Post # 1
I’ve been noticing a lot of people mentioning the huge gap between a Catholic wedding and the reception. Why is that? I’ve never heard of that and the one Catholic wedding I’ve attended didn’t have a gap, we just drove from the church to the reception venue for cocktail hour which only lasted an hour or so. I’m aslo Orthodox which is similar to Catholic, our ceremonies are long, but we don’t have huge gaps between it and the reception. I’m just wondering why it’s common for Catholic ceremonies to have such a large gap.
Post # 2
Since the Catholic Mass ceremony is long and the wedding party is going to do photos after the ceremony at the church. Often there is a 1-2 hour gap between the ceremony and reception. Some couples will fill the gap with a cocktail hour.
Post # 3
It is because if your wedding is on a Saturday, your ceremony needs to be early enough in the afternoon to be done and everyone out before the Saturday evening mass (usually occurs around 5:00)
So, most ceremonies start at 2 or 3 in the afternoon (eariler maybe even if you want to do pictures at the church after), and then you are going to have a gap, because it would be too early to have a dinner reception right after.
Post # 4
Most Catholic weddings are limited in the time they can start. I know the latest ceremony time at the parish my parents attend is 1 PM in order to get through pictures and have everyone out in time for 4 PM confessions before 5 PM Saturday vigil mass. So, if you don’t want to have a reception that starts at 2:30-3 PM you’re kind of out of luck there. Some churches also allow weddings at 7 PM but I feel like that can be even worse than having a gap- it’s so late for everyone. My Fiance went to a 7 PM wedding with a full mass, by the time they got to the reception venue it was 8:30, and theirs was the last table called to the buffet so they didn’t even get to eat until 9:45! This is partially why I chose to have my Catholic ceremony at the chapel at my high school- I was able to have a 4 PM ceremony time.
Short answer: 5 PM vigil masses on Saturdays screw everything up in terms of the times you can choose to have your ceremony.
Post # 5
My Catholic wedding will be at 3:00 pm becuase lahela017 said its Saturday and they need time to prepare for the Saturday evening mass at 5:00 pm.
My timeline is wedding from 3:00 pm – 4:15ish (Mass with no communion). Venue is just 15 minutes away but cocktail hour won’t start until 6:00 pm – so 1.5 hour gap.
Post # 6
Totally forgot about the Saturday mass. The Orthodox Church only has Sunday morning liturgy so we never have this issue.
Post # 7
Usually Catholic weddings are Saturdays at 1pm. Most people find 2-3pm to be too early for a reception, so there is a gap in between. Luckily my church does 1pm and 4pm weddings on Saturdays and I got the 4pm slot.
Post # 8
It depends on the church. Most churches have Saturday night mass or some other “events” that go on on Saturday nights, so the wedding ceremony can’t run up against those things that are already scheduled. And then if you want an evening reception, that usually can’t start until a certain time.
For example, our church had Saturday Confession at 3:30. So, we had a choice of a 1, 1:30, or 2:00 start time, because we were having a full mass and would need to have everyone out by about 3:15. We picked 1:30 so we would have some time for pictures afterwards. The earliest we could start our reception was 6 or 6:30 (I honestly can’t remember), because there was an afternoon wedding before us. We had a gap.
It ended up working out though. Our friends went back to the hotel in between and pre-gamed. My mom’s family went to my aunt’s and has some pre-appetizers. My husband’s family went various places – some people went to the movies, some went to the bar. Some people didn’t attend the ceremony, and that was okay – there were still probably about 100 people at the ceremony, which was an insane amount of love. We were able to take all our pictures, have about 20 minutes to unwind, and then were able to actually greet all our guests and join cocktail hour. It was important for me to have our ceremony in the church I grew up in, and that’s how we had to make it work.
Post # 9
The churches in my area have confession at 3 and mass around 4 or 5. The latest I could have a marriage ceremony was 1:30.
To skip the gap, the options were:
1) Have a cake and punch reception. There’s nothing wrong with that, but gaps are common in my group and my guests as a whole would prefer waiting two hours for a full dinner and open bar.
2) Have a non-Catholic ceremony. My marriage would not be recognized by the church, and I think it’s kind of rude and insane for a guest to want me to give that up just because they can’t deal with a gap.
I guess I could have looked for a church farther away, but that would have turned the wedding into a destination wedding, and there’s no guarantee I could have found one. Plus some parishes require membership or other things.
Post # 10
There is no legitmate reason other than timing. It isn’t a religion or even a couple driven thing. You cant usually pick the exact times you wish. Reception locations are generally at a certain hour and the churchs usually do early morning (maybe around 10?) and afternoon which is I think 12 or 1pm for the ceremonies. There is also an option of full mass (one hour) or a short blessing (30 minutes). My wedding I think was at noon and the recepetion was at night so it was at 5 or 6, I beleive. The two were an hour apart in distance and it gave us time to do our wedding photography in between the two, which is when most brides do it. Due to traffic we were actually running late and the photography session was actually rushed a bit. In terms of the hall, they also generally have early day time weddings or night time weddings. So you’re looking at the option of day or night and day and night are held at universally timed hours. So if you’re at the church at 1pm, it leaves you no choice but to do a recption at night. That’s assuming you’re having it at a large wedding reception site that exclusively does weddings, as opposed to a restaurant with a room. I imagine then you can select any times that you want. The reception halls usually have weddings 2 times a day, at least the ones I visited. Which gives them time to turn over for the next wedding, meaning clean up, meal prep and not having the wedding parties and guests coliding into one another.
Post # 11
I grew up Catholic and never went to a wedding without a Catholic Gap until one of my cousins had a non-denominational ceremony when I was in college. Ever since then, I’ve come to LOATHE the Catholic Gap. I was at a wedding not long ago where a priest literally stood in the photos behind the bride and groom telling them they had to get out because confession was starting.
Post # 12
There is nothing “wrong” with having an afternoon reception, but it’s not terribly popular just now.
We went to a wedding on a day when it was 100 degrees, and there was a three hour gap.
We all tromped into a Burger King and lived there for over 2 1/2 hours while waiting.
Seriously there’s nothing more or less romantic or more dignified or more anything about a morning or noon wedding followed by a lunch hour or afternoon DINNER. And if it eliminates THE GAP, all the better.
Post # 13
We actually looked into doing an afternoon dinner reception. None of the traditional venues offered anything that started before 5. The closest we could find was bringing in an outside caterer to a school gym (which does not have air conditioning by the way).
The joys of rural-esqe towns.
Post # 14
My church has 11:00, 1:00, 2:30, 4:00 and 6:30 available for Saturday weddings. 6:30 can’t be a mass though, because it’s sandwiched between 5:15 and 7:30 vigil masses.
There’s really no reason there HAS to be a gap. It’s just that people tend to want it all – the mass and then the nighttime reception. I would never do that to people. A reception is a reception – it doesn’t have to start in the evening.
Post # 15
What’s even more interesting about the whole situation is that both Saturday evening masses and evening wedding receptions didn’t really exist before the 1950s. Vigil masses were a Vatican II development, and up until the 50s/60s weddings were morning or afternoon affairs with at most a luncheon afterwards (at least in most ‘Americanized’ society- I’m pretty sure the less WASP, the more fun/robust the wedding celebration back then). So Catholic gaps arose starting in the 70s, and have gotten more pronounced as more people choose nicer catering halls/venues (gaps usually aren’t a thing if people use the church hall, since there’s usually not a restriction on time).