(Closed) Bridal Rant: The Darn Catholic Wedding Gap…

posted 5 years ago in Dress
Post # 3
3697 posts
Sugar bee

You will be fine. Your situation sounds very similar to ours, and things worked out beautifully for us.


The majority of our guests were out-of-towners and both our church and reception venue were in the downtown of our city within easy walking distance of one another. We put together a “tourist guide” of fun things to do at the back of our program, and our guests had plenty of options to entertain themselves during the break. We also got downtown maps to pass out to them as they exited the church.


PM me if you’d like to see our program, for reference (it’s got all the responses, etc., for the Catholic ceremony, too, if you’d like to take advantage of that!)

ETA: Yes, plenty of Bees have strong opinions about gaps, I’ve seen those rants too, but ultimately it’s way more important to do what you need to do to have the Catholic wedding that matters to you and your Fiance than it is to placate a bunch of opinionated strangers on the internet. Your guests will understand and they will be fine. They’re going to have a gorgeous day in May to enjoy downtown San Francisco!


Post # 4
175 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

Could you afford to create a hospitality suite at a nearby hotel?  You could have your parents host.  That might make a long break more tolerable.  I would also offer the touring map like a PP suggested. 

If you do this I would recommend that you and the bridal party not be at the suite or it would be too much like a reception. Perhaps also consider serving tea sandwiches and non- alcoholic beverages.  Again to avoid a reception feel.   I think something like this would be really nice for the older folks who might not want to walk around much. 

Post # 5
1131 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

Don’t worry it seems like 2h is the minimum time when you have a venue change πŸ™‚

Post # 6
7211 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2015

@bellaingenue:  All the weddings I’ve been to in the midwest do this “steal the bride” thing. I’ve never been involved in the actual thing, so as a guest it just means I’ve sat round for 2-3 hours between the wedding & reception. It’s not as uncommon as you think.

Thankfully, you are having your wedding in an awesome city. I would put something on the wedding website about bringing walking shoes and suggestions for things to see around the city. Maybe put a map with a suggested walking tour in the Out of Town bags? After my friend’s SF wedding we all boarded the trolly for the whole line and that was a lot of fun. Alternately, the suggestion of a hospitality suite is a good one for those who don’t want to go exploring. 

Post # 7
78 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

I’m in the same boat as you.  Our church ceremony is at 2:30pm and our reception starts at 6pm.  The 3-hour gap has me really worried, but there was nothing we could do given the combination of the church we chose and the reception site (both we were not willing to compromise on, even after looking at various different dates).  We finally just had to settle and hope that our guests are understanding.  It also helps that only a couple of our guests are from out of town and our reception site is close enough to downtown where they could go exploring and find some activities.  We’ll also be doing a handout of things people can do in between, a quiz to complete on how well they know us (with the incentive being a prize for the person who gets the most correct answers) and will be providing a small snack bag after the ceremony.


Sometimes you can’t help it, and your guests will be understanding if you explain the situation to them. 

Post # 8
57 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

@bellaingenue:  We’re in the same boat however we also have a 20-min drive between ceremony and reception but that still doesn’t fix the big gap. One thing I’ve considered is doing a cocktail hour at a {fancier} bar down the road from our reception venue. We probably won’t do it, but it’s something to consider… just have some appetizers, beer and wine? Guests would for sure appreciate it!

Everyone expects a gap so if you don’t do anything, don’t feel bad! I went to a wedding where there was a 3-hr gap and we were in BFE Iowa so there was NOTHING to do except golf. And golf we did πŸ™‚ People find their own thing to do!

Post # 9
926 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

Please don’t worry about this. Your guests are adults and should be able to entertain themselves for 3 hours without having a whinge about such a minor inconvenience on their loved ones wedding day! They have other guests to talk to, and these days carry every entertainment device imaginable in their  mobile phone. As long as there is somewhere for them to go to sit down, it’s not a big deal at all. I’ve even been to a wedding with a  5 hour gap. No big deal, it was a great opportunity to go home, eat, change etc. Out of towners had hotel rooms which several guests and friends went back to hang out in. Some went to local cafes to chill until the reception or the local beach/park. I don’t get the need some people have to be entertained every second of the day.. especially when they are about to be treated to an expensive meal

What I’m trying to say is, you’ve done your best to consider your guests and minimise the gap, so don’t let this issue trouble you because they can take care of themselves. I’m sure the guests at your wedding would say the same thing because they want you to enjoy your day and not spend it worrying about something that is so not a big deal πŸ™‚ 

ETA: you’re in San Francisco, the most beautiful city in the world In My Humble Opinion.. How could anyone complain?! 


Post # 11
9549 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

It’ll be fine. As one of those annoying people who hates and complains about a big gap…it’s not the end of the world. Especially since the ceremony is close to the hotels so people can go back there to rest. We know it’s a Catholic thing. We’ll get over it. Don’t let it stress you out. It’s not that bad. It’ll be forgotten after the first cocktail!

Post # 13
8695 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

@bellaingenue:  I was raised Catholic but I no longer attend. However, many people in my area are Catholic and have this gap so I wouldnt worry about it. There will be some who dont attend the ceremony (I usually see way less in attendance for ceremony vs reception) but for those that go they will figure out something.

Post # 14
17 posts
  • Wedding: September 2013

We have a similar issue. The church we are getting married at has two available times, 3pm or 5pm. Personally, I would love to get married at 4pm and start our reception at 5pm or 5:30pm. 

The church’s wedding coordinator was very helpful, and said that it might be possible to get married at 4pm, but she wouldn’t be able to confirm this until 30 days out……….which will never work because invitations must be printed and mailed 8-10 weeks out.  Arghhh.

So we’ve decided to change the wording on our invitations to state “Reception to follow at 5pm or 5:30pm.”  We think our guests will either skip the ceremony, or use the break to go home to change or have a drink somewhere and then join us.


Post # 15
10453 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2014

Don’t wory! If I was a guest at your wedding I wouldn’t care. I think most guests understand the reasons anyway, and it’s hardly an imposition to ask adults to entertain themselves for a few hours. What would they have been doing that day without a wedding? I just go to a pub or something with friends and it’s a great time. I actually like gaps for that reason.

Post # 16
134 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

@bellaingenue:  I’m thinking you can totally turn this into a positive… especially with such a high percentage of out-of-town guests AND being in an area where there’s some sight seeing to do!  I love the idea someone posted about giving out a “tourist guide”.   What if you take that a step further and create a SF Scavenger hunt?  It would be so affordable and interactive for your guests. You could make it super cute and guests would have something to be doing while they’re waiting for your big celebration to start.  You could also make it along the route that they would need to take to get to your reception sight… That way the ending of the scavenger hunt is right where you want them to be! Get cute, cheap personalized pens and hand out cards with the scavenger hunt items…. I really think it could be SO fun! (I want to come now!) 




Honestly, don’t stress! ENJOY this time and don’t sweat stuff like this.  The most important thing is that you get to celebrate eachother…. don’t worry about the rest. πŸ™‚


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