sat with him. I know it was absolutely terrible. If your wedding party are better people than me they won’t do that, but they’ll be wishing they could. Don’t separate people from their dates!
Post # 24
Hi! & Welcome to WB! I don’t understand why the girls on theknot rip each other apart. How is that helping anyone out?
#1 – is totally fine. Our gap is about the same. It’s not the best situation, but there’s nothing any of us can do about it. Most guests expect a bit of a gap – some even welcome it. Personally, I like to wear something nice to the ceremony/church then go home & get dressed up for the reception after. I really like the idea of a room where people can hang if they want to though. Good idea.
#2 – There’s no rule for it. Our Bridal Party will be coming with us in a party bus/limo too. Although I’ve heard of it, I’ve never actually seen SO’s tag along with the bridal party ever. Both Fiance & I have been in bridal parties where we were separated for a few hours. It’s no biggie. Sometimes it’s fun to tag along with the other SO’s too.
#3 – this is the only one I might rethink. If I went to a wedding where I wasn’t seated with my SO I’d probably be a little upset by it. You’re not breaking any rules, but I agree with the ladies who say that some people might not be thrilled with it and you might have an empty head table because everyone’s off with their sig. others.
Post # 25
Not going to offer much over what people are already saying, but wanted to tell you how I’ve seen those things tackled in the past.
#1 A gap in time is understandable, frankly. At my best friend’s wedding, she was fortunate enough to be able to afford a tour bus to take guests around NYC during the 3 hour gap. I realize that this is not something many people can afford, so I second the suggestions for either a hospitality suite or an inexpensive activity. I would counsel you to put some form of card or information in the invitation if you have room as opposed to listing activities on the website for the simple fact that guests don’t seem to retain the information they read on wedding websites, even if they read them at all.
#2 I think this is totally understandable, and no way around it. I wrote an email after the wedding to all of the SOs thanking them for letting my husband and I steal their SO for a large part of the day. As a SO, you just kind of expect that things need to be that way for the pictures.
#3 I felt pretty strongly about having SO sit with the bridal party during the wedding. I was absolutely adamant against a sweetheart table, but just couldn’t make things work. So I had a sweetheart table, and it was truly, truly awesome. We only sat at it for the toasts and the 10 minutes that we actually ate something. My husband and I had a “divide and conquer” approach to greeting everyone at the wedding, so the sweetheart table was some of the very little time we spent together during the wedding. And my bridal party could really eat! Also, instead of having a “bridal party” table, we scattered our bridal party throughout the seating chart, and built tables around them. I’ve been to several weddings that arranged seating this way. I kind of liked it because the guests sitting at the tables with specific wedding party members felt special. Just a suggestion.
Good luck. You are clearly a thoughtful person if you are wondering about these things, which points to your wedding being a success!
Post # 26
#1- I don’t know where you are getting married, but this has been the norm at most of the weddings I’ve been to. Our gap is about 2 1/2 hours and if anyone thinks that’s rude or ridiculous, then that’s their problem! There are things you don’t have control over- like when churches have wedding ceremonies. Don’t freak out about this. People will deal.
#2- I’ve been in 3 weddings and never has any of the SOs come in the limo. They would be bored out of their minds because they aren’t involved in the pictures. I’m sure they will figure out a way to entertain themselves for a few hours- no biggie.
#3- I don’t think my FH and I have ever sat together at any of the weddings when one of us were in it- and that’s exactly the reason why I won’t do that at my wedding. I’m a pretty outgoing person and so is FH but it’s still awkward. It’s not rude if you don’t want to do it, but I think the people in the wedding party really appreciate it when you accomodate them and their SO.
Post # 27
My BF was part of the wedding party in one wedding in his hometown… the plan was for them to do exactly what you’re suggesting but my BF had to decline, since I do not drive in his country he really needed to drive me around, he also didn’t seat in the designated table without me, because I didn’t know anybody and he felt bad for me. Some of the Bridesmaid or Best Man and the Groomsmen did the same, they just went and sat with their SO’s to have dinner and everthing became a little messy.
I didn’t think it was rude, but, to be honest, I did find it very inconvenient, and, at the time, when I had no idea how much pain planning a wedding is, I did think the plan of the bride was a little bit… how can I say this? maybe not very smart… Sorry, just a perspective from someone that was the SO in that circumstance, especially if they don’t know you well, they will not like it, that’s for sure, why add stress to people and especially the wedding party in your special day?
Post # 28
There’s no problem with any of those things per se, but they fact that you are asking about it being an issue means you recognize that the situations are not ideal and will offend some people. When SOs are involved, you should make sure that they have a way to get around (if they are in the Out of Town category) and that they know people or have been introduced (try designating a few of your friends to make sure the SOs feel included).
There are two philosophies: it’s your day and people are going to do whatever you ask of them, or you are asking your family and friends to be your guests and celebrate your day with you. Yes, it’s often a mix of both, but it helps to decide which is most important to you.
And yes, it’s a lot of planning and work to try to get things to come together, but you do have options so if you chose to have the reception in a place that won’t accomodate you earlier, just remember that it was your choice. If you don’t have room for the SOs in the limo(s) it’s your choice (like birdal party size was a choice, and getting limos was a choice). When you make a decision, try to just stick by it.
Post # 29
I’m with most of the people who have responded so far … 1 and 2 are totally cool … but I would really try to avoid a head table if possible. One time both my husband (then fiance) and I were in the wedding party but we didnt get to sit together!! They did all the bridesmaids on one side and groomsmen on the other – it was so strange to me! We literally devoured our food and then ditched the table and socialized with all our friends.
At our wedding we did a sweetheart table and it was great because we were able to sit together and chat with just ourselves for a few minutes during the crazy hectic day.
Have fun with plannning and welcome to Weddingbee!