Wedding Customs & Traditions Forum

Amt of Time between ceremony and reception

Hey Brides!
    I'm REALLY stuck on this. How much time is everyone having between the cermony and reception? I was thinking of having my ceremony a from 5-530p then cocktail hour at 6-7 recpetion 7-11. (Reception and cocktail hour is the same place) that would leave me with a hr for pictures which we're doing at the ceremony site. Is that enough time? I was at one wedding where there was 4 hours between the ceremony and reception with really no where to go and nothing to do. My reception is downtown Savannah, GA so they would have something to do between if I were to make it longer.

Any suggestions? How much time are you planning for in between both?
Thanks!

Re: Amt of Time between ceremony and reception

  • There shouldn't be any time between the end of the ceremony and the beginning of cocktail hour aside from travel time.  It doesn't matter that there are things to do in Savannah, it's rude to not host people completely from beginning to end.  The cocktail hour's entire purpose to entertain guests while you take pictures.  If your pictures will take more than an hour, you're going to need to have some done before the ceremony.
  • We're having a 3-4 hour window between the two

  • Miss EsaMiss Esa member
    100 Comments Name Dropper 5 Love Its First Anniversary
    edited September 2012
    We are having the ceremony at 5, coctail hour at 5:30, and dinner at 6:30. (Both the ceremony and reception are in the same place.)

    I would be pissed if I was at a wedding with a 3-4 window between the ceremony and reception. Anything more than travel time is too long IMHO.
    Its not the destination so much as the journey, they say. - Captain Jack Sparrow Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • RebeccaB88RebeccaB88 Figment of Your Imagination member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I think your timeline sounds good.  You're giving guests 30 minutes to clear out of the ceremony venue and get to the reception venue.  By the time they get out the doors, say hello to a few people, get to their cars, drive, find parking, get inside, and start talking to people, that should eat up the 30 minutes.  Any more than that would be unneccessary. 

    3-4 hour gaps are just flat out rude to your guests.
  • You need to host your guests from the start of the ceremony through the end of the reception. Don't leave them on their own to find "something to do." You can do pictures while they are at cocktail hour. That's what it's for.

    As long as the venue will let your guests in and allow them to get settled when they arrive, I think starting the food and drink at 6pm will be fine. Ceremonies start late, people have to drive over to the reception, so as long as you think your guests will get to the venue around 5:50-6pm, that's an okay schedule, IMO.
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  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_customs-traditions_amt-of-time-between-ceremony-and-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:36Discussion:9a3e9a0f-486c-4eef-ab75-980589918d49Post:a746a06c-d644-42a5-977b-920c6fd8f70b">Amt of Time between ceremony and reception</a>:
    [QUOTE]Hey Brides!     I'm REALLY stuck on this. How much time is everyone having between the cermony and reception? I was thinking of having my ceremony a from 5-530p then cocktail hour at 6-7 recpetion 7-11. (Reception and cocktail hour is the same place) that would leave me with a hr for pictures which we're doing at the ceremony site. Is that enough time? I was at one wedding where there was 4 hours between the ceremony and reception with really no where to go and nothing to do. My reception is downtown Savannah, GA so they would have something to do between if I were to make it longer. Any suggestions? How much time are you planning for in between both? Thanks!
    Posted by Doreen&Mike[/QUOTE]

    <div>There shouldn't be ANY time between the ceremony and reception (except travel time.)  </div><div>
    </div><div>Gaps are really rude.  If your places are 30 minutes apart, your schedule works.  If they're 5 minutes apart, you need to start the cocktail hour sooner.  </div>
  • I agree we aren't having anytime between the end of the ceremony and the reception/cocktail hour. It's just rude. I was at a wedding where there was a 3 to 4 hour gap and I realllly didn't like it at all. All of my energy was drained, and I was completely unhappy with the situation.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_customs-traditions_amt-of-time-between-ceremony-and-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:36Discussion:9a3e9a0f-486c-4eef-ab75-980589918d49Post:fc7eda23-0882-4c22-81c8-5577712fbe3d">Re: Amt of Time between ceremony and reception</a>:
    [QUOTE]We're having a 3-4 hour window between the two
    Posted by Erikan73[/QUOTE]

    That is what I'm doing too! This is okay right? I wasn't sure if this was to long a wait. Is it?
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_customs-traditions_amt-of-time-between-ceremony-and-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:36Discussion:9a3e9a0f-486c-4eef-ab75-980589918d49Post:d0a6015f-6c8d-4c43-a85e-37ff635e1790">Re: Amt of Time between ceremony and reception</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Amt of Time between ceremony and reception : That is what I'm doing too! This is okay right? I wasn't sure if this was to long a wait. Is it?
    Posted by CulyeenRN[/QUOTE]

    How far is the ceremony venue from the reception?

    Anything more than travle time is considred rude and is inconsiderate towards your guests.
    Its not the destination so much as the journey, they say. - Captain Jack Sparrow Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • AdeleDazeemAdeleDazeem member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited September 2012
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_customs-traditions_amt-of-time-between-ceremony-and-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:36Discussion:9a3e9a0f-486c-4eef-ab75-980589918d49Post:d0a6015f-6c8d-4c43-a85e-37ff635e1790">Re: Amt of Time between ceremony and reception</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Amt of Time between ceremony and reception : That is what I'm doing too! This is okay right? I wasn't sure if this was to long a wait. Is it?
    Posted by CulyeenRN[/QUOTE]

    Did you - well - <em>read</em> the advice in this thread?  The answer to this exact question is in here.
  • We had an hour-long cocktail party immediately following the ceremony, there was no time break between our departure and the beginning of the cocktail party.  H and I went off for pictures, our guests enjoyed the party.  We joined our guests for the last ten minutes of the cocktail party and we all went inside together for dinner.

  • I've never been a fan, but largeish time gaps are very common in my region.  I think it stems from the tradition of having church ceremonies, which have to be scheduled around services and often are earlier in the day, and then the reception starting in the evening. They don't generally do a separate cocktail session for guests - guests just show up at the reception.  The wedding party goes for photos and after that usually bar hops a bit during the gap. 


  • Our reception and ceremony was a half hour away. Therefore, we had a 3 hour gap (Since our ceremony ended earlier than expected, I thought our gap would be 2 1/2 hours not 3 hours.) However, I included the ceremony time and cocktail hour time on the invitations, so guests immediately knew there would be a gap.

    On our programs, we had an intermission section of things to do. Since our reception was in the hotel, we had a casino, bars and restaurants in the same area. Plus, there was a very large mall nearby and historical land marks, so there were plenty of things for our guests to do in between.

    In my region, gaps are very common. In fact, I have never been to a wedding that didn't have a gap. However, I would make sure that your gap isn't too long. Four hours may be pushing it. I didn't expect my gap to be 3 hours, but it worked out okay for us.

    Other people may advise against having a gap. On the other hand, I agree with having a gap. It was nice for us to enjoy our time spent together as a married couple, and for our guests to enjoy the area. We received so many compliments about the list of activities in between, so I was very happy that we decided to have a gap.

    If you are having a gap, make sure you put both the ceremony time and cocktail hour time on the invitations, so guests know what to expect.
  • I've been to church ceremonies where there had to be a gap between, which isn't ideal but sometimes its out of your control.  My brother had a church wedding, followed by a reception about 15 min. away at a country club type place.  However, there was about a 2hr gap between the two, so a family friend who lived at the country club offered to host a "cocktail" type event in between so guests had an option to attend since the venue itself didn't have that option since it had an earlier event.  
    Sounds like you have yours in order to flow smoothly.  An 1hr should be plenty of picture time, and especially if you get some pics prior to the ceremony your group pics shouldn't take that long.  Where are you getting your pics done?  If getting them at the ceremony or reception site, you'll be OK-- but if you plan on having them somewhere in between just be sure to arrange for that to happen in your time frame.  and really, the reception starts when you guys are announced, so if you are not there right at 7 your guest will have plenty to do since the cocktail hour flows right into the reception.    
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  • As long as the reception site is at least 15 minutes from the ceremony site, you should be fine.  It will take people a few minutes to get out of the ceremony, get to their cars, etc, so add that to travel time and they should arrive about the time the cocktail hour starts.  Just make sure that if someone gets there at 5:45 or something that they'll be able to get in to find their seat and get situated.  I'd be pretty irritated if I got to the reception venue and it wasn't even open yet.

    And gaps are rude, plain and simple.  I don't care how long or short, or how much there is to do, they're rude.  I don't want to go sight seeing in my formal attire and heels, thankyouverymuch.  And if I live close enough to go home I'm likely not going back out.
  • I've never been to a wedding that did not have some kind of gap between ceremony and cocktail hour. The majority of the weddings that I've been to have been in my area and we wouldn't even consider a half hour to be a gap.
     
    OP I don't know what guests in your area think but your timeline sounds fine to me.
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  • 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_customs-traditions_amt-of-time-between-ceremony-and-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:36Discussion:9a3e9a0f-486c-4eef-ab75-980589918d49Post:8d7e472a-d328-4791-bd4b-33a2e249b714">Re: Amt of Time between ceremony and reception</a>:
    [QUOTE]Our reception and ceremony was a half hour away. Therefore, we had a 3 hour gap (Since our ceremony ended earlier than expected, I thought our gap would be 2 1/2 hours not 3 hours.) However, I included the ceremony time and cocktail hour time on the invitations, so guests immediately knew there would be a gap. On our programs, we had an intermission section of things to do. Since our reception was in the hotel, we had a casino, bars and restaurants in the same area. <strong>Plus, there was a very large mall nearby</strong> and historical land marks, so there were plenty of things for our guests to do in between. In my region, gaps are very common. In fact, I have never been to a wedding that didn't have a gap. However, I would make sure that your gap isn't too long. Four hours may be pushing it. I didn't expect my gap to be 3 hours, but it worked out okay for us. Other people may advise against having a gap. On the other hand, I agree with having a gap. It was nice for us to enjoy our time spent together as a married couple, and for our guests to enjoy the area. We received so many compliments about the list of activities in between, so I was very happy that we decided to have a gap. If you are having a gap, make sure you put both the ceremony time and cocktail hour time on the invitations, so guests know what to expect.
    Posted by pink34562000[/QUOTE]

    Ummm, really?  I'm dressed to the nines for a wedding and I'm going to go to a mall?  Yeah, no.  And the only way I'd go to a bar is if you were paying for the drinks. 

    As a guest, please don't waste my time.  Gaps are incredibly rude.  Just because it's common in your area doesn't make it right.  If you want to take that many pictures that you need hours, start before the ceremony. 
  • there will be a 2 hour gap between the end of our ceremony and reception. it's our day, our way, if people want to gripe about they don't have to come.

    it's your day and if you want extra time for pictures or if you want to make sure you go to the cocktail hour, then do so. we are, however, going to give lots of suggestions for things for guests to do in between the ceremony and reception. also, the reception is at a hotel and many guests are staying at the hotel so the gap will give people time to check in and freshen up.
  • We will have about an 1 1/2-2 hour gap between ceremony and reception.  Almost all of our guests are perpetual late comers and goers, and we will be doing pics between ceremony and reception.

    I agree with daisyamers, it is our day, we have to do things our way.  THAT's how we're being "grown-ups" about the whole thing.  Besides, it being a summer wedding and outside, this will give guests a chance to relax from the heat.  And we're going to make sure the guests can be accommodated/ entertained.  Just not by us - this is a wedding day, not a dog and pony show.

    Plus we also come from both sides having a bit of a gap.  Maybe we're just a bit different from you folks that feel everything has to be one right after the other.

    One other thing, we aren't having a cocktail hour because we're planning a dry wedding.  No drunks for us!
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