Post # 1
I’ve been reading posts for the past few days about ceremony and reception times and how much guests hate (or are okay with) gaps between the ceremony and reception. I guess I’m pretty lucky and I have some flexibility around the issue, but of course that just makes decision making all the much harder. Also, I haven’t been to any weddings recently (read: past 6 yrs) and I really have no idea what people are expecting. I’d really love to hear whateve input you lovely ladies have!
I’m having a Catholic ceremony which can start anytime between 10am and 2pm and will last about an hr. The reception venue is 5 min away and we’ve got it reserved for the entire day. The wedding will be at the beach (NC outer banks) and so all of our guests will be out of town and I assume renting a hotel for the weekend. So here are the ideas I’ve thought of so far (please suggest new ones if these suck!)
OPTION 1: Ceremony: 2pm, Reception: 5pm – minimize the gap, guests can go to a hotel before a typical recepion of cocktail hr, dinner, dancing
OPTION 2: Ceremony: 11am, Reception: 12:30pm, 7pm – have a formal lunch reception immediately following the ceremony (little alcohol, no dancing) then have a second reception at 7 for all the fun stuff (and young people). Biggest issue here is cost…
OPTION 3: Ceremony: 11:am, Reception: 6pm – the goal here is to make the gap extra long so that people have time to hit the beach, take in the sites etc. They may not have time to do so on Fri or Sun so perhaps they might like this…or it might stink to have to get dressed up twice…or people might just skip out…
Anyhow, I’m completely confused. Please help!
Post # 3
I think if I were a guest and a gap of more than an hour between ceremony and reception was necessary I’d want the longer time period so I could do something instead of sitting around. And since you’re near the beach, I would totally soak up some sun for a few hours, shower, and head to the reception later on in the evening. That’s just me, though. Some people might take issue with it.
Post # 4
If I were traveling there and staying at a hotel, I’d like to hav ea long gap to actually do something in between. I never know what to do during gaps that are just 2 hours or something.
Post # 5
I like Option 1 best because the gap will be only about 2 hours, which isn’t so bad. It’s enough time to go back to the hotel room and take in a nap, or go to a bar and grab drinks with friends. I’m totally against Option 2, not only is it not cost-effective, but I don’t think guests will want to attend two separate receptions. Option 3 is ok, but I think the gap is too long. As a guest, I wouldn’t want to get all dolled up for the ceremony and then go sunbathing/sightseeing and have to get all dolled up again for the reception. Plus, what would you and your new hubby be doing in that gap? Would you take off your gown, makeup, hairdo, etc for those 6 hours? Seems like a big hassle.
Post # 7
I’m with ddubzz. I definitely wouldn’t go with Option 2 and Option 3 seems just too long. Since you’re so flexible, if you wanted to have a little more than 2 hours, having the ceremony at 2 and the reception at 6 seems a nice way to go as well.
Post # 8
My additional thought with number 3 was a lunch after the ceremony for the immediate family. My grandparents are aging, and they can’t really take lots of people or noise for very long. I thought this would give them a nice way to avoid the crowd (~100) if they wanted but still be able to celebrate with us. Of course, my mom thinks they would hate this idea because then they wouldn’t see the cake cutting. She likes option 2.
Post # 9
- Wedding: September 2009 - Harbison Chapel & The Maple Lane Farm
I agree with others, having guests get dressed up twice won’t be very fun. It’s too bad you can’t have a later ceremony. None of the options are terrible tho, whatever you chose things will work out!
Post # 10
I guess we could also start the ceremony at 2, and reception immediately following…but then we’d have either a *really* early dinner or long cocktail hour. Any thoughts?
NOTE: the reception venue is pretty small, and there wouldn’t be anywhere for guests to wander/explore
Post # 11
I actually like your most recent idea about having the reception immediately following the ceremony. As a guest, I hate waiting around for hours before we get to the reception. It’s just a little inconvenient. I see your point though & your struggle here!!
I really think your guests would appreciate as little downtime as possible between the ceremony & reception. Think of it this way… if your reception ends a little early, your guests still have the luxury of going to the beach. Ot you could have only your nearest & dearest meet up at a bar/restaurant later that night to just relax & celebrate. It’s a lot more cost effective & you literally have the best of all your options!