(Closed) How Long is Too Long of a Wait Between the Ceremony and Reception?

posted 8 years ago in Reception
  • poll: What to do?!

    Arrange for the reception site to accommodate early guests

    Nothing. They can find something to do to kill the time.

    I like polls! :D

  • Post # 32
    236 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: May 2013

    View original reply
    @silkspectre94:  Like I mentioned before, just take pictures with the BMs and your family before, then take pics with the groom and the entire wedding party after. That will save some time.

    Post # 33
    340 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: November 2014

    View original reply
    @silkspectre94:  Haha no problem, we didn’t expect it to be THAT bad, especially since we couldn’t be in air conditioning in the reception hall…we had to wait outside. Being inside would have been much nicer, even if we had to wait a while.

    Post # 34
    1709 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: May 2013 - Walt Disney World

    I think the gap is a little too large for my taste.  Here is our timeline:

    3:00-3:30 pm: “getting ready” bridal pics (hotel room)

    3:30-4:00 pm: Groom/groomsmen pics (hotel lobby)

    4:00-4:45 pm: Bride/bridesmaid pics (hotel lobby)

    4:00 pm: limo picks up groom/groomsmen and travels to ceremony location

    4:45 pm: limo picks up bride/bridesmaids and travels to ceremony location

    5:00 pm: wedding

    6:00 pm: Bride/Groom/wedding party/family pics

    6:00 pm: cocktail hour starts (wedding planner/assistant will bring us food/drinks while we’re getting pics taken)

    7:00-11:00 pm: reception

    If it’s at all possible to break up your photo session before the wedding and after the wedding (we’re not doing a first look or seeing each other at all before the ceremony) and starting the cocktail hour a little earlier, it may help a little.

    Post # 35
    7 posts
    • Wedding: April 2013

    Im in a similar situation with my ceremony at 3 and reception at 6.30. I’ve also been to a number of weddings where there has been a similar gap between the ceremony and reception and ihasn’t never bothered me! Actually I’ve never been to awe wedding where there is less than a 3 hour gap.

    At my wedding about half the guests will be travelling and half are local.  Those travelling are staying at hotels near the reception venue so can go chill there if they need to.  Other friends of ours have organized to meet at a bar near the reception to have a drink before the reception starts.

    The weddings I’ve been to where there has been a 3 plus hour gap, I’m usually really happy to have the time to catch up people I might not see that often and have organized to have a drink or coffee near the reception venue.  Its a nice informal way for your guests to catch up away from the structure of a reception.

    if you can, arrange for the venue t have your guests early but otherwise, I’m sure your guests or at least groups of guests will think to meet up somewhere.  If they don’t know the area, just tell some people about a cafe or bar nearby where they can hang out until the reception starts.

    Post # 36
    3028 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: June 2013

    For me the gap is irritating, but the idea that the whole day is spent at a wedding would be the problem to me.  Wake up and get ready, leave at 12:30, arrive at 1pm for church leave at 2pm, go to pub/resturant/attraction/hotel re-put on face and return at 5 then leave at 10/11.  Asking someone for 10 hours of their time is a lot, if it is going to be a lot of Out of Town people I think it’s too much.

    This might just be me- same reason I am not a fan of weddings on major holidays.

    Post # 37
    7425 posts
    Busy Beekeeper
    • Wedding: February 2013

    That’s way too big of a gap! I’d probably choose to go to either the ceremony or the reception, but not both.

    Post # 38
    1668 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: October 2014 - Church

    @silkspectre94:  Is there any way you can plan something fun for your guests while you are doing your thing? I’ve heard of some people organizing a tour of some sort that their guests can go on. Or have a bunch of suggestions. That is a huge gap. I know a couple years ago I went to a cousin’s wedding that was out of town with my SO and two sisters. There was a longer gap and the ceremony site was in a completely different area of the city. There was nothing planned, and a lot of places were closed earlier because it was on a Sunday making it difficult to find something to do in between. I honestly did not feel like going back to the hotel after getting all dressed up. That and we did not really know the areas of the city that well. There was another wedding that had a shorter gap (a couple hours) which was the perfect amount of time to go to a pub. It’s more of a concern if you have a whole bunch of out-of-town guests.

    Post # 40
    2997 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: April 2014

    hate gaps! Especially if I’m not too familar with the area.  My brother had a 4 hour gap and my mom reluctanly hosted appetizers at her house.  She hated it and I’m sure guests hated it.  I would try my hardest to close the gap if I could. If not, I would give them an option of what to do during that time.  Like other people said, I would probably only go to the reception if I had to wait around for 4 hours!

    Post # 41
    8682 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: September 2013

    I would go to one or the other. In my area many people get married at Catholic Churches around 11AM-1PM and then reception isnt until 5-6PM and many people do not attend the ceremony for that reason.

    Post # 42
    6255 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: March 2014

    If you’re not Catholic, I think a gap this big is just being a poor hostess.

    Think about it this way. Would you invite someone over to lunch with you, send them back out into the world (or worse, expect them to sit there with nothing to do!) for three hours so you could read books, and then have them back over to watch a movie?

    I went to a wedding this past weekend. The pictures took an hour and a half. There was absolutely nothing for the guests to do at the reception, and several got tired of waiting and left before the bride and groom made their entrance.

    The comfort of your guests should NEVER be sacrificed for the sake of you getting pictures taken. I think you should shorten the gap substantially, or at least provide fun, structured things to do.

    What about a first look or day after session?

    Post # 43
    6014 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: March 2012

    I would have some finger foods and things earlier at the reception place.  That gap is too big.  I’m very familiar with the Catholic Gap.  We usually hit a bar or get food because you haven’t eaten for at least an hour BEFORE mass and you’re not eating until after 5pm?   Not to mention some of the things I’ve seen guests do (people staying at the hotel where receptions were going to their rooms putting on bathing suits and swimming during the gap, showing back up to the reception in shorts and flip flop is one of the milder things).   I would  definitely have something for people to eat and someplace for them to hang out.  I’m assuming there are people that are family that would like to visit, are they supposed to sit on their cars outside ?

    Post # 44
    14 posts
    • Wedding: July 2013

    I think the gap is not too bad. My church ceremoy is at 12:30 and reception starts at 5pm. After writing out the schedule, I realized that it is just enough time for everything.

    Post # 45
    11231 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: August 2013

    I’ve only been to one gapped wedding and it was really annoying. It was out of town for us, AND we’d ridden up there with someone else. We had a 4 hour gap between the ceremony and reception (and then the bride and groom were an hour late!!!), no way of getting around unless our ride drove, nowhere to go except FI’s grandma’s house (so I got a bunch of cat hair all over my dress), and nothing to do in the mean time. 

    Post # 46
    3240 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: May 2011

    It is your wedding day. If the timeline works for you, then I think you should keep it.

    But I do think it’s a good idea to let your guests know about activites in the area (muesums, shops, gardens, local bars, etc) where they could go to kill the time in between the ceremony and reception.  Or set it up so they can go to the reception site early. I’ve been to weddings with large time gaps and while they aren’t my favorite, I usually find something to do in the in between time.

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