Five ways to make sure your wedding starts on time

When it comes to timeliness, I must confess that I do tend to channel Monica from Friends. I hate being late, I hate other people being late to meet me and I don’t cope well when plans don’t work out. I used to have actual nightmares about showing up to my own wedding to discover that I was the only one there! In fact, I hate poor timekeeping so much that my wedding website contained a (with hindsight, probably inappropriately) stern message about 3pm meaning three. pee. em. Or something.

I wasn’t alone, many brides worry about lateness on their big day. Either that they will overrun in the morning or that guests won’t show up on time and will miss the ceremony. However, help is at hand. While there are things that are beyond your control, there are also some things you can do to make sure everything runs to schedule.


Image © Satureyes


Don’t hate me! I mean it with so much love. The reason that chilling out helps you to be on time is that stress will cause you to forget things, get flustered, even cry and ruin your make up. All of these things will mean that after all that worry, you’re the one who’s late – all because you were worried about people being late! Some things are beyond your control. Some people may get stuck, some people may not show up at all – as long as the most important people are there, your husband-to-be and your close family, then everything else won’t matter when you’re swept away in the moment.

Also, people will be much more likely to show up if they’re not scared of you (fact).

Overestimate on timings

Not so much that the day drags with long, unnecessary breaks, but enough that you give yourself room to catch up if things don’t run to schedule. Add on an extra ten or fifteen minutes to everything to ease your anxiety so that if something does start late, you can make up the time later.

When it comes to hair and make up, start really early. You’d be amazed how quickly it goes especially when you have lots of people to make up in one sitting. We started at 8am for a 3pm wedding and that gave us plenty of time to relax but still make it down the aisle on time.

Another time-saving tip is, if you’re not doing your own hair and make up, to hire two separate professionals for hair and make up so that you can have two people in the chair at once. You wouldn’t believe the difference it makes to have an extra pair of hands on board.

Identify the key players and arrange their transport

You can’t arrange transport for all of your guests, that would just add extra stress and defeat the purpose. However, you can arrange transport for the ten or so key people in your family and bridal party to make sure that at least they are there on time.

Make a list of everyone who needs to be there, your groom, your bridesmaids, your officiant, your groomsmen, your parents and siblings etc. and make sure that they have transport that will take them to the venue slightly early. That way you can relax knowing that everyone who needs to be there will definitely be there.

Be really clear in your communication

As my dad used to say, everything in writing and phrased really, really clearly. From your invites to your wedding website to your communication with your registrar, car companies and taxi firms, make sure you emphasise the key timings.

Always ring to reconfirm everything with your car company in the immediate run up to the wedding too, just to make sure they have the right time, date and number of people to be transported.

Be a little misleading about the timings

OK, this is the one time I’m going to encourage my readers to lie. I have some family members and friends that find it very difficult to keep to a planned schedule. If there’s something really important that they mustn’t miss, I just tell them it starts half an hour earlier. That way they’ll be on time. You don’t need to say “the ceremony starts at 2.30pm” when it actually starts at 3pm and lie outright, just say that the celebrations begin at 2.30pm and guests need to be seated for then. That way, when guests are still dribbling in at 2.55pm, it won’t disrupt the ceremony or upset you. Win!

Are you worried about being late to your big day? Will it bother you if your guests aren’t on time? We’d love to hear from you!

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