Wedding Wednesday || The Gap

There’s a small dilemma with my wedding date/time, and until recently I hadn’t been able to figure out how to deal with it. Specifically, it’s a two hour gap. My fiance and I are both Catholic and are having a traditional Catholic wedding ceremony. The issue this presents is that the latest any Catholic church will perform a wedding Mass on a Saturday afternoon is 1:30pm, due to 4pm Mass. This means that the ceremony will end around 2:30pm, and our cocktail hour/reception doesn’t begin until 5pm. (This is not an intentional gap so that I can have a million pictures taken of me – I actually want to try to take pictures as quickly as possible so that I can join my guests at cocktail hour!)

St Marys Bristol Exterior
The church we’re getting married at!

I had been feeling a bit bad about my guests (many of whom actually live in the town the church is in, and most coming from no more than 1 hour away) having to endure a bit of a gap between the end of the ceremony and the beginning of cocktail hour, and my mother has begged me to stop worrying about it. Upon the advice of a friend I took to the wedding forums on TheKnot.com to see if there were any suggestions/advice, or perhaps just a “hey, don’t worry about it – it’s totally normal.”

I was ripped. to. shreds. One woman told me that it was selfish of my fiance and I to have chosen our wedding date based on our personal preference and the sentimental value of it (it’s our anniversary), over the comfort of our guests. (She said that our wedding is the opportunity for us to “start over” and that it’s childish to hold on to an old date… uhm, why would we be starting over? We’re looking at our wedding as a continuation of a great life, not wiping the slate clean and starting fresh!) Another told me that not only was it rude, but it was also unacceptable, and that I should change the date and time of my wedding all together. I was continuously told that as “the host” I had a responsibility to my guests that went beyond my personal preference, and that basically I was about to be the worst, most inconsiderate bride ever.

St Marys Bristol Altar
The altar of the church.

And then I learned something very interesting. “The Gap” is a completely normal thing to happen. At least around here (Rhode Island/Massachusetts) – where the majority of the population is Catholic. Any bride and groom planning a Catholic wedding on a Saturday has this issue – there’s pretty much no way around it, unless you’re willing to start your cocktail hour at 3pm (which is kind of early, dontcha think?). But, most of the country isn’t Catholic and, presumably, doesn’t have the same time restrictions. So these women, who chose to tear me to shreds over my preference to have my wedding on a date and at a church that have sentimental value to me (did I mention my parents were married there?) were neglecting to take into consideration (well, my feelings – first of all) the fact that there are some cultural norms that they weren’t aware of. (To be fair, I wasn’t really aware of them either as I am just getting to that age where going to wedding frequently is becoming a thing.)

I guess the moral of this story is the women on that website need to take a chill pill and come off their high horses that if your wedding feels right to you – don’t worry about what anyone else has to say about it. Your guests are those that are nearest and dearest to you. They will realize that while yes, you are the host, you aren’t just throwing any old party. They’ve been invited to celebrate and share a very special and important moment in your life. I know that if I were faced with a gap while being the guest, it probably wouldn’t even register to me. I’m always just so excited and honored to be invited to weddings that I would pretty much do anything the bride and groom asked me to do… even find a way to kill an hour between their wedding ceremony and the party they’re throwing where they’re providing me with free food and booze.

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