gap between ceremony and reception

pmackeySeptember 13, 2006

I need advice!! I am having an outdoor destination wedding in the Colorado mountains with two locations, one for the ceremony and one for the reception. Everyone coming will have to travel and stay overnight, and we are trying to have everyone stay where the reception is - in cabins at a dude ranch. I would like to have the wedding sometime before 1:00, because of the likelihood of rain in the afternoon. But I would also like to have an evening reception starting no earlier than say 5:00? I was thinking a mini-recption and champagne toast at the ceremony would be nice and would let people kill a little time. And I was going to tell the guests to feel free to "dress down" for the reception. Can I do this? Will people lose momentum? Will they be annoyed at having to entertain themselves for a few hours in between? Thanks!

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What if people dress up a tiny bit for the wedding--wear what they'd wear to an afternoon event.

and then change, to dress up?

But I also like the idea of having a nice, genteel wedding, w/ guests in nice afternoon dresses, and then a "reception" that's also genteel, like a garden wedding, maybe complete w/ the best man's toast, and cake, and greeting people. That will keep the tone going, and give you quiet time to talk w/ people, and the energy of the ceremony itself won't trickle away.

Then, maybe even after 5, at 7 or so, have a dress-down party later--not really the "official reception," just a party, w/ sort of casual food, rowdy dancing music,--a dude ranch kind of party.

You could even have stuff like croquet & frisbee toss and kickball at 6, or board games, whist, and lanyard weaving if it rains--then a relaxed family-picnic sort of party after.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2006 at 8:09PM
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Since the wedding is being held in the mountains of Colorado and it is a destination wedding, it should be fine to have a break between the ceremony and the reception, particularly if guests have to travel to and from the ceremony location. You might plan to do your photos after the ceremony instead of before it and have the champagne toast and mingling after the ceremony. Then let everyone return to their cabins to nap/go riding/fishing/hiking, or whatever for a couple of hours before joining you for a dinner reception. When guests know that there is plenty to do, and they came to spend the weekend there, you aren't taking away from their routine by doing something a bit out of the ordinary.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 1:27AM
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I agree that because this is a destination wedding, you should be fine. Ordinarily, a gap is a nuisance, but here it sounds like you are really planning an entire weekend, or at least sort of like a 24-hour event, and the whole group will (you hope) all be together the whole time anyway. So it's not like you are making people go home and come back or find something to do in between.

I like Talley Sue's suggestions. I would save the more formal tone for the ceremony and perhaps mini-reception afterward, and then just have it be a fun, casual party in the evening -- that seems more fitting with the dude ranch setting anyway.

This sounds great. Often, I think "destination" weddings seem like asking a lot of guests in terms of committing time and money (my cousin got married in KENYA! No one but his immediate family went). But this probably wouldn't cost more or take more time than traveling to a wedding in another city and staying in a hotel.

I would love to be invited to a wedding like this. It sounds like so much fun!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 9:45PM
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ooh, w/ my plan, you could have TWO wedding dresses! A more formal, long one for the "garden wedding" in the afternoon, and a shorter, kickier one (maybe a sundress w/ a full, full skirt, in white w/ embroidery/appliques/trim in your wedding colors?)

    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 11:23PM
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First, do what you want to do and what is right for the personality and style of the Bride and Groom. I like the idea of a champagne toast after the wedding ceremony. Having good directions/maps for the guests would be needed. Offer a list of things to do in the area. Are there any antique shops? With the wedding before 1pm and the reception in the evening, some people may want lunch, give suggestions. Some may want to hike or go on a picnic, where can they get a picnic to go? Have you ever heard of Letterboxing? It would be fun to place a couple letter boxes for your guest to find as they enjoy the area. Some people may just like to relax at the cabins or have a little romance of their own!

For my daughter's wedding in Monterey, CA we had a local friend give surfing lessons on the morning of her wedding. More than 70 guests came from out of state, it was much like a family reunion. I also had everyone stay at the same place, they offered a great breakfast included with rooms. I printed a list of guest names and cell phones numbers prior to the wedding. I added room numbers as they checked in so people could get together and visit. Some groups went to the Monterey Aquariam, some went to wineries, most went to the beach. In each room I put a small gift bag with a water bottle and snacks. In Colorado with your Dude Ranch theme a simple bag of trail mix would be great to give to guests. The hotel could pass them out as people check in.

Here is a link that might be useful: Letterboxing in North America

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 12:12PM
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