Catholic Weddings

2pm Catholic ceremony...what to do with gap before reception

Hi Ladies!

We are having a Catholic ceremony that starts at 2pm (they hold mass at 4:30 Saturdays so it can't be later).
Our reception site is about a 20 min drive from the church. If our ceremony takes around an hour (including receiving line if we choose to do that), that will still mean they arrive at the reception at like 3:30ish...so early!

Have any of you had this issue? Do we have a super early social hour, and an earlier dinner at like 5pm? As a guest, I hate when there are big gaps in between the ceremony and reception, so I don't want to make guests drive around wondering what to do in between.   Any suggestions? Did this work out fine for any of you in the same situation?

Thanks!!
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Re: 2pm Catholic ceremony...what to do with gap before reception

  • Riss91Riss91 member
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    I would have an extended cocktail hour until 5pm, then move into the formal reception after that!

    You could also host something at another location in-between with light refreshments if you do not want to start the reception immediately afterwards.
  • Calypso1977Calypso1977 member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    folks will be hungry.  id do cocktails from 330-430 and then go into dinner.  by the time everyone files in, you do announcements, etc. it will be 5pm when the first course starts.
  • catarntinacatarntina member
    1000 Comments Fourth Anniversary Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    I had a 2 pm wedding with a 6 pm reception, with a 30 min drive to the reception place.  That was the latest time the church allowed a Saturday wedding due to Saturday evening mass.

    From 3-5:30 ish, my mom hosted people at her house.  She had light appetizers and a fully stocked bar (my parents love to entertain).  My parents live directly across the street from the church, so people pretty much just walked over.

    During this time, the WP took pictures, etc.  WP showed up at the reception about 6:15.

    In my area, it's customary to have a gap.  So a lot of people were expecting it.  Several just came to reception (pretty common).  Several went home between wedding and reception.  It wasn't a big deal.  Weddings are like all day affairs in my area, and gaps are expected!!
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  • edited December 2011
    agree with PP...we have a gap as well, and my parents live about 2 blocks away from the church, so they we be hosting immediate family and friends before the reception, with some light apps and refreshments. FI, myself, and WP will be off taking pictures and what not during this time.
    Also, in my area, if it's a church ceremony, most people only attend the reception, and it's really only immediate family and friends that actually make it to the church. Everyone else just shows up to party later on!
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  • edited December 2011
    We also had a gap. We had a cocktail/hor'dourve hour while we were doing pictures.

    The receiving may work in your favor depending on how many additional pictures you plan on doing. However, you may want to skip it and just do a grand entrance at the reception or something. We were not allowed to have a receiving line (per our priest) so we did a grand entrance at the reception and after the cocktail hour.
  • mica178mica178 member
    5000 Comments Fourth Anniversary 5 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    We had a 3pm ceremony and 5pm reception.  In between were light refreshments that we hosted at the parish hall.  Our guests always had a place to sit and eat/drink.
  • edited December 2011
    We had the exact same timeline as what you're looking at. Ceremony was at 2pm and finished around 3pm. Reception site was about a 20 minute drive away. We had the cocktail hour start at 3:30pm (we had done pictures that didn't require both of us before the ceremony and did the rest that required both of us during this time) and it went until 4:30-5ish (I forget when exactly) and then served dinner. Our reception lasted until about 9:30-10pm. We had no complaints and everything worked out fine for us. 
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  • edited December 2011
    To me, that doesn't seem like too much of a gap- especially if the receiving line takes longer than you expect. Like everyone else said, make cocktail hour last until between 4:30 and 5 and by the time you get everyone in and settled (will you do toasts? first dance? parent dances? these are often held before dinner) dinner won't start until after 5. If you have good appetizers at the cocktail hour people won't be famished by the time dinner comes around.
  • edited December 2011
    Our ceremony started at 2 pm and cocktail hour started around 3:30 or 4:00 (I have no idea what time our guests started arriving, as we were still taking pictures.  We served dinner right around 5:00.  It was perfect.  Our guests were starving, so dinner was timed great.

    I was only a little sad that, since the reception ended at 8:30-9:00, we would only get about an hour of night time, but everyone commented on how gorgeous the views were, then when the sun started to set it was just breathtaking.
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  • roxiems75roxiems75 member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    We are in the same situations.  So my mother has decided to open the house and have refreshments and some light snacks for the guest who decide to come over.  Durning this time WP will be taking some pictures.  Most people expect to have some type of gap.  I would either try to start cocktail/reception a bit earlier or give guest an option to go somewhere else between the ceremony and reception.  hope this helps
  • edited December 2011
    I agree with everyone that cocktail hour will be fine. Regardless of what you decide to do, I notice that you're from MSP like me. People around here tend to be pretty laid back about the gap. I actually know a few people who are annoyed when a wedding doesn't have one because they like to go home and freshen up or go out for drinks in between. As for my wedding, the church I'm at only had an 11:00 a.m. wedding time available, so my guests are on their own from noon - 3:00 when cocktails start. Our reception is in a hotel where many out of town guests are staying and there is also a bar/restaurant there where they can snack/drink. Compared to your timeline, my gap is huge and I'm not overly concerned about it nor have any of my guests made negative comments.
  • CiardasullyCiardasully member
    100 Comments First Anniversary
    edited December 2011
    Gosh, our wedding is at 1:30 and our cocktails begin at 5.  However, we are putting that on the invitation so it will not be a surprise.  Also, we are having our reception at a hotel and will have a room block so maybe people would like to rest up. 
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  • edited December 2011
    Glad to see this topic hasn't devolved into the flaming mess it usually does on this board!

    We had a 2pm mass and had our cocktail hour (about 40 minutes away) start around 5. Worked out fine. It takes longer for people to get between places than you think...
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  • findmarilyfindmarily member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Funny that I stumbled on this coz I was worrying about the same thing.
    We were planning on having the ceremony at 2pm, and have cocktails at 5pm. But figured since it's going be up until 4pm in the church area with pictures, etc...Hoping the guests would just linger half hour...
    I'm glad others here didn't think it was too big a gap! :)
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  • shawna127shawna127 member
    Third Anniversary 100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    My sister had a 2pm wedding and we did pictures after it for less than an hour and everyone else just drove straight to the reception and waited or ran home really quick and changed, it turned out great!  We had to kick people out of the reception because they were still there past midnight lol :o).  Our wedding is going to be at the same time and we are going to do the same thing :o)  I'm sure whatever you choose will turn out great though!
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  • newlyseliskinewlyseliski member
    1000 Comments Fourth Anniversary Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011

    Greetings, fellow MSP-er!  Gaps are typical in MN, especially if you have an early afternoon church ceremony!  We had a 3pm wedding as a full Mass and started our social hour around 5:30pm at the reception site that was 20 minutes away. 

    If you have the receiving line at the Church, that can take a good amount of time! You can also fill in with something like doing a big group picture of all the guests on the front steps of your church to take more time...  we tried to do that, but it rained for a bit immediately after the ceremony and that didn't work out.  You can also perhaps include a little map insert in your program to make recommendations of good places to stop in between the ceremony and reception or a more lengthy "scenic drive" between the two! 

    Social hours work very well to fill the gap!  I know they can get expensive, though, depending on who your caterer is or where you're hosting the reception.  There might be a good way for you to sneak in your own snacks so you don't get charged an arm and a leg to pay the caterer to provide appetizers.  Most reception sites won't get mad at you if you provide a candy or snack bar, even if their policy is no outside food.

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