You've scheduled your ceremony for 4:30pm and you put 4pm on your invitations. You know Aunt Kathy will show up at 4:45 and miss the start of the celebration, Uncle Mike will be on time as he hates to be late but will not be happy if he has to wait half hour, Cousin Mary gets lost in a blink of an eye and will be calling everyone to find out where the celebration is and Grandma has lost time and has no idea how long its taking to start. How do you please everyone?
Well, you can't and you shouldn't make yourself too crazy about it. Delays happen, alternate plans are considered and people have to learn how to deal with it as its YOUR day.
We still suggest putting a start time before your actual start time, even if its 15 minutes. Why? Because of the late arrivals, people get lost and because delays happen! There are some planners and venues that have given brides and families a hard time for not starting at the scheduled time. Recently at a ceremony a few key guests were not there yet and the bride and groom wanted to wait. Thats OK we started about 10 minutes later, everyone was OK with that. Even starting 10 minutes past the start time there were still late arrivals. At another ceremony the planners were harassing everyone that it was a minute past the start time and it was unacceptable! How dare they... this is YOUR day, dont let anyone bully you.
Things to consider:
Look into having a pre-ceremony cocktail hour or half hour. This is a great idea since it gives people a chance to arrive, mingle and grab a bite. It also gives everyone a cushion in the event that there is a delay that can not be helped. Ex: The officiant is lost, its snowing, roads are closed, accidents on highways,...etc.
Consider having your cocktail hour BEFORE your ceremony start time. Then have your ceremony and then onto dinner and dancing.
Keep in mind a lot of this is not easily done in a place of worship. We are making suggestions for ceremonies at venues other than places of worship.
You may irritate some people by not starting at the time indicated on your invitation and you may keep others happy that you didnt start on time since they were late.
YOU know YOUR families. Dont let anyone push into something you dont want. Look for all kinds of ideas and settle for what makes you comfortable.
Its YOUR day!