Do Weddings Start on Time?

If you are wondering whether or not weddings start on time, you are at the right place! Timing and punctuality are the two most important factors while planning and celebrating a wedding party. According to most wedding planners, the general rule of ethics is that the ceremony should start at the mentioned time. However, if by any means it cannot be created at the said time, we suggest you start it within 15 minutes immediately. Other features include having a cocktail hour, taking time to capture stunning photo sessions of family portraits, family photos, bridal party photos, couple portraits, and, of course, the most special First Look.

If you are a guest, your punctuality and arrival before the start will naturally 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 weddings, the most common reasons that make the ceremony time late, and how to avoid them and have an ideal time for everything with sample timeline to what to do if you are the wedding guest and running late to your best friend’s wedding.

A basic structure and timeline of your wedding itinerary ensure smooth sailing. 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 start times between an ideal start time of 11 AM to 4 PM to ensure well-paced celebrations before sunset time; this will be considered an afternoon wedding; you can also have a morning wedding or a day wedding if you would like.

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

weddings start on time

The most common factors to consider while mapping out your wedding timeline

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

Hair and makeup

Hair and makeup artist appointments are the topmost reason 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 by your wedding photographer without feeling rushed or getting late.

Communicate with family

Reminding everyone about your wedding timeline at least a week in advance is polite. 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 before the starting time.

Consider the travel time.

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

Similarly, consider all the hotel and other travel accommodations to ensure you arrive at the ceremony without hassle.

Consider the season

You can have the best time of your life 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, plan your ceremony early for winter weddings to catch maximum daylight.

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

If you are wondering, do the weddings start on time? The short answer is YES, they do! That’s why you must plan and arrive on time to attend any wedding-related event for your loved ones. It is referred to as the most special day in a couple’s life, and the last thing they should worry 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 pretty 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 any wedding ceremonies, etiquette states that you don’t continuously text or call the couple to inform them. Couples are already navigating a plethora of different emotions before their ceremony. The last thing they would like to receive is a stressful text, full of panic, from their dear friend or family member that they cannot make up for 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 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 more accessible than 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 forgot 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.

Don’t stress or panic.

Lastly, we always suggest that guests plan 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 to the bride and the groom on the spot. Save up the stories and apologize for later. Just live in the moment and congratulate the couple on beginning their new chapter.

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

2 thoughts 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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