Do weddings start on time?

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Written By Aaron Smith

Rev. Aaron Smith enjoys sharing insights from over 10 years of wedding officiating experience.

“Do weddings start on time?”

If you are wondering whether or not the weddings start on time, then you are at the right place! Timing and punctuality are the two most important factors that hold utmost importance whilst planning and celebrating a wedding. According to the general rule of ethics, the ceremony should start at the mentioned time. However, if by any means, it cannot be started at the mentioned time; we suggest you start it within 15 minutes immediately. Other features include; having a cocktail hour, taking out time to capture stunning portraits, and of course, the most special First Look. 

If you are a guest, then naturally, your punctuality and arrival before the start will be of the essence, the rest is left to the couple and their flow of events. That being said, in this blog post, we will cover ALL the essential information – from the typical starting time of the weddings, the most common reasons that make the ceremony late, and how to avoid them; to what to do if you are the wedding guest and running late to your best friend’s wedding. 

weddings start on time
Do weddings start on time? 2 weddings start on time

Do weddings start on time? The typical starting time of the wedding

Having a basic structure and timeline of your wedding itinerary ensures a smooth-sailing affair. We understand it becomes quite stressful to put together the perfect timeline. We are here to assist you and we always suggest our lovely couples plan their nuptial ceremony between 11 AM to 4 PM to ensure well-paced celebrations.

If you are a wedding guest, the etiquette states that you arrive 15 to 20 minutes early before the time stated on the invitation to avoid any last-minute rushing.

Most common factors to consider while mapping out your wedding timeline

Following are some of the crucial factors that make the weddings run late. We have listed them down for you so you can plan ahead to avoid them.

  • Hair and makeup

Hair and makeup appointments serve to be the topmost reason that makes the brides run late for their big day. To avoid any inconvenience, it is suggested that you ask your beauty team to finish at least one hour before the actual time. Why? Because getting ready before will provide you with ample time to get dressed, put on jewelry, or set up your veil. The plus point? You can also capture stunning getting-ready photographs without feeling rushed or getting late.

  • Communicate with family

It is polite to remind everyone at least a week in advance about your wedding timeline. Send them customized reminders and don’t forget to inform them again about the itinerary at the rehearsal dinner.

  • Family members who are habitually late at events and functions

If you have friends or family members who are habitually late at events, we suggest you inform everyone to arrive at least 20 minutes prior to the starting time.

  • Consider the travel time

To avoid wedding delays, please make sure that you spare extra time for traveling on your special as compared to normal days. If it takes you 5 minutes to arrive at the church, consider allotting 20 minutes for that.

Similarly, take into consideration all the hotel and other travel accommodation to ensure you arrive at the ceremony without any hassle.

  • Consider the season

You can have the best time of your lives if you consider the seasonal changes before mapping out your ceremony. For an outdoor wedding in summer, don’t plan the ceremony from noon till 2 PM to avoid excessive hot and humid weather. On the contrary, for winter weddings, make sure that you are planning your ceremony early so you can catch maximum daylight. 

What to do if you are a wedding guest running late to the wedding?

If you are wondering, do the weddings start on time? The short answer is YES, they do!  That’s why you need to plan things ahead and make sure to reach on time to attend any wedding-related event of your loved ones. It is referred to as the most special day in a couple’s life and the last thing they should be worrying about is knowing that their closest friend or family member might not be able to make it up to the event on time. Running late to a wedding might be quite stressful. However, the dos and don’ts listed in this post will help you to tackle the situation gracefully. Have a look:

  • Do not inform the couple

If you are running late to the wedding, etiquette states that you don’t text or call the couple to inform them continuously. Couples are already in the midst of navigating a plethora of different emotions before their ceremony. The last thing they would like to receive is stressful text, full of panic, from their dear friend or family member that they cannot make up to their big day on time. Save the story for some other day and let them enjoy their wedding!

  • Carefully curate your entrance strategy

Contact the coordinator to help you enter the wedding venue without any hassle and without making any noise. Is the wedding take place in the church or is it an outdoor ceremony? Plan your entrance strategy according to the venue to avoid any inconvenience. Enter quietly without disturbing the other guests and wedding videographers. Usually getting to the outdoor ceremony is easier compared to entering a church so it would be wise to do it with utmost diligence.

  • Make the most out of your time

If you are 15 minutes late to the wedding and missed the bridal entry or are 1 hour late to the wedding and missed the ceremony – do remember to make the most out of your available time. Take pictures to create cherishable memories, enjoy your time and wish the newlyweds well for the beginning of their new journey.

Lastly, we always suggest that guests plan ahead to attend the ceremony of their loved ones. However, even if you are a little bit late for the wedding, it’s okay please don’t panic. And don’t let the stress steal away moments of sheer joy, happiness, and enjoyment for you. Make sure to enter quietly. Don’t even apologize at the spot to the bride and the groom.  Save up the stories and apologies for later. Just live in the moment and congratulate the couple on the beginning of their new chapter.

However, we would always advise you to be prepared and get there in time. Sometimes there are factors you cannot control, but in most cases, planning extra time for navigating your way to the wedding is the best thing you can do to get there before the start.

1 thought on “Do weddings start on time?”

  1. After attending a few weddings, I believe it is important to allow sufficient time for guests to arrive at the venue. So  that everyone will be present when the ceremony begins. Last year, my wedding planner did an excellent job at Victory North Savannah ( She keeps track of the whereabouts of everyone on my entourage.

    • Planning for travel time from the hotel or where the guests are coming from is so important in making sure the wedding starts on time.


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