Wedding Q&A – How to Avoid Latecomers to the Ceremony

Q. – I’m worried that we’ll have guests walk in late and take attention away from our ceremony. What can I do to keep this from happening?

A. – In over 20 years, I have yet to see a wedding ceremony where all of the guests have arrived on time. So in answer to your question on how to prevent this. You can’t.

Don’t fret. This is something that can be easily (and politely) dealt with.

Simply have someone stationed at the door to help direct late-comers to quietly seat themselves from the outside aisles. If the outer doors to your ceremony venue are clunky and close rather loudly, have someone assist with quietly opening and closing them.

In all honesty, unless the latecomers are unusually loud, no one will even notice them since all eyes will be where they should be, front and center on you and your fiancé.

If you have a special guest (such as a grandparent, or close relative) that you know is always late to everything, a little white lie can get them there earlier. Simply tell them that you need them to be there earlier than you really need them there. (For example, if your ceremony starts at 4:00 PM, tell them you need them there by 3:30 PM). That way when they run late, they are more likely to actually be on time.

Now I have heard advice from others on this matter saying “don’t be too rigid about starting the ceremony exactly on time.”

I highly disagree. A minute or two is one thing, but who really gets out of the parking lot, in the door and into their seat within 60 – 120 seconds? NO ONE!

Holding back the start of the ceremony 5, 10 minutes or more just to accommodate tardy people is not a reasonable suggestion to give a bride and groom. It’s not fair to the guests who have made the effort to get there on time. You’re potentially looking at paying overtime rates to musicians and the ceremony venue. And if the wedding ceremony doesn’t start on time you’re playing “catch up” right from the very start.

I have also heard others say to put the start time on your invitation a half hour earlier than when the ceremony is to really start.

Again, I highly disagree. It’s not fair to the guests who have made the effort to get there on time (they have to sit around longer while nothing is going on). Your pre-ceremony photos have to end earlier since you don’t want people seeing you before the ceremony. And you’re definitely looking at overtime rates to musicians and the ceremony venue.

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

Do you have a question or wedding concern? Let me know. Contact me today at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

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