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Maryland-Baltimore

Ceremony/Reception gap

FH and I are having our reception at M&T Stadium next June.  We haven't booked a church yet but the one we're looking at (Catholic) will do ceremonies at 3 and 5:30.  We're not doing a full mass, so it'll only be half an hour or so.

I don't want our reception to start at 4 - we've been planning a night wedding - but it's not far from the church to M&T - about 10 minutes barring traffic.  But I don't know how our guests would feel about an hour gap in between.

And consensus seems to be that 5:30 is too late.

Those of you who've gotten married in the Catholic churches downtown, how have you dealt with this?

Re: Ceremony/Reception gap

  • edited December 2011
    I don't think 5:30 would be too late.

    Our ceremony will be at 6, followed by cocktail hour and reception until 11.
  • edited December 2011
    I am also Catholic, and unfortunately because of Saturday mass schedules, I couldn't find a church that would allow me to start any later than the times you are finding.  I didn't want to leave a large gap in between the ceremony and reception because the majority of my guests live far enough away that they wouldn't be able to easily go home in between.

    Here is my timeline:

    Ceremony: 2 pm - 3 pm
    Photos: 3 pm - 3:15 pm
    Drive to Reception: 15 - 20 min
    Cocktail Hour: 3:45 pm

    I am considering paying to extend the reception by an hour and taking 30 min onto the cocktail hour and 30 min onto the reception.  That would push my dinner start time back to after 5, which seems a little better to me. 

    If your families are Catholic, they'll also be used to the earlier Saturday mass business.  I wouldn't worry too much about having your reception begin earlier - it will still be night by the time everything winds down...and you can always have an after party! 

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  • edited December 2011
    I'm really not a fan of gaps of any sort.  We usually make daytrips to weddings and an hour long gap would suck.  A cocktail hour at the reception site is normal and will fill the gap, even if you attend it instead of using the time to take pictures.  My mom's Catholic family has always had daytime weddings with a night style reception that starts during the day.

    You could do:
    3-3:30 ceremony
    3:30-4 receiving line & travel to M&T
    4-5 cocktail hour (3:45-4:45 if no receiving line)
    5:00 reception begins

    If 5:00 feels too early for dinner to you, do toasts and maybe the first dance before dinner.

    I don't think 5:30 is too late to start the ceremony though, when we venue shopped a lot of the evening time slots started at 6 or 7pm.
  • edited December 2011
    I would be more concerned with a ceremony starting at 3 than 5:30.  I think having a gap in between is asking a lot of your guests - especially if a lot of them are from out of town and will need to find something to do for that time frame.  If I am remembering correctly, our ceremony started at 6 or 6:30, and our reception went until midnight.  I thought that was perfect for an evening wedding.

    5:30-6 - ceremony
    6:15-6:30 - travel (to get everyone from one place to the other, it will take longer than 10 minutes - people will mill around)
    6:30-7:30 - cocktail hour
    7:30-11:30 - reception
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  • edited December 2011
    I don't think 5:30 is too late at all.
  • strawberrycrzstrawberrycrz member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011

    5:30 is not too late.  My ceremony isn't starting until 7pm because of the church's mass times on Saturdays.  Now 7pm feels kinda late, but its the only option we had, I think 5:30 is a perfect time honestly. 

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  • edited December 2011
    I have the same issue. Mine will be a Catholic afternoon Mass as well. I felt like it would be too early for the reception too but our venue doesn't have anywhere for people to "hang out" before the reception actually begins. We are adding an extra hour and we're thinking about an after party so its not all over at 8:30-9 pm!  
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