I offer this key piece of advice to my brides regarding their wedding ceremony. Never think of a wedding ceremony as a 1/2 hour event. Look at it as a full 1 hour schedule. The reason for this is that wedding guests never arrive on time. Did I mention, NEVER.
When filling out your wedding invitations, start your wedding ceremony exactly 1/2 hour before you plan to walk down the aisle. That means, if you plan to enter at 6:30, please put a 6:00 pm start time on your wedding invitations. This 1/2 hour period is what we call “prelude” and will give all of the guests the opportunity to arrive, have conversation, and be seated.
During this 1/2 prelude period it is advised to have music playing in the background to set the mood. If you have live musicians, this 1/2 hour is their own personal concert for your wedding guests. If you start the musicians right up with the bride’s entrance, you are only getting 2 or 3 songs for the entire night. Why not let the guests enjoy a 1/2 hour of beautiful music?
How many times I have seen a bride ready to walk down the isle, only to be forced into a holding pattern while several late arriving guests try to sneak down to their seats. This will never change so adapt and beat them at their own game. If guests are told that the wedding will begin at 6:00 pm, then most should be there by 6:20pm. So, in theory, the bride should be able to walk the isle at 6:30 pm with a full house in attendance.
Of course, always check with you church, chapel, or catering facility to confirm that you have a full 1 hour ceremony period and not only a 1/2 hour. If you don’t have a full hour, book it. It will be a wise decision on your part! Certainly, it is not the bride that has to worry about getting to the church on time…It’s your guests.