Post # 1
Almost all of the catholic weddings I’ve been to have had a 2-3 hour gap in between the ceremony and start of the cocktail hour/reception. I actually enjoy it more than non-catholic weddings where there ceremony just goes straight into the reception. I like how it breaks the day up and you can go back to your hotel room to rest, or hang out around the city with friends and family while you’re dressed up.
Since I’ve started wedding planning I’ve realized how many people perceive this as incredibly rude. Online I’ve seen people complaining about a lot of things that surprised me such as the bride and groom should provide some sort of entertainment during the gap (I think having to go to a different event before the reception for 2-3 hours sounds tiring). Also I’ve seen people complaining about how they don’t like having to give up their whole day (honestly, I’m thinking if anyone is that mad about giving up one afternoon and evening to celebrate my wedding then we probably aren’t close and I don’t want you there. A wedding is an important day in someone’s life, not just a party with a free meal and open bar)
Part of my family is not catholic and so now I’m worried that this is going to be a problem for them. As of now our wedding is at 2pm (set by the church) and will last an hour, and then our cocktail hour starts at 6 and the reception will go until 11. The church, hotel, and reception venue are all within 5 min of each other. We are providing transportation from the hotel for any guests staying there.
Anyway, sorry for the rant, but would you be mad as a guest?
Post # 2
Gaps are common, and people just need to suck them up.
However you can do things to eleviate the pain people feel with them such as:
1. Ensure people who do not know anyone at the wedding have a plus one
2. Make sure you have suggested things that people can do in the gap if it is a destination wedding
3. Have your cocktail hour start a little earlier or extend it 30mins to take some of the gap away.
I wouldnt be mad as a guest, they can be a bit boring but hey… weddings are a huge event and you need to be a little selfish in them to ensure you get everything you want.
Post # 3
No not mad, but if , as happened to us, it takes place in some small berg with nowhere to go between the two ( and it isn’t far enough away to have to stay at a hotel but is a long drive) it can be a pain, and I feel I am allowed to privately grumble without being told I’m not invested enough and you don’t want me there.
Post # 4
We went to my cousin’s wedding a few years ago, and they had a Catholic wedding with a 4 hour gap.
Won’t lie. It wasn’t great and was a bit shit. But we all sucked it up because it’s just the way it is.
We’re having a gap of 20(ish) minutes because I hate waiting. But others are more patient than me.
Post # 5
I don’t mind the gaps. I’m an easy guest to please so I’m willing to do what the bride and groom wants for that day. The other guests can complain all they want but theysurvive it. bride2bee2020 :
Post # 6
I’d never heard of the “catholic gap” before. In my opinion it doesn’t sound terrible. Sounds like a nice way to go back and rest or spend time alone with family you rarely see. I’ve never been to a catholic wedding but I’m sure some guests may consider changing into less-conservative attire or putting on more comfortable shoes before the reception. As a guest I don’t think I’d really care. It’s just one day and I’d probably have to take the day off for the wedding anyways! What’s the reason for the gap?
Post # 7
Catholic wedding here. About 90% of our guests will be from out of town – his family from Germany and mine from another state, so I really didn’t want a gap, even though the city we live in has plenty to do. I just felt bad leaving everyone hanging for a few hours. I really couldn’t see a way to make a Saturday morning wedding work for us, but fortunately my church allowed us to do a Friday evening wedding, so we will be getting married at 5 and the cocktail hour starting about a mile away at 6:30. For Saturday we were able to plan more casual party so that we can mingle with our families a bit more before everyone leaves on Sunday.
I guess if most of my guests were locals I wouldn’t worry so much about the gap but in my situation I really disliked the idea.
Post # 8
We had a gap. We needed the time anyway to set up the reception and take somes pictures.
We got married in a major urban area with a gazillion cafes, museums, tourist activities and shopping precincts, and gave people suggestions of what to do. Apparently a bunch of my friends went to a board game cafe (which wasn’t on our list!) and had a great time. I made sure to set up contact between friends who didn’t know many people well before the wedding so they had people to hang out with.
Post # 9
This is pretty much how I feel. If we’re close enough to go home or far away enough to have gotten a hotel, it’s a few hours of uninspired clock-watching but at least we can chill and watch Netflix or something while we wait out the gap. If it’s an in-between distance though, it’s more awkward and usually ends up being waited out dressed up in a coffee shop. There really isn’t enough time to make ‘in between’ plans so it’s basically just killing time.
A few times a relative of the bride or groom has hosted people back at their place for the gap- but then they’re putting out food and drinks during this time and I mentioned in another thread, that after being at the bride’s aunt’s home most of the afternoon sitting in the sun with food and drink- even though I didn’t drink alcohol, I was still tired and semi-full by the time I arrived at the reception.
I wouldn’t complain out loud, but not a fan of the gaps even though they’re quite common in my husband’s culture.
Post # 10
- Wedding: November 2019 - City, State
I had never heard of or attended a wedding that had a catholic gap until I started dating my fiance, whose family is Catholic. Although it’s totally the norm in his family, I find it incredibly rude so we’re not having one at our wedding. Why would you require your guests to “find something to do” for literally like 3-5 hours between your ceremony and reception? Our ceremony is at 3pm, ceremony ends at 345, a few pictures afterward, and then cocktail hour starts at 430 (the venue is 2 blocks from the church). We’re even having a cash bar available from 4pm-430 in case people want to just go straight there to grab a drink and don’t want to mingle for a bit.
Post # 11
I didn’t know it was called a “Catholic gap”…I’m part of a big Catholic family. There have been many weddings amongst my siblings, aunts & uncles, cousins, all of whom are Catholic – and none of them had a gap. In fact, the only 2 weddings I attended that had a gap were not Catholic! Just an observation.
I will say that I didn’t mind the 2 hour gap, but I think it was harder for those who came from out of town but who weren’t staying overnight or nearby.
Post # 12
- Wedding: September 2005 - A Castle
It’s all I’m used to so it bothers me none. Most churches around me had specific wedding ceremony times: 9am or 12pm; it’s not like we got a lot of choices. I didn’t know there such outrage over it until I started hanging around this site.
Post # 13
Yeah, almost no matter how close the people having the wedding were to me, if I didn’t have my home or a hotel room to relax in 10 minutes or less away, I would ask the bride or groom which part they prefer I attend as I would not be going to both the ceremony and the reception in that case.
Post # 14
I really like the gap as long as it’s 2+ hours. I’ve been to weddings with a short gap (45 min, etc.) and that’s really frustrating to me because it’s really not long enough to do anything in between.
Post # 15
You would seriously ask that? Wow, that’s so rude. As the bride or groom I’d be flabbergasted and not know what to say. But inside I surely would be thinking “neither.”
As pp have said, gaps don’t bother me as long as I’m near my hotel or it’s a local wedding. Some churches are very strict on the ceremony times. I never mind an opportunity to mingle with friends or family at a local bar or something.