Thoughts on a catholic gap?

posted 2 years ago in Catholic
Post # 46
Member
979 posts
Busy bee

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bride2bee2020 :  Question for those who attend a lot of weddings with gaps – is it normal to be “all dressed up” in between?

I’ve only been to one wedding with a gap and it was about 3 hours. To the church ceremony I wore basically work clothes – black slacks, a blouse, hair neat but not “done” and then I used the gap to get ready for the ceremony. This is what I do when I attend bar and bat mitzvahs (which always have a “gap” – the service is in the morning at around 10am and the reception is in the afternoon/evening). 

In my circle the wedding ceremony is typically performed at the reception venue in a different room or whatever and we immediately go right to cocktail hour, so I don’t usually deal with this, but when I do attend a church wedding I treated it like a bar mitzvah where there’s kind of two events. I didn’t wear a cocktail dress to church. Is this not normal?

Post # 47
Member
436 posts
Helper bee

It isn’t a Catholic issue, it’s a hosting issue. I grew up in the Catholic church and none of the weddings we went to had gaps. They had earlier receptions instead of prioritizing a vision of an evening reception or a particular venue over the comfort and convenience of their guests. It’s all about choices.

Post # 48
Member
979 posts
Busy bee

Oh! and I should add that at many bar mitzvahs those “mid range” guests who live about 45 min – hour away (i.e. far enough that it would be kind of a drive but not so far you’d get a hotel) often skip the ceremony. I assume this also often happens at catholic ceremonies

Post # 49
Member
13722 posts
Honey Beekeeper

“Question for those who attend a lot of weddings with gaps – is it normal to be “all dressed up” in between?”

If there are only a few hours in between and no where to go, then you don’t have much choice. If there is plenty of time and it’s an all day affair, then a daytime dress for the ceremony and a cocktail or evening gown for the nighttime reception and getting ready for both with all that is involved. It’s very annoying. 

Post # 50
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7790 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

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NikkiBee18 :  Agreed. Gaps suck.

I was raised Catholic, the Catholic gap is generally not an hour, despite some posts, it’s usually 2-4 hours or even more. I would not decline to attend a ceremony or reception because of the gap but depending upon the location and proximity to home or the hotel room it can be really awkward. I have attended a ceremony, gone home or back to the hotel and washed my makeup off, hung up my dress, checked work emails and internet news, played gin rummy, grumbled a bit, pondered a snack, put on evening makeup and dressed again…if it can be avoided or the gap can be hosted that is certainly better. Do people find a way to make it work, of course. It’s just not ideal and can impact the how late the evening continues. 

Post # 51
Member
13943 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I find the gap inconvenient, but I understand why it needs to happen with Catholic ceremonies.  I would appreciate suggested things to do during that time (I’m dressed up, I don’t want to go back to my hotel and “rest”), but I can also google and find events.,  Worse case scenario, I’m sure there’s a bar at your venue or nearby where DH and I could pass the time!

Post # 52
Member
783 posts
Busy bee

All these bees on here talking about how Catholic gaps are so incredibly rude…. well I think it’s incredibly rude to judge an entire wedding based off the cultural norms for that particular religion. I wouldn’t go to a wedding and judge the way someone does their ceremony if it’s a different religion or way of doing it than my own. I don’t get how it’s “okay” for people to be so judgey about “catholic gap” or whatever you want to call it. If a guest I invited to my wedding was that upset about it then don’t go? Sorry I’m celebrating my marriage with the customs of my religion?

 

ETA: An example of catholic gap that I have been to has been the ceremony from 2-245ish with the receiving line going until 330ish and then cocktail hour starting at 4:30 with dinner at 6pm. We’ve just gotten a drink at a bar nearby when we’ve had to “wait” or people will go back to the hotel to drop their cars off and then take the shuttle that the bride and groom had arranged. TBH I feel like the time gets filled very quickly and I have never really thought anything of it. 

Post # 53
Member
1219 posts
Bumble bee

Obviously you can plan your wedding day however you want. But you should also understand that you may have visibly tired guests, guests who leave early and/or guests who choose to attend only one of the events (ceremony OR reception). Polite guests obviously won’t say anything but they may go home and gripe about how unenjoyable the wedding you have spent time and money planning was. This is a possible consequence of planning a party without prioritizing your guests first.

I went to a wedding a few years ago at a gorgeous and extremely expensive venue. Unfortunately the dinner options were just terrible – tiny portions, underwhelming food. Long before the reception had ended, a large chunk of the guests had left. Turns out people went looking for food, the closest option was a McDonald’s and it was practically an unofficial after-party there (I just went back to my hotel room hungry and only found out about this days later). With all the time and money the couple must have spent on this wedding (on the venue alone!) I am sure they were disappointed many folks left early and would have been saddened to think people left for McDonald’s of all things! But this was a direct consequence of prioritising their vision (beautiful venue) over their guests needs (tasty, filling food). Your situation is obviously not as dire as my example, but just some food for thought.

Post # 54
Member
1558 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: City, State

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els2016 :  You just described a 1 hour gap. (Receiving line until 3:30ish w cocktails at 4:30.)  Most people objecting to a gap aren’t complaining about an hour or so.  Many ceremonies have “what if” time built in anyway. If the wedding goes according to schedule and the time isn’t needed, there will be a slight gap. 

As PPs have noted above, the “Catholic” gap isn’t Catholic by nature.  Many places of faith only start weddings at a particular time. The issue isn’t the religion, it’s hosting.  If the couple was willing to have a late lunch reception instead of a 6pm dinner, the wedding could be just as Catholic (or Episcopalian or Baptist…).  If the couple was willing to provide entertainment or a place for guests between the ceremony and dinner, it would also be lovely.  

If you’ve ever waited 3 hours in a Starbucks in January or July for the second part of a wedding, you’d know what the posters are talking about.  It’s just plain uncomfortable. Guests will usually suck it up, but that doesn’t make it pleasant. 

I’ll bet this is a regional/ cultural thing.  Most of the Catholic weddings I’ve attended didn’t have a gap.  They simply had lunchtime receptions. 

Post # 55
Member
523 posts
Busy bee

I don’t mind a gap in general, but I went to a wedding overseas where I only knew the bride and groom and didn’t speak the language so I could only talk with a handful of people, and nobody bothered telling me that there was a 4 hour gap between the ceremony and reception (bad planning I guess) . I arrived to the reception right after the ceremony and had to wait by myself for hours before people started to arrive. Let’s just say I didn’t enjoy my day.

The reason I’m sharing this experience is because unless everyone is a local or has somewhere fun to go (bar, coffeeshop,  park…) you probably want to provide some kind of entertainment and structure for your guests. I don’t mind spending an entire day celebrating a couple, but I don’t consider waiting for hours as a celebration. It can be as simple as a voucher for the local ice cream place or a drink at the hotel bar, but if people came from afar and traveled long hours to spend the day with you, you shouldn’t leave them waiting for hours with nothing to do. 

Post # 56
Member
7790 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

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els2016 :  Generalize much? The example you provided is the exception, hardly a gap at all–I haven’t heard anyone with an issue with filling an hour. A 1PM ceremony and a 6/6:30PM reception are more common. Three or four hours to fill? That’s a different story.

Post # 57
Member
792 posts
Busy bee

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els2016 :  ‘Celebrating your marriage with the customs of my religion’ = your marriage ceremony in the Catholic church. 

Deciding to have a gap of several hours so you can have an evening party instead of an afternoon party is your choice, not part of your religion. 

 

Post # 58
Member
783 posts
Busy bee

I completely agree with you that it is a hosting issue versus a religious one  

coffeecakez :  

Post # 59
Member
4956 posts
Honey bee

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els2016 :  The last I checked, the Catholic church doesn’t dictate that people have 6pm evening receptions after their 11am, 1pm, or 2pm ceremonies.  That’s a personal choice.  One could also choose to have a reception immediately following their Catholic ceremony. 

So this is apples and oranges if we’re going to compare religious norms to say a multi-day Hindu affair which is their religious norm.

Post # 60
Member
3821 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: April 2017

Doesn’t bother me as long as I can go home/to the hotel. If you lived an hour away or seomthing like that then you could be in a quandary as the drive there and back would eat up all your time. It’s a little annoying trying to keep your hair/makeup nice all day, but I also like the chance to chill and relax! 

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