'The dreaded Gap'

posted 2 years ago in Ceremony
Post # 16
399 posts
Helper bee

The last wedding I went to was a Catholic wedding and there was maybe a 2.5 hour gap.

We took the time between the Church and the reception to go back to the hotel, freshen up, unpack our bags, and get together with other friends who were attending the wedding in their hotel room and have a little bit of wine. We then caught the shuttle from the hotel to the reception which was at a country club. It was not inconvenient at all. 

We drove 4 hours to this wedding because we love our friends and so the gap didn’t bother us. 

Other weddings I’ve been to have also had a gap in between the ceremony and reception. It doesn’t bother me at all. No one forced me to go- I RSVP’d “YES”  because I wanted to set the day aside to celebebrate the marriage of a family member or friend. I agree with @happybridetobe1988 and @michellka- your closest friends will be happy to be there for you and complaining about a couple hour gap is pretty rude. 

Post # 17
1590 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2017

cosimaskye :  Longest gap I’ve experienced was 5 hours. We went home and watched TV between the ceremony and reception. It was SO hot that day and nobody in my family could really be bothered going to the reception – we dragged ourselves there but our hearts weren’t in it.

Longest I’d be OK to attend – well, I’m a bit of a stickler for manners so I’d go regardless of gap length but I wouldn’t be happy about it if it was too long (see above). 2-3 hours wouldn’t annoy me, particularly if there was some driving involved which would cut down on the waiting time.

Post # 18
440 posts
Helper bee

This might be a cultural thing, I’m Asian and all the traditional Asian weddings I’ve been to have a massive gap in the afternoon. We start in the morning with “gate crashing” where the groom picks up the bride and they leave for his family home (this is usually at an auspicious hour which for whatever stupid reason is always insanely early, like 6am early)…that’s followed by tea serving to the elders in the family where the couple are blessed by both sides and then it’s done (by noon/1pm or so) till the dinner/reception at 7pm or so.

I’m honestly really used to it by now, I just head home, change out and nap 😛

Post # 19
1552 posts
Bumble bee

I would still always go to both events even if there was a gap, as my city is pretty small so I’ve always been able to go back home and chill, or go to a friends place. I guess it depends if you’re making guests drive to the middle of nowhere and then having a huge gap – that would be pretty rude.

Post # 20
2414 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: NJ

When I was 7, my cousin’s Catholic wedding. In Philadelphia in the 1960’s. Wedding in church in the morning, then about 6 hours before we went to the reception, me & my parents. 

My mom hung up my dress and I put on house clothes. She wouldn’t let me go outside, a spring Saturday afternoon in May, because she didn’t feel like cleaning me up again if I got dirty. So I had to sit in the living room with my parents while they had Saturday afternoon TV on, boring. 

Then we went to the reception in the evening. My mom was very strict, and had the arm on me all night, no fun. Not the favorite day of my life.

Post # 21
274 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2018

I haven’t been to a wedding with a noticeably bad or awkward gap problem that I can recall.  The gap was filled by shuttling to the reception venue (if the ceremony and reception were in different locations) and cocktail hour.  As long as the bar is up and running, there’s some cheese and crackers, and the company is good, then the wedding party can take their sweet time for all I care.

It does help to be able to get into the reception venue right after the ceremony so you have a nice place to endure the gap – I could imagine that having to loiter around with nowhere to go because the reception venue isn’t open yet or something would totally suck.  The smoothest weddings I’ve been to have been the ones where the ceremony and reception are held in the same vicinity – one lovely wedding I attended was at a seminary church up on a hill.  The ceremony was inside the church, and once it was over, they opened the doors and the reception was set up right outside on this gorgeous hilltop patio that surrounded the church.

If all goes according to plan for my own wedding, the church and the reception venue will be across the street from each other, and hopefully with no or little gap.  Even if there is one, it’s in the middle of a big city with lots of stuff for guests to do in the immediate area without having to drive somewhere.

Post # 22
31 posts

The longest gap I’ve been to was 3 hours. Snacks and the bar were available for guests who stayed during the gap. The bride and groom set up a shuttle for guests to go back to the hotel to freshen up and relax. My date and I did not stay at the hotel block. We just drove in from about an hour and a half away, and the venue was in a very rural area. Honestly I really didn’t mind this gap because I was friends with a large group of people who decided to stay during the 3 hours. However, I think guests who only know the bride and groom may have been a little bored, especially if they could not get back to the hotel.

The longest gap I think is acceptable is an hour to accommodate out of town guests who do not know the area. I’m only planning a half hour gap between my ceremony and reception to account for the commute and parking. I have family from the east coast, west coast, and overseas coming for my midwest wedding, and I want to try my best to accommodate them and keep the energy going.

Post # 23
607 posts
Busy bee

cosimaskye :  So maybe I am a weirdo, but a gap would never stop me from attending a wedding ceremony or reception and I take them as a general necessity in some circumstances.  You can’t always get what you want with a wedding, as we all know, so sometimes it is the way to ball bounces.

If it is a long gap, like over an two hours between the end of the ceremony and the beginning of the reception, I will usually attend the ceremony in more casual attire and then get ready by doing my hair, makeup etc. during the gap.

If it is a shorter gap, less than two hours, I usually kill that through travel time and a stop for a drink with other guests at a bar, which I don’t mind at all.

I do prefer when the wedding ceremony and reception are at the same place, with the cocktail hour immediately following the ceremony, and that is what I am doing for my wedding.  But I don’t find the gap that much of an annoyance.

Post # 24
987 posts
Busy bee

cosimaskye :  It depends how long the ceremony is too! But let’s say the ceremony is an hour long, and then I had to wait aroudn for 1.5 hours doing nothing – I think that would be my max. Because you factor in travel times and getting to ceremony early, guests are really going on 3+ hours AT LEAST of nothing to eat or drink. 

But I do have to say I think I’m rare, I think most people woudl skip the ceremony and go to the reception, but I think it’s rude to do so.

Post # 25
2514 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

I have been to all different length gaps, most recently two weddings back to back each with about a 3 hour gap. I always attend both the ceremony and reception anyways, but I really appreciate when the gap is avoided. 

I would say the ideal gap would be an hour or less, and hosted with some sort of entertainment (light music) and at least drinks. Fiance and I picked our ceremony/reception space for this reason – we’re only having about a 40-45 minute cocktail hour. 

Post # 26
1606 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2017

What is the longest GAP you attended and what did you do during it?

-4 hours. A friend and i went back to my apartment and we shared a bottle of wine (I lived a block away from the reception, and Darling Husband was a groomsman so he was busy taking photos). This was a bad idea, as it was the only wedding I’ve gotten super drunk for (not that I did anything embarrassing, I just don’t like getting super drunk).

What is the longest GAP you would be ok to attend?

-1-2 hours, but ideally there would be a place to go for cocktail hour.

What is your opinion on gaps?

-Hate them if there’s nowhere to go, don’t mind them if there’s a cocktail hour to attend

Post # 27
840 posts
Busy bee

cosimaskye :  Gaps are the worst IMO when you have a lot of guests who have travelled 30 min – 1.5 hours to be at your wedding – you know, the level where you probably didn’t get a hotel. If you have a hotel, I think it’s fine. I also agree that I’m more tolerable of “catholic” gaps than picture gaps. I just feel like there are ways to plan around it. If I was local or within that far-ish drive, I’d just go to the reception. If I’ve travelled for a destination, I’ll go to both obviously.


Edit: A cocktail hour isn’t a gap! A gap is unhosted nothing time, not just time where you’re being hosted but the bride and groom are busy with something else.

Post # 29
3866 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: April 2017

I went to a wedding with about a 2 hour gap and I thought it was going to be a pain, but after the ceremony they served refreshments, and then there was a 30 minute drive to the reception hotel where we also checked in, so it wasn’t that bad though a bit less would have been nice. I’ve also been to weddings with a BIG gap, like ceremony at 10am and reception at 6pm. That’s also not that bad because you can go home and get changed, but it does make the wedding take over the entire day and is a bit annoying if you’ve done your hair and makeup and don’t want to mess it up. I would never just skip the ceremony because of a gap though.

Post # 30
1481 posts
Bumble bee

Don’t like gaps but they are very much the norm where I live. I have never known any different. I plan on no gap and doing a first look ect. 

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