Wedding Etiquette Forum

Gap Between Ceremony and Reception

Please settle a discussion between my mother and I.  Is it customary to have a place for relatives to go after the ceremony and before the reception?  My fiance and I are planning a 2:00 full Catholic Mass with a reception near by at 6.  There will be about at 2 hour gap.

Thanks!
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Re: Gap Between Ceremony and Reception

  • Yes, it is customary.  I have the same situation and my parents are hosting people at their home until the venue is available. 
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  • I answered this on another board.  You really don't need to post the same question a whole bunch of places, most people visit multiple boards.
  • Well, I think it is customary not to leave your guests in limbo and not to take up their whole day (you need to plan/schedule this whole thing better) buttttttt yeah, if you HAVE to have a gap, try and plan for a place where they can go relax and freshen up.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_gap-between-ceremony-reception-1?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:0cc7bd30-77f4-4659-9bc5-d6adac5e970dPost:180a5603-26d5-45a9-8874-25f8c53220e8">Gap Between Ceremony and Reception</a>:
    [QUOTE]Please settle a discussion between my mother and I.  Is it customary to have a place for relatives to go after the ceremony and before the reception?  My fiance and I are planning a 2:00 full Catholic Mass with a reception near by at 6.  There will be about at 2 hour gap. Thanks!
    Posted by libbylo[/QUOTE]

    Waitaminute--ceremony at 2, mass is an hour, so ends at 3--reception starts at 6--that's a 3 hour gap.

    Customary?  In Chicago, unfortunately, yes.

    Rude?  Absolutely.  I hate them.  They basically say to me, "Your Saturday isn't that important to me.  Go awkwardly sit around in a hotel room in dress clothes for awhile while we take pictures!"  Three hours isn't long enough to justify going home and changing and getting other stuff done, so you're kind of stuck, and if you're an OOT guest, they suck even worse.

    Totally my wedding pet peeve.  Gaps suck and are totally inconvenient for your guests. 
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  • Meaghan, depending on your location there really aren't necessarily a lot of options.  I hate gaps too but when you are restricted in venues and your church only lets you get married on a specific day at a specific time you can't do much. 
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_gap-between-ceremony-reception-1?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:0cc7bd30-77f4-4659-9bc5-d6adac5e970dPost:7f4b904a-caf8-48ea-95a0-be77b4604b45">Re: Gap Between Ceremony and Reception</a>:
    [QUOTE]Meaghan, depending on your location there really aren't necessarily a lot of options.  I hate gaps too but when you are restricted in venues and your church only lets you get married on a specific day at a specific time you can't do much. 
    Posted by andyandhillary[/QUOTE]

    The option is to have an afternoon reception or to host something in between.  If you have to have a gap, you need to accomodate people somehow, even if it's just soda and pretzels at mom's house.
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  • Brie, agreed, hence why I mentioned previously that in my situation my mom is hosting. 

    As an out of town guest I would be pissed at an afternoon reception that was a full meal at 3:30 pm (because that's an awkward time) or if it was punch and cake.  IMO, that's even more inconsiderate of guests. 
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_gap-between-ceremony-reception-1?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:0cc7bd30-77f4-4659-9bc5-d6adac5e970dPost:7f4b904a-caf8-48ea-95a0-be77b4604b45">Re: Gap Between Ceremony and Reception</a>:
    [QUOTE]Meaghan, depending on your location there really aren't necessarily a lot of options.  I hate gaps too but when you are restricted in venues and your church only lets you get married on a specific day at a specific time you can't do much. 
    Posted by andyandhillary[/QUOTE]

    ::shrugs:: My venue had no problem with it. In fact, most venues I have worked with personally (maybe 10 or so) in planning various things had no problem starting when the people paying for the venue wanted it to start. Also, I know from work that almost any country club in my area will let you start whenever. Maybe I live in a twilight zone of flexible venues which makes me unsympathetic, but until that is proven I stand by my assertion that shopping around for the right venue for your day is pretty important and do-able.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_gap-between-ceremony-reception-1?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:0cc7bd30-77f4-4659-9bc5-d6adac5e970dPost:0ca94832-e5b8-4bcc-9486-f94f437867cb">Re: Gap Between Ceremony and Reception</a>:
    [QUOTE]Brie, agreed, hence why I mentioned previously that in my situation my mom is hosting.  As an out of town guest I would be pissed at an afternoon reception that was a full meal at 3:30 pm (because that's an awkward time) or if it was punch and cake.  IMO, that's even more inconsiderate of guests. 
    Posted by andyandhillary[/QUOTE]

    I disagree.  If you see it's going to be an afternoon reception not at a mealtime, you can assume there won't be food, and base your decision to attend on that if it means that much to you.  I think it's far more rude to send people on a wild goose chase for three hours between the two events with nothing to do.

    I have absolutely no problem with gaps so long as there's something hosted for guests to do, like in your case.
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  • Meaghan, I don't even live in a small town but the venue selection is pretty limited.  A lot of places were restrictive in time or they had horrible service or they had some other huge flaw.  You have to pick and choose what flaw you are going to have. 

    Brie, can't you do the same with a gap?  if you see that the ceremony is at 2 and the reception doesn't start until 5 or 6 you can assume there is a gap and therefore choose to not attend, right?

    I think we'll all have to agree to disagree.  We all pick and choose what elements we have to accomodate our guests as well as possible (hopefully) but at the end of the day you're going to annoy somone.  I think as long as you make an a good attempt to be a good host then you're fine.
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_gap-between-ceremony-reception-1?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:0cc7bd30-77f4-4659-9bc5-d6adac5e970dPost:37726e74-ec4f-4ca7-abda-5aa8cdfe5c01">Re: Gap Between Ceremony and Reception</a>:
    [QUOTE]Meaghan, I don't even live in a small town but the venue selection is pretty limited.  A lot of places were restrictive in time or they had horrible service or they had some other huge flaw.  You have to pick and choose what flaw you are going to have.  Brie, can't you do the same with a gap?  if you see that the ceremony is at 2 and the reception doesn't start until 5 or 6 you can assume there is a gap and therefore choose to not attend, right? I think we'll all have to agree to disagree.  We all pick and choose what elements we have to accomodate our guests as well as possible (hopefully) but at the end of the day you're going to annoy somone.  I think as long as you make an a good attempt to be a good host then you're fine.
    Posted by andyandhillary[/QUOTE]

    Sure, absolutely.  And that is why the ceremonies at most Chicago weddings with gaps I've attended have had maybe half the people at the reception there.  People will skip the ceremony because it's so inconvenient for them, which I think sucks. 

    When it comes down to it, I won't miss the weddings of close family and friends for anything, but that doesn't mean I won't be annoyed as shiit about long gaps.
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  • While I prefer not to have a gap, its been the case on a few weddings we've been to over the years.  Generally, our friends would go to a bar - but then would be kind of drunk by the time we got to the reception which isn't generally an ideal situation... 

    If we're out of town guets, I'd be much happier if there was either an event planned OR if there was maybe a listing of suggestions to entertain ourselves (maybe given out in the OOT gift bags or something).  I don't mind doing stuff on our own by any means, but I just think its helpful to let people know what's out there to avoid having guests just sit in their hotel rooms all dressed up and trying not to get wrinkled.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_gap-between-ceremony-reception-1?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:0cc7bd30-77f4-4659-9bc5-d6adac5e970dPost:0ca94832-e5b8-4bcc-9486-f94f437867cb">Re: Gap Between Ceremony and Reception</a>:
    [QUOTE]Brie, agreed, hence why I mentioned previously that in my situation my mom is hosting.  As an out of town guest I would be pissed at an afternoon reception that was a full meal at 3:30 pm (because that's an awkward time) or if it was punch and cake.  IMO, that's even more inconsiderate of guests. 
    Posted by andyandhillary[/QUOTE]

    <div>That doesn't even make sense.  If your mass is at 2, your cocktail hour starts at 3:30.  Then you put everyone in the ballroom at 4:30, front load some dances and speeches, and start the dinner at 5-5:30.  There's no way you could serve a meal at 3:30 after mass.  </div><div>
    </div><div>That was exactly our timeline.  I would never be so rude as to expect our guests to sit around an wait for hours until I feel like hosting them, and I wouldn't be so selfish as to choose a venue that wouldn't let us start when we wanted, even if it wasn't our first choice. </div>
  • I think you should do everything you can to minimize it and/or provide your guests with somewhere to go.

    We're doing a Catholic ceremony outside of mass, so our ceremony will go from 2:30-3:15ish, guests start leaving at 3:30, 15-20 min drive to reception depending on if you take the interstate puts guests at the reception at the earliest 3:45-4:00, assuming they don't mingle and take their time in the parking lot at the church. Our venue is 3 stories with cocktail hour on the 3rd floor/rooftop starting at 4:30, but the first floor has an art gallery and lounger furniture for guests to rest and mingle. Guests move to the dinner floor at 5:30, dinner starting at 6.

    Se even though we have a small half hour gap, we're still giving guests someplace to go, and we're planning on putting things out like madlibs to give them something to do. Even though most catholic weddings have bigger gaps we did what we could to minimize it as much as possible.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_gap-between-ceremony-reception-1?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:0cc7bd30-77f4-4659-9bc5-d6adac5e970dPost:76456951-ee82-402c-91c8-0ae86bb6a374">Re: Gap Between Ceremony and Reception</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Gap Between Ceremony and Reception : That doesn't even make sense.  If your mass is at 2, your cocktail hour starts at 3:30.  Then you put everyone in the ballroom at 4:30, front load some dances and speeches, and start the dinner at 5-5:30.  There's no way you could serve a meal at 3:30 after mass.   That was exactly our timeline.  I would never be so rude as to expect our guests to sit around an wait for hours until I feel like hosting them, and I wouldn't be so selfish as to choose a venue that wouldn't let us start when we wanted, even if it wasn't our first choice. 
    Posted by MyNameIsNot[/QUOTE]

    Please read what I wrote earlier.  Not everyone has the options you had.  I swear I'm not rude or selfish and am purposely torturing my guests.  I am doing the best I can with the resources that I have.  I'm glad you were able to provide such an excellent timeline for your guests. 
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_gap-between-ceremony-reception-1?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:0cc7bd30-77f4-4659-9bc5-d6adac5e970dPost:1dbc0bee-809e-459f-9066-ab55586d828f">Re: Gap Between Ceremony and Reception</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Gap Between Ceremony and Reception : Please read what I wrote earlier.  Not everyone has the options you had.  I swear I'm not rude or selfish and am purposely torturing my guests.  I am doing the best I can with the resources that I have.  I'm glad you were able to provide such an excellent timeline for your guests. 
    Posted by andyandhillary[/QUOTE]

    <div>And I just don't buy that.  I get that there are plenty of venues that won't start until 6.  But there are plenty that will start when you ask them to.  It's just a matter of looking and being willing to give up something else for it.  </div><div>
    </div><div>We gave up our first choice venue for a space that would let us start when we wanted.  I get it.  But not leaving a gap was much more important than a pretty ballroom.   </div>
  • andyandhillary- I'm totally on your side with this one. I had the same types of options and went with the reception venue that I felt would provide the best food and the best experience for me and my guests. So, my guests are going to have to wait a few hours longer to get that experience. Tough.

    My parents are hosting people at their house to help kill the time, and there are plenty of other places they can go and things to do. I'm going to include some suggestions on the programs & in the OOT gift bags.

    This is one discussion that has always miffed me on these boards. Perhaps it's just the circle I've grown up in... but every wedding I've attended has had a gap of a few hours. The brides and grooms haven't wanted to see each other until they got to the altar, and wanted plenty of time to take plenty of good, quality pictures after the ceremony. That's what I'm doing.

    My invitations will clearly show the times for both ceremony and reception, and if someone really has that big of a problem with it, then they don't have to come.
  • I don't know, I mean I clearly don't know what you have looked at, but what about a nontraditional space and bringing in a caterer? Just playing devils advocate. I relaly think in most cases it is very do-able.
  • akhensley:  doesn't GR suck for weddings?  I feel like if you don't have your reception in your church hall you have to have a huge gap or pay an arm and a leg at the Marriott, Amway, or Meijer Gardens (if you have a big guest list like I do). 

    I did get annoyed with one gap where the reception was supposedly immediately after the ceremony in the church hall.  We all walked 5 feet and then waited for over an hour.  The B&G even took pictures before the ceremony.  WTF were they doing?  There also was no cocktail hour during that or enough chairs.  Thanks.
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_gap-between-ceremony-reception-1?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:0cc7bd30-77f4-4659-9bc5-d6adac5e970dPost:63be0155-cd7d-42df-8b3e-abbce7be07e7">Re: Gap Between Ceremony and Reception</a>:
    [QUOTE]I don't know, I mean I clearly don't know what you have looked at, but what about a nontraditional space and bringing in a caterer? Just playing devils advocate. I relaly think in most cases it is very do-able.
    Posted by MeaghanandMichael[/QUOTE]

    I did look around at some places including where Amoro had hers (very pretty) but they either were restrictive of the caterers (which my parents didn't like those caterers) or they couldn't accomodate our guest list size. 

    I agree that in most cases it is doable, it was just a tough combination of what was important to my parents and what was available, you know?
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  • andyandhillary- I live in GR now, but we're actually getting married in Holland... right on the lakeshore. Even suckier for options. But that's where I grew up, the church I grew up in, our families are there, blah blah blah.

    We totally lucked out on the deal we got with the reception venue, which made me get over the gap in a heartbeat. The way I see it, as long as there's something that people can do (unlike your story where you sat and waited - ouch!!)... then it will be fine. Nobody's going to die.
  • Another Grand Rapids bride here! I agree there were not that many venue options, I had to look at quite a few before I found ours. My fiance's number one request for the wedding was no gap, so we really had to do a lot of searching to make it work. Even now there is a small one but I think it is manageable. Good luck!

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  • Yaaaay for West Michigan!!

    When we were shopping around, I found that there's a HUGE divide between the good & terrible venues. Most of them were either really nice, way over-the-top, and definitely too expensive (thankyouverymuch, Mr. DeVos).... or crappy, ugly, poorly-built, badly-designed with terrible food and cheap.

    I actually had a worse time hunting for photographers though. Sheesh!!
  • So true, AK!  Why can't there be any medium price range places?  I depended fully on our local board's recs for just about everything.  Flowers were tough for me too. 
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  • Ahhh see I didn't discover the boards until after most of the major details were already set. Luckily, my family has lived in the area all my life and I relied a lot on people my parents know. Our florist is a friend of my mom's.

    OP- I just realized we've kind of hijacked your post. Sorry!!

  • Sometimes you can only do what you can do.  Many cities have limited options.(Heck, I was lucky to get a venue at all!)  I have no doubt that you are doing the best that you can given your resources.  That said, 3 hrs is a really long gap, especially for out-of-towners, so I'd definitely try to host an in-between gathering.  For my sister's wedding, her mother-in-law hosted people at her home, where they had soda and chips, etc.  People mixed and mingled and it went great.  If you don't have a house where you can do this, you could maybe try a public park (depending on weather, of course!).  Some parks have shelters or even buildings you can use for low cost or even free.  Make it low-key and casual--no need for fancy appetizers or even alcohol.  (Think chips and salsa, veggie trays, and soda.)
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