(Closed) Spinoff: The dreaded GAP between ceremony and reception – how long is acceptable

posted 5 years ago in Etiquette
  • poll: How long is TOO LONG?
    Under an hour : (35 votes)
    19 %
    1 hour - 1.5 hours : (65 votes)
    36 %
    1.5 hours - 2 hours : (33 votes)
    18 %
    2 hours - 2.5 hours : (20 votes)
    11 %
    2.5 hours - 3 hours : (11 votes)
    6 %
    3 hours plus : (16 votes)
    9 %
  • Post # 3
    7416 posts
    Busy Beekeeper
    • Wedding: November 1999

    I think anything over 1.5 hours is ridiculous.

    Post # 4
    596 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: July 2014

    I’ve been to weddings where due to church restrictions, the ceremony would be at noon with a 5 or 6pm reception. Granted, those weddings have been relatively local so you could go back home or at least to a relatives house in between.

    If it’s somewhere I have to drive a fair distance to, I would be getting very antsy at anything over an hour and a half.

    Post # 5
    647 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: November 2013

    I have a 5 hr gap but my situation is different. We’re having a “family only” ceremony in a garden and then a reception that evening. During the gap we’re hoping to have a family luncheon but if there’s not enough time (we need to take photos and then set up at the reception place) I think most of the guests will just go back to their hotels or hang out and eat lunch together. Since it’s family and many of them will be coming from out of state they’ll be happy just to visit with eachother. (At least that’s what Future Mother-In-Law has told me from her conversations with them…) As far as my family goes, it’ll pretty much just be my immediate family and they’ll be helping with the set up, etc.

    Edit: the reception is for family and friends.

    Post # 6
    1348 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: October 2013

    @sunkissed19:  Would you mind explaining more about the church restrictions. I’m traveling to a wedding with a big gap this weekend? They’re having it at a church and then the reception is about 20 minutes away. I would definitely be more understanding if I knew more about restrictions they might have on them! 🙂 

    Post # 7
    596 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: July 2014

    @lolita39:  It’s not all churches, but there are some that have certain times they will preform a ceremony. My cousin got married last month, and his wedding ceremony had to end at 1pm because it was a rule the church had. He wanted to have a late reception – so we ended up with a huge gap.


    Post # 8
    1348 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: October 2013

    @sunkissed19:  Oh okay! Thank you! 🙂 

    Post # 9
    272 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: July 2013

    My reception is probably going to be less than 30 minutes after the ceremony, both places are literally adjacent to each other.

    I know as a guest I hate the dreaded gap. It’s bearable for maybe a hour, but it’s just so boring. Everyone always ends up just sitting around wondering when the reception is going to start.


    Post # 10
    4371 posts
    Honey bee

    For out of town guests, no more than an hour. 

    Post # 11
    5192 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: February 2013

    @ParisM:  I voted 1 to 1.5 hours but really I get annoyed even quicker than that. I prefer the ceremony and reception to be at the same venue. With a church wedding I understand that is not possible but at least have your reception venue close by and have refreshments available to your guests while they wait for you to take pictures and what not. 

    Post # 13
    649 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: October 2014

    @lolita39:  Depending on the denomination, some churches don’t allow dancing or alcohol, so people are forced to have the reception at a separate venue so they can have these things. Pentecostals for one don’t allow either. 


    I really don’t mind a gap, as long as I can leave and do my own thing.  

    Post # 14
    6344 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: August 2014

    @ParisM:  We’re only having one real gap in our day which is between the wedding breakfast and the evening reception. We’re having a 1.5 hour gap at this point to a) allow our day guests, who are staying at the venue, to go to their rooms and change/freshen up/have a nap and b) give the venue time to set up for the evening, and the band time to set up/tune etc.

    Otherwise, everything flows pretty well; after the ceremony, we will walk to our reception venue which is a 2 minute walk away. We will then have large group photos taken, before heading inside for the drinks reception, during which light drinks and canapes will be served, and we’ll have a string quartet playing for entertainment. During this time, OH and I will have our photos taken, before rejoining our guests and then heading into the wedding breakfast.

    It was important to us not to have big gaps, or chunks of time where people were standing around with nothing to do; if our guests weren’t staying at the venue, then we’d be providing some form of entertainment, plus soft drinks, for the gap in between the wedding breakfast and evening reception. So, I’d say that an hour max is acceptable unless you are providing food/drinks/entertainment in between.

    Post # 15
    4659 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: August 2013

    If there was a gap of more than an hour or so with nothing to do, I’d be pretty annoyed. Seems a little presumptuous to think people want to spend like 12 hours basically on you (If you’re married at noon and have a big gap and then your reception goes till midnight.)

    I wouldn’t take it out on the couple if that’s what they decided, I would never gossip or make fun… but I would not drink much (’cause I’d already be tired), or dance much (same), and I’d leave as soon as I thought I could politely slip out unless something really awesome was going on. A reception has to be pretty great to make me wanna stay a long time after a long gap. 

    (Cocktail hour doesn’t count here… or even a longer version of that. If there’s free food and drinks, it’s not a gap, it’s just another part of the reception.)

    Post # 16
    87 posts
    Worker bee
    • Wedding: October 2022


    @barbie86: +1

    I think it definitely makes a difference depending on whether or not you have appetizers (and I mean real appetizers, not just nuts and candy) and drinks available to guests while they wait. Otherwise I absolutely hate waiting around with nothing to do, especially if it’s in an unfamiliar town.

    A wedding I went to last summer had a 3 hour gap while the bridal party road around in a party bus to every bar in the town (granted it wasn’t a large town, but still). On top of that, when they got back they showed a half an hour slideshow, did all of the speeches, and talked to all of the guests before feeding us. It was around 9 o’clock (following a 1:30 pm reception) before we ate, and I was NOT happy.


    The topic ‘Spinoff: The dreaded GAP between ceremony and reception – how long is acceptable’ is closed to new replies.

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