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Etiquette

Down time between Ceremony and Reception

The chapel that my fiance and I are having our ceremony at will only allow us to have our ceremony at noon (later times are "premium" and reserved for couples that also book their reception at the same location- which is not within our budget). However, we really want to have a evening reception with dinner, starting around 5pm. The reception halls we have been looking at won't let us onto the site until an hour and a half before, ie 3:30pm. With drive time, group pictures at a couple locations, and pictures at the chapel after the ceremony, we are still looking at a couple hours of down time between the ceremony and reception. 
I've thought about putting together a list of area attractions and posting it on our wedding website so that guests can visit them during this period, but that's all I can think of help guests burn time between the two. I have no ideas on what we- the bride and groom- can do during this time! (In my wedding dress!) Any suggestions? It is a "wedding taboo" to have hours of time between the ceremony and reception?

Re: Down time between Ceremony and Reception

  • I mean, would you want to wait around and have to figure out what to do with yourself while waiting for someone else's wedding to start? I think if you're really set on having your ceremony at the place that makes you have it at noon, you should do a reception somewhere that's like 1-4.  
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  • Yu need to host your guests from the time your ceremony ends until the time your reception ends. If hosting something in that gap costs too much you need to change your plans.
  • Avoid the huge gap as the previously ladies have mentioned.
  • Gaps are frowned upon here, but are common in my neck of the woods, which is also your neck of the woods.

    But, how long will your ceremony be? If it's only going to be 15 minutes, so your guests are done with that at 12:15 and won't be able to go to the reception until 4 or 5, then, yes that's kind of a long gap. If your ceremony is an hour (i.e a full religious ceremony or something) and you'll have a cocktail hour at 3:30 before dinner begins at 5, then I don't think that's a huge gap.

    We will have about 2 hours between ceremony and cocktail hour. I have listed things to do on our wedding website and it'll also be in the hotel welcome bags. In addition, my parents have considered hosting a little party at the hotel bar between the ceremony and reception while the WP is taking photos. They wouldn't be paying for drinks for everyone, it'd be more of a "hey, come hang out with us" kind of thing for them to catch up with friends and family in a more intimate setting.

    When I've been to gap weddings, my friends and I typically just head to a bar and wait it out. I've also talked to much of my family that plans to just go back to the hotel and relax. To be fair, our hotel is literally next door to our church, so it's not a huge stretch to do that and then get in a shuttle to the reception.

    You have to decide what's best based on your guests and where they're coming from and what they might be able to do. An hour or two is fine. Three or four is less fine.
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  • Ditto PPs, gaps are pretty rude, so you need to change either your ceremony or reception so they aren't so far apart.
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  • Many weddings here have a gap because of the Catholic thing, but definitely not all. My parents had a lovely afternoon reception for this exact reason and that's what I highly recommend you do as well.
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  • To be very honest, if I attended this wedding I would assume that the gap was to allow a ridiculously long photo session and I would leave, thinking very poorly of you.
  • edited March 2012
    Don't do this. It is really rude to have a gap. Figure out a way to eliminate the gap by finding another ceremony location that will let you start later, or another reception location that will let you start earlier.
  • Gaps are rude. Have an earlier reception, or have your ceremony somewhere else. 
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  • You could probably have your ceremony at your reception venue. Then you can have it at 3:30pm, followed by cocktail hour and dinner.

    Or you could do a morning ceremony with a lunch/afternoon reception.

    I understand having a "vision" but don't let it trump your responsibility to host your guests properly.
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  • I don' know where you all are from but most weddings I have been to (Canada) have a gap....ceremony 1pm cocktail hour 5:30ish.

    I've never been offended or thought it was rude; its a freakin wedding! How often does this sort of thing happen? If I was a real stick-in-the-mud I could just not go.....but how selfish would that be?

    I've never had anone put together a list of attractions for guest and think its a lovely, very thoughtful idea.
    mimiphin
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_down-time-between-ceremony-and-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:d11465d6-977f-47e4-be92-1d45f1f91024Post:0f384a8c-50da-4696-b47e-3ed778bed30f">Re: Down time between Ceremony and Reception</a>:
    [QUOTE]I don' know where you all are from but most weddings I have been to (Canada) have a gap....ceremony 1pm cocktail hour 5:30ish. I've never been offended or thought it was rude; its a freakin wedding! How often does this sort of thing happen?<strong> If I was a real stick-in-the-mud I could just not go.....but how selfish would that be?</strong> I've never had anone put together a list of attractions for guest and think its a lovely, very thoughtful idea.
    Posted by cscheela[/QUOTE]

    I've been to weddings with gaps ("this sort of thing" is not unusual around here), but I've still found it to be rude.  Do you just sit in your car for 4 hours?  I think it's one thing to have a gap if you're driving 30 minutes to the reception site, but start the cocktail hour quickly.

    I've known guests to leave after the ceremony or just come to the reception.

    And to the bolded... having a large gap is selfish. 
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_down-time-between-ceremony-and-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:d11465d6-977f-47e4-be92-1d45f1f91024Post:0f384a8c-50da-4696-b47e-3ed778bed30f">Re: Down time between Ceremony and Reception</a>:
    [QUOTE]I don' know where you all are from but most weddings I have been to (Canada) have a gap....ceremony 1pm cocktail hour 5:30ish. I've never been offended or thought it was rude; its a freakin wedding! How often does this sort of thing happen? If I was a real stick-in-the-mud I could just not go.....but how selfish would that be? I've never had anone put together a list of attractions for guest and think its a lovely, very thoughtful idea.
    Posted by cscheela[/QUOTE]



    That you weren't offended or think its the norm is not what defies appropriateness. Leaving guests with nothing to do for hours is poor hosting since you simply opted not to do so for hours. Some may be OK with it but that hardly means that the practice is acceptable.
  • Where I'm from (Alberta, Canada) gaps are normal...not frowned upon at all. In fact NOBODY that I know has ever been to a wedding where there was no gap. Its expected. According to the ladies on TK? Its rude. But that's a matter of opinion and the only opinions you have to worry about are your guests', not the ladies on here.
    Will people be flabbergasted and baffled that you have a gap? Is it normal in your area, what did other people in your circle have at their weddings? What's rude, is a matter of opinion, before coming to TK I, nor anyone else I know, would have batted an eye over a gap.
    So, to answer your question, Is it taboo to have a gap? Only you and your guests can answer that. According to the ladies here on TK, yes, its taboo, but depending on who your inviting to your wedding, it might not be. Talk to other people you know who have been married, ask your mom, grandmother, aunts, friends..etc about it, what are they accustomed to?
    For the record..we have a gap, and I have listed things for people to do in the meantime, were right in an area where there is TONS to do, and people are still RSVPing yes with full knowledge of having to kill some time in between.

    mimiphin
  • It's really rude to have hours between the ceremony and the reception.  What are your out of town guests supposed to do?  People may have checked out of their hotels and may be stuck with nothing to do for hours in between.
  • We are having a gap between our ceremony and reception too, but we are also having a small ceremony, so only a small number of guests are being affected. We're having the ceremony at a park by Lake Erie and are setting up snacks and have welcomed the guests to bring fishing equipment and relax for awhile before heading down to dinner. I think as long as you give your guests the option to RSVP to one or the other and let them know, in no uncertain terms, about the time gap, you're not being rude. If having your ceremony and reception at these places is what you want, the people that love you should be happy to make it work. I would list activities on the wedding website. As long as people can plan for it, you should be fine. Just think about how you'd feel if you were a guest to your own wedding. Would you want a list of activities? Or would you think it was rude to have a gap?
  • While it's not ideal, it happens. I've been to a couple weddings with a few hours between the ceremony and reception (my cousin had a similar situation to yours). If necessary, OOT guests will either find something to do or hang out with locals until the reception, and local guests will either entertain the OOT peeps or go home and nap.

    I think listing out some attractions is a great idea if there's no way around the gap. People will find something to do if you can't rearrange. I know it's not the best course of action, but if you can't reschedule or find a different venue, you'll have to go with what works.
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