(Closed) Ceremony start time – Make sure Guests arrive on time

posted 4 years ago in Ceremony
  • poll: Where the invitation says the start time, when do you plan to arrive?
    30 minutes before invitation states : (12 votes)
    20 %
    15 minutes before invitation states : (33 votes)
    56 %
    5 minutes before invitation states : (5 votes)
    8 %
    exactly when the invitation states : (6 votes)
    10 %
    after invitation states : (3 votes)
    5 %
  • Post # 3
    12635 posts
    Honey Beekeeper
    • Wedding: November 1999

    I had the “half past six” line on my invitations, and not a single person arrived late.  

    Post # 4
    45656 posts
    Honey Beekeeper
    • Wedding: November 1999

    I would use the time the ceremony is scheduled to start.  If I am one of the guests who arrive early to make sure I am seated before the start time, I would be annoyed if I later found out you never did intend to start until later.

    Post # 5
    547 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: July 2013

    We have “Half past five” on our invites. Real ceremony is at 5:45. I’d much rather have people wait, then have people walking to their seats when I’m walking down the aisle–and ruining the background of my photos. We’re getting married outside, so this is more of a concern than if we were getting married in a church or something. Sorry I’m not sorry, but I only have one chance to get this right. =)

    Also, we’re using shuttles to control when people gets there. Not everyone will be on the shuttle though, so we’ll have a string quartet playing a prelude and the venue will be serving champagne & berries… so even if they’re waiting a few minutes, it won’t be super boring.

    ETA: I don’t think of it as catering to the guests that are late, so much as it is catering to what I want… which is to get the most out of the photographer I’m paying $$$ for and, if that means my guests wait a few mins extra, I’m okay with it. My family is notoriously late, and I’d be pissed if they ended up walking through the background of my ceremony photos.

    Post # 6
    1891 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: May 2011

    “Half Past Six in the Evening” sounds perfect to me.  If anyone shows up late, they’ll just scoot in to the back rows and it won’t affect anything.  You don’t want people standing around at 5:30-6 waiting.

    Post # 8
    2566 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: October 2014

    I know a lot of people worry about this, but I’m not sure how often it is actually a problem.  Whatever time is on the invitation I would assume would be the ceremony start time, and I would plan to be there 15-20 minutes prior.  However, if you but a time on the invite that is before the ceremony I wouldn’t mind either if I had 15 minutes extra to wait.

    Post # 9
    9178 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: September 2013

    Put the start time and then try to start at that time or within 10 minutes of that.  If you said it started at 6:30 I’d probably show up between 15-30 minutes early.  I would be very irritated if you didn’t start until 7pm and I arrived at 6pm.

    Post # 10
    7564 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: January 2013

    I would put the time you actually intend to start. Like you experienced, it’s really annoying when you arrive on time and are informed that you’ve been duped. 

    Post # 11
    7122 posts
    Busy Beekeeper
    • Wedding: June 2013

    I didn’t read the poll properly so I selected “when the invitation states” but I would actually arrive 15 minutes before. I would not give an earlier time on the invite because I would be very annoyed if I showed up 15 minutes early and then found out the ceremony actually wouldn’t be starting for a half an hour. Cater to those that are on time as opposed to the rude late people.

    Post # 12
    527 posts
    Busy bee

    I try to arrive about 15 minutes before the stated start time.  For our wedding, we were just running late, so we started about 20 minutes late.  However, we still had guests arriving when I was getting ready to walk down the aisle!!

    Post # 14
    9556 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: August 2013

    Former ceremony wedding coordinator here: The time listed on your invitation should be the time the ceremony is planned to start. Polite guests will arrive 15-30 minutes early to get seated and enjoy your prelude music. You will have some not-so-polite guests that will arrive just on time or late. That’s how the world works. It’s not the end of the world. As it gets close to your start time your coordinator (or whoever is running the processional) should assess guest flow. If all guests are seating – great – go ahead and start. If there are still guests getting programs and being seated, your coordinator should wait until these guests are seated. This should usually not delay things more than 5-10 minutes. I generally, would also take a peak out the door to make sure nobody was walking up to the venue. Once all the guests who are there on time have been seated the coordinator should start the processional. Any guests that arrive after the processional has started will have to wait outside or in the vestibule until the procession is over. They can then enter quietly and be seated in the back. 

    Post # 15
    6207 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: August 2013 - The Liberty House

    I went to a wedding this summer where we arrived about 20 minutes early and were some of the later guests to arrive. The ceremony started an hour later. I wouldn’t want that to happen to my guests, so the ceremony start time is going on my invitations

    Post # 16
    3683 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: December 2011

    You put the ceremony start time on the invitation.  

    DH and I were invited to a wedding where the invitation said it would start at 5:30.  We declined to attend, but found out later that they were afraid people would be late and had planned for the ceremony not to start until 6:00.  I’m glad we didn’t go, because we would’ve gotten up and left if we found out someone had pulled that shit on us.  

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