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A 3-Hour Lull?

October 5th, 2010 by     


My parents recently attended a wedding that started at 3pm for a church ceremony. On the invitation it said “reception to follow at 6pm”. The ceremony only lasted about 30 minutes and all of the sudden they had two and a half hours of lull time. The reception was about a 20 minute drive, so they couldn’t figure out why the bride and groom put such a huge gap of time in between their ceremony and reception. It turned out that they wanted that time for pictures around town.

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Photo Credit: ThroughfullySimple.com

For a wedding that was about 180 guests, and 70% of those guests from out of town, my parents didn’t understand why there wasn’t a plan. And so what happened is that most guests just stood around outside the church, some people went and got drinks in town, others drove out to the reception site and stood around there. Not really what I’d want my guests to be doing, but maybe that’s just me.

If I can offer any advice, it’s to NOT leave your guests hanging in between your ceremony and reception. If you want that time for pictures, make sure you do one of the following things.

  1. Explain in the program that “The Bride and Groom will be taking photos around town, immediately following ceremony”
  2. Provide an insert in your program that gives ideas for drinks at a bar/restaurant that is close to the ceremony/reception site.
  3. Have your cocktail party start early at the reception site.  When you arrive they will all be there for your grand entrance!
  4. Do a “first sight” and take care of those pictures ahead of time.

Have you been to a wedding recently where you’ve had to wait awhile in between the ceremony/reception?  Or are you planning on having that time for pictures at your wedding?

7 Responses to “A 3-Hour Lull?”

  1. Lala Says:

    Our ceremony starts at 3:30, then dinner is @ 6 at the reception ( due to pictures) but we have the cocktail hour available at the reception hall so that people can go there early & spend time chatting & drinking together. This helps with the lull.

  2. Poppy Bud Says:

    I totally agree with you…I wouldn’t want my guests to wait around either. We have a bit of a distance between our ceremony and reception (about a 45 min drive) so we are planning on doing a “first look” and taking most of the pictures then.
    I would say it also isn’t good to make your guests wait around at the reception for you to arrive, especially if you are waiting to serve the food until after you arrive.

  3. Ariella Says:

    I was invited to a wedding that had a two hour lull. The church and the reception hall were 5 minutes apart so we couldn’t even waste time traveling. Thankfully, the wedding was in my home town so I went back to my house to get changed into my reception dress. We invited my friends over to our home as well, as they lived about 30 minutes away. Two hours was a long time to kill just sitting around waiting.

    There will be about an hour in between our ceremony and reception, which I think is acceptable. We are getting married at a maritime museum so there will be plenty to see and those with children can head to the reception location, which has a playground.

  4. Sunflower Bud Says:

    I was also invited to a wedding with a long lull between the ceremony and reception–pretty sure the couple did it for pictures but there wasn’t a plan for in between for guests. Luckily, the ceremony was right around the corner from my parents house at the time so we just went back there for an hour or two and then went to the reception. The problem is that we got stuck in traffic on our way to the reception and we missed the bride and groom’s “big entrance” and my fiance’s mom was not very happy with us at all. Although, this was 3-years ago and it was before I was planning my own wedding and I knew absolutely nothing about weddings so there could have been a cocktail hour or something but we were only like 20 minutes late so I guess not.

    For our wedding, we’re doing a “first sight” (mainly because I’m so shy and it’ll help calm my nerves since my fiance is my rock) to get pictures done beforehand and will do a very short cocktail hour and just go straight into dinner and whatnot.

  5. Ashley McCrea Says:

    I’ve never experienced a huge lull (nothing more than an hour or that I wasn’t at a cocktail hour while we waited) in between at weddings I’ve attended. But my best friend recently attended her cousin’s wedding which did have a huge lull in between for photos but her and her FI had to stick around to be in family photos. They waited around for 45 min to take one photo.
    I plan to do a “First Look/Glance” so that we can have that moment to ourselves and take majority of our photos before hand and get to join our guests during the cocktail hour.

  6. Kathy Says:

    Sometime you can’t avoid the lull between ceremony and reception… Our wedding next year is going to have a 4 hour break between the ceremony and reception. We want to have a dinner reception, but our church only allows Saturday weddings at 1pm (due to confessions/masses later in the day). Most of our out of town guests and close friends, who live farther than a short drive, will probably just go over to my parent’s house for snacks and drinks in between…

  7. Cymbie Bud Says:

    Cymbie Dude’s mom recently attended a wedding where there was about a 2 1/2 hour lull. The guests had little to do and were stuck simply sitting and waiting while the bridal party took pictures. If we decide to do pictures around town, then I believe we are going to do a “Day After” session with our photographer. As it was explained to me by the photographer, it is just the bride and groom, with the bride in her dress but allows for a more intimate setting for the couple. You can also go to non-traditional places to be photographed. I just don’t want my guests sitting around drinking and snacking for a long time. They will be traveling a long distance and it just seems rude to make them wait.

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