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Time between ceremony and reception

Okay I'm asking this on this board because I think a gap between the ceremony and reception is more common in my area, everyone else on the other boards thinks that it's a horrible thing to do. I've never been to a wedding that didn't have a gap, guests usually just go out and get drinks on their own or visit with eachother or go back to their hotels and relax for a bit.

We booked our officiant the other day and because she already had a wedding on the same day, we had to pin down a time for our wedding.  So I did up an timeline of the entire day and this is what I came up with:
1:00 Ceremony starts
1:30 Receiving line
2:00 Pictures start
5:00 Guests start arriving for cocktail hour
5:30 Head back to Hotel for Reception
6:10 Grand entrance into Reception
6:20 Dinner starts / Slideshow starts
7:00 Speeches
7:45 First Dance
7:50 Father / Daughter Dance
7:55 Mother / Son Dance
8:00 Cut cake
8:10 Dance floor open, party begins
9:00 Boquet / garter toss
My thought was that if there has to be a gap (the venue requires at least 2 hours because our ceremony and reception are in the same room), then I should make it big enough that people can actually have time to go do something...so I thought 3 hours was fair...

Any suggestions? If I'm going to change the time of the ceremony, I'd have to do it soon...

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Re: Time between ceremony and reception

  • edited December 2011
    What area are you from?  I am in Edmonton and all the weddings that I have gone to (not that I have been to that many) have always had a gap between the ceremony and the cockatail hour.  I am sure mine will too.  Since I don't have my Church booked (as it doesn't book more than 6 months before the wedding date), I haven't created a time line, however my photographer suggested a 3 hour picture time, so I was only planning for an hour maybe 2 for cocktails before dinner......so if dinner doesn't start until 6:30pm, the earliest my cocktails would start is 4:30 pm. 
  • kittieikittiei member
    edited December 2011
    I'm in Lethbridge.  Good to hear that your area has gaps too, I was beginning to think I was going crazy! I figured pictures might only take 2 hours but then we'll have an hour to go to our favorite hang out for a drink (something my FI really wants to do) and then go back to our house for a bit to relax. But if the pictures take longer than we expect, at least we won't be rushed.  We are going a bit out of our way to stop by one of the local Starbuck's to get a photo there since that's where we met.
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  • edited December 2011
    That is cool.  My fiance and I met at our Church, where our Ceremony will be.  So we will have lots of pictures taken where we met....lol.  I think that is awesome you will be getting a picture taken where you and your FI met.
  • cjkostiukcjkostiuk member
    edited December 2011
    I love that your a picture where you met! Great idea. 
    We are not having a time gap. Ceremony at 4:30. Cocktails start at 5. We are doing wedding party and family photos on site, im only giving my photographer one hour for this. But since we are getting married so late in the day, we will have taken most of our photos before the ceremony. Most weddings do have a break in between ceremony and cocktail hour, i personally dont like it because people go out and eat! then they arent hungry for the dinner your providing at the reception. 
    I think that your wedding is early enough in the day that people who do go for lunch i between will be hungry again by 6:20. I think your time line sounds great. 
    My advice is enjoy your day! I know everyone wants beautiful pictures to remember the day.....but you also dont want to spend the entire day taking pictures!! 
  • edited December 2011
    I personally don't like the gap but I know it's really common in this area.

    We had a 5:00 pm ceremony, which led straight into cocktail hour & dinner.  We had a first look and pictures before the ceremony, starting at 2 pm.  Often a venue will have a separate room where the cocktail hour can take place while the ceremony room is transformed into the reception room.

    Your timeline looks pretty typical for most weddings I have been to.
  • edited December 2011
    HATE THE GAP! Went to a wedding that had a 5 hour gap. WTF is that about? I'm a nurse working shift work, so there is a high likelyhood I have to take a day off to attend a Saturday wedding. When you have a gap, especially a large one people will not attend your ceremony (rude, but do you blame them?).

    I plan on doing as many pictures before the ceremony (my side of the family, my attendants, bridal portraits) and the same for FI. I think we will have a 2 hour gap and that will just have to be enough time for pictures of FI and I, a few of us with our attendants and then family pictures will be done indoors at the reception after dinner.
  • kipnuskipnus member
    Knottie Warrior 1000 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    I think we'll be doing a 3 or 4 o'clock ceremony, followed by an informal shindig at my parents' house. We're going to split up our photo sessions, doing some with the family and BP right after the ceremony, hopefully for no longer than 45 min, and then we'll do pics with just me and FI later on, like around 8pm, when the lighting isn't so harsh (northern AB in June, you know!)
  • Your timeline isn't that different from mine. I have a 2:00 ceremony time. We have to drive for our pictures and am hoping to be there for 3:30 or so. (I'm hoping I can do some family photos at the venue before going for other photos) Our photographer also suggested 2.5 hours for photos. My cocktail hour starts at 6:00 with dinner at 7:00. I'm sure everything will work out great with your timeline!
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  • kbleakneykbleakney member
    First Comment First Anniversary
    edited July 2013
    Maybe the gap is a Canadian thing? I'm from Vancouver and every wedding I have been to has had a gap, which never bothered us as we expected it. Other knot posts had me thinking I was a horrible bride for having one!  How long do pictures take? 
  • I definitely think the gap is a Canadian thing because I have yet to go to a wedding that didn't have one! It's never bothered us because we usually expect it and it gives time to go and relax for a bit in between the ceremony and reception. Most photographers seem to recommend 1.5 - 3 hours for photos, so you'd need to have a gap anyway unless you do them beforehand. Our venue requires a 3 hour time period to turn the room over from ceremony to reception, so we really don't have much of a choice but to have a gap anyway!
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