(Closed) What is the longest time between ceremony and reception you've ever seen?

posted 7 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 31
Member
491 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

It’s the norm here to have 3-4 hours between ceremony and reception. Usually the ceremony starts at 1 PM, and then cocktails will be at 5 PM. I didn’t realize that this was frowned upon in other areas, until I found the Bee.

People were actually pretty excited about it at our wedding, because we got married in a big city with tons of options for shopping, and most of our guests were from small towns. I’d say that 75% of our guests went to the mall in between the ceremony and reception, lol.

Usually we just go for a bite to eat, since we don’t normally eat lunch before the ceremony. We might also go have a nap or just hang out in someone’s hotel room/at someone’s house, or go to the bar for a few drinks, it just depends what we feel like doing. I guess we are used to planning for it though, because I’ve never been to a wedding that didn’t have a gap.

Post # 32
Member
529 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2015

7 hours!!! The bride HAD to get married at a specific church (very popular church in our area), and that was the only time available. It was pretty bad – we were more than a little grumpy by the time reception time rolled around.

Post # 33
Member
87 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

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Anonyfish:  I know that there are cultures and family groups where very long gaps between ceremony and reception are common and expected.  And though I’ve never attended one of these, I think it would be kinda cool to go to the big traditional church ceremony in the morning, go home and rest and change into party clothes, and head out for the reception in the evening.  Plus it really makes it a wedding DAY rather than just wedding evening!

Logistically, I feel like a gap of 2 hours or more will only work if all of the guests live in the same area of the ceremony and reception.  Sending out-of-town guests back to their hotel for several hours is boring at best…  rude at worst.  You could maybe plan an activity during the gap for out-of-town guests, but then you run the risk that they are exhausted by the time of the reception.  

EDIT:  I totally spaced out while writing my response and forgot that you were talking about a wedding you’re attending, not your own!  Haha, and now that I think about it, a 3-hour gap with out-of-town guests (which you are) is just awkward, especially in an area without anything to do or see! The bar would be calling my name, but I’d try to fight that urge for fear that I’d be too drunk/tired by the time of the reception.  Maybe take a nap? Hook up with your date? Haha…

  • This reply was modified 6 years, 11 months ago by sea.brunette.
Post # 34
Member
50 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2017

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starfish0116:  Maybe it is just my area, but the venues I checked with wouldnt allow that. The earliest we were allowed to start was 6 pm, I’m sure some of the smaller venues allow it but I think my family would rather have a gap and be invited than not be invited at all. I do live in a small area, and only had 3 or 4 options for a wedding my size, so I am sure that has something to do with it.

 

We have 3.5 hours, and we aren’t having a cocktail hour. I’d imagine after a 3.5 hour gap, people would want to have dinner rather than wander around mingling for an hour. My grandparents will be having an “open house” type thing where anyone who wants to can hang out at their house for drinks and snacks and such. 

Post # 35
Member
373 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2016

Church was at 10am and dinner at 6pm. They wanted time between to take pictures and relax. Everyone went out to lunch and shopping since it was in Chicago. 🙂

Post # 36
Member
2569 posts
Sugar bee

Some of these stories are just crazy. I don’t mind the gaps but what would really bother me is going to a reception with no food and the bridal party having their own private dinner. Sleeping in your car while the entire family was having a pow wow And going to McDonald’s while you waited because you knew no one at the wedding. Wow these are just insane stories. I’ll deal with the time gap if my hotel is near or its a long cocktail hour but some people go about it in a very rude way. Only gap I’ve ever encountered was a drive from the Church to the reception which had provided food and beverages for their guest. The drive was about a 45 minute drive so nothing to crazy. We also drove from Arizona to oklahoma as did many of my family since we all live in different states. 

Post # 37
Member
346 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

In my country, there is usually a gap of 2-3 hours between end of ceremony and the reception. Hence we don’t call it “cocktail hour“. Instead, guests are treated to appetisers, drinks and sometimes sweets table/tea/coffee while they wait for dinner.

Post # 38
Member
1320 posts
Bumble bee

I went to a wedding where it was well over an hour between the ceremony and reception. That part isn’t bad, the time is decent. The problem was, there was no music, drinks, snacks, anything. Just a lot of guests waiting around awkwardly while the wedding party did photos.

Post # 39
Member
63 posts
Worker bee

4-6 hours is unfortunately normal for my church.  The Catholic gap. Because people don’t want to plan a late, formal wedding.  We’re doing 6:30 pm, no gap. To hosted cocktail hour (hopefully less), then reception. 

Post # 40
Member
10842 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

View original reply
im0502:  I think the ‘hate’ as you call it,  is not so much for the gap itself  , but for situations in that gap where people are completely uncatered for and left hungry or isolated  or surrounded by increasingly drunk people . If there are places you can  go, or you are in a hotel,  fine, but often  you are in a damn field/farm or local bar . And it is hard for  elderly  (or very young) guests) and in any case you are  all dressed up etc.

 

Post # 41
Member
267 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2015

Four hours.  Ceremony was in a small town, but reception was in the city at a hotel ballroom downtown. I didn’t mind it at all. Rented a car, drove a few other guests to the church, drove them back to the city, and went back to where I was staying and took a nap first!  They did have a cocktail hour before the dinner.

I’m not a hater of the gap, but then again I love a break. The other weddings I”ve been to haven’t had a gap since they weren’t church ceremonies and the reception was at the same site immediately afterward. Our ceremony and reception will be at the same site too.

Post # 42
Member
122 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

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Anonyfish:  5 hours between the ceremony and the cocktail reception…. it was in my home town but my husband and I had moved across the country and he couldn’t come with me. I didn’t know any of her friends or family so I just went back to my parent’s house, had lunch and took a nap, lol. I think more than an hour is really inconsiderate to guests because there are almost always out of town guests, almost always guests who don’t know anyone else, and what are they going to do with that free time?

Post # 43
Member
122 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

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Roma:  I think that’s really great that you and your family have figured out an alternative for your guests during that gap time! That’s such an awesome idea.

Post # 44
Member
2164 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: NJ

I was a kid, about 7 years old. My cousin had a gap of about 6 hours. Me and my parents went home after the noon ceremony, the reception started about 6pm.

The horrible part is, my mother hung up my dress, and made me stay in the house all day because she didn’t feel like cleaning me up again. All afternoon in the house, 7 years old, on a Saturday in the spring, in NE Philadelphia.

It was awful.

 

Post # 45
Member
858 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

Our ceremony starts at 1pm, and the reception is at 5pm.  I’m guessing it’ll be about 1:30pm when it’s over, and since the ceremony is at a winery on the beach, people can go walk around (hopefully..wearing permitting), go into the retail store, sample wine, etc.  I expect by they leave, it’ll be closer to 2:30pm, so only 2 1/2 hours, and I’m going to have platters of fruit, veggies, crackers, cheese, etc. for guests when they start to arrive at the reception site. 

The only reason we’re having a large gap is because we had to be out of our ceremony site by 3pm latest, and we really did not want to start our reception at 3!

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