I would be really hurt if people, that we wanted to be at our marriage celebration, whom are near and dear to us, would be offended by any timeline we did, or needed to establish. So much so, they did not come to either part of the day! I understand having more than one scheduling conflict that day, and so choosing to decline the reception, but attending the ceremony, or visa versa!
With that said, gaps are not that ‘crazy’ in my circle of friends/family. We had to have an almost 5-hour gap between our noon ceremony, and 5:30 reception. We would have loved a later ceremony time, but it was booked, and getting married in our Church was the MOST important. I honestly think the only people inconvienanced by the timeline were me and my gals, because we had to be up at 430/5am that day to start getting ready. But, in the event our guests were annoyed, then at least we suffered with them?!
The way I see it, the invitations – sent 3 months beforehand, clearly dictated the timeline for that day. They know all the info at that point, and chose to come accordingly. We absolutely catered to our guests needs by providing a hotel block, free transport to and from, notes upon check in of fun area things to do, great food at our reception, an open bar, and fun music. Their needs/comfort were 100% our priority, much as the most important part for us remained a priority, the exchanging of vows in the place we wanted to have them done!
Our ceremony was ‘full’ of people, but our reception had a lot more. We had 14 no-shows, which was irritating after the fact because of the money we spent, but we did not notice their absence during the reception…at all. Of those, they did not attend not because of the gap, but because something came up.
At the end of the day, I do not think I would even notice who or who was not at the Church. I was far too enamored in what we were doing to take that mental picture. For me, I either attend ALL aspects of a marriage, or none (only because I had something else planned). Seeing a couples vows is always my favorite part!