Post # 1
Hi Catholic bees,
We have spoken to our priest and by the sounds of things, it looks like we can either have our full mass ceremony at 10am, 12pm or 2pm. We chose 2:30 which means our ceremony will be finished a bit before 3pm (the priest reckons around 2:45).
The problem we have is that our reception venue won’t allow guests to arrive and have cocktail hour any earlier than 5pm. It is only a 15min drive from our church. I am estimating that photos will take some time and guests will like to mingle, but I feel that all of that will be over by 4pm latest.
What could we do to fill in some time? How did you go about the gap if you had one or are having one?
Post # 3
I am curious as well. We are going to have about a 3 hour gap. The latest our church would do the ceremony is 1pm and the reception doesn’t start until 5pm. Our church and hall are in a small rural town approx 1/2 hour drive from any town with anything to do. I doubt my great aunts in their eighties will want to sit in the bar for 3 hours.
Post # 4
@BulldogBride: Oh no 🙁 The gap is a frustrating thing.. I’m hoping we don’t get asked to have our wedding earlier. Something I am considering if it’s possible is maybe serving some snacks straight after the ceremony at the church gardens. It could be fun to set up some tables with jugs of punch and have some crackers, dips, and meats. I’m not even sure if we are able to though, but it’s a nice idea I think
Post # 5
We had a gap, and it’s very common in most Catholic circles that I know – it’s the reality that Catholic Churches have a Saturday Mass at 4 or 5 pm, so they need the wedding completely out of the church by then, thus the latest a wedding could be would be like 2:30.
I think as far as what to do depends on how many of your guests are out-of-town or not staying in a hotel. If a lot of them are staying in a hotel nearby, they probably won’t mind going to the hotel and checking in and freshening up; same with if a lot of people live nearby- they can just go home and take a nap. A lot of people who are familiar with the gap are used to going out for munchies and a drink with people they know. Properly speaking, however, if many of your guests don’t have anywhere to go, it is polite to provide an activity for them. Something like a tour bus that takes them around the city, or a room somewhere with food to munch on and maybe drinks.
For us, about 95% of our guests either lived in town (within 20 minute drive,) or were staying at the hotel where the reception was, so we didnt worry about providing an activity for them, although we did list things to do/see in town on the website.
Post # 6
I am dealing with a similar situation. Reception is a five minute drive (if that) from the church. Between the end of the ceremony and beginning of the reception, there will be 30-45 minutes to kill. Our reception site is insistent that guests not linger over early as they will still be setting up for the event. My wedding planner suggested doing a receiving line and group photo shot in front of the church after the receiving line and before our family photos, so that guests don’t go over to the reception right away after the mass (We will have about 100-125 guests). We have also convinced the venue to set up a bar on the patio for guests to enjoy while roaming the grounds before officially entering for the start of the cocktail hour.
Post # 7
For our gap, we are renting out a park and having food, beer and wine coolers. Kind of casual, but it gives guests some place to go and socialize and grab some food. I’ve been to a wedding like this, and I really enjoyed it.
Post # 8
We have an hour and a half gap between our ceremony and cocktail hour. Luckily our church happens to be on a main street in the center of the village so there’s all sorts of places guests can walk to in order to pass time. A lot of our guests live local so those will most likely head back home and relax before the big party. Can’t wait!
Post # 9
@sunshinewish15: If someone lives nearby that could offer their house as somewhere to go, that would work out well. Perhaps someone with a nice garden and patio or something. You can order platters of food from the grocery store or somewhere and have punch.
If that’s not possible but there are a lot of people staying at a hotel nearby, perhaps have someone volunteer their room to host a bit of a gathering.
Many people will want to go and do their own thing, but if they don’t it’s nice to have something for them.
Post # 10
If there are people staying at a hotel, maybe you could arrange a little get together there ? you might want to come up with some nearby sights to see. That Gap is a killer tho, people always wind up snacking and drinking to kill the time.
Post # 11
Having been to 5 zillion Catholic weddings, I would say don’t worry about it. The guests will figure it out the day they get the invitation. If you wanted to be super helpful, you could put some suggestions of things to see either as an insert, on the wedding website or in your ceremony program. Lots of people are probably seeing each other for the first time in a while, so they’ll use the time to catch up at the hotel, over a drink or on a walk.
Post # 12
I would get married at 10:00 and have a brunch reception. In fact, that’s what I did 🙂 No one wants to commit 10 hours+ to your wedding.
Post # 13
No gap for me! Our reception spot is across from the church. So we’re just extending cocktail hour by 30 minutes so everyone can enjoy while we’re taking pics.
Post # 14
We are going to have a 3 hour gap. My parents live 5 minutes away from the church so on the invitations we are going to invite everyone to the house for drinks and appetizers.
Post # 15
My ceremony is going to be at 3 and it’s a full mass so it won’t be over until 4ish and cocktail hour starts at 6 so there will be a 2 hour gap for my wedding, reception is about a half an hour away from the church.
Post # 16
We had a similar situation, but our place had a public bar downstairs, so people could go drink there before the wedding, they just had to pay for it.
A receiving line will eat a little time, just take your time going through people. Plus you won’t feel as bad if you miss someone by accident at the reception.
Other than that… Our groups seemed to find things to do. My husband’s co-worker lives close, so all his co-workers went there for a beer in between. Other friends found bars nearby. Others went back home. Some went to the hotel.
I’d provide a list of nearby bars, parks, etc, maybe on the back of your programs, and leave the guests to their devices. They’ll figure something out.