It is pretty customary for a wedding ceremony and the reception to be spaced hours apart from each other. Primarily to allow the wedding party to get pictures and prepare for the reception. But now that I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize how terribly cumbersome it is to attend a wedding, and then wait 2.5 hours for the reception to begin. Usually receptions include a dinner, buffet or appetizers, so you don’t want to go to one of the many restaurants they list off in the “wedding program” or the wedding website, if there’s just going to be food at the reception. Many guests are out of town, too, and haven’t the foggiest clue what to do with themselves in an unfamiliar town.
I don’t think this is an etiquette faux pas, but I think it’s asking a lot out of some guests. To waste 2-3 hours waiting for your reception to begin. And to be honest, a lot of times when there is such a long break in the middle, I’ve noticed a lot of people don’t end up attending the reception. My friend recently got married, and even though her reception venue was a stone’s throw away from the church, there was a 2.5 hour break between the two. When the reception got going, almost none of the families with small children, and older people showed up.
Do you think this is asking a lot out of guests? Or is it simply customary? 0821-13
I think your community has enshrined rude behavior as “customary”. An hours long gap between ceremony and reception only serves the needs of the photographer and his/her subjects while guests are expected to occupy their time in the interim. That is a profound attitude of entitlement to believe one’s guests have an obligation to mill about waiting for the wedding royalty to deign to make an appearance in a timely fashion. If the reception is meant as an expression of hospitality to dear guests, making them wait for that graciousness is inhospitable. And you think treating guests so rudely and with so little thought to their comfort is not an etiquette faux pas?
The only way a significant time gap between ceremony and reception can be redeemed is if there is a hospitality or “comfort suite” set up in a hotel for out of town guests to get a light snack, rest and freshen up. I’ve seen extended family members open their homes,basically an open house, during that interim gap and offer guests a place to sit down, relax, have a drink and some nibbles while waiting to go to the reception.