1pm wedding - dinner question

My church does weddings at 1pm so I'm locked into the time.

We've having a Catholic wedding so it will last approximately 1 hour. I think an hour for pictures afterward is sufficient. If we do any outside photos, the drive time is insignificant because I'm getting married in my tiny hometown with zero traffic.

Mass-  1-2pm
Photos- 2-3pm

I plan on having apps and hors de ouevers available at the reception until FI and I get there. What time do I plan for dinner and what's an acceptable menu for such an early meal? My mom (isn't it fun when they get involved) told me not to have a big meal, but 80% of our guest list is coming from an hour away and some from 2 hours. IMO, they need a meal, and a reception long enough to make the drive worth as some will be spending 4 hours driving (roundtrip) that day.

3:30 seems early for dinner, but maybe it isn't. Just thinking "out loud" our guests would probably prefer to eat early as opposed to waiting for a long time between the ceremony and reception.

Right?? maybe??


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Re: 1pm wedding - dinner question

  • manjermjmanjermj member
    Seventh Anniversary 500 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2012
    You can do whatever you want! I just wanted to say that it is very common to have a 2-3 hour "gap" between church (search for it on the Catholic boards <----- over there under Cultural Wedding Boards) and the reception since most Catholic churches are now having 1pm or 2pm wedding masses nowadays. My brother's wedding was at 2pm, with cocktail hour beginning at 5pm then dinner to follow. Our family from the area went home for a bit to hang out while the out of town people went to the hotel then hangout then everyone came back together for the reception. 
  • Our wedding is at 1:30 and is not a full mass but will probably be around and an hour as well. Our reception doesn't start till 5:00 pm. Granted it is an hour drive plus many people will be checking it to the hotel before the reception since there is a shuttle. Since you are in the same time maybe let guest know what to do in the local area or if your parents or grandparents/aunts dont mind having some drinks and finger food at there house. Gives people a place to go and hang out, but the norm for catho,lic weddings is a nice 2-3 gap. 3:30 is deff early for a reception just my opinon.
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  • edited December 2012
    [QUOTE]many people will be checking it to the hotel before the reception[/QUOTE]<div>
    </div><div>YMMV - the hotels in my area generally don't check-in until 3pm, and will NOT promise early check-in. </div><div>
    </div><div>If you have a lot of guests travelling, please don't ask them to amuse themselves in a strange town for 3 hours.  The Catholic wedding board may consider it normal, but there are other boards here where the consensus would be horrified at the idea.  If both sides are not already used to the Catholic gap, don't do it!</div><div>
    </div><div>I'm from a family that routinely has a big, sit-down meal in the afternoon for holidays, so to me, doing a proper meal is a no-brainer.  Again, YMMV, so consider what your family and your FI's family are used to, but I don't consider an early dinner a big problem, especially since many of your guests will have an early lunch, if they have one at all. </div><div>
    </div><div>If you don't want a "normal" dinner, afternoon might be a perfect time to try something non-traditional, like stations, or extend the variety of the appetizer buffet enough that guests can make a hearty meal if they choose.</div><div>
    </div><div>It sounds like you have access to the reception area early?  If you do delay dinner, maybe you can do things like dancing, bouquet toss, cake, etc in the gap.  If the reception venue does not have staff on hand to meet and greet, see if you can wrap up some parents or wedding party members early in the photo process, so they can act as hosts until you arrive.  And, if you go this route, <em>definitely </em>have programs, so people know about the non-traditional order of events.</div>
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  • Our catholic ceremony is at 2, cocktail hour at 5, and dinner around 6:15. Try not to make it too long of a break because people get bored or skip the ceremony
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  • If you are expecting your wedding to end around 2, and your cocktail hour starts at 3:30, then you can feasibly plan on dinner at 5 (your timeline would go something like: cocktails/apps- 3:30-4:45, 4:45- bridal party entrance, 5:00- dinner). Your guests are adults and will presumably eat their lunch accounting for the fact that they will have an earlier dinner. I'm not sure what your mom thinks an acceptable alternative to a "big meal" would be, but for the time frame you're looking at, your guests will be expecting a normal dinner.
  • If you plan to have a cookie table you can have that open during the cocktail hour as well so people have another option to snack on while they are waiting for dinner.

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