When should I ask guests to arrive at my ceremony?

The right time!

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Fortunately nowadays guests are fairly punctual.  In fact in our experience many are arriving particularly early.

It is therefore very important that you aim to arrive as close to the correct start time as possible.

There are two reasons for this.  Firstly, arriving late (viewed by some as the tradition!) can eat into the time you have for photographs, which is not really a part of your day you want to compromise.  Nor do you want to have meal service rushed or have less dancing time.

Secondly, think of your guests, particularly the young and elderly.  Often they will arrive early.  So if you are late they can be waiting for a long time.

In the unlikely event that you arrive before many of the guests the simple suggestion is to wait – either at the venue or literally in a nearby side street.

The only exception we suggest is when your ceremony is on a Friday.  Since many guests will probably be coming from work or rushing from home (in Friday afternoon traffic!), we suggest the time you put on your invitation 15 minutes earlier than the real time the bride intends to arrive.

This gives guests a bit more time and they will simply think the bride is 15 minutes ‘traditionally late’.

You may also have to accept that some people (hopefully only a few – if any) will be late.  Don’t wait for them though.  You don’t want to annoy the majority of guests because of a small number who are inconsiderate.