(Closed) Define long gap between ceremony and reception

posted 9 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
Member
2641 posts
Sugar bee

Good question.  I’ve been to weddings that were as early as 11am.  But most were around 2pm.  (With the those receptions starting at 6pm.) I can understand the "what am I going to do with myself" feelings, especially if you’re out of town.  But as someone else said in another thread, sometimes you can’t really help having a long gap.  Also, if you’re traditional in not wanting to see each other before the wedding, then you really need a gap for pictures.

I think the best you can do, if you have to have a gap is try to come up with  ‘tweener spot for guests.  If your venue can’t accomodate, then suggest some nice tourist attractions, restaurants, or maybe a family member can offer up their home for a pre-reception get together.

Post # 4
Member
248 posts
Helper bee

Our wedding is at 2:00 (latest the church will allow). It will be over by 2:45 and the reception begins at 6:00. The reception is at a hotel so Out of Town guests who are staying there can go back to their rooms and relax. But others will have to go home or find something local to do which we can suggest. It’s not ideal. But then neither is going to a reception “immediately following” and having to wait 1 1/2-2 hours for the bridal party to show up from doing a local photo tour which has happened at several weedings I’ve attended. We will be able to do pictures in a realxed manner and get to enjoy the whole cocktail hour with our guests.

Post # 5
Member
752 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

I think the gap is a pretty common thing for church weddings with evening receptions. I know that our ceremony time choices are either 2:00 PM or 7:30 PM, and with lots of guests traveling from 2.5 hours away, we’ll have to do the 2:00 ceremony if we want them to be able to enjoy the reception at all (if they’re not staying overnight). 

We’re trying to both minimize the gap between the ceremony and reception as much as possible and give suggestions for guest activities in the interim. We’re thinking that with a 2:00 Catholic ceremony, we’ll be done by 3:00, then guests will have 2 hours before starting a 5:00 cocktail hour. We thought it might be fun for our winter wedding to reserve some skates at an ice skating rink near our reception site in case our guests want to go for a spin. We’re still brainstorming for some other things to provide for the two hour gap so that guests aren’t bored. Maybe see if we can provide discount tickets at a nearby museum or something. 

I’d say anything more than 3 hours between the end of the ceremony and the start of the reception is pushing it, personally. 

Post # 6
Member
2004 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2008

I had almost the same timing as driftslikesmoke (2 p.m. catholic ceremony lasting about 45 minutes, and a 5:30 reception). That was just the way it was going to be. Our guests were actually happy about it….they went back to their hotel and watched the big football game on TV and drank beer during the afternoon! They were really happy not to miss the game :). Just goes to show you never know how it will work out. As long as the break does not come as a surprise, people will deal just fine.

Post # 7
Member
343 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

So I feel like I may be entering dangerous waters here, but I was one of the people who posted on the other board that a long gap was one of my pet peeves.    I do understand that sometimes it’s unavoidable, but my preference as a guest is always for the reception to start as soon as possible after the ceremony ends.

Maybe it’s just me, but there is a certain energy and electricity that’s created during the ceremony and gets me excited for the reception  For me, the longer the gap between the two, the less excited I am for the reception.  For example, I went to a wedding where the ceremony was at 11:00 am and the reception was at 6:00 pm.  I went to the beautiful ceremony and really enjoyed it, but then afterwards, I went back home, changed clothes and fell into my usual Saturday routine.  When it was time to get dressed back up for the reception, I hadn’t been thinking about the couple or their wedding for hours – I had been thinking about laundry and errands and paying bills.  So, it was tough to switch back into celebration-mode.

Now, if there had been events or something planned for between the ceremony and reception, that would have been a different story….

Post # 8
Member
117 posts
Blushing bee

Linzella:  I completly agree with you. The other thing is, if the guest are from out of town, they can go to their hotel room and relax.  If the guests are local they can go home.  But what about the guest from and hour and a half away?  They don’t have a hotel room and they cant drive home.  What are they to do?  even if there are suggestoins for fun things to do, you dont necessarily want to go trapsing through a museum in your cocktail dress and suit.  I think the best solution for this is that if the gap is larger than 2 hours the bride and groom should either provide a hospitality room in the hotel that all guests can go hang out in, relax, get some water, or have a local family member or friend host people at their home.

Post # 9
Member
1022 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

I was just thinking the same thing as Missesq.  While it’s nice to provide ideas to keep people busy in between the ceremony and reception, I would feel weird going ice scating in my cocktail dress. 

 There will be some space in between the time from our ceremony and reception–probably an hour and a half or so.  It takes about 30 minutes to travel from our ceremony venue to our reception venue so that will at least take up some of the time. 

Post # 10
Member
752 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

I like the idea of a hospitality room at a local hotel! That would be a good way to keep the energy of the day going while providing your guests with something to do in the (unfortunately unavoidable) gap some people end up with. That might even be a fun place to set up a fauxtobooth with props and costume pieces. I have a feeling guests might be more likely to use it then!

Post # 11
Member
752 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

Haha – and I know the ice skating thing sounds weird, but my family always used to make a tradition of going on the day after new year’s day (January 2nd, our wedding day!), so I thought making it an option might be cute. My family and friends are silly, so I’m pretty sure at least a few of them would get out there in their chic clothes! 🙂

Maybe we’ll make it one of the activities for the day before instead… 🙂

Post # 12
Member
78 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2009

our ceremony is at 4, and cocktail hour is at 6. it will give guests about 25 minutes to relax before heading to the cocktail hour, but also building in a good amount of time in case the bus transportation (taking guests back to the hotel from church) takes more trips than expected.

Post # 13
Member
2641 posts
Sugar bee

I didn’t even think how bad it is esepcially for those quasi Out of Town guests.    Having a nice get together spot is really considerate.  But I think nice clothes would be fine to wear to a museum. Although I might Suggest bringing a more comfy pairs of shoes for the walk.

Some of those venues like art galleries and historical museums are great for this kind of thing, because many times the guests get in for free and can bum around for a while before the reception. 

The most economical is if a family member is kind enough to offer a pre reception open house or something.

Post # 14
Member
216 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

Anything over 2 hours is a lot, and I have to agree with what linzella said about the "electricity" of the day.  Both weddings that I went to where we had a big gap in time suffered from that same nosedive in excitement because of hours of delay between the ceremony and reception.  Civil ceremonies where I live last about 20-30 minutes, and after doing a few short "congrats" at the venue, the bride and groom are off….and if you don’t get to see them for another 3 hours or more, the effect just isn’t the same.  It’s also worth mentioning that I was in both those weddings, and after several hours of tooling around together even the wedding party was starting to think "what about everyone else???"

 

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