Post # 1
Ok. So, I’ve seen similar posts to this but my situation is a bit different than those. So, here it goes. My fiancé and I are not religious and have decided that we will not have our ceremony in a church. We live in a rural area, and there is basically one option that I’m excited about.
1) There is a scenic overlook in a state park that is not close to anything. So, the ceremony would be a 40 minute drive from the reception site. However, the drive is very pretty and the location is a place that we go to often and has some meaning to us. Most of the guests are local and are familiar with the location and the few out of towners are from suburbia. So, they might enjoy the chance to see the mountains (?).
Honestly, we only care if our close family and friends are at the ceremony and they won’t care about the drive.
So, do I give people the option to attend the ceremony or not on the invitation so people don’t have to make the drive if they don’t want to? I’m also wondering how to time the ceremony and reception. We want to do a more casual cocktail style and so I’m thinking 4pm ceremony; 4:30 ceremony ends, we take some pictures, guests can hang out or head to town; 7pm reception with food stations and passed Hors d’oeuvres.
Does this seem reasonable?
Post # 2
amandaloving : “do I give people the option to attend the ceremony or not on the invitation so people don’t have to make the drive if they don’t want to?” — This is a great idea. Invite everyone to both, but have RSVPs for both ceremony and reception so they know you’re ok with them skipping the ceremony if the drive would be hard.
“4pm ceremony; 4:30 ceremony ends, … 7pm reception with food stations and passed Hors d’oeuvres.” — Ohhh, I don’t think this is cool though. That’s way too long of a gap. Nobody wants to “hang out” for 2.5 hours between a wedding and reception. If the wedding isn’t until 4, you should have plenty of time for pictures before hand. I would plan the reception to start at 5:30.
Post # 3
This sounds like a gong show. You really should not have a 2.5 hour break for absolutely no reason.
I would do one of two things:
-Take pictures at this location prior, do the ceremony and reception at the same place (this is ideal – avoids the drive, you still get pretty pictures, guests are not inconvenieced at all)
-Have your ceremony at the pretty location, start your reception at 5:15ish (if you end at 430 that allows 45m to get to the reception).
Personally I think its a really bad idea to have these two things spaced so far apart, and I think it’s kind of shitty to prioritize pretty pictures at the expense of your guests having to drive so far.
Post # 4
Daisy_Mae : There’s a 40 minute drive in-between. So allowing for lollying gagging, it’s only a 1.5 hour gap
Post # 7
amandaloving : Thanks for your input.
Post # 8
amandaloving : I’m going to a wedding this weekend where the reception and ceremony locations are 45 minutes apart, and I hadn’t given it a second thought until this post.
I think it’s fine. I mean it’s not like guests will be drinking at the ceremony and unable to drive. If people are uncomfortable with the drive they will likely carpool with others. If there are a couple of elderly or disabled or people who don’t have licenses you are concerned about then you can reach out to them individually.
I do think the gap between the ceremony and the reception is too long though. I understand doing your pics after the ceremony and not before, not everyone wants to do a first look. Can the reception open up at say 5.30pm and you guys rock up after your photos are taken? Our ceremony and reception were in the same place, but we ducked out to get photos taken for about an hour. The reception (cocktail) started without us and the MC made an announcement when we came back.
Post # 9
amandaloving : Because when you invite guests you should host them well. Making them drive 40m to a park, then 40m to a reception and wandering aimlessly around for 2.5 hours is not very good hosting. You can have professional pictures with your guests anywhere. I just think if this place is so important to you, you and your fi (and possibly bridal party) should go out there early and take your pictures.
Post # 10
youngbrokebride : Thanks for the input.
Post # 11
jellybellynelly : thanks for the input
Post # 12
Have you considered a party bus or a large shuttle? Pick an awesome playlist of your favorites for the ride!
ETA I would serve apps earlier, but host a dance lesson in between events.
Post # 13
amandaloving : too long in between..
Post # 14
Take pictures ahead of time. If you have the ceremony at this overlook make sure to have a solid rain plan, sufficient parking and a seat for every guest.
Guests can start the cocktail hour without you if you want to take additional pictures after the ceremony. Once you decide to host guests it’s no longer just about what makes you happy–you now have to make decisions based upon the comfort of these guests. And if you are hosting people over a dinner hour appetizers and food stations are fine but have to be enough to comprise a meal. That is often more expensive than it would be to just serve dinner.
What is there to do in the area if people have an hour or two to kill? Guests understand when the hosts have no choice, such as the common Catholic gap, but may wonder why you chose to create a gap when you could either start the ceremony later or begin the reception earlier.
Post # 15
Really not understanding the Bees coming down on you over the 2.5 hour gap. That is pretty standard even for weddings where there isn’t a long drive between sites lol
I see absolutely nothing wrong with this at all. My only concern would have been if you didn’t leave enough time for lollygagging between the ceremony and reception and expected people to book it from one site to the other, but you’re not doing that so no biggie.