I’m hearing more and more stories from brides who were guests at other weddings as well as from wedding professionals about weddings starting late…

So we’re going to tackle common reasons why weddings start late how to fix them, and most importantly how to AVOID them…

AS a wedding planning we tackle these head on and plan around them, we often know from our meetings what couples may run late themselves or hear that it happens in family weddings and events…

This will NOT BE PRETTY, so it’s not too late to turn back if you are easily offended.

It is a common misconception that certain ethnic groups or religions ALWAYS start late…some people within some ethnic groups or religions MAY start late – but not all.

I recently had a father of the bride say to his daughter and I “We can’t start on time, weddings NEVER start on time”…WRONGO!

Intentionally starting after the time stated on your invitation is not fair to those guests who in an effort to be polite to the couple getting married arrived 10-15 minutes early to find a seat.

Condoning BAD BEHAVIOUR by bending the rules for those who are always late will just invite more bad behavior.

Here are some of the reasons we see weddings starting late and how we plan around them:

If you start late you finish late – Too many brides (sorry ladies) under estimate how long it will take for the bridal party to get hair and makeup done. ASK the professionals about their timing needs.

There are WONDERFUL hair stylists and makeup artists who travel in to your home or hotel; they typically have fewer time constraints on when they can start than do many salons with other clients….if you’re working with a salon – BUILD IN EXTRA TIME, phones ring, travel time to and from take longer, some of the bridal party may be caught in traffic.

Travel just takes longer – if four of us were jumping into a limo and heading out to dinner loading into the car only takes a minute. One Bride, five attendants, one mom , two flower girls and their mom, 8 bouquets, 10 purses, several cameras (a couple of pictures) and a random piece of carry-on luggage JUST TAKES LONGER… allow for loading time, allow for traffic.

Pee before you dress – you’ve rehydrated with plenty of water after your rehearsal dinner the night before, you’ve had your morning coffee and your nervous; all great reasons to have to pee…. Go before you put on your gown…. Taking off your gown and undergarments to ‘go’ takes time, not to mention how complicated this becomes minutes before you walk down the aisle.

Lots of older churches we work in have one set of bathrooms, generally Up Front – no one wants to walk past all of their guests heading to the WC!

Be Prepared! –  Pack a box to take to your rehearsal, include you marriage license, copies of your readings, tissues, and programs – give them to your wedding planner! Give the license to your officiant and if for some odd reason you’re not working with a wedding day coordinator ask the church if you can store the readings, tissues and programs there so you aren’t waiting on someone to bring them the next day.

Have a serious conversation- There are people who are ALWAYS late (you all know them) if they are in your immediate family, bridal party or play a part in your wedding… TALK TO THEM! The can make a conscious effort to be on time; worst case lie to them… tell them you are starting earlier than you are so they are on time (not ideal, but it works in extreme situations)

SERIOUSLY, it’s your wedding day and you don’t want to be stressed out because you’re rushing to get hair and make-up done, sitting in traffic or waiting because the person assigned to bring your programs isn’t there…

Truth of the matter is when you’re late – guests get upset, sometimes with you and it might not be your fault. Something will have to give- you’ll either lose time taking photographs, cut something short (cocktail hour) or rush through your reception…

Plan ahead, trust the professionals, build in extra time, talk to people who are  habitually late and then sit back and enjoy…