I always tell my couples that when your wedding starts late, it is time you will never get back at the end. Ideally, your wedding will start on time but most start a little late. 15 minutes late is acceptable but after that you’ll need to remember your guests, are your guests, and it isn’t fair to keep them waiting. And we all know grandma and grandpa arrived 30 minutes early. Again, it will be less party time at the end. And if you start too late it can completely affect the food for the reception. Your cold food gets hot, your hot food gets cold, etc. If your vision has been a sunrise or sunset ceremony timing is everything, neither will wait. Crazy, I know. No matter how much time you think you’ll need, add another 30 minutes. Your worse case scenario is you get to sit back and take in the moment instead of rushing around up until the last second. That really isn’t how you want your wedding ceremony to start. So remember, allow plenty of time and add in another 30 minutes.
Since I had two weddings last week where the brides called four days before their wedding to say, “my officiant has backed out, changed their mind, decided to go surfing, (yes, that’s a true line) sick, etc., I thought this would be a good time to write about the “vanishing officiant” phenomenon. Sadly, I get these calls at least once a week and sometimes more. It’s even happened while the couple is at the venue, and their officiant is a no call… no show. Fortunately, most event coordinators know me, and call to see if I’m available and “how fast can I get there?” I never ask “what happened?” More often than not, I can pretty much guess.
Many of my weddings are destination beach weddings on Topsail Island, Emerald Isle, Wrightsville Beach…well, all the beaches in North Carolina. Two times I have had a frantic call from a bride who was victim to a con artist. Both thought they had everything from their house rental to their cake covered. Always take a few extra moments to check reviews and make sure whomever you are hiring from a distance is not taking your money and running.
Couples often ask a close friend or relative to perform their ceremony. Whether their intentions are to give them this honor or perhaps to save some money, it usually doesn’t work out as planned. Unless the person they are depending on loves public speaking, (and it’s the #1 fear of most people) chances are greater than not, they will get cold feet as they start to realize this is a really big deal and maybe it wasn’t such a good idea. Remember- this is the most important part of your most important day, and it should be given the reverence it deserves. A beautiful ceremony has a rhythm and flow. Unless your officiant understands this, you run the risk of the wheels coming off the wedding bus midway through your ceremony (I’ve witnessed it as a guest). While the intentions may be sincere, most people have never performed a wedding ceremony and haven’t got a clue as to how it all flows together. Your guests should be laughing one minute and crying tears of joy the next. Most important… you should have a connection with your officiant and your ceremony should reflect your love for each other.
The moral to this story… choose early and choose wisely.