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Etiquette

Pros/Cons of having our ceremony and reception on different days?

Hi there! This post is to see if anyone has had or been to a wedding where the ceremony and reception were separated on different days. I've seen a few posts on here related to this topic, with the reasoning being finances or logistics (e.g., one of the families lives elsewhere so the bride and groom have two celebrations to include everyone). I'm still open to a traditional wedding day with the ceremony and reception back-to-back, but I'm wondering if it may be more enjoyable to separate them so we can truly take in each event and not feel rushed. 

For background: I've been engaged since August 2014 (about four months now) and the wedding planning is slow moving. We've literally been all over the map with ideas on the format of our wedding. We love to the outdoors and traveling, so naturally we originally thought a destination wedding would be fitting with about 50 family and friends. We even went for an entire week to CO to visit a few venues I had lined up, but in experiencing the actual drive, we realized it was going to be difficult for some of those closest to us to get to - the whole point of a destination wedding. That was in October. 

Since then, we've been scouting out places near our hometown of Austin, Texas. We've been focusing on an outdoor-indoor option in the Texas Hill Country with a similar feel as those in Colorado (with the exception of mountains and free-roaming elk, of course). We found a beautiful old historic home that fits the bill and I was ready to put the deposit down a few days ago, only the in-house coordinator isn't the most responsive and over the last few days my fickle mind is making me thing twice. 

I keep hearing from married friends and family "how fast the day goes by" and "how I didn't even get to see/talk/spend time with everyone, but saw they came in pictures and it looked like they had a good time" and "We were so excited with adrenaline pumping that we were moving so quickly through all the events of the day and hardly remember any of it!" These were all from friends/family who had 75-125 guests so not too too big of a wedding. Of course, they all provide their two cents on how to overcome some of those regrets (e.g., take a moment the two of you to look around and soak it in; have a private dinner with just you and your husband pre-reception to avoid forgetting to eat/remember the food you spend so much $$ on," etc.) 

BUT, is there an alternative? We brides on average spend a full year, coupled with all the energy and money, planning our weddings that it's a little daunting knowing that all that effort goes into one day that I too will likely think it goes by too quickly. We're not the flashy types and I hope this post doesn't come off as me wanting to have more attention by prolonging our wedding, but: 
- Is there simply too much packed into a traditional wedding day? 
- Has anyone had their (or been experienced as a guest) wedding ceremony and reception on different days? 
- For those who haven't, what are your thoughts and any suggestions on the format, who to invite to each, etc? 

Thanks in advance and looking forward to insight, advice, comments. 

Re: Pros/Cons of having our ceremony and reception on different days?

  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I agree with PPs. And it comes off as a very selfish thing to do. Hosting your guests properly and their comforts should be your first priority.

  • lovegood90lovegood90 Ontario member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    Agree with everyone else. It's proper etiquette to have a ceremony immediately followed by a reception, with the only gap between being for cocktail hour (and only one hour). Spreading your event over multiple days isn't convenient for anyone.

    Formerly martha1818

    image


    fwtx5815
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Hi there! This post is to see if anyone has had or been to a wedding where the ceremony and reception were separated on different days. I've seen a few posts on here related to this topic, with the reasoning being finances or logistics (e.g., one of the families lives elsewhere so the bride and groom have two celebrations to include everyone). I'm still open to a traditional wedding day with the ceremony and reception back-to-back, but I'm wondering if it may be more enjoyable to separate them so we can truly take in each event and not feel rushed. 

    For background: I've been engaged since August 2014 (about four months now) and the wedding planning is slow moving. We've literally been all over the map with ideas on the format of our wedding. We love to the outdoors and traveling, so naturally we originally thought a destination wedding would be fitting with about 50 family and friends. We even went for an entire week to CO to visit a few venues I had lined up, but in experiencing the actual drive, we realized it was going to be difficult for some of those closest to us to get to - the whole point of a destination wedding. That was in October. 

    Since then, we've been scouting out places near our hometown of Austin, Texas. We've been focusing on an outdoor-indoor option in the Texas Hill Country with a similar feel as those in Colorado (with the exception of mountains and free-roaming elk, of course). We found a beautiful old historic home that fits the bill and I was ready to put the deposit down a few days ago, only the in-house coordinator isn't the most responsive and over the last few days my fickle mind is making me thing twice. 

    I keep hearing from married friends and family "how fast the day goes by" and "how I didn't even get to see/talk/spend time with everyone, but saw they came in pictures and it looked like they had a good time" and "We were so excited with adrenaline pumping that we were moving so quickly through all the events of the day and hardly remember any of it!" These were all from friends/family who had 75-125 guests so not too too big of a wedding. Of course, they all provide their two cents on how to overcome some of those regrets (e.g., take a moment the two of you to look around and soak it in; have a private dinner with just you and your husband pre-reception to avoid forgetting to eat/remember the food you spend so much $$ on," etc.) 

    BUT, is there an alternative? We brides on average spend a full year, coupled with all the energy and money, planning our weddings that it's a little daunting knowing that all that effort goes into one day that I too will likely think it goes by too quickly. We're not the flashy types and I hope this post doesn't come off as me wanting to have more attention by prolonging our wedding, but: 
    - Is there simply too much packed into a traditional wedding day? 
    - Has anyone had their (or been experienced as a guest) wedding ceremony and reception on different days? 
    - For those who haven't, what are your thoughts and any suggestions on the format, who to invite to each, etc? 

    Thanks in advance and looking forward to insight, advice, comments. 

  • I would not be very happy to give up two days for YOUR wedding. Not sure why you would think this would be convenient for your guests because it would not be. Sorry but it is a bad plan for sure.

  • slothiegalslothiegal The Sloth Farm member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer Name Dropper
    You get ONE day.
    Anniversary

    image
    PrettyGirlLost
  • OP, if you are concerned about the day flying by you to the point that you want to spread it out across two days, why don't you plan it in a way that won't be stressful? You don't need to coordinate a bunch of elaborate photoshoots that can be exhausting and take up a lot of time, since photos mostly sit in your photo album and get looked at maybe a few times a year after the fact. Also, I presume by the way you talked about the venue you liked, you have a very specific idea in mind as to what your venue should be. While I absolutely understand having a vision, keep in mind that your ultimate wedding vision is to enjoy the day. See if the venue you already like can arrange for everything to do be done right there (food, beverage, linens, etc.) If not, maybe you should consider a venue that is "all-inclusive," as in you pay the cost and they take care of everything. That way you don't get too wrapped up in planning so much that you feel any type of remorse or regret for not spending the day in a way sufficient enough to justify all the planning you've done for it. 

    Also, to answer your original question, I would most likely not take that much time off for someone's wedding unless it was an extremely close friend. If anything, I would probably choose to attend the ceremony itself, as that is the most important part.
    aleighbakerMandyMost
  • A wedding is one event. Ergo, it cannot be split into two days.
    image
    PrettyGirlLost
  • JCbride2015JCbride2015 Dirty Jerz member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
    Yeah I agree with PPs-- this does not sound fun or convenient for guests.  This means they have to get dressed up twice, travel twice, take time out of two days, and potentially get a night at a hotel in between the two events.  And it seems odd to have a ceremony with just nothing afterwards-- the whole point of the reception is to (immediately) thank your guests for attending.

    But like others have pointed out, you could choose to host a big rehearsal dinner or morning-after brunch and invite everyone.  That's a nice option for people who want to extend the party, but doesn't put too much pressure on those who would rather not make it a full weekend affair.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    image

    "I'm not a rude bitch.  I'm ten rude bitches in a large coat."

  • I understand where you are coming from, being worried about not getting enough time with your loved ones on this special day. However, such is life, and other poster's gave great ideas on how to manage your time and soak up the most you can from your wedding day. 

    I'd echo the idea of making the rehearsal dinner open to all guests. For our wedding, most of our guests are OOT (us included). We decided not to have a rehearsal + rehearsal dinner as I don't want our VIP's to feel pressure to come in the day before if they cannot/choose not to. I also didn't want to only host our VIP's this night. Instead, we'll be hosting a low key "welcome party" at a local pub. If people are choosing to come in the Friday evening for our Saturday wedding, I want to spend as much time with them as we can. This will hopefully take a little stress out of trying to spend a ton of time with each and every person the big day. We will still be making rounds during dinner, of course. 

     We are also throwing around the idea of hosting a Sunday brunch or at least letting everyone know where we may be grabbing brunch and that they can attend if they choose. There is no pressure for anyone to attend these extra meet-ups but they are there for those that want to and we would obviously love to get to spend extra time with people.
    lnixon8
  • LadyMillilLadyMillil member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    edited December 2014
    I definitely understand wanting to spend more time with your friends and family. DH and I live across the country from our families, and our families are spread out across the province so it is difficult to get together with some members of the family. As a guest I would not like attending a ceremony and reception on 2 different days. As a bride I didn't feel the day was rushed or that I didn't get to spend time with everyone. We didn't have a rehearsal dinner but we told all of the WP and OOT guests that we would be having drinks and apps at the hotel bar at a certain time. They all dropped by at different times to have a drink or say hi. Several guests ended up coming to a movie with us that night. I arranged hair and makeup for the BMs and myself. My mom, MIL and SIL were also invited. We spent most of the morning together and my mom and MIL had secretly planned a brunch for us. I hate when there is a huge gap between the ceremony and reception for pictures so we planned all of our pictures before the ceremony. I scheduled an hour for pictures of just me and DH. That was more time than we needed so we got to spend quite a bit of time together before the ceremony. We did pictures with the WP and our families before the ceremony as well. It was really nice to have that time together. By the time the ceremony started the only guests we hadn't spent any time with were my cousins and friends of DH that didn't come into town until right before the ceremony. We did a receiving line and greeted all guests then. We had some time during the "cocktail hour" while we waited for the venue to change the room from ceremony to dinner set up and had finished pictures so we were able to mingle with our guests. We didn't do table visits during dinner so we got to enjoy our food. My venue served the bride and groom first so that they could quickly eat before doing table visits. My crowd isn't big on dancing, but likes to sit around talking and drinking, so after dinner we were able to speak to all of the guests again. ETA: our hotel had a great brunch deal for wedding guests. We made sure the guests knew about it and when we were planning on being there

    Anniversary
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    I have no problem if you want to have hosted events in the day(s) leading up to the wedding or the day after the wedding.  But the main event so to speak needs to be on the same day.   

    Think of the SuperBowl, sure there are a ton of activities the week of the event, but they do not play the first half on one day and the second half of the game on the next day.  That would be weird.    

    Same for a wedding.  Most of us think a 2-3 hour gap is unacceptable, a 24 hour gap is down right rude.






    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. 
    [Deleted User]PrettyGirlLostluckysnorkel
  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its

    I agree with PPs. The ceremony and reception can't be separated. You can eliminate some of the reception traditions such as the bouquet and garter toss, have your first dance and cut the cake at the beginning of the reception, combine the Bride/FOB dance with the Groom/MOG dance? If you want more time with your  guests, host a brunch the day after the wedding.

    Going be honest, if I was invited to the wedding that you're suggesting, I would only attend one event and  that would probably be the fun part - the reception.


                       
    fwtx5815
  • Agree with all the above. The reception is to thank your guests for coming to your ceremony, so they must be on the same day, without a huge gap.

    You may host any other parties you like, wherever you like, but they are not your wedding reception. 

    Also, super inconvenient for guests to split the ceremony and reception. I imagine you would have lots of people attend one and not the other, which would defeat your purpose of trying to spend time with everyone. You won't be spending personal time with your guests during the ceremony anyway, so that day would be a moot point (and rude to those guests for not thanking them with a reception).

    There are lots of ways to ease your worries- lots of good points already made:
    -Hair and make-up early in the day so you have lots of time and no rush
    -Keep the guest list small so you can visit guests one on one
    -Keep the photos to a minimum or do before your ceremony so you can spend cocktail hour with your guests
    -Don't worry about elaborate performances/displays/games/etc at your reception- eat dinner then spend the rest of the night having fun
    fwtx5815
  • Hello!
    I went to a wedding where I was invited to the reception only and it was actually very beautiful. They spent extra money to make sure all the guests were comfortable and I had a really great time! Doesnt matter how many days you take. You can do your wedding however YOU want. I went to one wedding where it was the ceremony earlier in the day, reception later in the evening and then there was a huge breakfast/luncheon the following day! I loved it. It occupies the time for people coming out of town (we were from another country) and I felt welcome and comfortable. 
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited January 2015
    Oops! Early in the morning. I already posted upthread.
  • Hi there! This post is to see if anyone has had or been to a wedding where the ceremony and reception were separated on different days. I've seen a few posts on here related to this topic, with the reasoning being finances or logistics (e.g., one of the families lives elsewhere so the bride and groom have two celebrations to include everyone). I'm still open to a traditional wedding day with the ceremony and reception back-to-back, but I'm wondering if it may be more enjoyable to separate them so we can truly take in each event and not feel rushed. 


    For background: I've been engaged since August 2014 (about four months now) and the wedding planning is slow moving. We've literally been all over the map with ideas on the format of our wedding. We love to the outdoors and traveling, so naturally we originally thought a destination wedding would be fitting with about 50 family and friends. We even went for an entire week to CO to visit a few venues I had lined up, but in experiencing the actual drive, we realized it was going to be difficult for some of those closest to us to get to - the whole point of a destination wedding. That was in October. 

    Since then, we've been scouting out places near our hometown of Austin, Texas. We've been focusing on an outdoor-indoor option in the Texas Hill Country with a similar feel as those in Colorado (with the exception of mountains and free-roaming elk, of course). We found a beautiful old historic home that fits the bill and I was ready to put the deposit down a few days ago, only the in-house coordinator isn't the most responsive and over the last few days my fickle mind is making me thing twice. 

    I keep hearing from married friends and family "how fast the day by... Cut...>
    BUT, is there an alternative? We brides on average spend a full year, coupled with all the energy and money, planning our weddings that it's a little daunting knowing that all that effort goes into one day that I too will likely think it goes by too quickly. We're not the flashy types and I hope this post doesn't come off as me wanting to have more attention by prolonging our wedding, but: 
    - Is there simply too much packed into a traditional wedding day? 
    - Has anyone had their (or been experienced as a guest) wedding ceremony and reception on different days? 
    - For those who haven't, what are your thoughts and any suggestions on the format, who to invite to each, etc? 

    Thanks in advance and looking forward to insight, advice, comments. 
    *************************
    It goes by too quickly for the couple. But for guests, even local ones, maybe getting a sitter, dressing up, traveling, attending, traveling home, then on another day doing that over again, that seems an imposition on my time. Instead of sixty dollars for a sitter, it will be over a hundred.

    The ceremony may be thirty minutes or an hour, but dressing up and travel may take three if close by. People working weekends may get one day off using vacation days, but two?
    Some years we attend no weddings. But some we attend five or more, record was 17. Add on baptisms and graduations and retirement parties and showers an bachelor's parties. People want some of their non-working time to themselves. I hope you see it is not about denying people the wedding they want.
    For various reasons some people have had separate ceremony and reception days, and I go to the ceremony,skip the reception.

    The only time other than a DW that I have attended both on separate days was twice when families had two children getting married and each wanted their own ceremony, different religions of new spouses.

    For an after Sundown Jewish ceremony Saturday night, B 1 and G 1. Sun morning 11am, B 2 and G2 civil ceremony. Sun noon, both couples and their friends, two grooms from one family and the two brides had a joint reception for all three families and many overlapping friends who knew both couples

    The second was a Sat Protestant wedding at noon , cross town a Catholic wedding at 1:30, all three families and all friends reception starting 2:30 thru evening.

    I could justify the two days or the one with a 1 1/2 hour gap between the first ceremony and reception because two weddings were involved, two religions, and 3 families. But not so one couple could stretch out their fun.

  • Reminds me of this wedding I read about a few month's ago: http://www.marriedinmilwaukee.com/iron-horse-wedding

    Couple claims it went well, be interesting to have the perspective from a guest. I am not trying to say this is a good idea, but apparently it is a "thing". I personally wouldn't want to spend more than one day on the wedding, even if it was someone close to me, because I have to consider potentially taking off more time for work and also means I've potentially spent other time/money already for other things already like shower, parties, whatnot. I like lyndausvi's reference about the super bowl, I think that also explains it well.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • I don't really get breaking it up over two days. So, you have a ceremony, and then everyone just leaves and comes back together the next day? Wouldn't you want to eat and party with everyone? 

    If you are worried about seeing your guests, something I think is nice (though always optional) is having another event that weekend for guests. I have seen the couple invite everyone to rehearsal dinner (if you are having a small wedding with mostly family this would probably work well). It could be super casual, like a bbq at home. Or, alternatively, I've been to weddings where the day after the wedding the bride and groom hosted a casual meal, ie, breakfast for everyone at the hotel, or again, a bbq. (I attended a wedding where the day after there was a crawfish boil).

    As long as we can swing it we are planning to have a very casual drop-in brunch at our house the day after the wedding that guests can attend if they are still in town. Brunch will just be muffins, bagels, coffee, juice, and any booze we have left.
    image
  • I understand this sentiment, but you can accomplish this in other ways. Here are some suggestions:
    • Have an open rehearsal dinner/welcome party the night before so you can mingle with guests and catch up with people the day of.
    • Choose a venue where guests can stay on-site, and have activities during the day (yard games, etc.).
    • I've gone to weddings where the bride or groom has organized "outings" the day before or the morning of the wedding for people interested - golf, going to see a movie, getting mani-pedis, etc. 
    • Have a destination wedding. People will generally come and stay for a whole weekend and are more likely to be available for non-wedding get togethers.
    • Host a breakfast or brunch the day after the wedding so you can see everyone before they take off.
    Just remember that it's ultimately up to their guests whether they have the time and energy to attend this many wedding events in one weekend. If it feels to AWish, people will probably just want to skip it.
    PrettyGirlLost
  • There are no pros, only cons to this idea.
    image
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