It was always sort of my understanding (as I gather is generally accepted here) that the cocktail hour should start right after the ceremony. But two of the last three weddings I went to have had a gap between them (and the only one that didn't was one were the ceremony and the reception were at the same place).
Now that I'm planning my own wedding, I find the gap seems almost inevitable, and -- for some guests -- maybe even helpful. Am I crazy? Is there a better solution here?
The problem is that we go to a Catholic church that has a 4 p.m. mass on Saturdays. Which means our wedding needs to end early enough for them to get everything back to normal by 4 p.m. It's an hour-plus ceremony, so we're thinking start at 2 p.m., done by 3:15 or 3:30. The reception venue is maybe 15-20 minutes away. If we didn't have a gap, we'd be serving dinner by 4:45 and kicking people out at 9 p.m.
On top of that, the hotel where the reception is (and where most of our guests will be staying) doesn't allow check-in until 4 p.m. So guests driving in that day won't be able to check in until AFTER the ceremony. Is it crazy/rude to plan a gap between the ceremony and the reception to push dinner back to a reasonable time and allow guests to settle in to their rooms? I think what we're leaning toward is having the ceremony end around 3:15 p.m. and having the cocktail hour start at 4:30 p.m.