Jenae
Just Said Yes October 2021

Timeline Setup

Jenae, on January 26, 2020 at 9:02 AM Posted in Planning 0 8
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Hi everyone! We are just in the beginning of planning but I haven’t been able to find anyone in a similar situation in the threads. Essentially we are having a “private” ceremony with about 20 guests, and my in laws’ house. The reception is at a different location, where we will have approximately 65-75 guests.
My fiancé does not want to do a first look, so pictures between the ceremony and reception are a must. We also want to be able to check into our hotel between the ceremony and reception so that out things are there when we arrive. Our hotel is on the Blue Ridge Parkway and has stunning views, so we thought about taking pictures there as well. We are thinking that we will need 2-2.5 hours for photos and the drive time.

It seems like most timelines we’ve seen include a late ceremony followed by a reception.
If we want our cocktail hour to start at 5 o’clock, what should we plan for our ceremony?? Is it weird to have such an early ceremony, even though it’s private?

8 Comments

Latest activity by Kimberly, on July 22, 2020 at 11:32 PM
  • Caytlyn
    Legend November 2019
    Caytlyn ·
    • Flag

    If you want a 5 pm cocktail hour and feel like you need 2.5 hours in between, assuming you're having a 30 minute ceremony, that puts the ceremony start time at 2 pm. An afternoon ceremony isn't weird, but I do think it's a bit rude for your ceremony guests to have an inconvenient 2.5 hour gap to fill.

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  • Jenae
    Just Said Yes October 2021
    Jenae ·
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    They’re family, and we have a tea/sandwich setup planned for them in between. Thanks for the support.
    • Reply
  • R
    Devoted December 2020
    Rachel ·
    • Flag
    I recently attended a wedding where there was a 3 hour gap between ceremony & the start of cocktail hour/reception (catholic wedding). It wasn’t that bad—as long as your guests know there will be an extra long gap they can figure it out.
    • Reply
  • Alma
    Expert October 2020
    Alma ·
    • Flag
    The long gap is very common in catholic weddings. People expect it and if they want to be there , they will attend.
    • Reply
  • Kimberly
    Super August 2020
    Kimberly ·
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    I was just going to mention that! We have a bit of a gap for our upcoming Catholic wedding; ceremony is at 1pm (with mass and ceremony being an hour) and the cocktail hour begins at 3pm giving guests enough time but not too much time in between to drive to the venue for cocktail hour. Our church and reception venues are both downtown within a couple of blocks away.

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  • Jana
    Master October 2022
    Jana ·
    • Flag
    An afternoon ceremony is very common. Guests do get offended by gaps and only being invited to reception only or ceremony only but not both.


    Can you have someone check into the hotel on your behalf or do it at a different time that doesn't cut into the wedding timeline? The long picture time (plus the drive) is an inconvenience for your guests attending the ceremony.
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  • Alma
    Expert October 2020
    Alma ·
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    I don’t know why people think weddings are an all size fits all or consider everything to be rude or not fall into etiquette. I come from a catholic family and I’m so used to weddings being church ceremony, long break, then reception in the evening! Lol we would even wear 2 different outfits 😂. Yours doesn’t sound like a long gap at all so I guess it worked out! Also, catholic ceremonies are long and not the typical 20-30 min ones.
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  • Kimberly
    Super August 2020
    Kimberly ·
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    I agree. Most guests are more than happy to spend that portion of the day for the wedding especially of they know ahead of time what that entails. Most of our guests aren’t catholic so I made sure to explain to them in person and on the wedding website what a Catholic ceremony entails with full mass - most of my guests are excited as they haven’t been to a Catholic ceremony. I think any ceremony is beautiful because you’re theyre for the people you care about.
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