(Closed) Ceremony time wording

posted 10 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
13 posts
  • Wedding: June 2008

From my understanding, if you say 2pm, the ceremony starts at 2pm.  My caterer says from his experience guests start to arrive about 30 minutes before the ceremony.

 I haven’t seen any "quarters."  I think you’re fine with 2pm if that’s when you intend to start.  Maybe pass on by word of mouth that guests should give themselves extra time because it’s hard to find?

Post # 4
311 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2008

I’ve actually wondered the same thing.  For the last 2 weddings I went to, one started at the stated time.  The other started at least 45 minutes after the stated time.  Our venue is also a little hard to find so I was thinking of putting ‘ten forty five in the morning’ for our 11:00 ceremony.  I don’t want people there too early, but I don’t want people walking up late.  Maybe just put 2 pm and use word of mouth to make sure people know that the ceremony really starts right then?

Post # 5
629 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2005

If you want to go by the etiquette books, they only use half-hour increments. Generally, guests know to show up early, but if you have a bad weather day (like I did) or a bad traffic day (also like I did), have a little flex time. I’ve heard that many ceremonies don’t start on time, and as much as I don’t want it to be true, I’ve yet to see one that does (sorry for the anti-encouragement  ).

Post # 6
2292 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

My understanding is that the time on the invitation is the time the ceremony starts.  My venue (and my photographer) say that people start showing about 30 minutes prior to. 

Post # 7
536 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2018 - The Desmond Hotel in Malvern, PA

My brother got married in NYC and there were a lot of out-of-towners attending.  Since they knew that guests would likely underestimate how much time it would take them to get there in NYC traffic, they put the start time on the invitation as 30 minutes earlier than it actually was.  This worked great for them because a lot of guests were, indeed, a little behind schedule.

I am not doing this for my own wedding, but I did make a note of it on our wedding website; on the page with the ceremony and reception details, I just added that it would take guests about 20 minutes to get from the hotel to the church, and to please allow extra time for travel as the ceremony will begin promptly at 4:00.  I can’t worry about everyone, but hopefully this will clue them in that we’re planning to stay on schedule!

Post # 8
111 posts
Blushing bee

so from what i understand, i have my ceremony/reception time from 7-1AM. My venue assumes that i will put 7PM on the invitation but that the actual ceremony would start at 7:30PM. i found this out later. I actually want my ceremony to start as close to 7 as possible so I put on 6:45. My venue suggested to me not to put on 6:30 on the invite bc guests may arrive too early and he would be in the middle of setup. so i put 6:45. it is not on the half hour but i dont think this is a big deal or any deal at all. On the invitation, i actually spelled out 6:45, i did not write quarter till. in your case if it is a hard place to find, i would probably write 1:30…guests should come in around 1:15ish.

Post # 9
44 posts

I am putting 5 on the invitations, hoping for it to start anywhere between 5:20 and 5:30. Every wedding I have been at runs behind and I don’t want to cut short my ceremony, cocktail hour, or reception because of timing issues. We are the only wedding there that day, and I feel like by telling everyone 5 we are building in some buffer time. The last wedding I went to they had built in a buffer of 15 minutes, they lost about 20 due to the ceremony going a little longer/ people moving slowly to cocktails, and then lost some more moving people from cocktails to reception (it was all in the same hotel- just different rooms, even on the same floor!). By the time we got to the reception, they had lost almost an hour of reception time. I am determined not to lose precious reception time which goes so fast anyhow. However, I am concerned maybe this is too early? So I am thinking of setting out lemonade and iced tea and hoping people kind of mingle beforehand a bit.

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