Whether you're the bride or a guest, it's good to know "late" etiquette.

Credit: Aneta Mak

Everyone is late sometimes, but it's especially vexing if you're on your way to a wedding or another pre-nuptial event. Even if the reason for the lateness wasn't your fault-like in the case of getting stuck in traffic-you'll feel badly if you miss any of the fun. Follow our suggestions below to make an unfortunate situation a little better. And if you do call someone to explain the situation, don't keep them guessing-always give an ETA (estimated time of arrival).

If the bride is running late...

You're one of the stars of the show and your absence will not only be noticed (duh) but the event can't get started without you. If you're late for the engagement party, let the hosts know immediately; in many cases, this will be your parents. If you're late for a vendor meeting, be sure to call as soon as possible. If you finally pop in at 12:20 p.m. for a noon appointment, expect to lose 20 minutes of face time that day if the vendor (photographer, baker, or DJ) has another appointment directly after yours.

If you're late for the wedding, call the officiant, catering manager, wedding planner, or whoever is running the ceremony. Stay calm. Once you arrive at the site, everyone will do their best to accommodate you.

If a guest is running late...

You don't want anyone to worry but you don't always need to alert the media if you won't be on time. If you're late for the bridal shower, your first step is to figure out if the party is a surprise or not. If it is, call the hosts to find out what time the bride is expected to arrive so you can avoid bumping into her-and ruining the big reveal.

If you're late for the wedding, feel free to let anyone but the bride or groom know about your dilemma. They'll be a little busy that day. Tell a close friend what's going on. If the couple should ask where you are, someone will have an answer.

Get everyone's cell numbers.

As soon as you start wedding prep, start adding names to your contacts such as your wedding planner, photographer, officiant, and so forth. If you're late for anything, having everyone's number handy will be a time-saver.


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