April & Scott

Cozy Catholic wedding

April, Policy Analyst (Environment and Natural Resources) & Scott, Test Developer (Music)

Photographer: Stacy Bauer

One sentence sum-up of the wedding vibe: Casually elegant, a little silly, and a lot of fun

Soundtrack for reading: “Our Hearts” by Firehorse

Other Cool Stuff we should know about

We had about a five-hour break (the dreaded “Catholic gap”) between our midday church ceremony and our evening cocktail and dinner reception. It was the part of our wedding day I was most worried about. Wouldn’t our guests get bored? Wouldn’t everyone resent us for not entertaining them? But the period between the ceremony and reception wound up being one of my favorite parts of the day. We got the chance to linger with our guest in front of the church without having to worry about hurrying off to dinner. We got to chill in the hotel and drink some champagne with our wedding party. We were even able to go out to the reception site early to help set up and take some pictures before the guests arrived. I really appreciated having some down time between the ceremony and the reception, and—from what I heard—so did our guests!

Some other memorable details

My bridesmaids refusing to let me drive myself to the wedding (one of them drove instead); kissing Scott about ten minutes before I was supposed to during the ceremony; the awesome and ridiculous photos our guests took with the Fuji Instax camera we left out with our guest book; the invitations Scott’s brother designed for us, which we also used for our pie topper; the necklaces Scott’s mom made for my bridesmaids; the flowers my aunt and her friends arranged for us; and so so so many more.

Favorite Thing about the wedding

This is going to sound weird, but my favorite thing may have been the speeches. My cousin (maid of honor) gave a really sweet and moving speech, and Scott’s best man had me doubled over laughing during his.


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  • Anna

    I completely love the new feature where the music is included as a widget. That totally made this post for me! Loved your super bright bouquet, too. :)

  • CJ

    Thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU for mentioning the “Dreaded Catholic Gap” ™. I’ve been SO STRESSED OUT about it because, as my mother says, “it’s they way it’s done.” Ours won’t be quite so extensive, but it’s still two hours between the end of the ceremony and the start of the cocktail hour (or closer to two and a half if we decide to not have a full mass).

    Again, thank you.

    • april

      Yes! I looked everywhere for practical advice on how to handle the gap, and couldn’t find much. Ultimately, APW helped me the most just by reminding me that our guests are adults and could take care of themselves for a couple of hours, thankyouverymuch. The only thing I will say, is that it makes for a very long day (can you tell how tired I look by the reception?) – so try to rest up the night before!

    • Kat Robertson

      My cousin’s wedding had a Catholic Gap and I. Loved. It. I took a nap and got some coffee and had a blast at her reception (and stayed longer than I otherwise might have if the whole event had been 7 consecutive hours long). It definitely doesn’t have to be a bad thing! :-)

    • Lisa

      Amen!! I feel like most of the weddings I see are secular ceremonies on here so it was nice to see a traditional one like what I’m having that also addressed the “Catholic Gap.” We got the later Saturday time so it will only be about 2 hours between ceremony and cocktail hour, but I was still worried about our guests will do with themselves for that time. (Answer: we’re going to suggest they try my fiance’s favorite bar from grad school, which is conveniently down the street from the church.)

    • Lindsey d.

      My brother was conceived during a Catholic Gap, for what’s it worth. Adults know how to entertain themselves…

      • Lindsay Rae

        HYSTERICAL! Thanks for the laugh :)

    • Violet

      I didn’t even know there was a name for this (One! Only one!) thing that caused me stress during planning! (I guess ours was technically an “Episcopalian Gap”?) I was SO worried about it, and honestly, everybody was fiiiiiiiiiine. It was kinda nice because by the time the cocktail hour began, most people had stopped off to have a drink somewhere, so everybody was already relaxed and in a party mood for the reception. If I could do it all over again, I wish it could’ve been slightly less time (it was, four hours, maybe?) but it was not nearly as big a deal as I thought it was going to be.

    • Brittany

      A good friend of mine had a five hour gap (noon wedding, 6:30 cocktail hour) and we had a great time during it. We were in her hometown (in CT, with most of us coming in from NYC) and her program had suggestions of a couple things to do. We ended up going to an apple orchard all fancy and then playing whiffle ball at her parents’ house. So much fun!

    • We were just at a dear friend’s wedding, and the Catholic Gap (TM) totally saved us!

      We had a really tight schedule, but really wanted to be at the wedding, so we started our drive from NYC to Ohio at 8:30pm, stopped over for a 3am nap in PA, and got back on the road at 6AM, only to get stuck in traffic a mile from the ceremony (way more traffic than we hit in NYC, strangely) and totally miss the ceremony. I was devastated and felt like the worst friend ever.

      After some quick hugs with my friend and the wedding party, they all set off to take some photos, and the rest of the guests went off to entertain themselves in the 3 hour gap between the wedding and reception. AND THEN OUR RENTAL CAR BROKE DOWN. There were many ugly tears that day, and the rental place was not quick in getting us a new car. Luckily, it took about 2 hours and 55 minutes to get a new car, so we were only around 15 minutes late for the actual reception. YAY for that long break!

  • Lindsey d.

    Beautiful! I love your dress and the silly details like the noisemaker… I wish we had a picture of the invitation/pie topper.

    • april

      If you follow the “Scott’s brother” link under the post you can see it (along with the “first draft” invite) ;)

      • Lindsey d.

        HA! I love it! (both the final and the first draft!) Thanks so much!

  • Kathleen

    That is one beautiful church!

  • HannahESmith

    Lovely wedding and gorgeous photos. Toasts were actually one of my favorite parts of my wedding as well. My usually sarcastic and sassy best friend said some truly lovely things. It is the only part of the day that I wish I had video of.

  • Ann

    I want to know more about this Fuji Instax you used! I bought one and received it – the flash ALWAYS goes off and I think we may have to send it back. But what I want to know is how you encouraged guests to use it for the guest book? I was thinking of having it sit near a box of props and a nice back drop as a DIY photo booth but am not sure if it will work. Thoughts?

    • april

      Hi Ann – I have the instax mini 8, and it’s the same sort of thing where the flash always goes off (though you can adjust for different light levels). I think they’re all that way. The washed out, polaroid-y look is part of the charm.

      As far as set up, we just put the camera, some extra film cartridges, and the instructions that came with the camera in a tray next to the guest book, along with some pens and some washi tape. There was a sign next to the guestbook inviting people to “snap, tape, sign!” and that was it. People seemed to figure it out on their own. The idea of having some props and a backdrop is fun though, so I’d say go for it!

      • Caiti_D

        April, you looked radiant in these photos–love your dress! The guest book and Instax ( and washi tape, who doesn’t love washi tape?) idea is fantastic; I might have to steal that for my wedding.

  • EF

    THAT DRESS. it’s fantastic.

  • Susie

    I love the dress, the song, and the authentic joy in your pictures. Congrats!

  • Lindsay Rae

    Thanks for putting a name to that awkward time! I’m glad I’m not alone in wondering what to do with the “Catholic Gap.” Many of our friends live closer to our reception venue (which is conveniently accessible by public transport – we’re in NYC so no one has cars) and our church is a little out of the way. Because of the “Catholic Gap” I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that a lot of people won’t make it to the church. (Some of our mid-twenty single friends aren’t quite at the place where they realize that the actual WEDDING takes place at the church….but I digress.)

    We have about 3 and a half hours between the end of our ceremony/mass and the start of the cocktail hour. I’ve done this for many weddings and somehow there’s always something to do! Sometimes we are checking into a hotel, changing clothes or freshening up, grabbing a drink at the hotel bar, driving to the reception, even squeezing in a power nap! People will make it work. I’m just so glad to see this mentioned here, as some other commenters said, it’s the first time I’ve seen it discussed!

  • EJ

    Eeek! So excited to see a Cylburn Arboretum reception! We’re getting married at Cylburn in April, and I’m loving seeing how your reception there was- I was initially drawn to the venue for the windows, and your photos are beautiful!

  • MDBethann

    I like the Cylburn. Nice reception choice!