Long cocktail "hour" due to "Catholic gap" – help!

posted 2 years ago in Reception
Post # 31
2239 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2019

We also have the “Catholic gap” but it is something everyone is used to. They get a lot of slack on these boards, but they cannot  be helped. We have a lot of people traveling to our wedding so here is what we are doing:

1. In the hotel welcome bags we have a couple of places to go (both family friendly, and adults only) if they want to see a little bit of the city between the wedding and the reception (all things are short and sweet and a specific section on the “things to see and do” is called out for between wedding and reception and are all close to the hotel, church and reception) 

2. We have a “hospitality room” at the hotel. Basically we rented out a conference room and will have snacks and drinks in there. We then have free transportation to the reception from the hotel. It is basically an offsite cocktail hour. This is something my family always does, and they love it. It is a great time to chat and catch up because we all hit the dance floor pretty hard at receptions! 

Bottom line is, I think that is a fine plan, and nice that you are offering an extended cocktail hour! People understand it when you have a church wedding, most are used to it as you can only have your wedding at certain times. Good luck! 

Post # 32
501 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

I’m personally of the mindset that the reception should immediately follow the ceremony. Having a day time ceremony? Have a daytime reception. It’s think it’s rude otherwise.

Post # 34
1247 posts
Bumble bee

View original reply
beebae :  Why are you staying at the church so long after the ceremony ends?  What kind of “apps” are you having during cocktail hour?  I think you’re going to have a lot of hangry guests. Sorry, with that timeframe, I’d only go to the reception unless you were my best friend or sibling.

Post # 35
2985 posts
Sugar bee

I was raised Catholic and both sides of my family have had multiple Catholic weddings. Honestly, I think your gap is a little long but not unheard of. I think if your guests are used to gap weddings, this won’t be much different. I think the cocktail hour is nice. A lot of my family that got married in the Catholic church had gaps where we would just hang out at a hotel.

Post # 37
41 posts

I think ~75% of the weddings I’ve gone to have had gaps. I actually prefer this, because we’re usually traveling for weddings and often arrive the morning of and everyone can’t get early check in to the hotel. 

We usually just go the hotel bar or somewhere nearby to have drinks and maybe a snack. It’s also a good time to catch up with friends attending the wedding that we may not be seated with. 

ETA: I grew up in an area that’s primarily Catholic, so have attended a lot of Catholic weddings. I’m also Indian, and Indian ceremonies are typically in the morning (though usually there’s a hosted lunch afterwards followed by a full evening reception later in those cases). People in both cases also have done what you’ve described and had hospitality suites where there’s snacks and drinks for people. Gaps aren’t abnormal to me.

Post # 38
2972 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2021

Not Catholic, but I’d say most of the weddings I’ve been to (which have all been either protestant or secular) there has been a gap of anywhere from 2 to 4 hours between the ceremony and dinner / official start of the reception. 

As an out of town guest, I prefer having a bit of a gap to be able to go check into the hotel if I haven’t done so already and take a quick nap or just chill out for a bit before heading to the reception. As an in-town guest it can be a bit awkward deciding what to do in between because it feels weird to go home just for an hour even if it is nearby, but I don’t recall it ever being a big issue. Normally you’d just hang out with friends/family somewhere nearby. 

I think the schedule you outlined is just fine!

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