Post # 1
So we are having more a traditional wedding. Meaning we are having the ceremony at the church my parents were married in and the reception at a different location. My worry is the length of the ceremony and the gap the guests will have between the ceremony and reception. We have planned to have our ceremony at 3. That being said we were told it should be done either by 3:45-4. The delima is we can not get into our venue for the reception till 6:30-7. That would mean a 2 1/2-3 hour break for our guests. Is that too long of a break or am I just worring too much? We are planning to have a cookie social in the church Fellowship Hall. That should “waste” some time and also allow us the perfect place to have a recieving line. I guess I am just looking on thoughts or similar circumstances. Thank you!!
Post # 3
I personally think that it’s a really long break in between and as guest, I’d be a little annoyed. In all honesty, I don’t know if I’d even go to the reception after that. Sorry…
Post # 4
I think you’re going to end up with a lot of people going home in between, and possibly not coming back for the reception.
Post # 5
I also think it’s a bit long. Could you maybe organize some activity, for example a guided tour of your town or a historic sight, so tide the guests over?
Post # 6
We are having a similar issue for our wedding as well. My thoughts are this. Locals and out of town people can always use this time to go back to the hotel/home and freshen up. My intentions for our out of town guests is to put together a packet/map kinda thing to let them know where they could kill sometime in between or throughout their stay. On this map will include such places such as local favorite spots/parks/beaches/historic markings etc. Different strokes for different folks I suppose.
In your planning you are going to be so focused on having a beautiful ceremony and awesome reception. I have to keep reminding myself that people can venture out on their own, so I need not fret on planning something for the inbetween.
Happy planning and good luck!
Post # 7
Gaps can’t really be avoided with church ceremonies sometimes, so I’m sure most of your guests will understand. We also have a gap and it caused me a lot of anxiety (still does at times).. but I’d rather have our ceremony in a meaningful place and have a gap then have the ceremony be a convenient afterthought. The people that matter most will be there smiling.. gap or no gap. You can’t please everyone!
Post # 8
It’s not that big of a deal! Our gap is 4.5 hours. Our guests understand that with a church ceremony it is what is available. Every wedding I go to has this gap and everyone still shows up to the ceremony.
Post # 9
I think that’s a pretty traditional church wedding gap. I’m sure people will be expecting the gap when they see you are getting married in a church. They will totally find something to do… I wouldn’t worry about it. Plus as a bonus for you… you would be able to get your pictures done during that time and actually have time to enjoy your cocktail hour! My Fiance and I have our ceremony at 2pm. We’re figuring it should be over by 3 and then we’re doing a receiving line so that will take some time before our bubble “exit” from the church. The reception is about 30 minutes away and starts at 6pm. We’re looking at about a 2-2.5 hour gap as well. It will give people time to check into their hotels and chill for awhile. I wouldn’t worry about it… and no one is gong to go home and skip your reception… that’s the best part!!
Post # 10
I think that’s WAY too long. I’d be really irked as a guest. As PPs mentioned, unless we were really close, I’d probably leave.
Post # 11
I have a 1.5 hour gap between my ceremony and reception but our reception is being held in a museum so guest have the option of checking out the museum for the intervening time. I’m hoping that’s enough to keep them occupied and interested, plus there are a few bars in the nearby area. Maybe letting people know that guests can gather at a local sight-seeing spot or a bar or something during the middle time will keep people from leaving and not coming back? Good luck!
Post # 12
It’s common in church ceremonies. If guests are annoyed they will get over it. It is YOUR wedding after all. I doubt people would skip out on the reception…that’s the fun part with the free meal and booze! What we are doing is having a hospitality room in the hotel between the ceremony and reception where guests are staying with snacks and yes..more alcohol…hahaha. I guess my philosophy is offer food and beer and people will be happy ;). Meanwhile you can get awesome pictures in between with your photographer.
Post # 13
Where I am from church weddings are pretty standard and a gap is a norm. I think that the cookie idea is really good. I am probably going to have a two hour gap, mostly because I don’t want to take photos before the ceremony. Since the ceremony and reception are being held in the same area we are planning on offering hour devours and possibly an activity or two. I like a PP idea of giving guests ideas of what to do around the area. It gives something for OTT guests to do and those who live in the area will probably go home and freshen up!
Post # 14
Why don’t reception venues open earlier? Always confuses me why brides pick reception venues for the wrong time. As a guest, if I have enough time to go home and cook dinner, unless we’re close, I wouldn’t come back. I feel like the reception loses its whole momentum and flow.
Post # 15
@MrsBroccoli: I would hope you would RSVP a “no” then so I wouldn’t have to pay for you 🙂
If guests see the times on the invitation, then they can decide for themselves whether or not it is worth going to…Hopefully your close friends would come anyway because they support you.
Post # 16
I don’t know. I have been to church weddings and never experienced this elusive church wedding gap even when the reception was somewhere else? Either way, I think the people that are close to you will make sure to be there, but others may bow out before the reception. As has been mentioned, unless I was very close to you, I would not wait for 2.5-3 hours for a reception to start. That is basically asking a guest to make your wedding an ALL day event and some will love it, others might despise it. At the end of the day, it is YOUR wedding and the people that truly care will make sure to be there. Isn’t that all that matters?