Destination Weddings

2.5 hour gap ideas?

We tried to not have a gap between the cocktail hour and reception, but the resort couldn’t accommodate us. I really wanted the ceremony to be at 5 with a cocktail hour and reception to follow, but our ceremony is as 2pm, cocktail hour is 2:30-3:30 and the reception (dinner and dancing) is 6pm-10pm. Any other DW brides have this issue? Any ideas to fill the gap? All 70 guests are at the same resort so some people have suggested just letting them have a siesta for the 2.5hr gap. This is just everyone’s vacation and I hate taking up the whole day without having something for them to do. 

Re: 2.5 hour gap ideas?

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
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    If the gap is totally unavoidable, I'd let them know what's available and let them decide for themselves how to spend that time.

    But I would also look for any alternatives to minimize and/or eliminate the gap. If you can't have a wedding at this resort without a gap, I'd reconsider your plans altogether and look for other alternatives that don't involve gaps between the ceremony and the reception.
    [Deleted User]ahoyweddingSTARMOON44
  • I would also hate getting ready for a wedding, then having a 2.5 hour nap and then trying to get ready to go again. It kind of kills the mood of the whole day. Since it's a DW, I assume you're going to be somewhere warmer? That kind of adds to the discomfort because most people don't want to get dressed, sit around and get sweaty, and then have to look nice again. 

    Could you move your ceremony location so that it could be later in the day? 2 pm most places is part of the hottest time of the day with the most direct sun. I would really see what you could do to eliminate the gap. If it's an all-inclusive, maybe a small gap would be fine since people could grab a drink on their way to the cocktail hour (I assume?) but much more than that and it kind of gets redundant. 
    STARMOON44[Deleted User]InLoveInQueensshort+sassy
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
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    I'd be super pissed if I got ready for a ceremony and cocktail hour, and then had 2.5 hours to kill until the reception. Who the hell is going to nap in between? Get ready, then get undressed to nap, and then get ready again!??!

    Honestly, as a host, I'd do whatever I could to avoid this. It's extremely rude and inconvenient to your guests. 

    MobKaz[Deleted User]InLoveInQueenscharlotte989875
  • You’re making me travel to a resort for this nonsense? Nope. 
    banana468InLoveInQueensTrixieJess
  • Haha oh man! Yeah, completely agree about the gap not being good. When someone suggested the siesta I was like, “But I’m not 5, I don’t take naps.” So I’m glad other people think it’s weird. I like the mid-morning ceremony with a brunch after personally. The heading straight to the bar comments were so funny. Ready to party type guests are the best! Thank y’all so much for the other options too. It’s helpful to get several eyes on it and see opinions. Below is a whole bunch of background y’all can skip or read and offer more insight.

    But my question is: if the gap can’t be closed would you, as a guest, rather have no reception? 

    Background:
    The resort has a weird set up situation where they require a four hour set up between each event so that was their excuse. The only time available for the ceremony was 2pm. Resort was chosen based on security, cost and amenities. I figured if everyone was going to fly in and stay at a hotel for our wedding from various cities, states and countries might as well make it someplace nice and someplace they would want to stay even if the ceremony time wasn’t to my liking. I looked at so many and got several destination wedding planners involved to make sure it met the needs of our families since it has now ended up being a family vacay. The wrench in the whole thing is the timing. But that was me and the rest of the trip is to accommodate family so I didn’t want to be selfish and choose something sub par just because I didn’t like the time. Btw, I love the comments of telling the venue that’s not acceptable. You can do that!?!? I‘m feeling pretty empowered now. Definitely going to try that! 

    The ceremony is on the rooftop overlooking the beach with a nice wind and typically a high of mid-eighties Fahrenheit, but not hotter than that. Dress is casual of course. Cocktails and appetizers are on the beach since they again gave me the four hour set up excuse and couldn’t do it on the rooftop. The beach setup is really pretty though. The resort is “already being accommodating” since technically their window between ceremony and reception set up is 4hrs and they’re doing it in 3.5hrs. The cocktails and appetizers was me trying to fill in gaps. So that’s 1 hour down! I’m wondering if I just moved the reception inside if they will allow me to have it earlier. I really wanted to do the Western tradition of having the reception right after with a cocktail hour. I love the cocktail hour so people won’t notice our 15-30 minute absence while we take photos. I really didn’t want to do the reception the day after or several hours apart. Fiancé’s family is American so I want to have it close to tradition of no gap. My family is Vietnamese and the ceremony and reception are two completely different parties and a gap isn’t an issue. Actually, nothing is an issue with them. I’m not doing a tea ceremony either since we won’t be in our houses. I’ve seen it done in hotel rooms and I find it way too crowded. Plus I don’t think his family would feel comfortable with that anyways. Also, two ceremonies would be overkill. So tea ceremony is out too. I will try my best to get rid of the gap. 
  • megs_tx said:
    Haha oh man! Yeah, completely agree about the gap not being good. When someone suggested the siesta I was like, “But I’m not 5, I don’t take naps.” So I’m glad other people think it’s weird. I like the mid-morning ceremony with a brunch after personally. The heading straight to the bar comments were so funny. Ready to party type guests are the best! Thank y’all so much for the other options too. It’s helpful to get several eyes on it and see opinions. Below is a whole bunch of background y’all can skip or read and offer more insight.

    But my question is: if the gap can’t be closed would you, as a guest, rather have no reception? 

    Background:
    The resort has a weird set up situation where they require a four hour set up between each event so that was their excuse. The only time available for the ceremony was 2pm. Resort was chosen based on security, cost and amenities. I figured if everyone was going to fly in and stay at a hotel for our wedding from various cities, states and countries might as well make it someplace nice and someplace they would want to stay even if the ceremony time wasn’t to my liking. I looked at so many and got several destination wedding planners involved to make sure it met the needs of our families since it has now ended up being a family vacay. The wrench in the whole thing is the timing. But that was me and the rest of the trip is to accommodate family so I didn’t want to be selfish and choose something sub par just because I didn’t like the time. Btw, I love the comments of telling the venue that’s not acceptable. You can do that!?!? I‘m feeling pretty empowered now. Definitely going to try that! 

    The ceremony is on the rooftop overlooking the beach with a nice wind and typically a high of mid-eighties Fahrenheit, but not hotter than that. Dress is casual of course. Cocktails and appetizers are on the beach since they again gave me the four hour set up excuse and couldn’t do it on the rooftop. The beach setup is really pretty though. The resort is “already being accommodating” since technically their window between ceremony and reception set up is 4hrs and they’re doing it in 3.5hrs. The cocktails and appetizers was me trying to fill in gaps. So that’s 1 hour down! I’m wondering if I just moved the reception inside if they will allow me to have it earlier. I really wanted to do the Western tradition of having the reception right after with a cocktail hour. I love the cocktail hour so people won’t notice our 15-30 minute absence while we take photos. I really didn’t want to do the reception the day after or several hours apart. Fiancé’s family is American so I want to have it close to tradition of no gap. My family is Vietnamese and the ceremony and reception are two completely different parties and a gap isn’t an issue. Actually, nothing is an issue with them. I’m not doing a tea ceremony either since we won’t be in our houses. I’ve seen it done in hotel rooms and I find it way too crowded. Plus I don’t think his family would feel comfortable with that anyways. Also, two ceremonies would be overkill. So tea ceremony is out too. I will try my best to get rid of the gap. 
    This isn't really an option, because the reception is to thank your guests for attending your ceremony. 

    Just a question, did you ask the resort about the timing of things before you booked there? You may be SOL now if everything is already planned and your guests have travel arrangements made for that resort. You may have had more negotiation leverage before the contracts were signed, but it never hurts to ask. Most resorts have a number of rooms/restaurants/bars so they could maybe work something out.
    [Deleted User]STARMOON44InLoveInQueenscharlotte989875
  • Reception it is then. Time was always 2pm, but there was a 3pm late lunch/reception originally. It had to do with our numbers jumping from 40 to 70. They couldn’t accommodate us for a private room in one of the restaurants once our numbers jumped. Had to do with restaurants being open and us having to change reception venue. I had no idea the private venues had different times. I actually asked about that and they said that arrangements wouldn’t be made until closer to the wedding date since “things change”. Looking back on it I don’t think they understood what I was asking. I think they are so overloaded with weddings that it’s a way to filter questions. The resort has 10 restaurants and 4 private venues. By that time everyone was super excited about that specific resort and vacation. So I couldn’t change it to a different place because the second option with favorable times didn’t have as many restaurants and the kid’s water park wasn’t as nice. I didn’t want to rain on anyone. The numbers jumped because people saw the resort and got excited so we had extra people want to come vacation/celebrate. I was super happy that so many people were excited about it. I’m actually still giving out info to people seeing if they can still go. 

    I think I may go back and reference that email and see if they can try and make it work for me if I move it inside. Or if I offer to pay more or something. It’s already $60/person, but if it will close the gap it’ll be worth it. Tip: all inclusive resorts are all inclusive unless it comes to private events and then wow! 

    As as for the heat the other brides said with the breeze on the rooftop and shade it’s nice. Just for the love of God don’t do anything near where they have beach ceremonies because it’s so hot. For some reason they have it in the sun and reserve the cocktail locations for the shade. If it’s too hot or if it rains there is a contingency plan. I made sure of that! They will even let me change the ceremony inside the morning of. 
  • banana468 said:
    Why can't the ceremony and reception set up be the same?   Plenty of people get married with all tables in place.   Is that an option? 

    Frankly if it isn't a four hour room flip sounds like your venue management needs to re plan their own naps.   That makes ZERO sense.   

    I've attended receptions that were in the same room as the ceremony.   The room gets flipped during cocktail hour.   

    I'd either talk to them about flipping faster, ceremony in a set up reception area (so guests view you from their tables) or tell them thanks but no thanks - you'll need to keep looking. 
    Thanks. I’m definitely going to try and be more assertive. Y’all are pumping me up! Haha. And you’re right. It really doesn’t make any sense why I couldn’t just have all 3 events set up and ready to go at the same time. Or at least the ceremony and reception ready to go. There’s going to be open bar and appetizers at the reception dinner anyways so if the cocktail hour is too much cooking it wouldn’t crush me. I’m part of the hotel’s bridal FB group and some (not all) the brides had the same issue and said just go with it, but this forum has helped me see that I should definitely try to close the gap. 
  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston
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    Does the venue have a back-up plan in case it rains?



    Anniversary
    [Deleted User]ahoyweddingMesmrEwe
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs
    Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
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    megs_tx said:
    megs_tx said:
    Does the venue have a back-up plan in case it rains?
    Yes, they have a room indoors. I sent an email to them earlier today saying that I will explore all options as long as there are no gaps.  Crossing my fingers that something can be arranged. I don’t care about the start time or the location as long as there are no gaps. 
    Is it sad that I'm genuinely happy that you came back with this post/attitude? It's so common to have people post about gaps and insist their vision is above their guests comfort, and here you are, listening to constructive criticism, taking it to heart and making your plans better. Your guests might not outright thank you, but they would if they knew the alternative.
    Aw, well I appreciate the advice and help: alternatives, telling me to push back, etc. I’m sure no bride wants a gap and that is no one’s original plan. They could have been like me where originally there was no gap and then when my numbers increased the venue came back with an alternative plan (which created the gap). I just didn’t push back and that was my fault. I didn’t want to come off entitled or ungrateful when the venue is just trying to do their best. The advice helped me get a backbone. After a LOT of back and forth via email and phone today (several times being told no) the coordinator has pushed back the ceremony and now the reception is inside. Not exactly what I wanted, but I’m sure everyone will enjoy the air conditioning. It messed up the sunset photography plans, but oh well. I have to set up completely different decorations, but not too bad money wise. In the end the gap was closed! I just hope that all brides that encounter this problem are uplifted and helped. That people are understanding, offer advice and are not hateful. Hopefully everyone will be as lucky as me when trying to close the gap! 

    I’m off to edit invites and google wall draping! Thanks everyone! 


    Sadly, there is more than a fair share of brides who quite literally have said, "Well, it's my one special day.  If my guests cannot understand my (thoughtless, rude, deliberate gap, cash bar, insert other faux pas here) "vision", then they simply don't love me." 

    You have found some awesome ways to accommodate your guests.  As @missJeanLouise said, there are ways you can accommodate you and your FI as well, so please try to do so!
    ahoywedding[Deleted User]
  • FWIW, our friends had their reception mostly inside when they married at the beach.   It worked out well that we were covered just in case. 
    ahoywedding[Deleted User]
  • That’s great @megs_tx. I am sure you can still get outside to take some pictures during sunset, even if you just have to sneak away for a bit. Don’t worry too much about wall draping... literally no one, in the history of time, has ever said “it would have been a nice wedding but *gasp* those walls!” (People have said that about a gap though). 
    Echoing this. Forget about wall drapings! If you're at a resort, it's probably already fairly nice-looking, so you may need some smaller centerpieces or table decorations and not a whole lot else. Our wedding was at a museum and we probably spent $20-50 on table decorations and I don't think anyone even noticed they were there. 

    I'm usually not in favor of stepping out for sunset photos because it likely will take more time than everyone thinks, but depending on when your cocktail hour is you could probably get them done then. The B&G aren't typically at the cocktail hour so your presence wouldn't be "missed," so to speak.

    It sounds like you're going about things the right way. I'm sure your day will be perfectly lovely :) 
    [Deleted User]short+sassycharlotte989875
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