Post # 61
Of all the weddings I have been to, the one’s with large gaps have been the most underwhelming. Only because the large break kills the momentum of the day. There’s always a buzz, an energy around a wedding to see the couple exchange vows. Most of the weddings with only the one hour gap for pictures capitalize on the natural excitement and enhance it by letting people mingle with cocktails and canapes, which keeps up the energy. Then the couple rejoin us and the evening gets underway.
Those long gaps with little service in between kill the buzz (at least for me) there’s only so long people can mingle with no cocktails or wedding environment. If I leave the venue to go to a cafe, suddenly the vibe has changed, I’m drawn out of the wedding mood and into a casual brunch/lunch mode. I’ve already hashed over the ceremony with people, I’ve spoken to everyone for well over an hour (even though the couple have not) and we’ve practically had an entire reception without you. Nor food or cocktails. Meanwhile the bride and groom are probably still riding the high and when they come back the energy is always a bit mismatched. That’s always been my experience and I come from a huge catholic family on one side and atheists on the other.
One catholic ceremony I went to just last year was a prime example. It was in an idyllic little town a good hour and a half drive from the closest main city. It wasn’t far enough for anyone to have a hotel, not close enough for anyone to go home. Cabs or ubers were expensive. A lot of people car pooled. Ceremony was beautiful! But we weren’t allowed into the hall for cocktails or anything until the reception started. They’d set out a table with some refreshment but they were all gone within 20 minutes. So we all went into town. Everything was closed because it was a Sunday. There was NOTHING to do. We sat on benches around town in our finery and waited. By the time reception began everyone seemed a bit flat. We all tried to pick it up again for the bride and groom but it wasn’t the same. People all left right after dinner, there was a long drive and most of us had work the next day. I felt just awful for the couple, it was just terrible timing, it was all sooo gorgeous otherwise. Again these are just my feelings on the subject.
Post # 62
I think we all know why the ceremony is when it is, that’s not the point. The point is, as you admit, the bride and grooms preference for a evening reception. This preference, not the religious requirements is the issue.
It wouldn’t, of course, stop me going to the wedding, what l objected to really , was the pouty bit in your OP about ‘ if they really don’t like it l don’t want them there’
Post # 63
I do appreciate all of the feedback. It seems that there are some strong feelings and I will definitely cosider moving the timing of my reception so that there might be less of a gap. The wedding and reception are taking place in a decent size city and most guests either live 15-20 minutes away or live far enough away to get a hotel room. For those that don’t fall into those categories, which is a small amount, there are plenty of restaurants, breweries, and museums around and I plan on giving a list of suggestions on things for them to do. As for having an afternoon reception, personally as a guest I would rather just wait for an evening reception because to me, the vibe is much more fun.
Post # 64
I didn’t have a gap, we had reception and ceremony in the same place (So I’m not being defensive)
But honestly, people find whatever reason they can to grumble about weddings.
I’ve been to several weddings with the Catholic gapand several without, and I don’t care either way.
If there was a gap, we usually found a cute place to have a drink or 2, or go back to our hotel, or go somewhere for lunch or go home etc etc. It’s not hard to fill the time.
Post # 65
Most of the weddings I’ve been to are catholic but they don’t all have a gap. The only time they do is when the mass is particularly early, say 11:30. Usually if the ceremony is around 1pm or 2pm the reception just starts straight after and still continues on until the usual time.
I find it really small minded when bees who don’t live in an area where this is normal or aren’t Catholic complain that this is rude. Your way of doing something isn’t the only way and there are no universal rules or etiquette, everything is cultural.
Post # 66
It’s not the religious aspect we are all on about, or whether it is or isn’t usual in our area. And mostly if there is something to do during the gap we all just accept it, despite knowing it is merely the couple’s preference and not some law of the Medes and Persians.
We are allowed not to enjoy sitting in a coffee shop or country pub dressed up for four hours ffs .
Post # 67
“I find it really small minded when bees who don’t live in an area where this is normal or aren’t Catholic complain that this is rude.”
Well, it isn’t done BECAUSE it’s a Catholic wedding, so not living in an area with Catholics makes no difference. It’s done because of the desire for an evening reception rather than setting one closer to the ceremony itself. That means it could be done by ANYone, Catholic or otherwise, and it’s a decision based entirely on the whims of the couple rather than consideration for everyone else who has to find something to do for however long they’re stuck hanging out.
Also, it’s hilarious that you state ridiculous nonsense like “everything is cultural” as though it were fact, lol.
Post # 68
obviousanonymous : Also, it’s hilarious that you state ridiculous nonsense like “everything is cultural” as though it were fact, lol.
It is a fact though, just because you think something is rude does not make that universal and the cultural aspect absolutely comes into play.
Post # 69
obviousanonymous : It’s done because of the desire for an evening reception rather than setting one closer to the ceremony itself.
Well that isn’t entirely true. Where I live the church decides what time you can have you ceremony. They usually offer wedding start times between 1pm and 2:30pm. It’s kind of a not negotiable. The ceremony is usually an hour long at minimum so that really puts you at odds as to what time to host your reception. If you do it straight after the ceremony, you are either hosting a really late lunch or a super early dinner. It makes more sense to me that people push out the reception to a more traditional hour.
Post # 70
It’s pretty wild to me how extreme some people here are being. Like don’t go to the wedding if you have SUCH an issue with the gap. Seriously. I’m sure the couple will be pleased not to have wasted hundreds of dollars on paying for dinner for people who cannot bear to spend a few hours having a drink with the rest of their friends.
OP, I’ve literally never been to a wedding that didn’t have a gap. I’m Catholic, my husband is Catholic and all of our friends are Catholic. The only time I’ve been even slightly resentful is if it’s black tie and my husband is in the wedding party. But even then it’s been fine! I’ve also NEVER noticed anyone complaining about it in real life.
Post # 71
No one is going to complain or gossip. That’s just as rude.
Post # 72
Both weddings I’ve been to with a Catholic gap were fine. I don’t prefer them because I would rather have more time in the mornings to explore the city, go to the gym, and get ready, but it wasn’t that big of a deal to start earlier. I also found myself losing steam by the time the reception started and it’s kind of pain to find food between the two (one had a hosted lunch, one did not and with transport between the two venues, there was not enough time to get food). I guess I would say that I feel they are an inconvenience and dislike that I have less time to explore the city the wedding is in (both required me to travel to big cities I would have loved to see more of), but the gap isn’t going to prevent me from going to and enjoying a friend or family member’s wedding.
Post # 73
I’m not understanding the level of outrage in this thread simply because some people aren’t fans of huge gaps. It’s just being honest on an online forum where all things wedding are discussed. In real everyday life we’re not turning down wedding invites or giving grief to the bride and groom, we just smile and make the best of it. Just like I make the best of whatever is offered at a wedding with limited vegetarian options.
The ‘just stay home if you don’t like it!’ response seems extreme to me. I’m going to the wedding to see a couple I know and care about get married, to me the party is frankly secondary to the ceremony even though I’m not religious. And everything may not be to my liking- whether it’s a gap or the choice or location of venue or the DJ they hired. How many people claim they don’t like hearing the speeches? Yet they listen and smile and be polite because most guests can manage basic manners. (lol I’m in the minority that likes hearing the speeches).
FWIW my husband is Italian Catholic and he grumbles about gaps (privately to me of course) more than I do.
Post # 74
I married into a Catholic family, and while they suck it up as “the norm” I find it terribly rude. Like others have already mentioned, yes the church does dictate your ceremony time BUT they don’t dictate your reception time. It basically boils down to couples prioritizing their evening reception vision over the comfort of their guests. Just because it’s the norm in some circles doesn’t mean it’s not rude. And of course the majority of guests aren’t going to say anything because that’s what being a polite adult is about.
I find all the excuses couples give as to why it’s so beneficial to guests laughable. I don’t need to go back and rest, freshen up, or sightsee. Once I’m up and dressed w/ hair and makup done I have no desire to go home or back to a hotel and nap or rest. Nor do I want to tour around a city or town and sightsee.
I’ll never forget the first gap wedding I attended with DH for his family. After the ceremony the whole family piles down to the local tavern to drink and have apps/food…..for THREE FREAKING HOURS. By the time the reception started not a soul was hungry for cocktail hour or dinner. Most of the plates/food were left almost untouched. I had *no idea* there was a gap and was so beyond annoyed to have to sit in a bar for 3 hours dressed up bored to tears. Could we have gone home? I guess but at the time I didn’t even think about it because it was just what everyone was doing. I had no idea the gap was even a thing and I was so confused why we were left to our own devices for hours.
As a wedding photographer, I’m not in a heavily Catholic area so it’s not often I have to deal with it on a work day. I maybe have one Catholic wedding every 5 years. From my perspective we just fill that time with photos, and then use the last hour prior to the reception starting to set up our lighting and photograph the venue details while the couple & bridal party relax…because let’s face it – I don’t need to shoot 3 hours of portraits.
Post # 75
I’m from a heavily Catholic area, and my family is Catholic; the majority of my many cousins had Catholic ceremonies. I can’t recall any significant gaps that necessitated finding ways to kill time before the reception.
From the weddings I can remember, the ceremony + mass started sometime between 1 PM and 3 PM and took at least an hour. After that there would be a gap of an hour or less that was mostly used for travel from the church to the reception venue (I live in a high density area and traveling anywhere takes awhile). The reception typically included a 60-90 min cocktail “hour” followed by an early dinner. All receptions included dancing and ended around 9 PM.
Personally I think this schedule makes sense for a Catholic wedding. No one in my family seemed to mind the slightly earlier reception since they all chose to do the same thing. So I don’t see the need for a 6 – 11 PM reception unless that’s the only timeframe the venue will allow.
I would therefore roll my eyes at a 2-3 hour gap if I knew it wasn’t necessary and the couple just wanted a later reception, but it’s not like I’m going to ask them why the reception isn’t until 6 PM, so in practice I would just suck it up and find somewhere to wait. The wait would likely dampen my mood a bit though, so I’d probably leave the reception before 11 PM unless the it was particularly awesome.