Graham's recent very enjoyable post about the Indian wedding has some good thoughts about rituals. As a fairly regular participant in Tibetan Buddhist abhishekas, some of which take days and many of which take hours, I can attest to the much more open, Benjaminian "reception in a state of distraction" that happens in a huge one, as opposed to Protestant minimalist intensity.
I really like this effect actually. It implies less of a barrier between the spiritual world and the non-spiritual one.
My friend's west African wedding took three hours and involved lots of responsiveness from the congregation.
Long rituals allow for all kinds of boredom and multifaceted reactions to develop. Things are not so clean cut and stage managed. They can also really alter you--ever been to a day long or night long rave?