What to Do If You're Running Late to Your Own Wedding
Don't panic, they can't start without you!
You've spent months-or maybe even years-planning your wedding, but at no point did you account for the possibility that you might be running late for your own ceremony. How were supposed to foresee the road construction on the one highway that leads to your venue? You couldn't have! Rather than hit the panic alarm, collect yourself, find your sense of humor, and get to the venue as soon as is safely possible. As long as you communicate with your crew, the party most definitely will not start without you.
Going straight into panic mode is no way to start your wedding day, so keep calm and do your best to get to the wedding as quickly as possible. As you likely won't be driving to your own wedding and won't be able to correct the delay, this is as good a time as any to turn to your dad or your best friend and have them tell you their best jokes. If you're running late due to heavy traffic conditions, it's likely that many of your guests will be running behind, too. If you're running late because the getting-ready process took longer than you'd planned for, rest assured that you look amazing and this is one party that's willing to wait for your arrival.
Have Someone Run Interference
Have your mom, sister, or someone close to you get in touch with both your venue and a groomsman as soon as you realize the delay will be more than ten minutes. It's best to let these major players know the ceremony is running behind schedule so they can keep guests mingling rather than ushering them to be seated for an undetermined amount of time.
Let the Professionals Do Their Thing
The good news is that you're neither the first nor the last bride to be running late for her own wedding. If there's a significant delay of 30 minutes or more, your vendors will start going into backup mode. Depending on the venue, this may mean that they hand out glasses of Champagne and encourage guests to mingle rather than be seated, or this may mean that music is played as guests await your arrival. Your venue manager, wedding planner, or catering coordinator will know exactly what to do, so you can rest assured that your guests are being well looked after while they wait.
Many churches and religious venues require brides to arrive anywhere from a half hour to an hour prior to the ceremony start time. This is a great way to ensure that the ceremony starts and finishes on time, which allows their next service to begin in a timely manner. If you're able to plan ahead, work in an arrival buffer of a half hour may be helpful for your mental wellbeing. If your ceremony is taking place at a destination that can only be accessed via one road, you should probably allow a bigger buffer in case of traffic. If, on the other hand, your ceremony is taking place at the same resort where you're getting ready, a smaller buffer should be perfectly fine.
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