Sammy L.
Beginner November 2020

The dreaded wedding gap

Sammy L., on December 12, 2019 at 9:11 PM Posted in Etiquette and Advice 0 15
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I've been reading the forums long enough to know that WW *hates* a gap between the ceremony and reception. But I am still considering having a gap, and here's why:


I am having a DW--still in the US, but everyone will have to travel at least an hour for it and most people will have to fly. Basically, the only people who are coming are very committed to attending. The only time for my ceremony is at 11AM, and we chose the church because it has significance for us. I am perfectly fine having a lunch reception. However, my family thinks that people may want an evening reception after traveling such a long way.


My parents are willing to host lunch and organize activities between the ceremony and the evening reception, should we chose to have one. Everyone's hotel room will be within 10 minutes of both the church and the reception. We will obviously not expect or advise people to dress as formally for the ceremony. Most of the guests are Catholic, so (for better or for worse) they are used to gaps of a couple of hours. There isn't a ton to do in the town we are in, but we can think of a few sites people may be interested in seeing.


What should we do?

15 Comments

  • Neeva
    Expert April 2020
    Neeva ·
    • Flag

    You do you.

    I have been to a few weddings where there is a gap and it's not the biggest deal in the world. Are you still going to do a cocktail hour? The few weddings I've been to with large gaps had a cocktail hour to kickoff the evening part of the celebrations.

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  • Sammy L.
    Beginner November 2020
    Sammy L. ·
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    View Quoted Comment
    Yes, we are planning to host a cocktail hour. We were thinking at 5PM if we choose an evening reception.
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  • Future Mrs. A. 💍
    VIP November 2020
    Future Mrs. A. 💍 ·
    • Flag
    I think that would be okay! I’ve been to a few weddings with a significant gap in between the ceremony and the reception— we ended up unpacking at the hotel, grabbing some apps and a drink sight seeing and then changing up before the reception—
    • Reply
  • Devoted December 2019
    ·
    • Flag
    I’m getting married today! Ceremony at 4, reception starting off with cocktail hour at 6pm about 20 minutes away. The catholic gap is real! Your plan sounds good!!!
    • Reply
  • W-K
    Super October 2019
    W-K ·
    • Flag

    My sister in law had a gap between her ceremony and reception. She ended up hosting a "hang out" cocktail hour type thing at her house before we went to the reception at 6. I honestly barely noticed there was a gap during her wedding it just felt like an all day celebration.

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  • Jill
    Jill ·
    • Flag

    If you have that big of a gap, be prepared for some people to attend only one of the events. If I were one of the people that lived within an hour of the destination, I can 100% tell you, I wouldn't be attending both.

    • Reply
  • Melle
    Champion June 2019
    Melle ·
    • Flag
    I hate gaps BUT if you'll be having activities in between it's not so bad !!
    • Reply
  • Jennifer
    Super April 2020
    Jennifer ·
    • Flag

    Since you are

    1) Having a Catholic wedding, which as you stated means people are very used to a big gap for

    2) Have something for guests to do during the gap (the lunch your mom will handle)

    If you need the gap, take it,. You'll have plenty of time for pictures and as you stated, the reception isn't far from the hotel!

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  • Jennifer
    Super April 2020
    Jennifer ·
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    Congratulations!!!

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  • L
    Lady ·
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    I think you should still choose a lunch reception. Even if your parents are essentially willing to host 2 events (lunch, etc AND an evening reception) that's a super long day for guests and I honestly don't think everyone would want to be present for the whole day.

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  • Sammy L.
    Beginner November 2020
    Sammy L. ·
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    For the people who are traveling, should I still set something up for the evening, or will people want to do their own thing? The vast majority of the guest list will be flying out for the weekend, so I want to make sure they feel hosted.

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  • Sammy L.
    Beginner November 2020
    Sammy L. ·
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    Wow, congrats! I hope it is wonderful

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  • L
    Lady ·
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    If it were me, I would make the "real" reception the lunchtime one immediately following the ceremony. People will already be dressed up and engaged in the event.


    Then you could do more casual drinks and appetizers get together either at one of the hotels people are staying at or a nearby bar/restaurant (almost like a welcome reception if you've been to something like that before, just after the wedding). That way people can kind of pop in and out, go to dinner and then come by to hang out, or vice versa. No one is obligated to go, but for those that would like to see you or spend more time together, it's a fantastic way to host them!

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  • R
    Dedicated February 2020
    Rachael ·
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    I was going to suggest this also. As a guest, I would prefer the lunch reception. I think people are going to lose steam. A 2 hour gap isn't horrible, pictures will take an hour or so and then travel to the reception venue, people may want to head back to their room to freshen up, etc. More than that and you're going to lose some people I think or people will skip the ceremony and only head to the reception.

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  • J
    Master 0000
    Judith ·
    • Flag
    Have a lunch time reception. Some may prefer an evening reception. But just as many, or more, would like the ceremony to flow right to the reception, and end around supper time. Some may prefer to travel home that evening. To have a 6 hour or more gap for no good reason, that then obliges people to spend perhaps hundreds more for overnight in a hotel, and lunch and breakfast, may irritate many. I know that I often will travel 2-4 hours to weddings. But getting a babysitter for 5 kids and many pets is not easy. And whether I am paying $15-20 an hour, or imposing on family whom I will owe, return child care, to travel for one night away, or traveling 3 hours early morning, and back in the evening, is a lot more desireable. What someone is ticking away as a gap, is often $200 to $400 or more out of a guest's pocket. If you really had your heart set on an evening reception, and were willing to accept that up to half of guests might come to only the ceremony or the reception, not both, you could do it. But if you do not care, have a lunch reception, and make it easy and less expensive for your guests.
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