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Home : Time Between Ceremony and Reception

Wedding Etiquette
Time Between Ceremony & Reception

Hello, My daughter is planning her ceremony for 2:00 pm and the reception for 6:00 pm - is this too much time between if they are planning some off site pictures after the ceremony? Should we move the reception up to 5:00 pm? -- Carol

Hi Carol, There is no right or wrong answer, but there certainly is a convenience issue. There are several factors to consider when making this decision, so lets just go through them one by one. If it is strictly for photos, there are better ways to handle this than inconvenience the guests. Perhaps the photos could be taken prior to the ceremony and move the ceremony later. Is the reason for the time gap because the reception facility is not available prior to that time, or because the ceremony facility is not available at a later time? If so, it is best to tie the two events together as close as possible and here is why. As much as the guests want to celebrate this wonderful event, they may not want to give up an entire day. After attending the ceremony, you may lose them to other things, especially the local invitees, and then that wonderful reception will be sparsely attended. You will be putting an extreme amount of effort into both the reception and the ceremony, so you don't want to lose the guests. Are there many out of town guests, and if so, what are they supposed to do in the interim -- has an activity or suggested activity been planned? If you are still left with a gap between events, perhaps have a suggested activity for your out-of-town guests and a notation on the back of your ceremony program such as "Please join us at 6:00 pm at the Country Club for dinner and dancing". Please let me know if there is anything else I can help you with. Best Regards, Brenda :)

Help! My daughter (and her fiancé) are planning and paying for their wedding. They are making all the decisions themselves, with some advice requested. However, regarding the wedding day schedule, she wants to take "lots of time" for photos between her ceremony and her supper/reception. The half-hour ceremony is planned for 2:00 and the reception for 6:30. I have explained to her that this will greatly inconvenience her 150 guests. e.g. what are they going to do for the 4 hours in between? To no avail. She is adamant. Can you provide me with some advice on dealing with this question, or should I just give up. I am now dreading the wedding day. Her maid-of-honour (who is also her sister) is of the same opinion as me, but bride will not listen. Invitations are to be finalized shortly. Help!!!

Hi Margaret, Hmmmmmm, not a pretty picture! The reality is just what you say it is. It will GREATLY inconvenience her guests. Outside of the obligatory family who will attend both events, many people will choose one or the other. The older guests will likely choose the wedding because it is earlier, less time commitment, don't have to drive after dark. The younger ones will choose the party - especially if there is food and drink involved. And the bride and groom will have hurt feelings because people ditched one of the events, as if a guests' entire day should be devoted to this wonderful celebration. Don't get me wrong, I know that they would love to celebrate the marriage, however, expecting an entire afternoon and evening to be dedicated to this one event is asking a lot of people who in reality have very little free time, and they are giving up half of their weekend for this. And what about a babysitter? If there are any out-of-town guests, do they have to go back to the hotel and watch TV until it's time to return, or has she made provisions to entertain them? Now if this is a destination wedding, and everyone is at the resort in Aruba, there will be no problem. There is more than enough to keep the guests entertained in the interim! Even the most logical person can sometimes become myopic when a bride, so let's give her the benefit of the doubt. I would approach the groom first and tell him your concerns - if he understands, then perhaps he can reason with your daughter. Or perhaps you know someone else whom she loves and respects that could gently explain this to her - a grandmother perhaps. I wish you the best, and regardless of what she chooses, you will be gaining a son-in-law and seeing your daughter happy. -- Brenda





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