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Ceremony and Vow Ideas

Time between ceremony and reception?

How much time is too much time between the ceremony and reception?  We are thinking of having our wedding at 12 pm and our cocktail hour stars at 4:30.  The majority of our guests are local, but we do have some out-of-towners, of course.  We live in an area where there is plenty to do and plenty of places to see and shop, but nonetheless I need to get invitations ordered and am not sure what amount of time is too much time and may seem rude if we have it too far apart. 
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Re: Time between ceremony and reception?

  • Gaps are rude.  The time between the wedding ceremony and the reception should not be any longer than the time it takes to move from the first location to the second.  If the ceremony ends at 12:30, and it takes 15 minutes to get to the reception, assuming that quests chat for a bit/you have a receiving line, the reception/cocktail hour should start at 1:00, not 4:30 or even 2:00, 1:00.  If you want a later reception, have a later ceremony.
  • MairePoppyMairePoppy
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    edited February 2012
    That's too much time to leave your guests to find something else to do. You should host something for the guests in between the ceremony and reception. It can be coffee and donuts at someone's house or a hospitality room at the  hotel where your out of town guests are staying. Even at that, it's a long day for everyone. There's a good chance that many of your guests won't make it to the end of the reception.

    I grew up Catholic, so I am familiar with the time restrictions for wedding ceremonies. Brides used to have their receptions immediately following the ceremony, no matter what time of day it was. As a guest, I'd rather attend an afternoon lunch reception, than wait around for a few hours for an evening reception.
  • To me that seems like a lot of time, Your talking four and a half hours, for your guests, who are all dressed up, to find something to do... Why do you need such a long break? Why can't you have the ceremony later? Personal preference? What about your photographer, is he just with you all day?
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  • That is too much time.  If I may ask, why the long break?

    Usually the only breaks that are acceptable are the ones that have a driving distance between ceremony and reception (the longest I've seen that is acceptable is 20 minutes).  I've also seen an hour but, to me, that is still too long.
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  • Gaps are extremely rude.  There should only be an hour, 90 minutes MAX between the end of the ceremony and the start of the reception, during which time, your guests should still be properly hosted.
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  • I'll be the first to say it - I HATE gaps.  When someone has a gap like you're having I usually attend either the wedding OR the reception but not both. Your wedding shouldn't tie up my entire day unless I'm IN the wedding.
  • any gap is too big of a gap.  The most time there should be between the end of the ceremony and the start of the cocktail hour (which is really the start of the reception) is the time it takes people to leave the church and get to the reception venue.
  • So what happens when the latest ceremony your church allows is at 2pm and you want to have an evening reception??
  • In Response to Re: Time between ceremony and reception?:
    So what happens when the latest ceremony your church allows is at 2pm and you want to have an evening reception??
    Posted by sreid62
    Have the ceremony at 2pm, and if the ceremony is 45 minutes, and the reception site is 15 minutes away, I would say your cocktail hour should start at 3:30pm.  You can start dinner around 4:30 or 5pm and have the dancing go into the evening.  It's still an evening reception with a dinner. 
  • I think that it too much of a gap.  As PP has mentioned what do you think your guests will be doing all dressed up in a town they may be unfamilier with.  They won't want to venute far in fear of getting lost.

    Also I wonder about the photographer as well.  We have ours for 8 hours and all that time would just be wasted because it would be included in the time you paid for.  They most likely aren't going to just wait around all day until the reception.

    We are having our wedding at 2PM and the ceremony wil be about an hour so by the time everyone gets to their cars and pull out and everything I am thinking about 3:15 or 3:30 since we are doing a lavender toss (instead of rice toss).  Our reception is 30-45 minutes away so it is going to start around 4:15.  We will most likely get there after the cocktail hour.
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  • 1 hour or even two hour gaps are annoying... Either no gap or a longer gap so that people can have time to go and do something. I will also have a long gap because we could only book the ceremony venue for 12:30, our coktail hour will start at 4:30ish or 5 ish...You can organise something for the guests to do during that time, send them on a treasure hunt or something...But lets be honest, these are mostly adults who can take care of themselves and the likely scenario will be that the guest will socialise for at lest an hour anyway...Our Minister and caterer suggested moving the reception back one more hour to 6, they said that's completely acceptable. I've been to both styles of weddings and I personally prefered the longer breaks rather than 2 hour breaks because you can actually go and do something...Back to back weddings seem rushed...It's not too much to ask of your guests to sacrifice a full day on your wedding day, after all, it only happens once...
    JMD91986
  • In Response to Re: Time between ceremony and reception?:
    I'll be the first to say it - I HATE gaps.  When someone has a gap like you're having I usually attend either the wedding OR the reception but not both. Your wedding shouldn't tie up my entire day unless I'm IN the wedding.
    Posted by skippylouwho
    That's what I was thinking.
  • In Response to Re: Time between ceremony and reception?:
    In Response to Re: Time between ceremony and reception? : Have the ceremony at 2pm, and if the ceremony is 45 minutes, and the reception site is 15 minutes away, I would say your cocktail hour should start at 3:30pm.  You can start dinner around 4:30 or 5pm and have the dancing go into the evening.  It's still an evening reception with a dinner. 
    Posted by saric83
    This or you will need to make a decision: have an early dinner and keep your church (if that's more important) or change your ceremony to a place that allows a later time so you can have a later reception (if that is more important).
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  • In Response to Re: Time between ceremony and reception?:
    So what happens when the latest ceremony your church allows is at 2pm and you want to have an evening reception??
    Posted by sreid62
    Then you either start your ceremony with a cocktail hour at 3/3:15, do the toasts and thing at 4:30 and serve dinner after, or you decide which is most important - the church ceremony or the evening reception.
  • My family & I went to a reception recently where the ceremony ended at 2, & cocktail hour didn't start until 6. At first, I was really annoyed that there was a long gap. But in the end, we didn't mind it so much. We went & checked in at our hotel (we weren't OOT guests, but lived about an hour away so decided to stay there), sat around & snacked, talked, had a few drinks, etc. Would I prefer it? No. But, it wasn't terrible, IMO.

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  • I agree.  About 70% of my guests are from OOT and will be at the hotel. Plus my church is in the Little Italy district of town and there are so many things to see and the gap will give the OOtowners time to hang out in that area.  I just went to my cousin's wedding who had a large gap and it was a great time to freshen up for the receptionn, to chill and catch up with the family, we had a blast.  At the end of the day, we are all adults and can take care of ourselves, if we have to find something to do for a couple of hours, it is not the end of the world.  I think the guests understand that this is the time for the couple to take pictures.  
  • In Response to Re: Time between ceremony and reception?:
    At the end of the day, we are all adults and can take care of ourselves, if we have to find something to do for a couple of hours, it is not the end of the world.  I think the guests understand that this is the time for the couple to take pictures.  
    Posted by sreid62
    Nope. I don't care whether you're taking pictures or not, taking three hours of my weekend for a gap is just rude. Some people work long hours. Weekends are precious. A three hour gap is just self indulgent.
     
    For gaps relating to a church scheduling issue, have an earlier reception.  If all you need to do is take pictures, host a cocktail hour; that's the point of a cocktail hour. 
  • I went to a Catholic wedding at noon that lasted forever and had a break in there so people could go do chores (farming community). We had gotten a hotel room since it was an hour and a half away so we went swimming. The reception was also at a bowling ally and guests could go in and sit and socialize. I personally didn't like it because of the gap. I would say start supper early or try to get the ceramony to the lastest time possible.
  • I have waited during the gap - as a bridesmaid and as merely a guest and have always found things to do inbetween each event.  Our only reason for the gap would be that we wanted to get formal pictures in the church and beach pictures afterwards.  The ceremony will last about an hour. 
  • edited February 2012
    I am not usually one for the big long gap especially if I'm out of town (if the wedding's really close to my home I selfishly like it), BUT my stepsister had a 2 hour gap... there was no cocktail hour at her budget wedding, and informally, there ended up being a bunch of little house parties going on for both sides of the family. It was actually lovely. Everyone had somewhere to go for coffee or light drinks and snacks, and it gave family members that didn't get to see each other a chance to connect to those who they were closest to for awhile before getting lost in the reception. I don't know where etiquette stands on this, but my mother and stepfather hosted about 20 of her guests, and it was one of the most fun parts of the wedding! Everyone looked a lot more refreshed than they do after a crowded cocktail hour.

    But, our little party was starting to die down toward the end, and I don't think it would have been fun if it would have lasted ANY longer!

    I think the 3 1/2 hour gap is pretty long, but if your families have offered to help and will host your guests and your friends do the same and everyone has a place to go optionally, you can probably pull off a couple hours. Your out of town guests have obviously already committed their weekend to you, but you should still be sure they are hosted somewhere in between.

    On the flip side, I went to a wedding very close to my home and actually was late to the reception because I wanted to stop home and take care of things. The gap left me with an unnecessary extra 15 minutes to get to the venue and I didn't know what to do with them, and in the end I was an hour late to her reception.
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  • I'm sort of shocked at all these people saying the gap is soo rude.  Yes the gap is annoying but it's required in the catholic church. The latest I can get married at my church is 2pm but you aren't allowed to have the reception until 6pm because of Saturday evening mass. It might be rude but it's a part of all catholic weddings. 

    I plan to have snacks and drinks at my parents house and my parents in laws house. People can go to these locations or they can have some time to check into their hotel and freshen up. 
    NZIMA2014KO21
  • I'm sort of shocked at all these people saying the gap is soo rude.  Yes the gap is annoying but it's required in the catholic church. The latest I can get married at my church is 2pm but you aren't allowed to have the reception until 6pm because of Saturday evening mass. It might be rude but it's a part of all catholic weddings. 

    I plan to have snacks and drinks at my parents house and my parents in laws house. People can go to these locations or they can have some time to check into their hotel and freshen up. 
    @mefreckles - no, it's not a part of all Catholic weddings. Not even a little bit. But, I'm confused, are you having your reception at your church as well?
  • People aren't going to want to sightsee or shop dressed in wedding attire for several hours between the ceremony and reception, so minimize the gap between them as much as possible and factor in picture taking by the couple, families, and wedding party.  There should be ideally I think no more than an hour between the end of the ceremony and the start of the reception, during which your guests should be served refreshments such as cocktails and appetizers.
  • I'm sort of shocked at all these people saying the gap is soo rude.  Yes the gap is annoying but it's required in the catholic church. The latest I can get married at my church is 2pm but you aren't allowed to have the reception until 6pm because of Saturday evening mass. It might be rude but it's a part of all catholic weddings. 

    I plan to have snacks and drinks at my parents house and my parents in laws house. People can go to these locations or they can have some time to check into their hotel and freshen up. 

    This original post is from 2012, but since you responded and are planning on a gap, I'll respond.

    Gaps are rude.  All of the time, Catholic or not.  The catholic church does not require a gap.  You are making a choice of what time to start your reception.  You can have a lovely afternoon wedding at a venue somewhere away from the church. If you are worried about budget, you can rent a VFW hall or community center.  No one is making you be rude to your guests. that's all about the choices you are making.

    And gaps ARE rude.  I realize it's your wedding day, and it's all about you. But, really, your guests want to come and see you get married and then enjoy your reception.  The reception is a thank you to your guests for coming to witness your ceremony.   Most people are not interested in waiting around multiple hours for that to begin.

    have your reception earlier.  Guests shouldn't have to find something to do. And by the time your reception starts after 6pm, they will have already invested 4-5 hours in your wedding and you will be asking them to sit around for another few hours, at least.   That's toooooo much.

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  • I don't think it's rude at all.  It's your day, don't worry about your guests in between, but if you are worried, give them some ideas of things to do between.  Our reception is at a golf course so I know some people have set up tee times during the break. Yes the gap is kind of annoying but I would NOT consider it rude at all!
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  • pung1vm said:
    I don't think it's rude at all.  It's your day, don't worry about your guests in between, but if you are worried, give them some ideas of things to do between.  Our reception is at a golf course so I know some people have set up tee times during the break. Yes the gap is kind of annoying but I would NOT consider it rude at all!

    You aren't considering it rude, because you are doing it and if you considered it rude, you would have to rethink your rude plans. 

    When you host an event, you SHOULD be worried about your guests comfort.  Having a huge gap in between the ceremony is annoying, unnecessary and rude. 

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  • NYCMercedesNYCMercedes
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    edited June 2013
    pung1vm said:
    I don't think it's rude at all.  It's your day, don't worry about your guests in between, but if you are worried, give them some ideas of things to do between.  Our reception is at a golf course so I know some people have set up tee times during the break. Yes the gap is kind of annoying but I would NOT consider it rude at all!

    I just cannot get my head around this at all. Your wedding must be really informal if people can wear their spikes to the ceremony and reception. Also it must be even more informal to have stinky sweaty guests at your reception after playing golf. Or maybe that is the reception? Oh, and btw, you should most definitely worry about your guests. That is what a hostess does.
  • I'm sort of shocked at all these people saying the gap is soo rude.  Yes the gap is annoying but it's required in the catholic church. The latest I can get married at my church is 2pm but you aren't allowed to have the reception until 6pm because of Saturday evening mass. It might be rude but it's a part of all catholic weddings. 

    I plan to have snacks and drinks at my parents house and my parents in laws house. People can go to these locations or they can have some time to check into their hotel and freshen up. 

    This is completely false. The Catholic Church doesn't give a whit about whether or not you even have a reception. They have no reception requirements at all. Where in the world did you get tis idea? You can have a reception start at three.
  • pung1vm said:
    I don't think it's rude at all.  It's your day, don't worry about your guests in between, but if you are worried, give them some ideas of things to do between.  Our reception is at a golf course so I know some people have set up tee times during the break. Yes the gap is kind of annoying but I would NOT consider it rude at all!

    Everything about your post is just wrong.  Of course you need to worry about your guests in between.  They are your GUESTS, which means it's your responsibility to host them properly, not to force them to fend for themselves during YOUR event.

    Also, IMO, annoying = rude.  You are intentionally annoying your guests, and you don't think that's rude?  Seriously?
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  • You're not alone stage. One of the main reasons we chose our reception venue was because they wouldn't stick us with a defined time slot.

    There's a reason the phrase "all dressed up with nowhere to go" has a negative connotation.
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    [Deleted User]Liatris2010
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