(Closed) So excited for our Catholic ceremony! Not so excited about the time slots…

posted 8 years ago in Ceremony
  • poll: When should we have the ceremony?
    Start at 2pm : (50 votes)
    70 %
    Start at 7pm : (18 votes)
    25 %
    I have another idea! (posted below) : (3 votes)
    4 %
  • Post # 31
    224 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: October 2011

    We are having a gap!  Our ceremony is at 2:30 and the reception will start at 5:00.  The wedding party will arrive at 5:30 and then immediately do dinner. 

    On my wedding website, I put up ideas of different things our guest could do while they wait.  We have a lot of out of town guests and I wanted them to have some clue of what they could do.  I hope it helps to make the gap not seem so bad.

    My family is mostly Catholic anyway and we have done the gap thing.  Our families and guests all understand and are okay with it. 

    Post # 32
    834 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: October 2011

    I don’t think 4pm is too early for dinner at all! Especially if your invitations specify you’ll be eating dinner at that time, so guests will be prepared for it.  This way, if you wanted to leave a little early-ish, your guests could still hang around and celebrate, and you and your new hubby will have the rest of the evening to relax!

    Post # 33
    916 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: April 2011

    We had a gap. Our ceremony was at 1, and the reception started at 5.  The only person who expressed any concern was one of my husband’s uncle’s wives (who I think was also one of the only non-Catholics there).  If your guests are Catholic, or go to lots of Catholic weddings, they expect a gap.  I actually love gaps, because it gives me a chance to relax and regroup before a night of celebrating.  Also, it gave us so much time to take pictures! My husband was really opposed to the first look, but by having 3 hours for pictures, we were able to go to multiple locations for our pictures and never felt rushed at all.  We did provide our guests with a list of local attractions and a map in their Out of Town bags, and I arranged a tour of the college campus where the wedding was held for those interested (only about 10 people went on the tour though). 

    Post # 34
    3135 posts
    Sugar bee

    Could you extend cocktail hour?  Make it a bit longer so guests have something to do inbetween and then have dinner a bit later?

    Post # 35
    1066 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: September 2011

    Our ceremony is at 2…. our reception starts at 5:30 and dinner at 7:30.  So there is a gap, but it’s very normal in my area. 

    In my area, most people only come to the reception, and close family that does come to the ceremony, just goes home in between the gap.

    Post # 36
    277 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: November 2011

    My ceremony has to be early too (I’m orthodox) and it will start at 2pm.  The ceremony will be about an hour an a half and we will have cocktails at 5:30pm.  So from 3:30-5:30 people will be on their own. I assume it will take atleast a half an hour or so to get from Church to Hotel so that will take up some time and for those people who are staying at the hotel they will be able to check in and settle in their room if they like. I know some people snark at the gap of time, but honestly we will need it to have pictures taken and I’m sure for us the time will fly.  We also decided that we would like to mingle with the guests during cocktail hour.  I just remembered too that if you do a receiving line at the end of the ceremony which we are that will take up time too.

    Post # 37
    925 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: September 2011

    I have no choice but to start at 2. I was not happy when I found this out but it makes me feel better knowing we have ample time for pictures. We are doing an evening reception, so there will be about 3 hours in between. We included a list of things people can do in between the ceremony and reception. Although it’s not ideal, most people around us understand that this is just what happens with Catholic weddings. You may get some people who only show up to one or the other, but as long as the important people are at both it doesnt matter!

    Post # 38
    64 posts
    Worker bee
    • Wedding: October 2011

    I vote for 2pm ..

    I am catholic , and our wedding starts at 2 pm as well .  Mass will be over by 3 and i hope guests greet , chat , drive and go to the reception by 3h45 . Distance between church  and reception venue is about 15 mn so it is ok even if they make it over the cocktail reception by 3h30 . Dinner will then start until 5pm. So they have about 1h30mn of waiting time . During this time they will be served appetizers and we have 1 hour host bar as well.  We also plan of having a slideshow , and photobooth during that time . So the time will really fly by faast and they wont be too bored .

    My recommendation is extend cocktail hour if you can afford it . If not , it is ok i think people are used to some waiting time as long as it is not ridiculously long . They know that is the time for couples to take their pictures .I wouldn’t be upset of this if i was a guest at a wedding .


    Good luck!

    Post # 39
    362 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: July 2012

    My fiance and I are having a Catholic wedding ceremony too.  Granted ours is on Sunday but regardless, we’re having the ceremony at 2pm.  We’re not going to begin the reception, though, until 6pm.  We figure it will give us ample time for the recieving line and to take pictures (we’re not doing a first look) and still be able to make it to the entirety of the cocktail hour.  Since we have a bunch of guests coming from out of town as well as local friends who will be getting a hotel room as well to avoid issues with enjoying the open bar we figure it will also give them time between the ceremony and reception to check into the hotel and get settled a little bit.  They’ll also then be able to take the shuttle from the hotel over to our reception site so they don’t have a car there.  I wouldn’t hesitate to just push the reception back a little bit.  

    Are you doing a full mass or just a ceremony?  If you’re doing a full mass, it won’t even be over until at least 3 so you could even start things at 5ish and just have the typical “Catholic gap” that people were talking about above.

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