This is a delicate matter for me to write about… even though I haven’t been kept waiting to begin a ceremony for years it is still relevant for me to talk about it : the “tradition” of running late to your wedding.
Who dreamt up that idea? That it would be endearing to keep your family and friends standing out in the blazing sun or the chill of a cold snap? To let their anticipation of your arrival rise to increased heights of love and conviviality? I don’t think so.
Trust me, it is not kind to let your guests wait unduly. They have come to honour you.
You need to think of them.
Being late is often caused by your service providers – hairdressers taking too long, photographers holding you up, wedding cars arriving late … but these people are professionals and you should confirm with them the time your ceremony is scheduled to start – then they can allocate the time they know they will need to get you to the church on time!
Don’t listen to your bridesmaids telling you you’ve gotta be late! This could throw out your day and compromise your celebrations : caterers will be depending on a time to start the food service, photographers will see their light dissipating, you may even have to cut your reception short…
As your celebrant I’ll be anxious that you should have a happy, momentous and hassle-free occasion – so I’ll be there in good time to allay any nerves.
If I have another wedding to get to after yours it also makes for a nerve-wracking time for me. Although I leave good time between bookings, it is very stressful to have to weigh up my options : leave your venue and come back to do your wedding later, or be late for another couple’s ceremony.
I have never done this in 20 years, but I was advised years ago by an experienced celebrant to put this in my contract:
“If a bride is more than 15 minutes late the celebrant may have to consider departing to keep faith with a following commitment (often at some driving distance). In these circumstances the celebrant will usually be willing to return to your venue later in the day or evening to perform your ceremony.”
We don’t want that!
End of lesson.