Post # 1
My question is similar to the one posted by MeelaBeela titled “Programs and timing and such”, but slightly different so I figured I would start a new post.
My fiance is Indian and his parents have warned us that many of their guests will not expect to arrive on time. At his sister’s wedding a few years ago, they had an hour of cocktail hour before the ceremony, so people could slowly trickle in. I was originally not crazy about this idea, but I realized if having the ceremony first meant having people showing up and interrupting or missing the ceremony altogether (it will be a relatively short ceremony), then it made sense.
My mother absolutely hates this idea. She’s worried that her guests will be confused since it’s not what they would expect. Plus, we’re having a lot of guests, so we were hoping to have a cocktail hour after the ceremony to give us time to talk to everyone, and my mom doesn’t like the idea of everyone seeing me in my dress before the ceremony.
We’re meeting with the venue coordinator next week to find out if it’s even a possibility to do anything other than the ceremony first. Before we meet with her, I was hoping to get some input on a few questions:
Is there a way to compromise so both sets of parents are happy?
Can the invitation just say 6:00, or does it need to specify more of a timeline? (Ceremony, reception, and cocktail hour are all same location)
If we have a cocktail hour before the ceremony, should it include alcohol or just appetizers?
Sorry this was so long! Thanks for the help!
Post # 3
I would think that if you put on the invitation something like:
“Ceremony will begin promptly at 6pm”
“Cocktails and Reception Immediately Following”
it should be clear to everyone that they need to be there by 6 to see the ceremony. I wouldn’t want people seeing me in my dress either.
Post # 4
Agree with Jacqi’s response. I am so surprised at the amount of people who think it’s totally acceptable to just show up to a wedding whenever they please!
Post # 5
runskiclimb, I am STILL trying to figure out how this whole thing will happen without people completely missing or coming in halfway through the ceremony. The venue we are (possibly) booking says that they will give us an extra hour and half since we’re not using their entire menu. I’m afraid that people will still be really late though. Like you, the ceremony will be very short, probably not even 30 minutes so if people come late they’re out of luck. I want to have the ceremony, cocktail hour and then the reception but I;m not sure that will work. Stating that the ceremony will begin promptly at such and such time may be helpful but from what I’ve heard (from my fiance and others) that may not mean much to the Indian guests in attendance. I’m scared!!
Post # 6
Can you get your Future In-Laws to spread the word — sort of, this wedding’s going to be a bit different, if you’re not there on time you’ll really miss it, really, sort of thing?
I agree that you’d probably enjoy a cocktail hour after the ceremony rather than before, and I would want to save showing myself until the walk down the aisle!
ather than a cocktail hour beforehand — could you have some kind of entertainment or something to keep people entertained beforehand, but that wouldn’t require you being there? I went to a Greek wedding recently where this worked really well. People who are early have something to do, your invitations can say ‘celebrations begin at 6pm’, and people should have shown up by the time the ceremony kicks off…
Post # 7
We are doing little appetizers and non-alcoholic beverages before the Baraat and Ceremony to allow for people to arrive in a more lesiurely fashion. This way they can nosh a bit if they have travelled a distance to get to the wedding. We are then having the normal cocktail hour between the cermemony and reception. Are you doing a traditional baraat or just going straight to the ceremony? The Baraat allows some leniency in people getting there a bit late. Otherwise I agree with the other bees, just make sure that the invite says that the ceremony will begin promptly at 6 and ask his family to help in getting the word out.
Post # 8
Thanks for the advice. Still not sure what to do!
@jacqi and hotchildinthecity – I agree that you would think people should show up on time, but I’m worried that words like “promptly” will just be glazed over as rough guidelines.
@MeelaBeela – Keep me posted if you think of a solution!
@wonderlanded – I like the idea of entertainment of some sort beforehand. What did they have at the Greek wedding you went to?
@mrspeacock – We’re not doing a Baraat, so we won’t have that as an additional time buffer.
I think one of my biggest hang ups on this issue is that so much of our wedding is traditional “American”. His parents are fine with this since, as his mom put it, they had their dream wedding when his sister got married in India, so now it’s my parents’ turn. (Sidenote – Has anyone else noticed that weddings are way more about parents than the bride and groom?) It just feels wrong to me if we make it so “American” that the start time excludes their guests from being there.
Do you think it would be rude, to either set of guests, if the invitation just said 6:00, and then the actual schedule was more like 6:00-6:30 apps & entertainment, 6:30-7:00 ceremony, 7:00 reception?
Post # 9
I went to a wedding where the invitation said something like “Cocktails served at 5 pm, Ceremony to begin at 6 pm”. It gave everyone a little buffer to get there on time and a chance to mingle prior to the ceremony. The bride and groom did not attend the first part, and there was another “cocktail hour” after the ceremony where appetizers were served and I believe the bride and groom did attend this part.
I think your guests will be able to “get” what’s going on, especially since everything is all in one place.
Post # 10
I think your last idea is a great one — say 6 pm on the invitation and then plan to start half an hour later, with something for those who do arrive at 6 (maybe your parents can host a little tea/coffee/lemonade break with background music from a stereo)?
I have sadly learned to just NEVER count on an Indian crowd to be on time. Some will, some won’t — it’s definitely a regional thing (i.e. my dad’s side is traditional Brahmin and rises at 5 am and is always on time; Mom’s side is Bengali and always half an hour late at least).
Yes these are obviously huge generalizations, and depends on people’s understanding of American wedding etiquette. But even so, I wouldn’t count on the word ‘promptly’ on an invitation. In some parts of India, it’s actually rude to show up on time because it’s the earliest you can arrive, not the latest. It’s as if you haven’t given your hosts the extra time to prepare…you know?
I know it’s an American wedding, and I think all of your guests should certainly respect that…but old habits die hard…
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