Wedding Reception Forum

Break between ceremony and reception

My ceremony will be at 1:00 and since its a Catholic wedding, it will more than likely last about an hour or so. So the break would take place from 2:30-4:30. We would like to have cocktail hour from 4:30-5:30 and dinner from 5:30-7:30 and the dance from 7:30 to like 12:30.

 

Can you please provide your feedback?

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Re: Break between ceremony and reception

  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Gaps are rude. Move your reception up so that cocktail hour starts right after your ceremony ends.

    What do you expect your guests to do for two hours between ceremony and reception?

    Also, 2 hours for dinner is a long time.  At the most dinner should take 1.5 hours and even that is pushing it.

    And 5 hours for dancing?!  I love me a good dance party but that seems a bit extreme.

    doeydocombledoreBlue_Bird
  • KatWAGKatWAG Chicago member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited November 2013

    Gaps are the worst. Either move your ceremony up a few hours or have an afternoon reception.

    What are your guests supposed to do for 2 hours? Entertain themselves? What about any out of town guests?

    BabyFruit Ticker
    doeydo
  • That means you are expecting people to be tied up for your wedding for 13 hours or so. That is absurd.  They will start getting ready at maybe 11:30 am and travel to your 1 pm wedding.

    I will be upfront that I am super antigap (and married into a Catholic family where there hasn't been one yet).  I think the gap is rude.

    Move your cocktail hour to 3:30 to allow people to get there.  You could push your cocktail hour to 5 if you had to (it is kinda long, but beats the gap) and then serve dinner, followed by dancing.  Dinner could be 5-6:30, dancing from 6:30 to maybe 9:30.  That is still 6 hours at the reception venue and will be too long for some folks.  NO ONE wants 5 hours of dancing.

    You guys could use the last 30 minutes of the long cocktail hour to do your first dance and cut the cake to serve as dessert with the meal.  You could even do the parent dances in there to use the time well.

    ditch the gap and ditch the 5 hours of dancing. A 13+ hour day for your wedding is crazy.
    southernbelle0915SKPMaurorajanette
  • My ceremony will be at 1:00 and since its a Catholic wedding, it will more than likely last about an hour or so. So the break would take place from 2:30-4:30. We would like to have cocktail hour from 4:30-5:30 and dinner from 5:30-7:30 and the dance from 7:30 to like 12:30.

    Can you please provide your feedback?

    Yes - skip this gap. Gaps are horribly rude to guests. It's not reasonable to expect that people will be engaged in your wedding from 1:00pm - midnight... plus whatever travel time they have. 

    If you can't move the ceremony time to later, you have to pick what's more important to you: 1) Catholic ceremony or 2) dinner style reception. If the church is inflexible, you unfortunately can't do both without being super rude to your guests. My suggestion would be to have an afternoon reception right after your ceremony. Or see if you can move the ceremony earlier and have a lunch reception.
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    doeydo
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    I think you have too long a day scheduled.

    First, eliminate the gap.  The reception needs to start as soon as the ceremony is over.  If having an evening wedding is important to you, then you need to see if you can move yours up.  If you can't, then you need to choose between a ceremony at your Catholic church or some other kind of ceremony.  If you choose to do it at the church and it will not allow you to move up the time of your ceremony, you need to move up your reception time and perhaps have lunch or appetizers and dessert rather than dinner.
    doeydo
  • photokittyphotokitty where I want to be mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    I'm Catholic, so I get it, but I HATE gaps. Two hours is way long. Eliminate the gap of find a way to host people during it. Not everyone will want to be hosted during it, but your should offer an option if there is no way to eliminate the gap. Is that the latest your church will do a wedding on Saturday? Usually you can at least get a 2pm start time.
    :kiss: ~xoxo~ :kiss:

  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!) member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers

    My ceremony will be at 1:00 and since its a Catholic wedding, it will more than likely last about an hour or so. So the break would take place from 2:30-4:30. We would like to have cocktail hour from 4:30-5:30 and dinner from 5:30-7:30 and the dance from 7:30 to like 12:30.

     

    Can you please provide your feedback?

    Gaps are rude and inconsiderate.  Find a way to eliminate it. 
    doeydo
  • My ceremony will be at 1:00 and since its a Catholic wedding, it will more than likely last about an hour or so. So the break would take place from 2:30-4:30. We would like to have cocktail hour from 4:30-5:30 and dinner from 5:30-7:30 and the dance from 7:30 to like 12:30.

     

    Can you please provide your feedback?

    My full Catholic Mass wedding started at 3 p.m. It was over by 3.54 p.m. Our cocktail hour, which was at our 15-minutes-away-venue, started at 4.30 p.m.

    There was no gap. By the time we finished the receiving line, it was 4.15 or so, our guests drove the 10 or 15 minutes to the reception venue, the hors d'oeuvres and drinks were ready to be served.

    The way to figure this out is work backwards: find out how late in the day you can have your ceremony (ours was at 3 p.m., but it was a Sunday, so there was no vigil Mass), then add an hour for the Mass, then add time for a receiving line, then add time for travel, then you have the start time for your cocktail hour. 

    So figure out when you can have your Mass, and build from there. But don't have a gap and don't expect your guests to be entertained by your wedding for 13+ hours.
    Anniversary

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    I'm gonna go with 'not my circus, not my monkeys.'
    Blue_Bird
  • tammym1001tammym1001 Akron, Ohio member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    I'm not going to comment on the gap because I think that's been covered, but I want to give you my perspective on your wedding timeline. I have about 5 good hours in me for someone's wedding. After that I'm tired and ready to go home. Based on the timeline you gave I'm going to be ready to go before dinner is even served. I would probably stay to eat dinner and then I would need to leave. I think a lot of your guests are going to feel the same way. By the time dinner is over your guests are already going to have dedicated what would be almost a full work day to your event. That's too much to ask of them. 
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    annathy03SKPM
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    I didn't have 13 hours to give to my own wedding. I sure as hell wouldn't give that to someone else's. 
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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    rvg22
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Gaps are very rude.  If you can't move the ceremony, you have to move the reception.  Catholic is no excuse.  I've been to dozens of Catholic weddings and all but one found a way to avoid the gap.  (In the one with the gap, everyone spent to the whole reception complaining about how rude it was.)  

    Your reception is really long.  A cocktail hour, 60-90 minutes for dinner, and then 2-3 hours for dancing is plenty.  
  • I'm not going to comment on the gap because I think that's been covered, but I want to give you my perspective on your wedding timeline. I have about 5 good hours in me for someone's wedding. After that I'm tired and ready to go home. Based on the timeline you gave I'm going to be ready to go before dinner is even served. I would probably stay to eat dinner and then I would need to leave. I think a lot of your guests are going to feel the same way. By the time dinner is over your guests are already going to have dedicated what would be almost a full work day to your event. That's too much to ask of them. 
    Ditto the bolded.  I'd be annoyed at the start of cocktail hour from the gap, and ready to go.

    Move one or the other, I've been to several Catholic weddings and the only gap has been drive time from the ceremony to reception and a 60 minute cocktail hour.
  • I seem to be in the minority here, but I've attended several weddings that took pretty much all day or involved more events that occupied most/all of the weekend. So a long reception, in and of itself, seems perfectly fine/normal to me. But a gap is not a long reception--it's a pretty big inconvenience that you're forcing people to work around. You need to try to host something or adjust your schedule to eliminate it.

    Also, I don't have kids, and I probably wouldn't be attending your wedding at all if it's on a work day. And while the huge party all night reception is a norm in FI's crowd, it isn't in my family. Most people want to be in/out in 3-4 hours. At the very least, leaving within that time frame should be a real choice--have they at least seen you wed/watched the first dances/eaten yet?
  • I'm part of the minority too! Nearly all of the weddings I've been to have been a Catholic Ceremony with a 2-3 hour gap between the wedding and reception.

    We'll have about a 2 hour gap for ours because the church won't budge on time, and the reception venue doesn't do an "early bird special" for dinner at 4pm. :)

    In my circle people have never had trouble filling the time gap. Usually with: checking into the hotel, a nap at the hotel/home (I have good hair, no problem getting it cute again after a snooze), a few drinks/snacks with friends or family, or browsing around town. I even went to one wedding with a ridiculous gap and a few of the guys went golfing!

    Maybe provide a link on your wedding web site of "Local Attractions" such as museums, local bars/restaurants, shopping, art galleries, etc.

    If most of your guests are Catholic they will get it. Obviously, you can't control the church and most times you can't control the reception venue.

  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    Kitty and afaber, Just because your friends and family were rude to have gaps in their weddings, doesn't make it ok for you to do so too.  I had a Catholic wedding and purposely held it on a Friday so that we could avoid the gap and still have the "dinner" styled recpetion.  My sister also just had a Friday wedding, and there was about an hour of gap between her ceremony and reception.  However, my parents hosted all guests at their home in between so that no guests were left sitting in their car or twiddling their thumbs waiting for the reception to start.  Gaps are avoidable if you plan correctly. 

    The one way to avoid a gap is to only book a reception venue that will be able to accomodate your needed start time.  I know the Church can be inflexible on times, but there are lots of venues that will accomodate different start times.

    Liatris2010
  • afaber24afaber24 member
    Second Anniversary 25 Love Its 10 Comments Name Dropper
    edited November 2013

    Is it less rude to ask people to take time off work to attend your wedding on a Friday? Maybe if most of your guests lived where the wedding is held it wouldn't be a problem. Not the case for us. 98% of our 300 guests live at least 1 hour away. Maybe if the ceremony was at 8pm, but a full work day + hour drive + dinner would leave me sleeping in my cake! Sunday may work for some, but I definitely want a "dance party" atmosphere at our reception.

    I know its rude to ask your guests to kill an hour or two browsing shops or sipping a martini/beer at a local watering hole, but its just a necessary evil for those of us who can't imagine not getting married in our church.

    pbi9994
  • We had a gap and it was fine. Don't listen to the people who make it sound like it's the end of the world. We didn't have many people from out of town, so most people could go home (where we live there's always a gap between ceremony & reception, so friends get together at someone's house & have some drinks before cocktail hour). The people from out of town either chose to be hosted at my in-laws place (food & drinks there) or stay at their room in the hotel, it was their choice (again not many out-of-towners). We also gave suggestions of things to do in the gap if they chose to do that instead.

    I personally wouldn't worry too much about it, although our wedding was pretty laid-back. People can fill 2 hours of their day, they are capable of finding things to do (after all, they are adults).

    Our ceremony was at 2:30-3:00, cocktail "hour" (it was a half hour) was 5:30-6:00, dinner at 6:00, speeches & dancing afterwards. It went until 1am. People were not obligated to stay, if they wanted to leave they could (some of the older people did) but we have some partiers in our family/friends so a lot of people were there until the end.

    afaber24pbi9994
  • afaber24 said:

    Is it less rude to ask people to take time off work to attend your wedding on a Friday? Maybe if most of your guests lived where the wedding is held it wouldn't be a problem. Not the case for us. 98% of our 300 guests live at least 1 hour away. Maybe if the ceremony was at 8pm, but a full work day + hour drive + dinner would leave me sleeping in my cake! Sunday may work for some, but I definitely want a "dance party" atmosphere at our reception.

    I know its rude to ask your guests to kill an hour or two browsing shops or sipping a martini/beer at a local watering hole, but its just a necessary evil for those of us who can't imagine not getting married in our church.

    No, it's not 'necessary.' There is always the option to host your guests the entire time. Always.
    image
    HisGirlFriday13
  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!) member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    Majelin86 said:

    We had a gap and it was fine. Don't listen to the people who make it sound like it's the end of the world. We didn't have many people from out of town, so most people could go home (where we live there's always a gap between ceremony & reception, so friends get together at someone's house & have some drinks before cocktail hour). The people from out of town either chose to be hosted at my in-laws place (food & drinks there) or stay at their room in the hotel, it was their choice (again not many out-of-towners). We also gave suggestions of things to do in the gap if they chose to do that instead.

    I personally wouldn't worry too much about it, although our wedding was pretty laid-back. People can fill 2 hours of their day, they are capable of finding things to do (after all, they are adults).

    Our ceremony was at 2:30-3:00, cocktail "hour" (it was a half hour) was 5:30-6:00, dinner at 6:00, speeches & dancing afterwards. It went until 1am. People were not obligated to stay, if they wanted to leave they could (some of the older people did) but we have some partiers in our family/friends so a lot of people were there until the end.

    It's not the end of the world, but it's awfully damn rude.  Of course, I wouldn't expect you to understand that because people that do rude things often don't realize they're rude and think what they're doing is perfectly ok.  That's why many of us are here.....to tell brides the proper way to host their wedding day.  What you did, no matter what your social circle does, was not proper, plain and simple.  
    OliveOilsMom
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    afaber24 said:

    I'm part of the minority too! Nearly all of the weddings I've been to have been a Catholic Ceremony with a 2-3 hour gap between the wedding and reception.

    We'll have about a 2 hour gap for ours because the church won't budge on time, and the reception venue doesn't do an "early bird special" for dinner at 4pm. :)

    In my circle people have never had trouble filling the time gap. Usually with: checking into the hotel, a nap at the hotel/home (I have good hair, no problem getting it cute again after a snooze), a few drinks/snacks with friends or family, or browsing around town. I even went to one wedding with a ridiculous gap and a few of the guys went golfing!

    Maybe provide a link on your wedding web site of "Local Attractions" such as museums, local bars/restaurants, shopping, art galleries, etc.

    If most of your guests are Catholic they will get it. Obviously, you can't control the church and most times you can't control the reception venue.

    You mean "we didn't care enough to find a venue that would work with our church time."

    Gaps are rude.  I'm glad that you are ok with being treated that way, but most people are not.  Blaming it on being Catholic is no excuse.  Your Catholic friends and family may be rude, but most people, Catholics included, care about treating their guests well.  
    OliveOilsMom
  • Try not to put breaks that would be not a great Idea, as it will extend the procedure and people are always in hurry, If you are extending it for such a long time hardly any people would be left at the end,I would suggest you that always make things small and simple instead of making it complicated.
  • Majelin86 said:

    We had a gap and it was fine. Don't listen to the people who make it sound like it's the end of the world. We didn't have many people from out of town, so most people could go home (where we live there's always a gap between ceremony & reception, so friends get together at someone's house & have some drinks before cocktail hour). The people from out of town either chose to be hosted at my in-laws place (food & drinks there) or stay at their room in the hotel, it was their choice (again not many out-of-towners). We also gave suggestions of things to do in the gap if they chose to do that instead.

    I personally wouldn't worry too much about it, although our wedding was pretty laid-back. People can fill 2 hours of their day, they are capable of finding things to do (after all, they are adults).

    Our ceremony was at 2:30-3:00, cocktail "hour" (it was a half hour) was 5:30-6:00, dinner at 6:00, speeches & dancing afterwards. It went until 1am. People were not obligated to stay, if they wanted to leave they could (some of the older people did) but we have some partiers in our family/friends so a lot of people were there until the end.

    Says the person who had 8 "speeches" for 30 minutes....

    Gaps are rude. Period. 
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    OliveOilsMomKatWAGSKPM
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    afaber24 said:

    Is it less rude to ask people to take time off work to attend your wedding on a Friday? Maybe if most of your guests lived where the wedding is held it wouldn't be a problem. Not the case for us. 98% of our 300 guests live at least 1 hour away. Maybe if the ceremony was at 8pm, but a full work day + hour drive + dinner would leave me sleeping in my cake! Sunday may work for some, but I definitely want a "dance party" atmosphere at our reception.

    I know its rude to ask your guests to kill an hour or two browsing shops or sipping a martini/beer at a local watering hole, but its just a necessary evil for those of us who can't imagine not getting married in our church.

    No, because if someone was unable to attend due to work, they just decline the invitation.  An inviation is just that an invitation, not a subpoena.  I have also been to more Friday weddings than Saturday weddings.  I have always preferred Friday, as you still have the rest of your weekend.
    ei34
  • afaber24 said:

    Is it less rude to ask people to take time off work to attend your wedding on a Friday? Maybe if most of your guests lived where the wedding is held it wouldn't be a problem. Not the case for us. 98% of our 300 guests live at least 1 hour away. Maybe if the ceremony was at 8pm, but a full work day + hour drive + dinner would leave me sleeping in my cake! Sunday may work for some, but I definitely want a "dance party" atmosphere at our reception.

    I know its rude to ask your guests to kill an hour or two browsing shops or sipping a martini/beer at a local watering hole, but its just a necessary evil for those of us who can't imagine not getting married in our church. don't care enough about our guests to find a reception venue that will accommodate our ceremony schedule. 

    FTFY
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  • With proper planning, a Catholic ceremony doesn't need to have a gap.  I was married in my Catholic church with a full mass at 4, receiving line 4:45-5, and cocktails didn't start until 6:30.  I begged and pleaded with my venue to do a "welcoming hour" which was basically a scaled down cocktail hour (just champagne, wine, beer, fruit/veggie display, cheese and bread station) from 5:30-6:30, to hold over any guests who weren't going home.  (98% of my guests lived locally, either near the church, the reception venue, or somewhere in the 30 minutes between the two.)  For the right price they were able to accommodate my request.  Any chance you can look into some sort of "in between" option?

    I should add that I've attended a handful of weddings with gaps, and it doesn't bother me.  I'm pretty laid back.  That being said, I know everyone isn't, so I worked hard to ensure there was an "in between" option, since getting married in the Catholic church meant a lot.  Looking at your OP, the 4:30-12:30 reception would bother me more than the 2-hour gap.  I get tired easily :p  Good luck and happy planning!

  • My ceremony will be at 1:00 and since its a Catholic wedding, it will more than likely last about an hour or so. So the break would take place from 2:30-4:30. We would like to have cocktail hour from 4:30-5:30 and dinner from 5:30-7:30 and the dance from 7:30 to like 12:30.

     

    Can you please provide your feedback?

    This is an incredibly long amount of time for a wedding.  It sounds horrible actually. 
  • Majelin86 said:

    We had a gap and it was fine. Don't listen to the people who make it sound like it's the end of the world. We didn't have many people from out of town, so most people could go home (where we live there's always a gap between ceremony & reception, so friends get together at someone's house & have some drinks before cocktail hour). The people from out of town either chose to be hosted at my in-laws place (food & drinks there) or stay at their room in the hotel, it was their choice (again not many out-of-towners). We also gave suggestions of things to do in the gap if they chose to do that instead.

    I personally wouldn't worry too much about it, although our wedding was pretty laid-back. People can fill 2 hours of their day, they are capable of finding things to do (after all, they are adults).

    Our ceremony was at 2:30-3:00, cocktail "hour" (it was a half hour) was 5:30-6:00, dinner at 6:00, speeches & dancing afterwards. It went until 1am. People were not obligated to stay, if they wanted to leave they could (some of the older people did) but we have some partiers in our family/friends so a lot of people were there until the end.

    Says the person who had 8 "speeches" for 30 minutes....

    Gaps are rude. Period. 
    It really is laughable how seriously some of you take weddings....it's one day!
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Majelin86 said:
    Majelin86 said:

    We had a gap and it was fine. Don't listen to the people who make it sound like it's the end of the world. We didn't have many people from out of town, so most people could go home (where we live there's always a gap between ceremony & reception, so friends get together at someone's house & have some drinks before cocktail hour). The people from out of town either chose to be hosted at my in-laws place (food & drinks there) or stay at their room in the hotel, it was their choice (again not many out-of-towners). We also gave suggestions of things to do in the gap if they chose to do that instead.

    I personally wouldn't worry too much about it, although our wedding was pretty laid-back. People can fill 2 hours of their day, they are capable of finding things to do (after all, they are adults).

    Our ceremony was at 2:30-3:00, cocktail "hour" (it was a half hour) was 5:30-6:00, dinner at 6:00, speeches & dancing afterwards. It went until 1am. People were not obligated to stay, if they wanted to leave they could (some of the older people did) but we have some partiers in our family/friends so a lot of people were there until the end.

    Says the person who had 8 "speeches" for 30 minutes....

    Gaps are rude. Period. 
    It really is laughable how seriously some of you take weddings....it's one day!
    There's nothing "laughable" about 13 hour weddings-especially because an unnecessary 2 hour gap was decided upon.  Couples are not entitled to the whole day just because they're getting married.
    aurorajanette
  • kitty8403kitty8403 member
    1000 Comments 250 Love Its First Answer Name Dropper
    edited November 2013

    Kitty and afaber, Just because your friends and family were rude to have gaps in their weddings, doesn't make it ok for you to do so too.  I had a Catholic wedding and purposely held it on a Friday so that we could avoid the gap and still have the "dinner" styled recpetion.  My sister also just had a Friday wedding, and there was about an hour of gap between her ceremony and reception.  However, my parents hosted all guests at their home in between so that no guests were left sitting in their car or twiddling their thumbs waiting for the reception to start.  Gaps are avoidable if you plan correctly. 

    The one way to avoid a gap is to only book a reception venue that will be able to accomodate your needed start time.  I know the Church can be inflexible on times, but there are lots of venues that will accomodate different start times.



    @oliveoilsmom (eta tag)
    Please reread my comment. I did not say gaps were acceptable or recommend the OP keep her gap. I was responding to Tammy's point about how long a wedding reception should be. And I do stand by my statement that I personally have zero issues with an all-day (gapless) wedding, but that others with more pressing commitments might find something scheduled from, say, 3-11 pm problematic.

  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!) member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    edited November 2013
    Majelin86 said:
    Majelin86 said:

    We had a gap and it was fine. Don't listen to the people who make it sound like it's the end of the world. We didn't have many people from out of town, so most people could go home (where we live there's always a gap between ceremony & reception, so friends get together at someone's house & have some drinks before cocktail hour). The people from out of town either chose to be hosted at my in-laws place (food & drinks there) or stay at their room in the hotel, it was their choice (again not many out-of-towners). We also gave suggestions of things to do in the gap if they chose to do that instead.

    I personally wouldn't worry too much about it, although our wedding was pretty laid-back. People can fill 2 hours of their day, they are capable of finding things to do (after all, they are adults).

    Our ceremony was at 2:30-3:00, cocktail "hour" (it was a half hour) was 5:30-6:00, dinner at 6:00, speeches & dancing afterwards. It went until 1am. People were not obligated to stay, if they wanted to leave they could (some of the older people did) but we have some partiers in our family/friends so a lot of people were there until the end.

    Says the person who had 8 "speeches" for 30 minutes....

    Gaps are rude. Period. 
    It really is laughable how seriously some of you take weddings....it's one day!
    If hosting my friends and family properly means I took my wedding seriously, damn right I did!  

    It may only be one day, but that one day can be remembered as being a really nice time or a horrible time.  I wanted my wedding day to be remembered as a nice time.  I've been to horribly hosted weddings, and people still bring it up in conversation every now and then.  The bride and groom don't know, of course.  

    So yeah....if I went to a wedding with gaps or speeches that ran on.....that would be a wedding not remembered favorably.
    southernbelle0915aurorajanette
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