(Closed) Gap between ceremony and reception

posted 11 years ago in Logistics
Post # 3
4485 posts
Honey bee

Does your venue not allow you to start the reception earlier? Being Catholic does not automatically mean a multi-hour gap as many go directly to the reception as soon as the ceremony, receiving line, pictures, etc are done. Just because the ceremony time may not be flexible does not imply at all that the reception time cannot be adjusted. Countless venues do not have a set time when you can begin or when the guests will be allowed to enter. That’s why shopping around for a venue is so important and alot of couples settle for the first thing they find and then say later that there was nothing that could be done, which is not true.

Be aware that, while it is rude to do so, some people may skip the ceremony or reception and only attend one event and not both because there is such a gap. Those who are irked generally will not say anything as it is also rude to complain to the couple, though they may talk to each other if they are annoyed enough. Contrary to popular belief, many people will not go back to their hotel to nap/shower/change clothes or go out sightseeing in an unfamiliar area in their fancy attire. The drive time between venues should be the only gap and no more than 45 mins at that. If you do plan to occupy guests from 3-6pm, you need to host the entire event yourselves.

As far as ideas, is there anyway you can host a non-alcoholic (so that guests don’t drive intoxicated to the reception) social time for everyone? Call your venue and ask if the cocktail hour can be bumped to 4pm and extend the reception. Most brides anyway say the day goes by like a blur and wish it lasted longer and many guests don’t like to leave early if they are having a great time, and many folks only get to see each other at weddings so they will appreciate having a longer period of time to socialize.

Post # 5
541 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2011

View original reply
@jspeby: Can you mention something like: reception to follow at 6pm at *location address*? How long will the ceremony last? Maybe mention that so people know there will be a gap. You can also leave a note on your wedding website with suggestions for what to do and where to go during the gap (i.e. nearby park or cafe/bar, etc.).

Post # 6
5785 posts
Bee Keeper

I don’t think you have to word it in any special way, as once they receive their invitations they will plainly see the time gap. Weddings used to always be that way, and some people used to skip the ceremony itself and just show up for the reception. It was really upsetting to see how many empty churches there were for the actual marriage, and how annoying it was after looking at pictures with just 10 people in them, but 200 people showing up for the party.

If its an hour long ceremony,plus 20 minutes of travel, that isn’t that long of a gap. Not perfect, but I’ve seen longer ones!

I wouldn’t worry about what your guests will do, but if you are, maybe offer some suggestions (if you have a website). Most adults will know how to entertain themselves for a few hours. 🙂

Post # 7
319 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

I would just simply list the time of the ceremony and the reception time on the invitations. Most weddings have some sort of gap so I think this is totally understandable. One of my friends created a pub crawl map of local bars close to their reception hall for their guests (everything including their hotels were in walking distance though). Think they included it in their Out of Town bags. If you have a lot of out of town guests I would suggest something like that or a few good spots to hit. Otherwise, I’ve also been to a wedding where they spread info for the “gap time” by mouth and some people just went home/to their hotels to relax and others all got together and caught up with one another in the intermediary time.


Post # 9
3342 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

Other bees have given guests a map of the area with a list of suggested activities.  If you have the dough you can schedule some kind of tour.  What about a cocktail hour starting at 4:30/5 at your reception venue? or a nearby pub?

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