Tick, Tick, Tick: Why and How to Start Your Ceremony On Time

There are many reasons you want to ensure that you start your ceremony on time:
First: You have many other wedding day activities yet to come, and starting your ceremony late will throw them all off. You really don’t want warm salads and cold entrees at dinner, and that’s a real possibility with a late ceremony start.
Second: Your family and friends have made significant efforts to be with you on your special day. It is incredibly rude to leave them sitting in the sweltering sun, cold rain and wind, or uncomfortable chairs while you get your act together.
Third: Starting late will increase everyone’s stress, including yours. Rather than having people telling you to hurry up, or stressing about time slipping away, your day will be much more enjoyable if you’re able to keep things moving along.

So what can you do to help ensure that your ceremony (and your entire day) will run on time? Here are some practical tips:
1. Establish a schedule for the day that includes every activity you can think of – hair and make-up appointments, time to dress, time for your first look with your photographer… and don’t forget to plan for time to have something to eat and drink, and even a few minutes for you two alone throughout the day.

2. Once you have your schedule drafted, build in travel time, rest breaks and just a little unscheduled time here and there in case an activity runs long (they always do).

3. Now that you’ve got your schedule set, make sure that everyone affected has a copy. This is a great thing to email ahead of the weekend, have copies of at rehearsal, and even a few more for the wedding day. Remember, too, to have someone notify family members when to arrive for pictures, or to stay after the ceremony for them so you don’t waste time waiting on or trying to track down the errant uncle who has already found the bar or left the ceremony venue.

4. If you have an attendant or family member who always runs late, consider assigning them a “buddy” who can help them stay on time for this one, important day. It’s also a good idea for each of you to have a talk with your own attendants ahead of time, letting them know how important it is to you to stay on time, and enlisting their help to make this happen. Sometimes that personal touch is all it takes to keep people focused.

5. A planner or day of coordinator can also be a great help with the schedule, chasing errant participants and keeping you on schedule throughout the day.

There are many things to plan for and keep track of for a wedding day, but these ideas can help keep things running smoothly and allow you to enjoy your day and savor the many special moments without feeling rushed or stressed.