Errr no. She’s not. And for very, very good reasons. Let’s start with your guests, all of whom arrived before the ceremony, to be on time for you. They are waiting for you … 50, 100, 150 or more people, eagerly awaiting the party to start. At first, they are excited. They mill around and chat amongst themselves, hoping to catch a glimpse of a car rolling in. Then they get agitated. They start wandering around and pacing up and down. “Where is she?”
As time goes on, they get anxious. They start asking each other if she is coming? Has she got cold feet? They start heading towards me (the celebrant) with a bundle of questions, which I do my best to fend off with hair, makeup, parking, traffic excuses. I go into damage control. I need to keep these people calm, because the next stage is angry … (and that one is really, really hard to smooth over). As far as your guests are concerned, late equals rude.
Then there are all the hardworking people you have employed, to make your wedding day wonderful. You have trusted them to make you look beautiful, to take amazing photos, to perform a fabulous ceremony, and to feed and serve your guests for the reception. They trust you to let them do their thing, the best way they know how. So what happens when you run late?
Photographer: You didn’t allow enough time to get four lots of hair and makeup done, so your photographer arrives at the scheduled time and there’s not much to shoot. You are cutting into the agreed amount of hours you have booked them for. You might be losing light for photos after the ceremony.
Cars: The cars arrive, and they start their clocks. As soon as you go over time, they will charge you for it. It’s costing you money, already.
Decorators: Decorators budget a specific time for drop off, set up and pick up. When you are late to the ceremony it pushes everything back, so they may well have to grab and go – even if your guests are still in the area (never a great look).
Church: If your’s is a church wedding, you might be holding up another wedding party whose wedding is scheduled straight after yours. One lot of guests are lining up to get in as soon as your’s can get out. Another bride is circling the block waiting for you to leave.
Celebrant: If you have a celebrant, they may have other weddings to do that day. In peak times and busy days, this is more likely than not. Celebrants factor in a specific period of time between ceremonies, but if you are running late you can put them in a real bind. If you are very late, you run the risk of your celebrant charging you extra, at best, or at worst, having to leave your wedding to go to another, and returning some time later in the day to perform your wedding – wherever you may be. And that will cost you, too.
Angry or upset guests, additional costs and vendor’s issues aside, the worst affected by your lateness is your groom. The love of your life. The man waiting for you. Even if he knows you are coming, even if he knows that you are stuck in traffic, this is hardest on him. He was nervous already. Everyone is looking at him. He won’t lose those nerves, he won’t feel ok, until he sees you coming down the aisle – and the longer that takes, the more uncomfortable he feels. Think of your groom. It’s his day, too.
I’m not talking five or ten minutes late. That can still be classified as “fashionable” and forgivable. Or blamed upon traffic. That’s acceptable and often expected. But beyond that, I suggest you remember exactly what your big day is all about. Factor in an earlier start. Whack your hair in a ponytail if it’s taking too long. Get in that car. Allow for traffic. Get yourself down that aisle and meet the one person who has really been waiting FOREVER.
These lovely photos of Natalie and Anthony at Summerlees Cottage, Sutton Forest were taken by Tyler Freeman Smith from Bowerbird Pictures / 0402 227 560
… and no, no, no, lovely Natalie was NOT late!
Ms Gingham says: It’s so easy to forget when you are the one everyone is waiting to see! Robyn has given us some very wise words … remember that this day is about two not one!
Robyn says: I am quite possibly the happiest marriage celebrant in Sydney! Weddings are my thing! Nothing makes me happier than a really happy couple – every time.
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