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Time Between Ceremony and Reception

Hello Fellow Chicago Knotties! 

I'm hoping that some of you can share your expertise with me when it comes to planning the schedule of events--namely the timing between the reception and ceremony.

My fiance and I are having our reception at the Newberry Library July 7, 2012 and this weekend we'll be booking with a chapel in Evanston for the ceremony. 

In your opinion, when's a good time to start the ceremony if our reception is at 6pm in downtown Chicago? 

We're worried about having enough time for the ceremony, pictures at the chapel, pictures in downtown Chicago, driving/traffic (since it'll be a Sat. and the 4th of July is earlier in the week), and allowing time for any mishaps to occur. 

Should we have it at 12, 1, or later? Thoughts? 

We also have quite a bit of family coming in from out of state if that factors at all into your analysis. 

Thanks so much! 
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Re: Time Between Ceremony and Reception

  • edited December 2011
    Personally, I hate gaps. What are your guests supposed to do during those 5 hours? They will be all dressed up with no where to go (especially the OOT guests). If you want to do lots of pictures around Chicago, I would suggest a first look and do your photos before the ceremony. Or skip the cocktail hour and do the photos quickly then.

    Also, if you are having your ceremony and reception so far away from each other, you might want to arrange transportation for all your OOT guests.
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  • aimers1525aimers1525
    2500 Comments Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    The more time you spend around TK you will see many differences in opinion regarding "gaps". Personally, I don't see a problem w/them. Perhaps not all of your guests will come to the ceremony; maybe some might want to take some time to see the city, or they will find something to do to occupy themselves (ie check into their hotel, etc.). 

    For reference, we had a 2:30pm Catholic mass, lasted about an hour, took pictures for about a half hour at the church, drove about 45 mins to the place where we took pictures, drove from there about 10 minutes to the hotel where the reception was, took some pictures there, and made it to the beginning of our 6pm cocktail hour (well everyone but me did--I was still taking picture by myself :).
  • CASK85CASK85
    1000 Comments 250 Love Its Third Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    Aimers, I think there is a big difference between a 2 or 2.5 hour gap and a 5 hour gap. I'll have to agree with MrsMLRB on this issue -  Personally I would find a 5 hour gap to be annoying. Of course if I was invited to a wedding where that happened I wouldn't dream of saying anything to the bride or groom, but I would be grumbling a little bit inside. 

    I think taking pictures before the ceremony is a great choice. That way you can take extra time to get the shots you want without inconveniencing your guests or worrying about being late for your own reception or anything. That is what we're doing. . . and it seems to be a lot more popular these days for the reasons I listed.
  • edited December 2011
    Congrats, tahill2!!

    Does the chuch have availability at any time? Our first choice was to have a 3:00 p.m. ceremony ahead of our 6:30 p.m. reception. Unfortunately the church's only afternoon slot was 1:00 p.m. so we will be a "gap" wedding. Not our preference, but also nothing we could do about it.

    If you have the pick of times, do something mid-afternoon. :)
  • MrsPapsMrsPaps
    edited December 2011
    We are having a 3pm catholic ceremony and our cocktail hour starts at 6.
    It will take your guests about 30 min to go from Evanston to Newberry. What time will the church let you have your ceremony at? it sounds like you get to pick it but I would double check that they don't have set times (my church is 1pm or 3pm on a Saturday).
  • hz80408hz80408
    5000 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    I agree with Mrs on the gaps.  I have attended too many weddings, both in and OOT that had them and to be honest, I think theyre just plain rude.  Guests are all dressed up and have awkward time to kill.

    If you're dead set about waiting to see each other at the ceremony, then please host something for your guests while you take pics.

    Working backwards, if reception/cocktail starts at six.  To be safe, I'd allow 1 hr for travel from church, 1/2 hr for "mingling" after ceremony, that with no gap, I'd start your ceremony at 4 or 4:30pm.

    However, guessing you don't want to see each other; would it be possible to take some pics before ceremony?  All girls, and then all the guys?  Then you just take "married" pics and group pics after?  I agree with pp that it'd be great if you could provide transportation and I'd suggest maybe adding transportation and also a tour on the way to the reception? That could help fill time, be hosting something for your guests and give you time for pics.
  • edited December 2011
    Thanks for all of the input ladies! 

    We ended up going for a 2pm time. There will be a bit of a gap, but since most have you brought it to my attention that gaps can be frustrating for guests (personally they never bothered me but I could see how opinions may vary) we'll definitely plan something for them to do in the interim, which will likely only be 1.5-2 hours (depending on how difficult traffic is).

    As for transportation, that's certainly something that we knew we should provide (it would be inconsiderate to make people pay for a possible $40-$50 cab ride each way after paying airfaire, hotel, gifts, etc...) so there was no issue with that. And since we'll be providing the transportation, it makes it a lot easier to control the interim events prior to the venue, and more importantly--everyone will be ON TIME! :)
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