(Closed) too much time between wedding and reception?

posted 9 years ago in Logistics
  • poll: Is 3 hours between ceremony and reception to much?
    Yes, way to much time put them closer together. : (18 votes)
    56 %
    No, people excect time between these events. : (4 votes)
    13 %
    It's your day, it's your decision... : (10 votes)
    31 %
  • Post # 3
    98 posts
    Worker bee

    I have to have a gap between ceremony and reception. My parents will be hosting an open house with food and drinks for people if they wish to attend. I will also provide a list of things to do/places to go for guests that do not want to go to my parents. Some of these include bars, restaurants, museums, the zoo etc. I know there are a lot of gap haters, but sometimes it is unavoidable. Ultimately, I think you should do what is best for you while not being terribly inconsiderate to your guests. You should probably be prepared to expect people to skip one or the other though.

    Post # 4
    2640 posts
    Sugar bee

    People do hate the gap.  I’m very familiar with it, as it’s almost unavoidable with Catholic ceremonies.  Also, I can appreciate the "not seeing each other before the ceremony" part.  And ultimately if they hate it that much, you might not be able to keep them from skipping one of the events.

    If the times for starting the ceremony and reception are non-negotiable, don’t sweat it.  If you can swing it so that the gap is a bit smaller, that might be something to consider.  Also, what is the driving distance between the ceremony and reception?  Or the hotel and reception?  Sometimes a 20-30 minute drive makes a two hour gap look like barely enough time to run home to freshen up.  (Half hour from ceremony to home, half hour from home to reception.  -Your down to an hour at home.)

    The only other thing that might make your guests happy, is to have someone host an inbetween party, or arrange for a local tour (brewery, gardens, historical home, boat ride) to occupy their time.


    Post # 5
    6009 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: May 2009

    I think if you can cut down or eliminate your gap, you should.  It’s understandable if the gap is caused by things outside of your control (e.g. venue time restraints), but I think it’s really nice for guests when they can just go straight from the church to the reception. 

    If you want to take pictures at the nearby park, could you do the majority of those pictures before the ceremony?  Not anything that has both you and your Fi in the same picture, but the ones of you with your BMs, your Fi with his Groomsmen, you with the Groomsmen, your Fi with the BMs, all the BMs and Groomsmen together, etc…  That way you could get most of the pictures out of the way, not see your Fi before the wedding, and still cut down on your gap.   A lot of people also have a cocktail hour for their guests while they’re taking pictures so guests can go to the reception and do something instead of just hanging out in their cars or hotel rooms.

    Also, I’m not sure how far away the park is from everything else, but three hours seems like an awful lot of time to me.  We had about a 1/2 hour of pictures before the ceremony and maybe an hour after the ceremony, and that was plenty of time to get all the pictures we wanted.

    Post # 6
    425 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: July 2009

    I agree with most of the comments above.  I also am not a fan of large gaps, but I do understand that sometimes they are unavoidable.  

    If there is anyway of closing that gap for your guests that will help.  

    I was at a wedding once where the wedding party left to take photos at a park… but the guests were allowed to head to the reception venue where a cocktails and snacks were served.  I think the wedding party was only gone doing photos for 1 or 2 hours though…. but me and all the other guests were very happy to have something to do while we waited. 

    Would allowing the guests into the reception venue early for cocktails/snacks and mingling be a possibility for you?  Otherwise is there anything else you could think of for them to do to fill the gap?

    Post # 7
    2271 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: August 2009

    Personally, I wouldn’t stick around 3 hours for the reception. I woud attend the wedding then leave. No one needs 3 hours for pictures!

    Post # 8
    1245 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: July 2010

    You’ll be fine as long as you have little appitizers and drinks and music to keep them entertained. Even making sure they have something to keep entertained about will be even better. Besides, it may not take exactly three hours for you to get pictures done, just tell them three hours or less!


    Post # 9
    2022 posts
    Buzzing bee

    I agree with Mrs. Spring.  If the gap is not your fault and/or is less than 2 hours, then I cam ok with it.  For example, our church ceremony gets over around 2:30 and our cocktail hour is not until 4 (Catholic ceremony issues…)  From 3-4 we are having cider and snacks for our guests. 

    If your gap is self-created, I think you should change it…also as another poster pointed out, it does not seem like you would need 3 hours for pictures.  You could easily just have a 1 hour gap or even start your cocktail hour without you there.

    Post # 10
    66 posts
    Worker bee
    • Wedding: June 2009

    I also advise shortening the gap.  I’ve waited around between the ceremony and reception in 1-2 hour gaps.  Three hours seem long, though – sorry!  I suggest a two-hour gap max, and you can spend time with your bridesmaids before the ceremony, getting ready and having breakfast.  I second the other suggestions of providiing food and snacks or having a cocktail hour where you and your guests arrive later.  That’s what I plan to do for my wedding.  Luckily, my reception will be in downtown and around a lot of shopping places that people can go to and kill time during the two hour gap or they can hang out in the lobby area.

    Post # 11
    952 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: September 2009

    I think that’s too long of a gap. Could you maybe do a trash the dress session with you and Darling Husband at the park that is special to you after the wedding? That way your Darling Husband has already seen the dress and you’ll have time to get all the photos you want.

    Post # 12
    2476 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: June 2010

    I’m not a fan of the gap.  Last month, the Fiance and I were invited to 2 weddings, both with 3-hour gaps.  We thought it wouldn’t be so bad, but it was.  For the first wedding, we weren’t familiar with the area and we were about an hour away from home (not worth the drive home and back for the reception).  We ended up walking around aimlessly, getting some coffee at Starbucks, and finally ended up sitting and waiting in the car!!  It was so not fun. 

    For the second wedding, we skipped the ceremony and just went to the reception… lesson learned!  If you can help it, I would suggest making the gap 2 hours or less.  And try to come up with a list of things your guests can do during the gap… it was seriously torture not knowing what to do during the gap!

    Post # 13
    193 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: August 2009

    I have to say I’ve been to several weddings where the gap between the ceremony and the reception was more than 2 hours, and it’s miserable. Sometimes that’s just the way things fall, but that’s asking a lot of your guests. I always wonder, what do they expect us to do for 2 hours between venues? Twiddle our thumbs, have coffee… drink?? Of course there will be guests who can maybe go back to their homes, or hotels, but that changes the mood… Once your guests are out, they are going to want to stay out and with the gaps it causes a huge disconnect. If there is any way around this, make it happen… Of course it’s your wedding day and the final decision is yours, but your guests are coming to celebrate you and you want to make them to be happy that they are!

    Think about cocktails and hors d’ouerves, music, games…

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