(Closed) Time gap (between ceremony and reception)

posted 6 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
Member
4355 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

For my wedding the ceremony started at 1 and ended at 2 ish, and the cocktail hour started at 4:30. The guests who lived close by when home to freshen up (or to MIL’s and my mom’s house) and those who were from out of town drove in the morning of the wedding and only went to check in to their hotels after the ceremony. People came slightly casual for the ceremony (sundresses etc…) and then got in to their evening attire during the gap. I never heard any complaints, but I wouldn’t have cared anyway. I’ve been to TONS of weddings like that, never been a big deal.

Post # 4
Member
13010 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

Many Catholic weddings gave a gap in between them.  That being said, I find them horribly annoying, because I never know what to do with myself for that time.  I don’t want to go home, because chances are, I won’t get up again to go out on time, and I don’t want to just sit at the reception hall in my car.  You may run the risk of people skipping either the ceremony or reception with the gap.   If you do this, I think you need to find something for the Out of Town guests to do, and make sure they know, because speaking from experience, it’s frustrating to be dressed up in a strange town and told to just entertain yourself for a while.   I’ve definitely gone back to my hotel room, fallen asleep, and then been late for the reception. :-/

Post # 5
Member
292 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

We are also having a gap of two-hours (our own choice) mostly bc we don’t want to miss one minute of the party we’ve spent so long planning! We also have a lot of OOTers, but they are adults and can find something to do for an hour or so (and I also checked with my reception venue that if guests show up early, they can at least get a soft drink before our open bar offically starts). The other thing is, the area where we are getting married has plenty to do. A couple Paneras, Starbucks, a mall LITERALLY next door to the reception, so there is plenty of fun to be had. If I lived/were getting married in a smaller town with less to do, I might be more hesitant to have a gap. Maybe you could ask a Dunkin Donuts/Starbucks/Panera/other coffee place for some coupons for your guests. I’m even thinking about throwing a $5 gift card for coffee in our hotel welcome bags.

Post # 7
Member
2107 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

I’ve never been to a wedding where there hasn’t been a gap of at least a couple of hours, so for me, it’s not usually an issue.  The only time it has been was when the ceremony and reception took place at the same location, but the bride and groom failed to tell the guests that they were leaving after the ceremony to go and take pictures off site for a few hours.  We were all stuck at the hall, not knowing we had a couple of hours to kill, and were bored to tears, and starving as well by the time the reception started. 

Post # 8
Member
2058 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

@WoodenShoes:  I love the coffee shop idea- especially if you leave a gift card in the welcome bag!

Post # 9
Member
2781 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

It’s fine, and often expected when having a church wedding. Many churhces have a dinnertime mass and only perform weddings between morning and dinnertime mass. This usuall causes a gap from the ceremony to reception. I wouldn’t worry about it, your guests are grown people they can figure things out for themselves.

Maybe ask a family member to offer to open their home for the space between as somewhere for Out of Town guests to go.

Our wedding ceremony is at 1:30pm and our reception doesn’t start until 5. We’re doing pictures between, but we know it’s not going to take 2.5 hours for photos.

Our venues are actually about 20 minutes apart anyways, so I’m really not that concerned. My side of the guests live closer to the reception hall, and FI’s side lives closer to the church, so most can pretty much stop in at home for a break, or grab a drink or bite to eat somewhere.

Post # 10
Member
356 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

My gap for our wedding will be 4.5 hours.  We couldn’t push back our start time, or pull up our reception time.  I think 1.5 hours is a good gap.  People can go freshen up at the hotel, or grab a small snack.  It’ll be fine.

Post # 11
Member
83 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

Personally, an hour overlap between the ceremony and reception is nothing to worry about. I’ve been to weddings where the ceremony was in the early afternoon (12-1), and there’d be about a 5 hour break until the reception. I found those to be quite awkward because in most cases people would have nowhere to go except home for a few hours or find something else to do in My ceremony is scheduled for 4:30, and the reception is at around 6-6:30. Everything is at the same venue, and we decided to have a cocktail hour with appetizers for the guests so that they’re not just standing around idly while we take photos in between

Post # 12
Member
3766 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: February 2013

I have a small gap of about an hour. Our ceremony should end at 3:30ish and cocktail hour is at 4:30. I plan on using our wedding website to suggest places around the venues to grab a drink or coffee. There’s just enough time to go freshen up, change if guests want to, or follow my suggestions.

Post # 13
Member
2781 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@Happilyevaafter5:  I agree, I think as long as the ceremony and reception are in different locations, most people actually prefer a gap. Gives them a little bit of time to check on the kids, give the kids a nap, change if they want to wear something different to the reception, take a nap themselves, grab a bit to eat, or go pick up the gift. 

Most people don’t like leaving gifts in their cars during a ceremony, it’s asking for  trouble.

Post # 14
Member
2390 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

@true2k5:  I’m really surprised your parish lets you get married during Lent – at ours you can’t get married during Lent or Advent.  Maybe it’s because it’s a Cathedral?  

Anyway, why can’t you just have cocktail hour start at 3:15?

Post # 15
Member
2390 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

@WoodenShoes:  There is never a good reason to have a gap, because they’re incredibly rude, but at least I can understand it when it’s because of the requirements of your church.  To CHOOSE to have a gap in inexcusable.  The whole point of cocktail hour is to give the guests something to do while pictures are being taken.  If you want to join in, do your pics beforehand.

I’ve said it a hundred times on this site, and although I know you don’t care and will do what you want, I’ll say it again.  The reception is a thank-you to your guests for coming to the ceremony.  Saying thank you by making them mill around for 2 hours with nothing to do is pretty crappy.  And saying “they’re adults, they can figure it out!” doesn’t excuse you – of course they’re adults.  Adults coming to a party that you’ve planned for your own comfort and not for theirs.

Post # 16
Member
594 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

@true2k5:  do not be dissapointed if people do not make it to the ceremony but only the reception. =) 

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