Etiquette

The "Catholic Gap"

Has anyone heard of this? A friend of mine is involved in a wedding-related chat group on FB and several brides are claiming that their Catholic weddings need to start at 2pm, but the reception will not start until 6pm and this is actually expected? They all say this will give them plenty of time for pictures and for guests to check in to the hotel. And noone is opposed to this. W....T....F....?
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Re: The "Catholic Gap"

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Lots of threads going on about that right here.
  • It's inconsiderate and totally avoidable.  My Catholic wedding was at 3 and the cocktail hour started at 4:30, the reception ended at 10pm. They could do a cocktail hour at 3:30ish (ideally the venue should start serving as soon as guests start arriving as mine did) and boom, no gap.
    PrettyGirlLost
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    Catholic weddings masses generally have to be finished by 3-4pm, depending on the churches Saturday night mass schedule.   A lot of venues want 2 weddings a day so they have a 12-5 and then a 6-12 events.   Most of the time it's really a bride/couple who  HAS to have night wedding because they are "more fun"  ::rolls eyes::

    Fact is I grew up Catholic and have attended more Catholic weddings then I can recall.   So far only 2 have had a gap and another one this fall.      So I call BS on the "Catholic Gap" thing.   It's mostly couples not willing to compromise on their "vision".






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
    PrettyGirlLost
  • This is a common practice in some areas, but that doesn't make it polite or acceptable.
    The ceremony is the focus of any wedding, whether it is a full mass or a simple courthouse paper signing ceremony.  The Catholic Church is not usually flexible with the times when weddings are permitted, and Catholic weddings MUST be held in the Catholic church.
    The reception for a wedding should start within half an hour of the ceremony end.  This means that some brides need to plan an afternoon reception that may extend into the evening.
    Some brides have their hearts set on certain venues, and evening dinner receptions.  This isn't always possible if your church will only allow marriage ceremonies at ten o'clock in the morning.  This is why there is a gap.
    No, it is not polite to plan a gap.  No excuses.

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    PrettyGirlLost
  • Never heard this cute little term being considered an excuse before. Jeebus, and they all seem to just think it's hilarious without even considering it to be an issue. "Yea, 'Catholic gap' haha....guess we'll get a TON of pictures and arrive at the reception wasted!"
    PrettyGirlLost
  • APDSS22APDSS22 O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A is OK member
    Fifth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    I had a Catholic wedding with a full mass at 1:30pm and started my reception's cocktail hour at 2:45pm so when my guests had driven over to the reception venue, they could have a drink, have some cheese and crackers and sit down. 

    Only rude brides prioritize their evening reception over their guests' comfort and I think it's perfectly despicable that they're blaming it on my religion.

    FizzySipsPrettyGirlLost
  • phiraphira Bahstin member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    It's bullshit. Basically, it's about couples who want a Catholic ceremony and an evening reception, instead of just having an earlier reception. Avoidable. Rude.
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    PrettyGirlLost
  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    CMGragain said:
    This is a common practice in some areas, but that doesn't make it polite or acceptable.
    The ceremony is the focus of any wedding, whether it is a full mass or a simple courthouse paper signing ceremony.  The Catholic Church is not usually flexible with the times when weddings are permitted, and Catholic weddings MUST be held in the Catholic church.
    The reception for a wedding should start within half an hour of the ceremony end.  This means that some brides need to plan an afternoon reception that may extend into the evening.
    Some brides have their hearts set on certain venues, and evening dinner receptions.  This isn't always possible if your church will only allow marriage ceremonies at ten o'clock in the morning.  This is why there is a gap.
    No, it is not polite to plan a gap.  No excuses.

    THIS!  I always hated the gap but that's just how things get done in my neck of the woods. For a few reasons FI and I chose not to have a Catholic wedding, and one attitude I had from the start was, "No way in hell am I making people devote their whole friggin day to a wedding. 6pm ceremony it is!" 

    I had no idea gaps are actually rude until I came to TK.

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    [Deleted User]
  • We knew we wouldn't be OK with a gap so we found a venue that worked with us. It was far more important to host our guests properly than it was to pick a specific venue for the v reception.

    Our Catholic wedding started at 2 and ended at 3:15. (Our priest was VERY long-winded). Receiving line was about 25 minutes and travel time was 20 minutes. No gap AND we had a reception that ended at 10 PM.
    PrettyGirlLost
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    In addition to all the above, if a bride is hell bent on a Catholic ceremony and an evening reception, she can have her ceremony on a Friday, either later in the afternoon or early evening. There is no such thing as a "Catholic" gap. It is a myth. There is such a thing as a rude and entitled bride. That is how gaps were born.
    RebeccaB88HisGirlFriday13PrettyGirlLost
  • I got married in a Catholic church on a Saturday AFTER the Saturday mass - so our ceremony started at 5:30pm.  Our cocktail hour started at 7pm.  No gap.  In fact, my sister did the same exact thing when she got married at a different Catholic church.  It is possible, you just have to ask.  I'm sure some churches allow it and some don't.  There was no way I was having a gap though, so a 2pm ceremony was out of the question for me.  I am going to a Catholic wedding in a few weeks though that has a 3 hour gap.
    PrettyGirlLostashleyep
  • Just another vote for "totally unnecessary and rude to guests"

    Our ceremony was at 2:00 and our cocktail hour started at 3:45.  It was *difficult* to find a venue that would start earlier, but not impossible.

    And if we hadn't been able to find any venue willing to start in the late afternoon, then we would've had a lunch reception.  Catholic ceremonies can always start earlier, so you could do a 11 mass and a 12:30 reception, for example.

    But no, a lot of couples just aren't willing to sacrifice the late evening reception.

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  • saacjwsaacjw member
    500 Comments 100 Love Its Third Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited May 2014
    I have been to so many of these "Catholic Gap" weddings and am going to yet another in June. For every single one, I have been an out of town guest, but not from so far away that I get a hotel, so couldn't just go home to chill or freshen up, as is the usual excuse/expectation. Which means that I am in heels, makeup, and often fancy suck in all the fat panties waiting around for a few hours. One gap was so bad that we went and did all of our Christmas shopping. For every other gap- if I don't have to drive, I am usually tipsy and hangry (angry because of hunger) by cocktail hour because the only place for us to go is the bar. Gaps suck and are unnecessary. 
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    PrettyGirlLostSimply Fated
  • Yep! I got married in a Catholic church and our ceremony started at 7:30...it was over by 8:00 (we didn't do a full Mass) and our reception was in the church hall, so guests just walked over there! It was great, we partied til midnight. No need to have a gap, you can definitely plan around it.
  • JCbride2015JCbride2015 Dirty Jerz member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
    Yep.... they are terrible.  Why is it so hard to just have an afternoon reception?  It's because couples don't want to choose between having the religious ceremony and an evening reception.  Shitty planning, shitty hosting.
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    "I'm not a rude bitch.  I'm ten rude bitches in a large coat."

    PrettyGirlLost
  • phiraphira Bahstin member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    saacjw said:
    I have been to so many of these "Catholic Gap" weddings and am going to yet another in June. For every single one, I have been an out of town guest, but not from so far away that I get a hotel, so couldn't just go home to chill or freshen up, as is the usual excuse/expectation. Which means that I am in heels, makeup, and often fancy suck in all the fat panties waiting around for a few hours. One gap was so bad that we went and did all of our Christmas shopping. For every other gap- if I don't have to drive, I am usually tipsy and hangry (angry because of hunger) by cocktail hour because the only place for us to go is the bar. Gaps suck and are unnecessary. 
    THE WORST
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  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited May 2014
    I laugh at the occasional Catholic bride who plans her entire evening reception in great detail, and THEN she looks for a priest to marry her at a convenient time!  Duh.
    Really, it does bother me that so much attention is paid to planning the reception, and so little to the ceremony.  To my mind, the ceremony is the most important part of the wedding celebration. 

    @flantastic , Sorry, no pass on this plan.  Gaps are rude, no matter what activities are available elsewhere.
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    HisGirlFriday13PrettyGirlLostpenguin44RebeccaB88
  • We had a 2 pm mass and cocktail hour started at 3:30. They were ready to serve at 3:15 so people who got their early were covered too.

    I am in a wedding in October. The church and reception site are 90 minutes from each other and there is a 3 hour gap. When I tried to point out how rude it is the idiot maid of honor said people will do anything for a bride and people can check in to their hotel. Really??? So freaking rude!!
  • CMGragain said:

    I laugh at the occasional Catholic bride who plans her entire evening reception in great detail, and THEN she looks for a priest to marry her at a convenient time!  Duh.
    Really, it does bother me that so much attention is paid to planning the reception, and so little to the ceremony.  To my mind, the ceremony is the most important part of the wedding celebration. 

    @flantastic , Sorry, no pass on this plan.  Gaps are rude, no matter what activities are available elsewhere.

    Agreed. I don't care what other activities are available, a gap is rude. And I am concerned that you had your concerns dismissed by your FILs. If they won't listen now, what else won't they listen to? You don't want your kids to have sugar? Oh well, dismiss.

    Also, you could have refused their money and hosted it yourself without the gap.
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    I'm gonna go with 'not my circus, not my monkeys.'
    [Deleted User]PrettyGirlLost
  • melbensomelbenso Hoth, apparently member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments Third Anniversary First Answer
    I was raised Catholic and have been to more Catholic weddings than I can count over the years.  All of the ceremonies were on Saturday afternoons and I don't recall a gap at any one of them ever.  I call bullshit.
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    PrettyGirlLost
  • Fran1985 Fran1985 Narnia member
    Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 500 Comments Name Dropper
    edited May 2014
    I've been to at least 6 catholic masses. Only one had a gap, and it was just an hour gap which was weird. Some people went to a chilis and they were late to the cocktail hour (and drunk already because they were hungry)

    I'm having a catholic mass at 2-330 (including receiving line) cocktail hour will be ready to start at 330 just in case we are running early and in case some guests drive right over there. Most I think will take the shuttles we are providing which turns the 15 minutes ride to 20 minutes once you get everyone on board, and we are planning on entering the reception at 5. So it should only be an hour and 15 minute cocktail reception, and if everything is running early we will too.  Boom no gap. Reception will go until 10pm and then maybe an afterparty (or maybe bed!) 

    You can still get an evening feel with no gap. Your party won't be able to go to midnight but I think that's better anyway- if you turn it into an afterparty than those who are early birds can skip out

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    PrettyGirlLost
  • Yep, this is 100% bullshit.  Born & raised Catholic, been to / served at a ton of Catholic weddings, and not one of them had a gap longer than the time it took to travel.  My own wedding, which will be a Catholic Mass, will start at 2:30 pm and cocktail hour starts at 4 pm.

    "Catholic" Gap = speshul snowflake's rudeness 

    "Catholic" Gap =/= anything remotely Catholic   
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    PrettyGirlLost
  • I'm not Catholic and I've never been to a Catholic wedding before. However, every wedding I've been to has had a 2PM ceremony lasting 15-30 minutes followed by a 3 hour gap. Some weddings have cocktail hour with no food 5-6 and others have the reception starting at 5:30. These are all secular weddings so B&G aren't limited to the times they can use based on church services. It sucks, but "that's what everybody does" *eye roll*

    We got a lot of compliments at our wedding because we had a 4:30 ceremony lasting 45 minutes with a 15 minute "gap" then people entered the reception and once they were seated we served dinner. Our guests really liked that they didn''t have to find something to do for a couple hours. We had the small gap because we had to move our ceremony inside at the last minute and the venue needed the time to change from ceremony to dinner seating. 

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  • This is actually something that I think differs from each parish.  The availability of the priest is usually a major issue and they do lock you in to a certain time.  For example my church has mass at 12 and 5 on Saturdays.  You can get married before church at 10am or after church at 2pm.  Those are the only times the priest will perform a wedding mass at my specific church. Obviously they do have friday night and sunday afternoon openings as well.  Sometimes brides that want a traditional catholic mass need to work within the guidelines of the church.  However, I do not think it's ok to start a wedding several hours later just because you want a night wedding.  I wanted a night wedding but the only ceremony time I could get was 12:30 on a sunday (non-catholic) so I needed my cocktail hour to start no later than 2pm.  The other issue here is so many venues want to 2 weddings a day and will absolutely NOT start their second wedding earlier than 5pm or 6pm for cocktail hour because they need to set-up.  I ran into this issue after I booked my ceremony venue and had to really search for a venue to move their cocktail hour to when I wanted it.  I had to find a non-traditional catering hall to do this.  So I really can understand this "catholic gap" if it is mandated by the church or the catering hall.  The church and the reception venues do not care if you are being rude to guests.  I just wanted to put that out there from a different perspective that sometimes a gap really is unavoidable. 
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  • NYCMercedesNYCMercedes BOS, NYC, DC. Forever a city girl member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    @flantastic, you are hosting during the gap. You're having a room, seats, an activity, and food. You're having a prereception reception.
    PrettyGirlLost[Deleted User]Jessie42613
  • photokittyphotokitty where I want to be mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    In other news, have you heard of the trend where people skip your Catholic wedding bc it is already longer than most and you force everyone to wait out a long gap??

    Gaps are rude, the church is not. I would never skip a ceremony, but I totally understand why people do with such circumstances. 

    A gap is never unavoidable, you just have to put on your big girl panties and decide what is most important to you. You and your selfish idea of your dream wedding or your faith and properly hosting your guests.
    :kiss: ~xoxo~ :kiss:

    PrettyGirlLost
  • Gaps don't bother me personally because I'm used to them and like evening receptions, but that doesn't mean they aren't rude or completely avoidable.

    Everyone has to make hard decisions when it comes to wedding planning, don't make the choice that requires your guests to wait around for you.
    Don't worry guys, I have the Wedding Police AND the Whambulance on speed dial!
  • phiraphira Bahstin member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    In other news, have you heard of the trend where people skip your Catholic wedding bc it is already longer than most and you force everyone to wait out a long gap??

    Gaps are rude, the church is not. I would never skip a ceremony, but I totally understand why people do with such circumstances. 

    A gap is never unavoidable, you just have to put on your big girl panties and decide what is most important to you. You and your selfish idea of your dream wedding or your faith and properly hosting your guests.
    This times ONE THOUSAND.

    I've got no problem with somewhat lengthy ceremonies. From my perspective, the ceremony is the whole reason we're here; I'm usually bummed out when it's 5 minutes or less (unless the weather is horrible or something and the ceremony is outside). But Catholic ceremonies, for better or for worse, are not short, and as a non-Catholic, it feels even longer. Adding a gap on top of that makes the day endless.
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    PrettyGirlLostMarzipan13
  • I just went to one. It was a lovely ceremony, and a lovely reception. Except for the gap. I live in the city of the wedding, but it would have been too much of a pain to go back to my apartment during the approximate 2 and a quarter hour gap and then find my way back to the reception. So my friend and I wandered, and my fiance was kind enough to drive us to the reception (would have been a real pain to walk to in heels, and I feel badly for out of towners that had to figure out the city driving. And pay for parking. At both venues. I know that's life but... awful driving, and expensive to boot. And there was a nice Church closer to their reception, and nice reception- like locations closer to their Church.) We went up to the rooftop of fiance's work place to hang out for a bit. And I got a snack from 7.11 because I was pretty hungry. I didn't realize the gap was a "Catholic wedding trend", I just thought it was rude. 
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