I’ve attended/planned/worked over 100 weddings, and only once have I had an on-time start, at my OWN wedding! (when I wasn’t even ready! My fault for being too laid-back about the "schedule"….I’d done so many weddings at that point, I just didn’t CARE)
Most weddings I run start 10-15 minutes late.This just allows for guests running late, etc.
I did recently have one bride who arrived two HOURS LATE to the venue. We thought she had possibly skipped out on the groom, as no one could find her, her photographer, and her entire bridal party had turned their phones off. Turns out they had decided to have one last-minute shopping spree at Neiman Marcus before coming to the wedding (yes, IN HER WEDDING DRESS!!!)
I had been hired by the groom’s family to "run" this ceremony/reception at the last minute, and haven’t ever come across such a diva bride before! Her single conversation with me was to yell that her cake was leaning (bad choice of bakery), and that half her guests weren’t there (people left thinking the wedding wasn’t going to happen. The DJ was actually starting to pack up when her limo pulled up!). Total insanity!!
But generally, I tell my brides to put a start time ON the invitation, but actually "plan" a time 15-min later, because people are ALWAYS late. If YOUput 1pm on your invite, but "plan" to start at 1:15, then you won’t be running late, does that make sense?
Good luck on your big day! It also helps having someone (a professional, a friend, a parent) to be "in charge" of keeping the bridal party in line, keeping everyone moving before the wedding, and making sure they stick to the "schedule". I pass out a timeline at the rehersal to the bridal party, and give everyone a stern talk about how important it is to the Bride & Groom to be on time, not be late, and they chose you to share their day, please respect them and be on time!!! ANd if the bride is running late…so be it! (but just don’t run two hours late…unless it’s unavoidable. Shopping trips in your bridal gown isn’t a good excuse for starting late!!!)
The stories!! =)