It’s My Wedding and I’ll Inconvenience You If I Want To

by admin on May 26, 2010

This Monday my co-worker Joanie came in bubbling with excitement over how well her daughter’s wedding had gone last weekend.  She’s been working really hard to plan everything out and other then a little rain, things seemed to go well.  I was surprised to learn that a few other co-workers had attended and asked Sally, “Oh, I didn’t know you were close with Joanie’s daughter, how did you like the wedding?”   Joanie was in earshot and said, “You know it’s my party too!  I’ll tell you what I told my daughter, ‘I’m the one writing the checks and this was probably the biggest party I’ll ever get to throw so I get to call the shots and I get to invite all my friends. Period.'”  She got pretty worked up, this speech was given complete with sharp finger pointing to the air.

Wedding talk continued and Sally mentioned how much she liked the caterer and that she heard the ceremony was nice but she had not gone as it took place 6 hours before the start of the reception.  Joanie piped in, “I was so glad that I planned to have that nice long break to relax after the hustle of the morning.”   I told Sally, “I always dread the ‘wedding gap’ especially if its long, I think it’s rude to the guests to keep them waiting for hours before starting the reception.”  Janie responded, “Pshhht!  Who cares if the guests are inconvenienced. IT’S THE BRIDE’S DAY! And if she wants a gap she should get one!”

Right about that time I realized that I had just stuck my foot in it and inadvertently called Joanie’s hostessing rude, so I clamped my mouth shut and suddenly found some very urgent work to take care of.  It was a good thing too, because I think the next thing out of my mouth might have been and incredulous, “Are you sure it isn’t the mother of the brides day?”  0430-10

{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

Gena May 26, 2010 at 8:36 am

Well, unfortunately if you are going to rely on your parents to pay for your wedding then you have to be prepared to deal with momzillas. I agree with you about the gap. I think brides don’t realize that the wedding is not the most important event in the world to other people, and most of us really don’t want to commit the entire day to your wedding.

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Tracey May 26, 2010 at 9:51 am

I hate that long gap as well!! It’s not custom in the south to have a gap. Guessing this was a northern wedding? (my only experience with “northern” is New York and PA ;) ) I would have loved to see her rebuttal if you had spoken that last thought!!!

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PrincessSimmi May 26, 2010 at 10:16 am

Stupidity is the mother of all hurt and in this case the mother of the bride.

A lot of mothers say a wedding of their son or daughter is “their day to shine”. Uh, no. And don’t tell me it’s the bride’s day to shine, either. Why? Because the bride isn’t the only one getting married, the groom is too. I’m so sick and tired of people saying to me it’s the bride’s day to shine- you wouldn’t be a bride if you didn’t have your groom.

Apart from that, if you want a bloody party, have one. Your child’s wedding is not your party, regardless of who is paying, it is a celebration of the love a couple holds for one another and their desire to bind themselves legally and in the eyes of whichever almighty being you believe in. If you want to hold a bloody party to celebrate yourself throw yourself a birthday party and throw yourself into eHell while you’re at it.

Vent completed, you can all come back now… Sorry…

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DGS May 26, 2010 at 11:04 am

I’ve never understood that concept of “the person who signs the check gets to make all the decision”. Presumably, if a parent offers to pay for a part of the wedding, that parent loves their child and wants to accomodate the child within reason and would account for both the child’s wishes (it is the day of the persons getting married) and their own wants as well. The same people are also the same people who say that when they pay for their child’s college tuition, they get to dictate what their child majors in, etc. One should never hold money over someone’s head – not only is it in poor taste, it’s also remarkably manipulative and selfish.

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Bee May 26, 2010 at 2:18 pm

Yeah, my family’s all from the South (Kentucky, Tennessee and southern Indiana) and wedding receptions always IMMEDIATELY follow the wedding. Photos after the ceremony are quickly and efficiently done, so everybody can hurry up and get to the reception venue. If someone had a reception six hours after the ceremony, you can bet nobody would bother to show up… you probably wouldn’t get a gift either. And you’d be talked about for the rest of your life… it just wouldn’t be worth it!

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AS May 26, 2010 at 3:29 pm

Tracey, unless you were joking, please don’t stereotype northerner. It is not a custom in north to have a long gap between wedding and reception – and in case you are in any doubt, it is NOT a custom in the north for bride and her mother to be so mindless of their guests either. I am not sure why people often bash northerners in this forum, making them look like some sort of an uncivilized, savage bunch of people! Yes, there are some bad elements in all cultures; but this is an etiquette forum, and I think it is extremely snobbish and a bad etiquette to repeatedly keep saying something like “OH! They have bad etiquettes as they did not learn manners like we southerners did”! This was taken to the extreme in a 2002 entry in “Faux pas of the year” (Faux0619-02) where the mother thinks her daughter lost her mind when she married a Yankee, and hopes that the daughter is dreaming of a southern gentleman! (The mother apparently was not taught at any time in her life that “dreaming” about another man when you are already married is called “emotional infidelity”). Maybe we should learn bit more tolerance, and realize that some people are bad in all communities, and it is best not to stereotype the whole community based on that! I am not born an American, but lived here in PA for several years, and my fiancé’s family is from the north and they are an amazingly polite bunch of people. So are most of my friends irrespective of whether they are from the north or south.
Sorry about that long-ish rebuttal. It just keeps getting on to my nerves when people keep blaming any bad etiquette to bad NORTHERN upbringing (wouldn’t the phrase “bad upbringing” suffice without adding the tern “northern”?)

Coming back to the story, the colleague is really rude. Wonder what the daughter felt about her mother.

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mommaknowsbest May 26, 2010 at 3:33 pm

I **do** think the person signing the check should get to make some decisions. For instance, if the bridal couple wants a certain photographer who is $1,000 more expensive than another but is just as good, I think common sense and logic should dictate, rather than the bride getting her way…and the same goes for the caterer, dj, etc. The person signing the check should decide there are some obvious things the bride should decide (colors, attendants, etc.) but in the end, the budget dictates most choices, and that means usually the parents are the ones who get to make those decisions. I think the MOB can invite her friends, what would be wrong with that, if they want to come and know the bridal couple, and the MOB is paying for it, why is that wrong?

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Simone May 26, 2010 at 4:05 pm

@DGS And if you are a little further thinking the ‘I’ll use my financial hold over my child to control every aspect of their life’ technique is going to run out of steam (for most people) eventually. Maybe these people should ask themselves what will happen when their child becomes financially independent. Is there any real tie to bind?

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Mom May 26, 2010 at 4:42 pm

A gift should come without strings. And paying for a wedding (or tuition or a cell phone or…) is usually a gift, as opposed to a loan.

I’ve never been to a wedding with a gap (it is most definitely not a northern thing); I imagine it’s very inconvenient for out-of-town guests and I’m not sure why a bride would choose to break up the day that way.

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Darla May 26, 2010 at 5:47 pm

If Joanie couldn’t mind her own business near a conversation she wasn’t part of, I imagine the wedding day was atrocious.

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Amanda May 26, 2010 at 7:58 pm

I’m with Darla. Interjecting in someone else’s conversation like that is rude.

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Katrina May 26, 2010 at 9:47 pm

I also think the groom should shine too. Moms like this are why people elope. Parents can have some say, especially parents writing checks. My mom had a lot to say, wise statements such as “this is what you can afford,” “we can afford $x for the reception, do the math and figure out how many you can invite,” and “my friends will set up the reception, so invite them and families as a thank you.” (I also sent them all thank you notes that were in the mail 2 weeks after the wedding and passed the “bride binder” of wedding information on to the next engaged person in the group.)

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Calliope May 26, 2010 at 11:44 pm

I’ve always hated the gap between wedding ceremonies and receptions. When my husband and I got married, we held the reception ten feet from where the ceremony took place. As soon as the ceremony was over, servers were bringing out cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. So many guests came up to us and mentioned how great it was to have cocktail hour start immediately after the reception, and to have dinner start immediately after that. Yes, our wedding day was technically for my husband and me, but we saw it as more of a celebration for our families; we wanted them to have fun, and to know how appreciated they are. The idea of a MOB saying, “Who cares if the guests are inconvenienced?” is totally repulsive.

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neithernorthnorsouth May 27, 2010 at 5:13 am

AS, I don’t think Tracey was being as critical of Northerners as you perhaps think she was. She phrases her statement as a query. And then puts a smiley face after it. You’re right, we shouldn’t judge people and say that they have bad etiquette, but then it’s also bad etiquette to jump to conclusions.

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TylerBelle May 27, 2010 at 6:34 am

I didn’t see where if the LW was invited to (but didn’t attend) the wedding, which I hope was the case for it’d be a bit tacky to discuss the festivities in front of those excluded. I agree with those who say the suggestions of those who write the checks for a wedding should be taken into consideration, though within reason it should be what the HC wants.

As the LW implied, this Joanie sure switched gears quickly and I think it a little sad she seemed thrilled to let it be known the wedding festivities were about her though as soon as there was a complaint, it suddenly became her daughter’s ideas.

I’ll never understand how folks can be so eager to invite and encourage others to come and celebrate an event then have as little or no consideration of them as possible.

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SammyHammy May 27, 2010 at 7:15 am

PrincessSimmi, you touched a nerve with one of your comments:

“And don’t tell me it’s the bride’s day to shine, either. Why? Because the bride isn’t the only one getting married, the groom is too.”

I am so reminded of a former friend of mine. She and her BF have lived together for 14 or 15 years. She wanted a wedding. He was pretty lukewarm on the idea. Eventually, it seemed that he came around and actually started showing some enthusiasm.

My friend and I would sit at the dining room table, going over wedding ideas, when he would wander in and DARE to offer his opinion (Oh, floral arrangements? I really like that one). His comments were met with a pretty vicious backlash in which the lovely bride would explain to him-again-that the wedding was none of his business and that his only job was to show up appropriately dressed an to day I do.

Another time I went over there, and they had evidently had an argument over that very issues. Shortly after walking in the door, the bride bombarded me with “SammyHammy, would you please explain to XXX that a wedding is the BRIDES day and that everything is all about her?” My response was something along the lines of “Well, you are both getting married, and you are paying for it together. Seems like he deserves to have some input on his own wedding planning.”

That did not help. While he loves me now, her-not so much. I was yelled at for not “having her back” and convincing him he was wrong to DARE want to participate in his OWN wedding.

For this, and many other reasons, this friendship died. And no, they are still not married.

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Anne Morand May 27, 2010 at 7:23 am

Hello,
I just wanted to say that, after having read the blog about the mother’s bride and the one about your sister’s wedding, I am so glad I got married the way I did.
You see, I am from Canada and my husband is from an Italian family, in NYC. We discussed about how to get married, how much money to put in it, who to invite and… jeez, just talking about it was creating fights.
We also discussed about why we wanted to get married. And, believe it or not, it was because we wanted to commit ourself to the other and because we wanted to be together forever.
So instead of having a big wedding (which I had no desire for. ), we decided to buy a house and to get married, just the two of us, in front of a judge. And you want to know how we liked it ? If we regret it ?
We loved it and we would redo it again this way.
Thanks for sharing your stories :)

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Alexis May 27, 2010 at 8:14 am

The only place I’ve ever been with a long gap between services and ceremony is Scranton Pennsylvania, so maybe it is a regional (no, not necessarily ‘northern’) thing. But that’s the ONLY place. It may be a kind of rural immigrant tradition from a time and place where everyone lives in the same town anyway and can go home between services and reception for a nap and party clothes which may be more or less formal than church clothes. I don’t know. I DO know that any gap at all (excluding that one wedding I just mentioned) between the guests’s arrival at the venue and the bridal couple’s arrival was filled with plenty of food and drinks for the guests. Unless this is a local tradition where you’re from, it’s just plain rude to inconvenience your guests like that.
Technically, no matter who pays, the bride’s parents are the hosts and they DO get to invite their friends. That being said, I am distrustful at best of people who use money to manipulate other people. My parents tried to do that all our lives and it backfired. It usually backfires. And when the person doing the manipulating no longer has money to hold over their victim’s head, or the victim has his/her own money, the manipulator has no more influence.

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Pam May 27, 2010 at 8:42 am

I have two teenage daughters and we like to read these stories!! I think the fact that gets lost is that whatever the occassion, if you try to make it all about yourself and what you want and you have this illusion of the “ideal”, then your day will fail is one way or the other….
If your overarching thought is consideration and concern for the comfort and feelings of others, including your guests, your day will go great. Focusing on yourself is always recipe for discontent and misery – a wedding should be planned according to the tastes of the bride and groom, but when it turns into an “all about me” obsession, nobody is happy in the end!! Consideration for the feelings of others leaves everyone feeling cared about; that leads to better relationships throughout the course of a lifetime! Why do people sacrifice important lifelong relationships for such trivial, temporary things??

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DGS May 27, 2010 at 9:02 am

@Mommaknowsbest – and that’s why I said “accomodate within reason”. The budget is set by the people paying for the wedding, but the wedding couple gets to make the decisions on who they hire within that budget to do whatever to reflect the vision that they want for their day. Of course, the parents of the bride and groom get to invite their friends, but the wedding couple does get a say in their guest list!

@Simone – absolutely; what makes that parent think that once that child is financially independent that child won’t repay them with the same coin? Money should never be held over someone’s head in a loving family.

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AS May 27, 2010 at 9:49 am

@neithernorthnorsouth, I did not judge Tracey in either way, and that’s why I started by saying “unless you were joking…”. But my comment is not directed to Tracey in particular, but bashing notherners that I often come across.

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Jdbar May 27, 2010 at 12:09 pm

Re: “the gap”

Almost every wedding that I’ve attended (in Ontario) have had a 2-3 hour gap between the end of the ceremony and the reception for the wedding party to go take pictures. Sometimes, on the directions to the reception, the couple will put suggestions of parks or other places that are possible to visit while wearing formal attire. For our wedding, my wife and I secured the use of the church’s “youth room” that had couches and video games for the kids. It seemed to go over alright. I’d never thought of the gap as rude until I found this site :)

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PrincessSimmi May 27, 2010 at 4:10 pm

Hi SammyHammy,

I’m sorry if I upset anyone with my comment, and I’m especially sorry that it touched a nerve with you.

I’ve always been a big believer that a relationship and therefore a wedding should be equal. I don’t understand the whole “groom cannot know ANY details of the wedding” – if he’s paying for half shouldn’t he get a say? And surely his parents want to see him shine too? I mean, if I was male, and getting married, and my fiancée decided I would wear a fluro pink sequined 1970’s suit and the guests were to wear bottle green elf costumes with purple and orange flowers, I think I might… Well… Anyway, that’s not the point. It’s just my opinion.

Apart from that, I’m sorry that it caused a fight between your friends. Hopefully they can get things sorted out and get married eventually.

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Littlepixie May 27, 2010 at 4:43 pm

AS: I agree, I see a whole lot of people bashing northerners all over this forum. From what I can tell, it’s tolerated round these parts.

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Chocobo! May 27, 2010 at 6:25 pm

To people who have experienced “the gap” — was the wedding you went to a Catholic or other large religious organization where the ceremony was held in the church? Was the reception held in another area?

The reason I say this is: It’s a lot easier to start a party immediately on the same campus that you held the ceremony, but for Catholic weddings that’s not usually possible. Where I live, there is no “church hall” used for receptions, and as always with Catholic ceremonies it is pretty much impossible to have a priest perform a ceremony offsite. I’m sure this is also a problem for other ministers in other religious organizations — churches have their own schedules on their own times, and ministers are not always available offsite.

So that means not only are you, the Bride, subject to the schedule of the church, but also subject to the schedule of the venues. I should mention that at least in my area, most venues that are not church affliated do two receptions per day, one starting sometime in the late morning (between 11AM and noon) and one starting in the early evening (earliest 5PM-7PM).

If your church won’t do it any later than 2pm because they have Saturday mass, and your venue won’t start any earlier than 5pm — yes, there will be a gap, and there’s really nothing you can do about it. It has nothing to do with being considerate of your guests or not. It has nothing to do with being Northern, except for the fact that Pennsylvania (which several people have now mentioned) has a much larger concentration of Catholics than south of the Mason-Dixon line.

That being said, a humongous 6 hour gap could easily have been avoidable in this particular story, and was clearly not born of necessity but for the bridal party’s convenience. The mother was overbearing and rude to the bride and her guests.

I’ve also noticed a fair amount of snide remarks from posters and even in the stories about “northerners” and tactlessness. In regards to this particular issue, I live in the North (the actual north, even beyond New York) and I’ve never been to a wedding where there was a large gap unless it was a Catholic ceremony, the difficulties of which are described above.

So no, this is not a “northern” custom, nor is any other percieved faux-pas that gets tacked on to geographic distribution, like dollar dances and money bags. The assumptions that fly around are in bad taste and ill-conceived, at best. I’m surprised those comments and stories tend to go unremarked upon, to be honest.

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Jennifer May 27, 2010 at 6:37 pm

Regarding the time gap … about 80 percent of the weddings I’ve attended — including my own — have had a time gap of about an hour or two hours from the end of the ceremony to the beginning of cocktail hour. It doesn’t have anything to do with regionalism, North or South customs, or a “rural immigration tradition.” (I grew up in a densely populated area outside of Chicago.) It has everything to do with scheduling logistics. For me and for most of my cousins, it comes down to coordinating the availability of the church, the officiant and the reception venue. To get married in the church where I was baptized and confirmed (also where my parents were married) was a major priority. Then we had to find and hire a minister we liked, as that church was without one on staff at the time, and the minister we found had more than one event to attend that day. Securing these most important details was helpful in narrowing down the list of available reception halls that were tasteful and affordable and could accommodate our enormous extended family. The two-hour gap is so commonplace among the people we know that an aunt or a cousin will often informally invite guests over for a drink and snacks before everyone hits the reception. I don’t love the gap, I wish it were easily avoided, but we can’t all have our receptions 10 feet from the spot where we get married.

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Yarnspinner May 27, 2010 at 10:52 pm

Only once have I had to attend a wedding with a gap. It was awful because we had driven three hours to get there for the ceremony (which was a story in itself: the bride’s entire side of the church showed up in blue jean cut offs, hot pants, topless (the guys) and in curlers. She provided her friends with a five hour gap so they could all go home, shower, shampoo, put on make up and so on…while the rest of the guests, the ones who dressed appropriately for the ceremony AND the reception…had to sit around and wait and wait and wait.

Those of us from out of town didn’t have a place to go . And even after the five hour gap, the bride and groom STILL didn’t show up because they were only just getting pictures taken THEN. So we had to wait some more.

Eventually, owing to the heat (not the bride’s fault) and trying to eat lightly during a “gap stop” at a fast food restaurant, my diabetic mother became so sick we left the reception and went home. (There was a little more involved, but it’s not relevant here.) I heard later from my aunt that she had the caterers start serving dinner and told them they could feed the HC whenever they decided to show up…and when they did they were already pretty well into their various caches of champagne and booze. She told us it was a good thing we left, because the drunken antics of the HC and their friends was embarrassing to her side of the family.

Every single other wedding I have attended (and I am from the North) had less than a two hour gap and usually a half hour gap. To make people who’ve driven from all over to see you is just plain rude.

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Mona May 28, 2010 at 8:07 am

Just attended a wedding with a 4 hour gap, so that the couple could spend that time with the photographer and be able to attend the cocktail hour (so they could greet the guests there and be free to enjoy the reception afterwards). The bride seemed quite surprised that more than half the guests skipped the ceremony and came for the reception only.

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Thea May 28, 2010 at 8:32 am

DGS, this comment:

Of course, the parents of the bride and groom get to invite their friends, but the wedding couple does get a say in their guest list!

Really stood out to me. I have always been of the opinion that if it isn’t your party, you don’t decide the guestlist. Even if you help pay.

For our wedding last year, my husband’s parents paid for the caterer as a gift, and my parents paid for the photographer and our honeymoon – again, as a gift. These were our ‘wedding gifts’ from them. They did not dictate which vendor we chose, but instead they stated the amount of the gift, what they HOPED we would use it for, and gave it to us to put in a checking acct we opened just for the wedding. Once received, we then made our decisions based on that budget. (Which, yes, included some of our own money!)

Though both mothers made last minute efforts to add people to our list, they were ASKING us and not informing us. Because it was our event that we were hosting. And we made that clear from the start to all parties involved. (Including via the invitations which did not mention our parents or anyone other than us.)

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cal May 28, 2010 at 12:17 pm

I’ve gone to plenty of weddings with the gap, but they’ve all been religious ceremonies (and so the reception and ceremony were in different places) Never a 6 hour one, but as Alot of churches/synagogues will only allow you to get married at certain times (my parent’s church is 2 p.m. and that’s it), and in my area many reception places will only let you book for 5 hour windows so either from 11-4 or 5-10. So as @Chocobo! said, while a extensive gap is kind of much many time it is for logistical purposes.

Did I mention I live in North Carolina? So it’s not a northern/southern thing.

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cal May 28, 2010 at 12:21 pm

@mona While a 4 hour gap might be crazy, I think its sweet that the bride wanted to greet all her guests. And be able to enjoy the reception/cocktail hour that her family/she/her groom paid for. I personally think it’s more rude of people to skip the ceremony and only attend the reception. If the gap is to much, just skip the reception.

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Fanboy Wife May 28, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Who would put a 6 hour gap between the ceremony and reception? What are people supposed to do? All the weddings I have been to the guests go to the reception right after the service. Yes, there’s some down time while the wedding party has their photos taken and makes the trip, but I can’t even think of one that had an hour break.

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Amava May 29, 2010 at 7:15 am

I wouldn’t worry about putting your foot in your mouth by criticising her hosting. It most likely went right over her head, since she was so full of herself. ;)

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Alexis May 29, 2010 at 9:35 am

Dear Yarnspinner:
What does ‘HC’ stand for? I keep re-reading the post and can’t find two words next to each other with those initials.

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aventurine May 29, 2010 at 8:47 pm

…and let me add that, as a Southerner who loves where she’s from, I hope I’ve never participated in any North-bashing. I appreciate PPs for bringing it up, and I’ll be more aware of it now.

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jenna May 29, 2010 at 11:43 pm

I’ve heard of this gap – but I’m a northerner (seriously northern – from upstate NY) and I can say that I’ve never attended a wedding that had more than a 1 hour gap between the two – if they were in separate places, so everyone could drive over. If the entire thing was held at one venue, there would be no gap. Pictures are often done beforehand, as well (there’s less of an “OMG but you can’t!” attitude about the bride and groom seeing each other before they get down the aisle) so the festivities can start immediately. That’s what we’re doing.

I agree that those who pay get some say (the golden rule: whoever has the gold makes the rules), but within reason. If that money is given to the couple for the wedding, it is a gift IMHO…but it is only gracious of the couple to take their parents’ desires into consideration if they avail themselves of that gift. Not saying the parents always get their way, but that they are considered and maybe get their way in some areas that all can agree on. It is likewise only gracious of the parents to give the money with the expectation that it will be used to create a wedding that reflects the couple, not the parents, while also feeling free to suggest things or request a few of their own invitees. If both sides are understanding about this, there are far fewer problems.

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jenna May 29, 2010 at 11:50 pm

A personal example: my mom suggested such a gap for our wedding, “to allow your grandparents to rest before the reception”. I think she said 3-4 hours, but then she’d always imagined we’d get married in the morning.

Hah. I am a coffee-swilling night owl; no way am I waking up at 5am to get married so early.

She understood when I explained that I really am not a morning person (well, I am, but I like to see it from the other end) and that such a gap would be really irritating for everyone else.

“But…it would give everyone a chance to rest.”
“Mom, people don’t usually want to “rest” after the wedding. Especially a late afternoon wedding. They want to grab a martini and eat something.”
“Really? I think your grandparents would like to rest.”
“Maybe they would – that’s why we are going to book a hotel walking distance from the venue, so if they really need to lie down for a bit, it can be arranged while everyone else has cocktails. But we can’t hold up 147 people so that 3 people can take a nap. Most of our guestlist is quite *young*.”

She had really convinced herself that everyone would be overjoyed to have nothing to do for 3 hours in the afternoon between the wedding and reception. Erm….I love ya mom, but no.

(She got her way in some other stuff, like inviting family friends that I barely know, and having a more traditional setup of ceremony-then-reception rather than our preferred “party where we get married”. She wanted that memory of me walking down the aisle, and it was OK with me to give it to her. See? Compromise.)

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FoxPaws May 30, 2010 at 4:22 am

HC is short for Happy Couple – the bride & groom.

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Kelly May 30, 2010 at 5:32 am

HC = Happy Couple.

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Mel May 30, 2010 at 11:23 pm

@Jdbar I agree with you. A lot of this site seems to be based mostly on American standards of etiquette. It makes for an amusing read.

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Shayna May 31, 2010 at 12:28 pm

I knew there was a reason why I didn’t let my mother-in-law pay for anything at my wedding. However, if I’d had a bit more of a spine back then I wouldn’t have had a wedding in the first place. That said, I admit I did have a bit of a gap between ceremony and reception, but it was only an hour or so. And both were held in the same building so there was no transportation time involved. Most of the guests hit the bar as soon as the ceremony was over, and we did some photos with family and friends. Now if only my mother-in-law had smiled more…

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Izzy June 5, 2010 at 7:00 am

Over here it’s quite commonplace to have a “gap, I don’t see much of a problem with it O_o (not that I’m married yet!). The happy couple have a ceremony, then people have photos and leave, if you meet up with friends at the wedding you can have lunch/tea with them, if you want to go home you can, etc. The only time that would be bad is if the majority of guests were from a long way away, or if the wedding party is ridiculously late to their reception.

The pattern I see over here is wedding, tea+snacks/canapes, then a few hours break and reception dinner at dinnertime. I went to one that was wedding, then afternoon-tea-reception, which was also elegant and very thoughtful, as it was an out-of-town wedding

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KittiPaws June 5, 2010 at 8:23 am

If the bride (or her Momzilla) wants an overly long gap, go for it – but don’t be surprised when most of the guests choose to attend either the ceremony or the reception, but not both. If I’m all dressed up and made-up for a wedding ceremony, what am I supposed to do for 6 hours until the reception? Sit around at home that way? Get undressed and wash off the make-up, then do it all over again in a few hours?

In my experience , a bit of a gap isn’t unusual, especially if the ceremony and reception aren’t in the same place. When I was married, I planned to have our wedding photos taken after the ceremony, outdoors in a nearby park. I was unhappy about the 2-hour gap this caused, though, especially since many of our guests were from out-of-state. My wonderful in-laws solved this by hosting an informal garden party at their home (which was just several blocks from the venue) open to all the wedding guests. The venue itself had a public bar, so some of our guests chose to go straight to the venue instead of the garden party.

So I can understand how a gap can’t be avoided in certain circumstances, but 6 hours is ludicrous.

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juanita June 8, 2010 at 8:05 am

Everyone keeps telling me that i should do it the way I want. Well what I want is for people to fondly remember my wedding. What I want is for them to have a good time. I also want the date of the wedding to be convenient for a few out of towners that I want present. For this, i will plan it accordingly. No gaps in the day, no waiting, no standing, wonderful food, great venue. I want an ipod stereo instead of a DJ, but at the same time the FIL are trying to pay for a DJ all the while telling me I should do exactly what i want.

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Sarah June 12, 2010 at 11:37 pm

I think it’s also important to point out that while the reception may generally be paid by the bride’s family in fact, in truth the guests are the ones who are in actuality paying for the reception, as they must purchase a gift for the couple from list of gifts chosen by the couple. I find bridal registries unbelievably tacky and nervy. It’s basically saying to the guests, “you must spend your money on us, and it must be one of these objects.”

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TheBardess June 13, 2010 at 9:32 am

@Sarah- It is not true that the guests “must” purchase a gift for the couple. One of the many things you will find reiterated here at EHell over and over is that wedding gifts are NOT mandatory- they are completely and totally optional. If someone CHOOSES to give the HC a gift, that is a kind and generous gesture, but it is absolutely NOT required, and it is rude to expect or demand gifts from one’s guests. Also, nowhere is it written that any gift purchased “must” be from the registry. While it is true that registries certainly CAN be grabby, the majority of them exist merely as a guide to the couple’s needs and tastes, should you wish to give them a gift (they are also handy for helping to avoid duplicate gifts, so the couple doesn’t end up with four crockpots and six gravy boats). That does not mean, however, that guests are under an obligation to buy from the registry. My DH and I had a registry (although we were careful to keep it modest and not advertise it), and while many of our guests did purchase gifts off of it, we also received many lovely gifts that we had not registered for but for which we were certainly no less grateful and appreciative. And yes, there were even some guests who did not give us a gift at all (although I couldn’t tell you who or how many). But that was fine- for us, it wasn’t about whatever gifts we may have gotten. We were just happy to have our friends and loved ones surrounding us as we began our new life together. Any gifts they chose to bless us with were just the sprinkles on the icing on the (wedding) cake.

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Kelly June 13, 2010 at 10:45 am

I live in the North and have never heard of a “gap” between wedding and reception. Normally the pictures with the wedding party are taken while the guests are off enjoying the appetizers and cocktails at the reception. When the pictures are done the wedding party arrives at the reception and the meal is immediately served.

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Maggie June 30, 2010 at 7:25 pm

Pay to play…

I think anytime you accept someone’s money, you should clarify all the strings. I think if you give someone money, you should clarify all the strings. So, if MOB says, “Honey, here’s $10,000 so you can have the wedding at the country club and invite 40 of my friends” then the couple knows what’s up. They can say, “Sure, Mom, thanks,” and do it Mom’s way, or say, “No thanks, Mom,” and do it their way.

Vice versus, if son/daughter asks for cash he/she should be able to say, “Mom, we’re getting married at the xxx, with xxx guests, on xxx day. Can you and Dad help me out with costs?” Ball’s in mom’s court. Yes or no is fine, but then no buttinskis.

@ PrincessSimmi Big thumbs up! I married my husband, not my DJ…

@ SammyHammy… Oh, God, please tell me that poor man isn’t still with Bridezilla. I knew a couple like that much more briefly, and he escaped. He’s happy now.

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N Monster July 28, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Gaps do seem to be more prevalent where there is a church wedding and an off-site reception. I would be forgiving where it seemed like the couple had limited options for available times at their religious institution. However, insisting on an evening reception when the only time available for the ceremony is 10am is asking too much of the guests. An hour gap to give everyone time to transport from one place to the other is reasonable. Choosing venues far enough apart that this is not enough time is inconsiderate in itself.

I have been to one wedding at which there was a gap of more than one hour, and the bride’s family invited the guests to their home in between the ceremony and the reception. The hospitality of this was tainted, however, when I was informed that this was so that the bride’s family could show off their recently remodeled home and new furniture. The reception was an over-stuffed, showy affair as well, and there were many people in attendance who had only a tenuous connection to the couple. I was the invited guest of my then-boyfriend, who had been good friends with the bride. But with so many guests, and having had so very much to drink, the bride had little time or energy to make him, or many of her other guests, feel welcome. This is a common pitfall, and one of the reasons a wedding can in fact be overly large to the point that it becomes tacky.

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MasTequila August 10, 2010 at 1:07 am

Hmmmm. A big gap. I can’t think of worse taste. I’d skip the whole affair, no regard for your guests, no attendance or gift from me. I always thought a party was all about entertaining your GUESTS. And most weddings these days are just that, parties. And I will treat them as such.

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