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Isn't it Tradition for the Bride to be Late?

Wed, 23 Oct 2013

Isn't it Tradition for the Bride to be Late?

As a marriage celebrant, I often hear guests talking about the anticipated arrival of the bride and invariably someone says, "Oh it’s tradition. The bride is always late." There is no such tradition. Everyone appreciates that when organising a wedding, especially with a large bridal party, that sometimes the unexpected happens. This can range from delays at the hairdressers, or bridal transport showing up late or not at all, to car problems and the like. 

Over the years I have had some unusual reasons for brides arriving late. I remember one time there was a bush fire along a major freeway and all traffic was stopped. The bride just had to sit in the limo and wait it out. On another occasion the bride was about to enter the ceremony venue when she realised that all the bouquets had been forgotten. So the bridal party turned around and went home and got them.  The wedding rings are often left behind. Guests understand that circumstances such are these can’t be avoided and in fact sometimes add to a little humour for the day.

But guests are not so accommodating when it comes to a bride who makes a conscious decision to be half an hour or more late for her own wedding just to make a grand and dramatic entrance. Most guests arrive at a wedding about twenty minutes beforehand out of courtesy to the couple. With many wedding ceremonies now being conducted in gardens and parks, often there is little seating, shade or water. On very hot days, this can cause discomfort for the guests, especially the elderly.

I always suggest couples put a time at least fifteen minutes earlier on the invitation to make sure that guests have arrived and are prepared for the bridal entrance. Having said that, it is then paramount that the bride shows respect for her guests who have arrived on time, and be on time herself.

It usually takes about ten minutes for the bride and her party to exit the cars and have photos taken before making their entrance. This should be accounted for in preparations.

This is extremely important at venues that have more than one ceremony in a day. There are many venues in and around Brisbane who conduct two or even three ceremonies in one day. If you are late for your wedding, then you will make all other weddings that day late as well. Plus you and your guests will be ushered from the ceremony site to make way for the next wedding.

The best way to avoid this is to be punctual. Your guests will appreciate it and your photographer will enjoy being able to take the best photos in the best light.

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Tags: Late Bride, Wedding Ceremonies, Wedding Etiquette, Brides

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