Thoughts on a catholic gap?

posted 2 years ago in Catholic
Post # 16
1991 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2019

Huh, interesting. I had a Catholic wedding and we only had a 45-minute gap (largely because it took 15 minutes to get from the church to the reception hall anyway). I’ve never heard of a “catholic gap” and I’ve been to a heck of a lot of Catholic weddings (though one DID have a three-hour gap). 

I don’t think I hated the gap, but I definitely like the lack of one more, and I did hear from people on the day of my wedding how they appreciated the lack of a long gap. 

(FYI, my ceremony was at 2, the mass was an hour-fifteen long, and the cocktail hour started at 4. The reception ended at 9.)

Post # 17
94 posts
Worker bee

View original reply
aoifeo :  Clearly this is some kind of cultural difference. In my (Jewish/secular) world its the height of rudeness to invite people to something and then just leave them to their own devices for hours on end in the middle of it, all dressed up in uncomfortable dresses/suits/shoes. I actually just went to a wedding where the groom clearly let the guests know that the ceremony was hours before the reception and across town and theyd totally understand if we just joined them for the reception. So we did! Now if the couple set up transportation and maybe set up a bar for people to hang out and chat in for those hours, etc then no biggie and it would be clear to me that it was important for the couple for us to attend both. 

Post # 18
13725 posts
Honey Beekeeper

I understand that the timing can be a challenge in this case but gaps remain inconvenient. The idea and vision of an evening party should not take priority over consideration of guests. I’ve been to many Catholic weddings with no gap, including afternoon receptions that would compare to any evening function. 

No one enjoys getting all dressed up and waiting around for hours. More than 45 minutes is excessive. 

Post # 19
664 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2015

The two times I’ve been to weddings with these gaps, I ended up so tired from having to get up early for the ceremony, wait around for 3-4 hours and then be at the reception until late. (Last time it was an 11 a.m. ceremony and the reception went until 1 a.m. That’s a long day!) Plus, I feel like the gap doesn’t preserve the celebratory mood/vibe all that well. Don’t get me wrong, if I were invited to another wedding with a gap, I would still go, but I find them exhausting.

Post # 20
7565 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

Gaps suck.  If I have to pass an hour or two in a downtown type area where there’s somewhere to get a drink and get off my feet, I can deal, but even that is pushing it. As a hostess, you’re supposed to make things as enjoyable and convenient as possible for your guests, and a random 2-3 hours to fill is the opposite of enjoyable and convenient. 

If you absolutely can’t avoid a gap, then furnish at a minimum some place for the guests to be and some refreshments for them. It doesn’t have to be expensive— could be punch and board games in the church multi-purpose room– just get them somewhere to sit and a roof over their heads. Bonus points for proper bathroom facilities. Those who actually want to go back to their hotels will still be able to.

Post # 21
3979 posts
Honey bee

Growing up, almost every wedding I went to had a gap.  I didn’t really know any better.  It was kind of a pain because most weddings were local and we didn’t get hotel rooms and would drive back the 30-45 minutes home for the gap.  

Once we were of drinking age, the gaps seemed fun because everyone would meet at a bar and drink and eat and party.  We occasionally large groups would miss the start to the reception (entrance/speeches/first dances) due to losing track of time.  

I have never done this, but there will be people who skip the ceremony and just come to the reception or vice versa. When I found out that people do that I started paying attention and would notice a lot less people at the ceremony.

I much prefer the weddings that flow from ceremony to cocktail hour to reception as it just feels like a more natural progression and better use of time, but I do understand why gaps are common for church weddings.

Post # 22
3511 posts
Sugar bee

“…hang out around the city with friends and family while you’re dressed up.” 

Post # 23
4962 posts
Honey bee

Just because people may be used to a gap doesnt make them not rude. Not respecting people’s time is rude.  If you attended a conference for work or got called into a company meeting on your day off and the conference/meeting started at 8 and then at 9 they said “oh, we’re not ready for our guest speaker until 12 so just hang out and freshen up” would you be thanking them for scheduling it that way?

I’m also not a big fan of blaming gaps on the Catholic church.  Either getting married in the church is the most important thing to you or it’s not, but they didn’t force you (general you) to have an evening reception.  You (general you) are having an evening reception because it’s your vision that you didn’t want to give up no matter how much it inconveniences other people.

I don’t need to “rest” or “freshen up”.  All I did was sit for an hour.  I don’t need more time to catch up with people – I can catch up just fine at cocktail hour and the reception and also phones exist.  And while it is a very special day for the people getting married and most are on vacation mode about to head off to a honeymoon…it’s just a nice day for the rest of us and the world still keeps turning and we all still have stuff to get done before we head back to work on Monday.  I just don’t appreciate having my time monopolized when it didn’t have to be and the married couple acting like they were doing me a favor by planning it that way.  Everyone else is doing the married couple a favor by tolerating it (which is also part of why I believe they should be hosted).

Post # 24
167 posts
Blushing bee

I hate the gap. I find it very rude.

Post # 25
7187 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2016

This sounds like something that is really convenient for the bride and groom and other people associated with the wedding who have likely had to get up early to start getting ready and may need to change clothes, rest and touch up hair or make up. It also sounds like something that would work well for a destination wedding or a small town where the wedding is basically THE the thing happening that day and taking a pause at home or hotel before returning to party is easy.

It doesn’t sound thoughtful or pleasant for the attending guests who don’t have anything to do but sit around and wait for hours. I agree with the PP who said I would probably ask which portion they preferred I attend and only do one or the other. People’s lives are full. Expecting them to give up a whole entire day to watch you get married is already asking a lot. Having several hours of dead time in the middle of it is really a lot.

Post # 27
129 posts
Blushing bee

I find this interesting as I have never came across this before this site that during the gap there isn’t some driinks/refreshments provided at the hotel/venue in the gap period. Do a lot of Weddings in the US not have wedding packages that include this?

In Ireland if its a Church wedding you may have to have the ceremony early like 12pm or 1pm. Sometimes you may get a 2pm ceremony. If it’s civil /humanist etc then you can usually have it later in the day say 3pm or 3.30pm.

Usally the dinner bell is rung for the evening reception approx 5.30/6pm so you always have a gap. With the church wedding you will have to travel to the reception venue so if it’s earlier start time it may take you a while to get there which also takes/kills time. Usually the drinks/refreshments are ready in a reserved room when the guests arrive. 

So people have the option of attending that or could go home for a bit in between or check into their rooms and chill out 🙂 There is always refreshments/drinks provided in the gap.  

There is always a gap of at approx 1.5 hours to 2.5 hours. 2 hours is probably the average. The evening reception usually goes on til 1.30/2am and of course there is always the residents bar open til 4am aswell 🙂 This is just the norm here.   

Bar my own wedding though I never manage to make it to the residents bar!!

Post # 28
1831 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2019

I never knew people cared until I joined this site, and the way people rage against them, I suspect that they lead fairly charmed lives with little in the way of real problems/inconveniences. It’s not ideal, but it’s also just not a big deal. I’d rather have a few hours to myself than a super long cocktail hour with not enough food and too much to drink. 

Post # 29
2215 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2019

The Catholic Gap gets a bad rap on here, but in my circle it is fairly common. You can’t control when your mass time is, it is set by the church. I had the exact same timing as you are, and so did 2 of my friends. No one was upset. For friend’s weddings we went to a brewery in between and had fun. For family weddings, the couple set up a spot at the hotel where we could all gather and bring some drinks down and hang out. Both worked out great. Don’t worry about entertaining people. We did put out some meat and cheese and fruit and veggie trays in the gathering area of our hotel for family. We didn’t do apps at our reception, since it started at 6 and we were trying to get dinner going by 7, so we put out those trays in case anyone wanted a snack. Worked out great. We also had a shuttle from the hotel to both the ceremony and reception, so everyone would be going back to the hoteld anway. And we had some locals who went to the hotel to catch the shuttle as well, since it was close to where they lived. 

Post # 30
853 posts
Busy bee

Not a fan of the gap. I’m not sure if I would say it’s rude but don’t try to pass it off as convenient for your guests. Sorry but you don’t get to decide what’s convenient for me because I can assure you having an awkward amount of time where I’ve already gotten very dressed up but then have 2-3 hours of down time is not convenient for me. If I wanted to go do something in that city or area I would but I doubt I’d be doing it in a dress or heels and the time provided during the gap likely isn’t enough time to do something else anyways while still being on time to the reception. 

Also, how do you know all your guests will be staying and this hotel that is within such a reasonable distance? 

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