Wedding Day Timeline... Opinions Please?

I saw a post similar to this on the Etiquette board, but I'd be interested to hear your opinions because sometimes I feel like things that are totally looked down upon elsewhere flies without a hitch around here.

Anyway... The latest our church will allow us to hold the wedding is 4:30 - and that's if ALL photos are done before the ceremony.  If we want any photos at all done inside the church after the ceremony, the latest the ceremony can be is 3:30.  While it doesn't really matter to me, my FI is pretty insistant that he wants to wait until the altar to see me for the first time.  That puts us in the 3:30 start time slot.  We don't expect the service to last any longer than 30 min, so concluding around 4. 

Our reception venue suggests this timeline: 
3:30-4 wedding
5:30-6:30 cocktail hour
6:30-7:30 dinner (bar closed)
7:30-10:30 open bar/dancing
reception concludes at 11

During the gap, the bridal party will finish up photos at the church, then go to the park where FI proposed to me to do photos there as well.  We would then be introduced by our DJ possibly around 6 and join the cocktail hour for a brief time before dinner (give us another opportunity to get individual time with guests to thank them for coming).  

I guess my question is... How do you think this gap will be received?  I've personally been to several weddings that have a gap like this.  We thought it might offer our OOT guests a chance to take their cars back to the hotel and then be shuttled from the hotel to the reception venue.  Problems with this idea are that it won't take an hour and a half for guests to get to the hotel, then be shuttled, so they'd be left with extra time at the hotel - maybe they could get a drink there?  I don't know?  Also, this doesn't account for what the local guests will do... 

Help? TIA!

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Re: Wedding Day Timeline... Opinions Please?

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    edited December 2011
    I personally think this is completely fine.  Everyone's weddings are so different and varied, that anything can fly.  The problems I've had, and have heard about, with situations like this is...getting lost; not having directions to reception venue; not knowing what the heck is going on.

    So, make sure everyone knows what is going on!!!!  Do NOT rely on word of mouth.  Have a paper printed with: "OOT guests, please return to your hotel then we recommend taking the 5:15 shuttle #25 to this place which is at this address.  Local guests, please meet us at 5:30 at this place which is at this address for our celebration".  Make sure every guest gets one, either by placing it next to the programs, having your guestbook attendent pass them out, etc, then putting the extras in a visible place.
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    emhemmelgarnemhemmelgarn member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I've personally been against the big gap because I imagine what would happen with my family/friends: Everyone will go to a bar & drink, then show up and be, well, drunk at my wedding. I also don't like that it stretches out the wedding for the whole day (I know the thought about "those who care about you and your fiance", but... you know the ones who will complain). Then again, it gives you that extra time to wrap the present!

    However, I went to two weddings this summer that had "the gap" and they managed it pretty well. As pointed out in the PP, the most important thing is to explain what you are doing - and not by word of mouth. One of the weddings this summer put a card in their invites that invited all guests back to the hotel & a friend of the bride hosted a mini-cocktail hour with some small snacks. They shuttled everyone to the reception & it was great. They were lucky that a close friend who wasn't in the BP would host the whole thing. I was a big fan that something was planned in between - and I don't think it has to be anything large or formal, just thoughtful/planned.

    I'm glad that your wedding is not planned to go super late. I think when the whole thing starts pretty early, it makes it difficult for some people to stay late dancing (not your friends and best dancing buddies, of course!) - Just a heads up in case you notice the older folks leaving early!
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    vicki0508vicki0508 member
    5 Love Its Combo Breaker First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Personally, I hate gaps.  Do you have any guests that will be travelling to the wedding, but not getting a hotel?  Those are always the most awkard for me.  I don't have a hotel room, nor do I have a home to go to in order to pass the time.  It's boring.

    I agree with MilkDuds, you can take a LOT of photos before the ceremony without seeing each other.  I think we only needed, at most, 45 minutes to finish up pictures after the ceremony.

    Can you at least have a longer cocktail hour so guests have somewhere to go?  A recent wedding I went to had a 2.5 hour gap/cocktail hour, and while it still kind of sucked, at least we had somewhere to go and some food and alcohol was provided.
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    edited December 2011
    I got married on Saturday (11/5), and we had our ceremony at 3:30.  We actually did pics before but we had an hour drive between the ceremony and reception venues, so we didn't have a gap because cocktail hour started when guests got to the reception directly from the church, around 5:00.  I don't think starting at 3:30 makes for too long of a day, as our reception went until 11:30, and I would just maybe consider moving cocktail hour a little earlier, maybe have it go a little longer, and eat at 6?  If your ceremony is really a full 30 minutes (ours was like 15 mins), you'll also have time in there when guests are being dismissed, and if you have them do bubbles or something for an exit, which an be 'fake' if you want to stay there for more pics, that can take some time!  I just recommend not having a gap because even for in-town people, it creates the akward 'where do I go to kill an hour?' situation. 
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    edited December 2011
    I've been at/in a number of weddings with the gap. It never takes just an hour for photos if you don't see each other. so make sure you allot an hour and 1/2 for this.
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    vicki0508vicki0508 member
    5 Love Its Combo Breaker First Comment
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="">Re: Wedding Day Timeline... Opinions Please?</a>:
    [QUOTE]I've been at/in a number of weddings with the gap. It never takes just an hour for photos if you don't see each other. so make sure you allot an hour and 1/2 for this.
    Posted by jentaberson[/QUOTE]
    Not true.  Like I said, H and I didn't see each other before the ceremony, and at MOST is took us 45 minutes to get all of our pictures taken during the cocktail hour.
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    I'm not a fan of gaps either. We went to one of our friends wedding and was really thrown off by the 2hr gap between their ceremony and thier reception (not that yours is this long), but it was really odd.
    I agree with others, do pre wedding photos and then a cocktail hour. But if you really can't see him before the wedding, think about doing fewer shots or about limiting your locations. Or have a super long cocktail hour and provide a few extra hor d'ourves

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