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Snarky Brides

Gap Between Church Ceremony & Reception

Hey there,

So, I am getting a lot of different opinions on this when polling my friends/relatives.

Our Catholic Church offered a 3pm and a 730pm Saturday wedding.  We are having a Catholic mass so we option for th 3pm option so we can take pictures after during daylight.  We also thought 830pm was too late to begin a reception where dinner wouldn't be until 9pm.  (We don't have a lot of hipsters and others who think it is cool to eat late.)

We have a beautiful reception planned at a lovely restaurant which is highly acclaimed and I know once guests get there, they will be completely stuffed and drunk. (My fiance insists on full open premium bar for the entire length of the reception.)

The amount of time between the ceremony and reception is probably going to be about 90 minutes for most guests with a start time of 6pm. 

We have socked all of our money into the reception and can't really afford to entertain them beforehand.  Is it acceptable to just give them free time?

If not, what would be a good plan to give to guests to fill the 90 minutes?

Thanks for your advice.
S
«1

Re: Gap Between Church Ceremony & Reception

  • How far is your reception venue from the church?  Gaps are common in my circle, but I understand why many people find them unacceptable. 

    I think 9 is a pretty late start time for dinner, too.  But keep in mind that if you did want to consider the 7:30 ceremony, you could do all of your pictures before the ceremony and go straight to the reception after.
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  • It is 4.5 miles, or 10 minutes by car.Thanks for your input & cute picture.
  • Sierra524Sierra524 member
    500 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper First Anniversary
    edited January 2013
    I am having a gap too. We were going to have a 2 hour gap, but I was able to cut it down to 1 hour by starting the reception an hr later than planned. But it takes about 20 mins to get from ceremony to reception. Guests will be able to go into the club where the reception is, but they are not able to go into the ballroom where it will be held until 6pm.

    Edit: I meant starting the CEREMONY an hour later than planned, not reception.
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  • NYCMercedesNYCMercedes BOS, NYC, DC. Forever a city girl member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Gaps are inconsiderate to your guests. Have you ever been to a wedding with a gap? Put yourself in your guests shoes and think about what you would do in those 90 minutes. Can you start the cocktail party or social hour early?
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_snarky-brides_gap-between-church-ceremony-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:17Discussion:4842ed1f-a456-45b7-a236-8e3e8c7603bePost:0835d1f2-3b6a-4b76-8d24-7abdae61ed25">Gap Between Church Ceremony & Reception</a>:
    [QUOTE] Is it acceptable to just give them free time? If not, what would be a good plan to give to guests to fill the 90 minutes? Thanks for your advice. S
    Posted by travelchic1982[/QUOTE]
    I have no idea what's in your area or what your area even is so I dont' kow what a good plan could be.
    What do you think your guests would do during their free time?

    Some people say that go home, but it definitely would depend if that was even logical.
    For instance, if I drove 30 minutes to the ceremony... and the reception site was near the ceremony site in the same direction, I'm not going to drive 30 minutes there, 30 minutes back... then 30 minutes back again and then at the end of the night 30 minutes home again. If I lived 5 or 10 minutes away I might do it.

    I think you should consider extending your cocktail hour. I know money is tight, but your other option is to have dinner later.
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  • We are having a 2 hour gap, but the reception is about 30 minutes away from the ceremony venue.  The ceremony is at a park with lots of other activities (mini golf, paddle boats, etc), and the reception venue has a restaurant, arcade and bowling alley in the lower level, so there's plenty for guests to do between the 2.  And, we figure a lot of people will be checking into their hotel rooms between the ceremony and reception.
  • I've been to weddings before with no cocktail hour to bridge the gab between ceremony and reception.  I was never particularly bothered by it, but that's because I always had other friends attending and we would go grab some drinks or something before heading to the reception.  Are there places around (local bars, etc) where people could hang out before the reception?  Maybe you could offer this information to your guests...
  • I would skip the ceremony and go to the reception.  That's too long in between.  Move up your reception.
  • I think 90 min. is too long when the drive between is only 10 min. Whether they're local or OOT, what are guests supposed to do during that time? Go home or hang out at their hotel? I know you are asking for ideas, and that is probably because there are no good ideas of what guests should do for 90 min.

    I agree with PPs to offer a cocktail hour starting around 430 until 530 and then the reception can "officially" begin at 530. You can still wait until 6 to actually serve the meal.


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  • In my group of friends it is not uncommon to have a large gap between the ceremony and the reception, the last one was 4 hours! We all meet up at someone's house and chill. But you better believe that there is a lot of discussion about how terrible the gap is. So even though its what's expected and "accepted" with my friend's my FI and I are determined to keep the gap to a minimum.
    Though your guests may not thank you for keeping the time between the ceremony and reception as short as possible, they will notice if its long. So if possible I would move up the reception if possible. If budget is a concern you can offer a small slection of alcoholic (like two or three mixed drinks) and nonalcoholic drinks and keep the full open bar for later.
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  • How about a cash bar at the reception site for the "in between" time. My cousin had cash bar until the actual "reception" time, after which it was open bar. Since the couple arrived at reception time, it was clear the party was then starting.
  • Its not my favorite thing to have a long gap between the ceremony and the reception but it is so common that as a guest I really don't think it is something worth complaining about.  I think most people realize that as the bride you are at the mercy of both the church and the reception site and don't hold you personally responsible.  I get more irritated when I arrive at a reception at the deignated time and THEN wait 2 hours for any food to be served.
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_snarky-brides_gap-between-church-ceremony-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:17Discussion:4842ed1f-a456-45b7-a236-8e3e8c7603bePost:62a2a82d-3c1e-4a05-ae98-1bd4b61e2281">Re: Gap Between Church Ceremony & Reception</a>:
    [QUOTE]How about a cash bar at the reception site for the "in between" time. My cousin had cash bar until the actual "reception" time, after which it was open bar. Since the couple arrived at reception time, it was clear the party was then starting.
    Posted by TurQ1968[/QUOTE]

    Did you really just suggest a cash bar? smh.

  • KatWAGKatWAG Chicago member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_snarky-brides_gap-between-church-ceremony-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:17Discussion:4842ed1f-a456-45b7-a236-8e3e8c7603bePost:62a2a82d-3c1e-4a05-ae98-1bd4b61e2281">Re: Gap Between Church Ceremony & Reception</a>:
    [QUOTE]How about a cash bar at the reception site for the "in between" time. My cousin had cash bar until the actual "reception" time, after which it was open bar. Since the couple arrived at reception time, it was clear the party was then starting.
    Posted by TurQ1968[/QUOTE]

    Cash bars are never acceptable.
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_snarky-brides_gap-between-church-ceremony-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:17Discussion:4842ed1f-a456-45b7-a236-8e3e8c7603bePost:d9fc1abb-3a1a-4637-bb90-60cfa3db9261">Re: Gap Between Church Ceremony & Reception</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Gap Between Church Ceremony & Reception : Cash bars are never acceptable.
    Posted by KatWAG[/QUOTE]

    Gaps are rarely acceptable.

    Hosting is a lost art, it seems.
  • In the area I live in it isn't uncommon to have a 2-3 hour gap between the ceremony & reception. My husband drives limo on weekends and has it for almost every wedding he drives for. What we did for our wedding since the ceremony & reception site were 30 minutes apart, we provided a list on our website of things to do between the two location that were free or under $5.00 (which was for parking). Yes, a few people did skip the ceremony, but that was more because it would have been an hour drive for them to the ceremony & reception was closer to their home. But I didn't let it bother me. A couple of our guests used the fact that they were in an area of town they normally don't get to & did use our list to see some local sites. Others got together at the home of someone that lived close to reception & had a glass of whine while killing time. No one close to me said anything to me about the gap when they heard about the times.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_snarky-brides_gap-between-church-ceremony-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:17Discussion:4842ed1f-a456-45b7-a236-8e3e8c7603bePost:168e7b98-8644-4f2c-a1db-76aaa50334a2">Re: Gap Between Church Ceremony & Reception</a>:
    [QUOTE]In the area I live in it isn't uncommon to have a 2-3 hour gap between the ceremony & reception. My husband drives limo on weekends and has it for almost every wedding he drives for. What we did for our wedding since the ceremony & reception site were 30 minutes apart, we provided a list on our website of things to do between the two location that were free or under $5.00 (which was for parking). Yes, a few people did skip the ceremony, but that was more because it would have been an hour drive for them to the ceremony & reception was closer to their home. But I didn't let it bother me. A couple of our guests used the fact that they were in an area of town they normally don't get to & did use our list to see some local sites. Others got together at the home of someone that lived close to reception & had a glass of whine while killing time. <strong>No one close to me said anything to me about the gap when they heard about the times.</strong>
    Posted by Erikan73[/QUOTE]
    Yikes, they probably just said it behind your back.
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  • NYCMercedesNYCMercedes BOS, NYC, DC. Forever a city girl member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited January 2013
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_snarky-brides_gap-between-church-ceremony-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:17Discussion:4842ed1f-a456-45b7-a236-8e3e8c7603bePost:168e7b98-8644-4f2c-a1db-76aaa50334a2">Re: Gap Between Church Ceremony & Reception</a>:
    [QUOTE]In the area I live in it isn't uncommon to have a 2-3 hour gap between the ceremony & reception. My husband drives limo on weekends and has it for almost every wedding he drives for. What we did for our wedding since the ceremony & reception site were 30 minutes apart, we provided a list on our website of things to do between the two location that were free or under $5.00 (which was for parking). Yes, a few people did skip the ceremony, but that was more because it would have been an hour drive for them to the ceremony & reception was closer to their home. But I didn't let it bother me. A couple of our guests used the fact that they were in an area of town they normally don't get to & did use our list to see some local sites. Others got together at the home of someone that lived close to reception & had a glass of whine while killing time. No one close to me said anything to me about the gap when they heard about the times.
    Posted by Erikan73[/QUOTE]

    Love that "glass of whine".
  • peekaboo2011peekaboo2011 Washington, DC member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 250 Love Its Name Dropper
    I went to a wedding with a gap last year, and the B&G listed in the programs something along the lines of "We have a tab at x bar at x location, please go drink until the reception, tell the bartender you're with  us."  Would something like that be an option?
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  • We also had a similar length gap and it is common in our circle. But we did have a room at the hotel where all the OOT guests were staying (about half the guest list) where we hosted light snacks and drinks for anyone who wanted to attend. Is it possible for you to do something like this? Or is there a family member that lives close to the church that would be willing to host people at their house? What about the church hall if there is not a wedding after you? If you can swing it, I think it is nice to have some place for your guests to hang out during the gap and at least have some water or tea and snacks (think veggie tray etc), especially if they are from OOT. It doesn't have to super pricey.
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  • Here's the heirarchy of gaps:

    Top: No gap at all!!!  Huzzah!

    Middle: A gap with hosted something (hotel room with food and drink, open tab at a bar, paid admittance to a museum or something equally interesting)

    If a gap is necessary, hosting something in between is the absolute best thing you can do.  You're the host - you should be hosting from beginning to end.  The best way is to go directly from ceremony to reception, but providing refreshments to your guests during your gap is the next best thing.



    Very very bottom: Letting everyone fend for themselves, regardless if a piece of paper was provided with "Things to do during the gap!" perkiness.  Sorry, folks - this is just bad news bears etiquette-wise.  It's not good hosting at all. 
  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!) member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_snarky-brides_gap-between-church-ceremony-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:17Discussion:4842ed1f-a456-45b7-a236-8e3e8c7603bePost:5808bc73-7b1d-4372-b776-ef6c01f9dd27">Re: Gap Between Church Ceremony & Reception</a>:
    [QUOTE]We are having a 2 hour gap, but the reception is about 30 minutes away from the ceremony venue.  <strong>The ceremony is at a park with lots of other activities (mini golf, paddle boats, etc), and the reception venue has a restaurant, arcade and bowling alley in the lower level, so there's plenty for guests to do between the 2.  </strong>And, we figure a lot of people will be checking into their hotel rooms between the ceremony and reception.
    Posted by bburkel[/QUOTE]<div>
    </div><div>Do you actually think that paddle boats and mini golf are a great ideas to kill time while dressed up for a wedding?  Sorry, I think it's awfully ridiculous.</div><div>
    </div><div>It is YOUR responsibility to have a smooth transition between ceremony and reception.  You need to host your guests with some sort of drinks/apps before the reception starts.

    </div>
  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!) member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    In Response to Re: Gap Between Church Ceremony & Reception:
    [QUOTE]How about a cash bar at the reception site for the "in between" time. My cousin had cash bar until the actual "reception" time, after which it was open bar. Since the couple arrived at reception time, it was clear the party was then starting.
    Posted by TurQ1968[/QUOTE]

    This is awful advice!  The bride and groom need to eliminate the gap.  If the choose not to, then they need to properly host their guests and pay for drinks/apps.

  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!) member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_snarky-brides_gap-between-church-ceremony-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:17Discussion:4842ed1f-a456-45b7-a236-8e3e8c7603bePost:168e7b98-8644-4f2c-a1db-76aaa50334a2">Re: Gap Between Church Ceremony & Reception</a>:
    [QUOTE]In the area I live in it isn't uncommon to have a 2-3 hour gap between the ceremony & reception. My husband drives limo on weekends and has it for almost every wedding he drives for. What we did for our wedding since the ceremony & reception site were 30 minutes apart, we provided a list on our website of things to do between the two location that were free or under $5.00 (which was for parking). Yes, a few people did skip the ceremony, but that was more because it would have been an hour drive for them to the ceremony & reception was closer to their home. But I didn't let it bother me. A couple of our guests used the fact that they were in an area of town they normally don't get to & did use our list to see some local sites. Others got together at the home of someone that lived close to reception & had a glass of whine while killing time. <strong>No one close to me said anything to me about the gap when they heard about the times.</strong>
    Posted by Erikan73[/QUOTE]<div>
    </div><div>That's because they probably said it behind your back!  Seriously, I would never tell you it's rude to your face, but DH and I would certainly be talking about it.  As we sat in our car bored out of our minds waiting for the reception to start.

    </div>
  • It's not the end of the world, inconvenient yes but people will get over it.  Specifically state the time of the ceremony (include "mass") and the time of the reception.  You're inviting adults, they will figure it out.  Some may skip the ceremony and only go to the reception.  Some may gripe and moan about it, and some may not even care.  You do what you can.  Coming from a catholic, it's a lot more challenging working with a church that offers their Sunday obligation masses on Saturdays.
  • I think our wedding is going to have a bit of a gap as well. But our wedding is at a hotel and most if not all guests will be staying in the hotel. I figured they could go up to their rooms and relax a bit before the dinner and reception started? Our wedding is also in the wine country area of Nova Scotia, so there's plenty of vineyards to visit or look around if they wish during that time?
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_snarky-brides_gap-between-church-ceremony-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:17Discussion:4842ed1f-a456-45b7-a236-8e3e8c7603bePost:8d288cad-be4f-45b8-ac49-e6960b3b358c">Re: Gap Between Church Ceremony & Reception</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Gap Between Church Ceremony & Reception : Did you really just suggest a cash bar? smh.
    Posted by Maggie0829[/QUOTE]

    MOST of the weddings Ive gone to were CASH yes CASH bar.....and it didnt bother anyone.....its funny ive never known it to be "BAD ETIQUETTE" to have a cash bar....
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_snarky-brides_gap-between-church-ceremony-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:17Discussion:4842ed1f-a456-45b7-a236-8e3e8c7603bePost:384b4d39-2acb-4145-9788-0632ff133eee">Re: Gap Between Church Ceremony & Reception</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Gap Between Church Ceremony & Reception : Selfish and self-centered isn't a good look on anyone.
    Posted by Viczaesar[/QUOTE]

    Then u should throw her another $1000
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_snarky-brides_gap-between-church-ceremony-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:17Discussion:4842ed1f-a456-45b7-a236-8e3e8c7603bePost:bc298fed-0c2b-4dfd-8208-7040d9ec3d10">Re: Gap Between Church Ceremony & Reception</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Gap Between Church Ceremony & Reception : Because caring about only yourself and refusing to be told you're wrong is a good life choice for anyone over the age of three.
    Posted by Harry87[/QUOTE]
    You should throw her another $1000 then
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  • FI and I went to a wedding last year that ended at 3:30 and the reception started at 6! It was awful for us and we even lived close enough we could go home in between. Guests arrived at 6 and the wedding party was almost 45 mins late so really didn't start until almost 7 and to make matters worse it was cash bar only until the bride and groom arrived. I don't know what out of town guests did!! To put the icing on the cake, those 3+ hrs the wedding party was out driving around for pictures gave them plenty of time to get smashed which left for a very pissed off bride at the reception. Poor planning on that one!

    Our wedding and reception are being held at the same place. Wedding at 4:30-5pm and reception starting at 6. We are preparing a cocktail hour, appitizers and the photo booth will be up and running at that time, so they should be entertained. Is your wedding having an open bar? Even if you say have 3hrs for bar service, why not start it in that hour early? I have been to weddings where they have run out of a keg/wine at 9 or 10 and by that point if people still want to drink they won't have a problem paying for one. It's been in my experience they would much rather start out with a couple free drinks.
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