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Catholic Weddings

Gap between Mass and Reception

How do people react to the gap between the Mass and the Reception?  I feel like most non-Catholics get real surprised and don't know what to do during that time.  I tell them to go back to their homes or their hotels and rest before partying.  Do you experience the same?

Ah well, I'm sure people will get over the shock.
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Re: Gap between Mass and Reception

  • Calypso1977Calypso1977 member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    i am Catholic, and ive never been to a wedding of any faith with a gap, and honestly never heard of them utnil i came on here.

    in 99.9% of cases you can avoid a gap.   most gaps occur because a bride/groom either insist on a certain reception location or they insist on an evening wedding.  usually if you are flexible on one of these, you can avoid the gap.

    IMO, its rude to your guests to make them wait 3 hours (or more, in some cases!) for your reception simply becuase you had to have a certain place or you insist on an evening wedding.

    others on here tell you gaps are common in certain areas.  maybe they are.  i know for me, personally, if iwere invited to a wedding with a gap, i'd come to your ceremony but not wait around for the reception.  i dont buy the reasoning that you can "rest" or "freshen up" before the reception, both of those things seem entirely unnecessary to me.  not sure how you get tired or dirty from sitting through an hour ceremony.  also, some guests might be traveling but not far enough to warrant a hotel.  where do those folks tehn go?  if you insist on a gap, at least provide things (and food, drink) for folks to do in the meantime.
  • Clare13Clare13 member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I would be very cautious about a gap between the ceremony and reception.  I have been to many weddings where a gap has occured and one of two things usually happens.  Either people go to the bar and drink.  This works but makes for a very roudy reception.  Second, people skip the ceremony and just show up for the reception part later in the evening.  So the real question is, do you want people to attend the wedding ceremony?  With a break you will get fewer guests at the wedding but they usually still attend the reception.  The wedding mass is the most important part for me so we were able to work it where mass with be Friday at 6:00pm and the reception is immediatly following.  HTH
  • Riss91Riss91 member
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2011

    In my area, it is pretty common so I don't think people are really shocked or confused. I think you should do your best to avoid it. But, if that is not a possibility, you should offer your guests a place to relax in-between. Either set up a hospitality suite at a nearby hotel, or direct your guests to a suitable location where they could get bite to eat, something to drink and use a restroom. Especially for those guests that might be travelling and would not be able to just go back to a hotel room, or back to their house.

  • ootmother2ootmother2 member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    You should plan a hospitality suite or the like if you can't avoid the gap if at all possible.

    That said, I've been to exactly ONE Catholic wedding that didn't  have a gap.  It's not poor planning, it's just how weddings are done in my area/circle. Sometimes there is a hospitality suite, most often this is out of NYC. 

    It seems that most people in NYC like the extra time to change or freshen up between the ceremony and the reception.  When  the wedding is at 2 and the formal reception starts at 5, it's nice to change to more formal dress for the evening.

    But my experiences are almost all on the East Coast, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.  This may not fly elsewhere, I don't really know.
  • ring_popring_pop member
    2500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    They're common in my area, so while not ideal, I don't think it's the end of the world. I also think it's a bit silly that Catholics all have to be at the mercy of their churches, and be forced to schedule their receptions according to their church's scheduling policies.
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  • clearheavensclearheavens member
    Knottie Warrior 1000 Comments Name Dropper 5 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    Very nice advice!  Thank you, ladies!  I'll do my best to avoid this gap.
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  • meltoinemeltoine member
    Sixth Anniversary 500 Comments First Answer
    edited December 2011
    I just attended my cousin's wedding last weekend and there was a 2.5 hour gap between the ceremony and the reception. It wasn't such a big deal since the reception was at the hotel where most of us were staying. 

    Our mass starts at 3 and the reception starts at 6, but the mass probably won't be over until about 4:30, then it's about a 30 min drive to the reception, so I'm not terribly concerned about the wait.

    I think it depends on your particular circumstances.
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  • edited December 2011
    Our ceremony will start at 3pm and we expect it to go till about 3:35 at the latest, with about 20 minutes of post ceremony line up and other traditions we are observing - together we should be done with church around 4pm.  Our reception starts at 5:30 so we have 1.5 hours gap. We will ask the guests to go back to the hotel, where we will have a suite with tea and coffee for them to drink while they wait for the shuttle buses to pick them up. Since all places - hotel, church and reception hall, are about 15 minute drives from one anther, I feel that guests will not even feel the gap.  We cannot afford getting the shuttles to the church, so they will have to drive their own cars. The buses will pick them up at the hotel at around 5pm to take them to the reception...

    there is a lounge with a separate bar at the reception, we may consider offering them to sit at that bar, but that would be a cash bar, till the cocktail hour starts... if the weather is nice, I am sure they will love taking a stroll on the grounds of our reception hall, which is a golf course and is beautiful.

    I keep telling myself that the gap will not be a problem, and then start worrying again. We are getting married in August next year, so we still have time to figure things out :)
  • Theresa626Theresa626 member
    1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I know what you mean!  I posted about this on another forum and everyone kept saying how I shouldn't have an evening reception and how horrible it would be and I got really stressed out.  Then over the holiday when I saw my extended family, I asked them about it and they were all like "It's no big deal". There's always time between.  No one thought anything of it. I feel better because most of the people who will be coming to the wedding will be Catholic so they'll probably "get it" and not be annoyed.  We're getting married in Orlando at a hotel by Universal Studios so I'm asking people to go to Citywalk in between or to hang out at the hotel bar.  Other relatives have hosted a mid day get together with alcohol and hors d'oeuvres before the cocktail hour at the parent's house or a hospitality room in the hotel but that could get expensive. 
  • Theresa626Theresa626 member
    1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Also, Calypso, I competely disagree with you.  Unless you are the type of person that has not dreamed of your wedding day or doesn't really care one way or other about where you have it, etc, that would make a whole lot of brides unhappy.  The location was extremely important to me as was having an evening wedding.  As a former wedding guest, I can tell you I'd much rather attend an evening wedding.  I'm always disappointed by afternoon weddings because no one's in the mood to party and it's just not much fun. I like to dance not stand around and talk.  As far as location, if you get a beautiful location with good food that is close to the city attractions/airport, etc that the guests will enjoy staying in, I'm sure they'll appreciate it much more than some random place far away from city attractions that happens to be right next door to a church. 

    there will always be people complaining about something and you can never please everyone but I wouldn't completely throw your wedding dreams out the window because of a church's strict time schedule. 
  • edited December 2011
    I just attended a  Catholic wedding last Saturday. The mass started at 3pm as was over around 4 or 4:30. It was perfect timing for a fall/ winter ceremony because it was sunset as we where exiting the church and I am sure they got wonderful pictures. The reception was maybe 10 minutes away from the church and they had a lovely cocktail hour and and shortly followed by the formal dinner and dancing. I had a wonderful time.
    As for my own wedding I scheduled mine for the 7:30 mass with the reception to follow at the parish hall. There are many ways that a wedding and reception can be done and whatever suits you and your FI best is what you should do. I am sure it will be wonderful.
  • ootmother2ootmother2 member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_catholic-weddings_gap-between-mass-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:615Discussion:316c2239-7ca9-4f64-9f4a-127dce7f7925Post:90c82fc0-fd80-4983-9675-742c4ea1bfbf">Re: Gap between Mass and Reception</a>:
    [QUOTE]Also, Calypso, I competely disagree with you.  Unless you are the type of person that has not dreamed of your wedding day or doesn't really care one way or other about where you have it, etc, that would make a whole lot of brides unhappy.  The location was extremely important to me as was having an evening wedding.  As a former wedding guest, I can tell you I'd much rather attend an evening wedding.  I'm always disappointed by afternoon weddings because no one's in the mood to party and it's just not much fun. I like to dance not stand around and talk.  As far as location, if you get a beautiful location with good food that is close to the city attractions/airport, etc that the guests will enjoy staying in, I'm sure they'll appreciate it much more than some random place far away from city attractions that happens to be right next door to a church.  there will always be people complaining about something and you can never please everyone but I wouldn't completely throw your wedding dreams out the window because of a church's strict time schedule. 
    Posted by Theresa626[/QUOTE]

    I agree with you but I think Calypso thinks a morning or early day ceremony with brunch is good for all circles and it's just not.  Her's perhaps but mine would not be happy at all with it.

    I would probably be tossed out ot the family if there was not a huge ceremony, bagpiper at the church, harpists and trumpeters everywhere...haha, you get the picture!

    The reception must be in the evening and cocktail time with tons of appetizers  is 5 - 6:30 minimum.  Dancing can rule over food but not booze and everyone has safe transportation home, compliments of the B&G,  umm... or the MOB & FOB, whatever.
  • ring_popring_pop member
    2500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_catholic-weddings_gap-between-mass-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:615Discussion:316c2239-7ca9-4f64-9f4a-127dce7f7925Post:35f7aefc-bcc8-4409-8840-ea0268ed17a8">Re: Gap between Mass and Reception</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Gap between Mass and Reception : I agree with you but I think Calypso thinks a morning or early day ceremony with brunch is good for all circles and it's just not.  Her's perhaps but mine would not be happy at all with it. I would probably be tossed out ot the family if there was not a huge ceremony, bagpiper at the church, harpists and trumpeters everywhere...haha, you get the picture! The reception must be in the evening and cocktail time with tons of appetizers  is 5 - 6:30 minimum.  Dancing can rule over food but not booze and everyone has safe transportation home, compliments of the B&G,  umm... or the MOB & FOB, whatever.
    Posted by ootmother2[/QUOTE]
    Exactly! My family would not have been happy to have flown halfway around the world to attend a LUNCH, nor would I have been satisfied providing only that.
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  • Calypso1977Calypso1977 member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011

    i think guests, particularly family, should be happy to see the couple get married and exchange vows, regardless of what time of day it is, or how big or fancy or simple and inexpensive the reception is.


  • ootmother2ootmother2 member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_catholic-weddings_gap-between-mass-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:615Discussion:316c2239-7ca9-4f64-9f4a-127dce7f7925Post:160c690c-8dc8-43c2-b74f-946bd84b18f7">Re: Gap between Mass and Reception</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Gap between Mass and Reception : Exactly! My family would not have been happy to have flown halfway around the world to attend a LUNCH, nor would I have been satisfied providing only that.
    Posted by ring_pop[/QUOTE]

    ring pop is just pointing out that providing your guests with the best reception you can, shows them how much you appreciate their coming to witness your wedding vows.

    The reception is not for YOU, it's for your guests and I would treat my guests as I would want in return.  It's not about money, you're confusing this.
  • lauraNkieranlauraNkieran member
    Fifth Anniversary 100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I think it all depends on where you are from ... like some others in this thread I'm in the NYC area and gaps are VERY common and most wouldn't think twice about having a gap.  Most churches I know only do wedding at certain times.  Those times don't always work well with the certain times that reception venues hold events.

    Our ceremony is at 2:30, I'm figuring everything will be over by 4pm.  Cocktail hour begins at 5:30.  Guest will have time to walk up the block to any number of bars for a few drinks and then board the bus to the hall.
  • edited December 2011
    We had a gap, and nobody really cared that much. It was only an hour, but all of my OOT family stood outside the church chatting and catching up anyway. A few managed to be late to the reception. As a guest, I don't mind waiting for a great party that's coming in the evening. I'd rather hang around for a bit and look forward to a nice dinner and dancing than head right over and chow down on lunch or something.
  • edited December 2011
    At our Cathedral the latest time for a ceremony is 1pm. So we opted for 1 instead of 10am...However, we have a less than an hour gap and we are still doing a dinner.

    I started it as close to the end of the ceremony as I could. Our Father told us to look at least an hour, and then by the time everyone dwindles away to the reception venue, we are doing this:At 2:30 cocktail hour/Hors d'œuvres will start and then between 3:30 and 4 dinner will start. It's an earlier dinner but for all of our oot guests and many of our in town guests, they will have spent lunchtime with us, so they will be ready to eat!

    We are then continuing drinks and dancing until 7:30 (later if the party does keep going), but this way people have more control of their travel. For many of my oot's (which is a good chunk of our guests) they can leave that night and not have to spend all weekend away from home. In our circle people are still expecting to dance and have fun.  However, knowing it’s the dead of winter, made an end time of 7:30.
  • Calypso1977Calypso1977 member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    but lunch doesnt mean coldcuts either, or any less elegance in terms of food and offerings to your guests.  if you are serving filet mignon why does it matter if its at 12 or 1pm instead of 5 or 6pm?  the guests are still getting filet mignon.  our reception location served the same choices for foods whether we did it at lunchtime or dinner time. 
  • ootmother2ootmother2 member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    lolz

    the country club we used for the reception wasn't open for lunch other than at the grille.

    hth
  • ring_popring_pop member
    2500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Norms and expectations. If my guests would be *more* weirded out by the afternoon reception than the gap, then why insist on the no-gap wedding?

    It may be highly offensive to you, and if you'd be so offended by the gap that you'd skip one event or the other, then that's your prerogative. (I also don't buy that you'd actually skip the reception, but whatever.) But, had I been in that situation, I can tell you that the gap with dinner would have been a better choice for me than no-gap and brunch/lunch/afternoon reception. Logistics isn't always the ONLY factor to consider.
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  • edited December 2011
    We're having a 2pm ceremony. No Communion, so we will be done between 2:30-:2:40. We'll do the receiving line to eat up some time and greet all of our guests.  Those who still need to check into the hotel can do that after 3pm, and our reception will likely start at 4pm, and travel time about 20 minutes to the hall. Possibly could be 3:30pm once we figure out the timeline.  We are serving a full dinner, and even though the reception is going to be over early, it actually will work well for much of his family who will travel 2 hours each way. Most of them will be able to drive home in the evening as opposed to having to get a hotel room.  An early ceremony and reception works for us, but even if we were having it later, I would avoid the gap at all costs.
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  • Calypso1977Calypso1977 member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    ring, if it was a very close relative id go to both or if i was traveling a great distance (i.e. plane flight) then id go to both.  but just a good friend or a distant cousin?  or if i was driving a couple of hours?  id skip the reception and head home to avoid hotel expenses.  i also think if you have a large gap the B&G shoudl entertain the guests during the gap, not just disappear to do hours and hours of photos.  take some time for photos, yes, but then come to whatever hospitality suite or whatever you have set up and spend time with your guests.
  • ootmother2ootmother2 member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_catholic-weddings_gap-between-mass-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:615Discussion:316c2239-7ca9-4f64-9f4a-127dce7f7925Post:d88a76e8-1fd3-4a66-8b5c-f051aa27e1c6">Re: Gap between Mass and Reception</a>:
    [QUOTE]Norms and expectations. If my guests would be *more* weirded out by the afternoon reception than the gap, then why insist on the no-gap wedding? It may be highly offensive to you, and if you'd be so offended by the gap that you'd skip one event or the other, then that's your prerogative. (I also don't buy that you'd actually skip the reception, but whatever.) But, had I been in that situation, I can tell you that the gap with dinner would have been a better choice for me than no-gap and brunch/lunch/afternoon reception. Logistics isn't always the ONLY factor to consider.
    Posted by ring_pop[/QUOTE]


    THIS ^

    ring pop has hit on the key to good etiquette which is making your guests feel comfortable and welcome.  Which we did for the entire wedding weekend.

    Yes, wedding weekends are pretty common in my circle and even more so on Cape Cod in season.

    Guests starting arriving on Friday morning and we had golf and spa time set up for everyone. The bridal luncheon was on Friday at noon, after the BMs had their manis & pedis.  Rehearsal and dinner was at 6:00 PM and we everyone met up at a local spot for drinks after.  Wedding was on Saturday at 1:30 and the formal cocktail hour started at 5:00 PM.  Refreshments were served in the villas at the site for all.

    The band & bar finished up around 10:30 and most everyone under 65 went to the afterparty.  Brunch was the next morning at 11 and almost all of the out of town guests attended.

    The site was the choice of the bride and groom as it had villas to accomodate the guests as well as an excellent golf course and tennis courts.  The other choice was The State Room but it is a bit expensive to have a full weekend of events in the city.
  • Calypso1977Calypso1977 member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    oot, i think M's wedding was somewhat of an exception.  you clearly planned and entire weekend for guests - not just the wedding itself.  in this instance, a gap wouldnt be that big a deal since its sounds like most everyone came for the weekend.  btu i think many of the folks on here who do have gaps are not having wedding weekends.  guests are literally arriving that morning/day and will be departing either that night or early a.m. the next day.
  • ootmother2ootmother2 member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    Ring pop must be terribly unusual also.

    Really, there is not ONE way to have a wedding.  The weddings I have attended on the Cape, Nantucket, MV, Boston and even NYC have involved way more than just the ceremony & reception also

    Most people love to celebrate given the opportunity.

    Sorry if that isn't the case in your circle.
  • Calypso1977Calypso1977 member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    well, i dont know what RP's wedding was like, as far as whether she had a weekend of events or not.

    i think its great if people really want to do an entire weekend of stuff, and it certainly helps the gap issue whether you have one becuase you are "forced" to or because that is your circle norm, but seems like most of the gaps that are discussed here and on P&E  in particular dont seem to have much thought put into them and are done merely because they adamantly want this or that with no room for flexibility or compromise.  hopefully they dont enter their marriage with that same absence of flexibility and compromise. 
  • ootmother2ootmother2 member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    Ring pop's statement is above if you want to re read it.

    Could be your social circle as well.  I don't know anyone who doesn't put a great deal of thought into their planning.  But then, I don't know anyone who downscaled their wedding for the convenience of a few guests.
  • ring_popring_pop member
    2500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Oh good grief Calypso. Seriously? Unwillingness to compromise on certain elements of a wedding = lack of flexibility and compromise in a marriage? YeahOK.

    For the record:

    1. I did not have a gap because I was lucky enough that my church allowed me to have a 5:00pm wedding. My church does not have a Saturday evening mass, and given the opportunity, I chose no gap.

    2. But, if I HAD been forced to have an earlier wedding, I still would have chosen an evening reception. I know my guests. They would have thought nothing of a gap, but (our relatives, at least) would be surprised by an afternoon reception. Plus, the afternoon reception was not acceptable in our parents' eyes. Sounds snotty to you probably, but my parents had certain expectations to meet, and that's just the fact of the matter. In our cultures, it's not a wedding if there's no banquet dinner. And I wouldn't have gone against this just because our church said "no weddings after 3:00." The idea that "they should just be happy to be there" is all well and good, but the reality is those who paid $1,000+ and flew 16+ hours might have been a little disappointed with anything less than an evening banquet.

    3. 99% of my guests were EITHER in-towners OR oot-ers from very far away (thus visiting my town for a long visit). The in-towners have all been to plenty of weddings with gaps, as have I. And, like we've done for all of these other weddings, they probably would have made some plans to kill the time. Likewise, almost all of the oot-ers were taken care of by our parents, and our parents would have also made plans to fill the time for them. Again this is all hypothetical because I didn't actually have to schedule a gap.

    Are you arguing that you'd skip an evening reception due to a gap because you'd have to drive home? What if it was an evening reception but with no gap (like my wedding)? You'd still have to drive home at the same time of night, so how would the gap have affected your decision to go to the reception or not?

    Anyway this is all moot because my wedding is over, there was no gap. All I'm saying is, please don't presume to know that everyone's situation is exactly the same as yours.
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  • Calypso1977Calypso1977 member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    Are you arguing that you'd skip an evening reception due to a gap because you'd have to drive home?

    it depends.  when i go to a wedding, if i'm 2-3 hours drive away, i dont get the hotel.  its too expensive usually, even with the block rate.  if its a late morning/early afternoon wedding, i'll stay the whole thing.  if its a late evening wedding, with dinner not being served until 7 or 8, i usually leave right after the meal at say 10pm.  i have only stayed until the end of an evening reception once, adn that was my cousin's wedding because i was in it and felt obligated to stay utnil the end as a member of the WP.  i guess a gap would make a difference for me becuase if i drove 2-3 hours and didnt have a hotel, i'd have no home base to go back to so that i could do all of the "freshening up" that i'm apparently supposed to do after i've been to church.  if there was a hospitality suite, i'd think abotu it, but it would most likely have the feel of "hurry up and wait".  the thought of a 3-5 hour cocktail hour isnt too appealing, particularly if it may be a weddign where i knew no one but the bride and groom.

    i know OOT and i will never agree on this topic, and it sounds like you are of the same mindset as her, which is fine.  for some, social standing and societal expectations (or family expectations) are extremely important.  others choose to buck convention and think outside the box.

    i could care less if people talked about us becuase we had a buffet vs sit down or becuase we didnt have dancing or because we didnt waste money on alot of frills.  ironically, the ones most likely to complain about stuff like this are the ones who had $35K+ weddings and are still living in apartments because they cant afford a house or worse they are divorced after 1-2 years.  and that is not to say that there is any correlation between expense of wedding and longevity of marriage.
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