Wedding Etiquette Forum

Invitation wording - asking people to arrive early for seating?

My ceremony is at 6:30, in one of the larger hotels in Vegas. Since the size of the hotel can make it more difficult to navigate, as well as the fact that there will most likely be another ceremony after mine, I am concerned about my guests arriving on time. I've read that some people change the start time of the ceremony on the invitations to 15 or 30 minutes prior to account for this, but I really don't want to do that. I am including an itinerary with my invites, which will also include directions to the ceremony and reception. Would it be acceptable to put this on the itinerary: "Ceremony to start promptly at 6:30; please plan to arrive 15 minutes early to allow for seating." 

Alternately, I could verbally communicate this to people during our meet and greet the night before, but if some people don't attend then I won't be able to tell them. I could also just note it on my wedding website, but I have some guests who are not computer savvy and wouldn't be going online. Any advice is appreciated!

Re: Invitation wording - asking people to arrive early for seating?

  • My ceremony is at 6:30, in one of the larger hotels in Vegas. Since the size of the hotel can make it more difficult to navigate, as well as the fact that there will most likely be another ceremony after mine, I am concerned about my guests arriving on time. I've read that some people change the start time of the ceremony on the invitations to 15 or 30 minutes prior to account for this, but I really don't want to do that. I am including an itinerary with my invites, which will also include directions to the ceremony and reception. Would it be acceptable to put this on the itinerary: "Ceremony to start promptly at 6:30; please plan to arrive 15 minutes early to allow for seating." 

    Alternately, I could verbally communicate this to people during our meet and greet the night before, but if some people don't attend then I won't be able to tell them. I could also just note it on my wedding website, but I have some guests who are not computer savvy and wouldn't be going online. Any advice is appreciated!
    I don't think you should include the bolded. I mean yes, definitely include the start time, but not the rest. To me as a guest it would seem very rude, like you don't expect adults to get somewhere on time. Most people will arrive early anyway just because they want to. The disorganized/rude people who will arrive late will do so whether you tell them to hurry up or not. Ya know? 
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  • lovegood90lovegood90 Ontario member
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    Unfortunately there's no polite way to tell guests to turn up early. Just indicate the (actual) start time on your invites and expect that they will be able to show up on time by themselves. If some of them are late, then they're late. But from an etiquette standpoint you should trust your guests as adults to show up on time. 

    Formerly martha1818

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  • plainjane0415plainjane0415 The hills of Tennessee member
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    You can't control this.  I don't think it would be appropriate to put it on the invites.
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  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Everything PP have said.  

    Don't try to micro-manage your guests.  They will see the start time and leave in enough time to navigate the casino to get to your ceremony location.  If they don't, then I guess you will be starting without them.

  • Thanks everyone!
    lovegood90
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
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    Unfortunately there isn't any polite way to tell guests to come earlier than the start time of the ceremony.
  • Ditto PPs on it being bad etiquette to tell people to arrive early. Just start w/o them.

    What you COULD do that might mitigate this issue would be to include a schedule of events with times noted and a map of the hotel in welcome bags with the ceremony location highlighted. If people are still late after that (they might be), then oh well. The show must go on!
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  • What you COULD do that might mitigate this issue would be to include a schedule of events with times noted and a map of the hotel in welcome bags with the ceremony location highlighted. If people are still late after that (they might be), then oh well. The show must go on!
    True! I am definitely doing welcome bags, but I think I will include maps in the invitations as well.
  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    What you COULD do that might mitigate this issue would be to include a schedule of events with times noted and a map of the hotel in welcome bags with the ceremony location highlighted. If people are still late after that (they might be), then oh well. The show must go on!
    True! I am definitely doing welcome bags, but I think I will include maps in the invitations as well.
    I was going to chime in and say provide maps, either in the bag or on your wedding website. I've been in some casinos and have not had the slightest clue where I was going. Directions would be appreciated, and then people have to figure for themselves how long it'll take.

    Start on time. People who are late suffer the consequences of missing part of your ceremony. You won't even notice latecomers, we promise. 
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  • Even at the movies, if you don't arrive early it is a problem. Theatre, concert and opera performances shut you out until the next break.

    So even most people who have been to few weddings will figure - busy place, arrive early.

    Of course, I worried about a bunch of unnecessary stuff before my wedding too.
  • Rather than try to dictate to your guests, I think the recommendation of a map, welcome bags and maybe even a note about how long it takes to walk from one end of the building to the other may help.  Hopefully the guests just plan in advance and if not, it's one of those 'sucks to be them' things. 
  • I don't mean to hijack this post, but is clarifying/explaining start time always considered rude/micromanaging?

    I attended a wedding with FI family a few months ago and the invitations clearly said 6:30. After chatting with his family, I learned that they were under the impression that 6:30 was the time that they should "try to get there" and that "these things never start on time."

    Knowing their attitude towards this, is it wrong to have FI casually mention that our start time listed is our actual start time? My officiant charges $50 for every 15 minutes we are late so starting on time is kind of important. I know that the solution would be to start without them, but I would hate for VIPs to miss anything because of a misunderstanding.

  • It's rude of people to assume they don't need to show up at the stated start time because "these things never start on time."  That's presumptuous.  We started exactly on time and we didn't put any special micromanagey requests on our invites.  And it was fine.
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  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers

    I don't mean to hijack this post, but is clarifying/explaining start time always considered rude/micromanaging?

    I attended a wedding with FI family a few months ago and the invitations clearly said 6:30. After chatting with his family, I learned that they were under the impression that 6:30 was the time that they should "try to get there" and that "these things never start on time."

    Knowing their attitude towards this, is it wrong to have FI casually mention that our start time listed is our actual start time? My officiant charges $50 for every 15 minutes we are late so starting on time is kind of important. I know that the solution would be to start without them, but I would hate for VIPs to miss anything because of a misunderstanding.

    I have to agree with the PP-deliberately planning to arrive late is rude. But I am fine with your FI saying to his family something like, "Our invitations are going to say that the ceremony is starting at 6:30 and it's starting on time. We're not going to wait until later to start, so anyone who hasn't arrived by 6:30 is going to be late and will be seated, if at all, in the back of the sanctuary. That applies across the board-we aren't going to wait for anyone who isn't already there, regardless of who they are."
    [Deleted User]
  • FI speaking directly to someone who clearly is under the false impression that time is flexible is a good idea, I think.

    But going from that to putting a false time on invitations as some people do, or texting or emailing everyone, for what most people would know from experience, that is when a hostess or bride seems like a helicopter Mom to me. Or micromanager.

  • My ceremony is at 6:30, in one of the larger hotels in Vegas. Since the size of the hotel can make it more difficult to navigate, as well as the fact that there will most likely be another ceremony after mine, I am concerned about my guests arriving on time. I've read that some people change the start time of the ceremony on the invitations to 15 or 30 minutes prior to account for this, but I really don't want to do that. I am including an itinerary with my invites, which will also include directions to the ceremony and reception. Would it be acceptable to put this on the itinerary: "Ceremony to start promptly at 6:30; please plan to arrive 15 minutes early to allow for seating." 

    Alternately, I could verbally communicate this to people during our meet and greet the night before, but if some people don't attend then I won't be able to tell them. I could also just note it on my wedding website, but I have some guests who are not computer savvy and wouldn't be going online. Any advice is appreciated!
    This would be horribly rude!  Please don't do it!
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  • I like the idea of a map, and you can even put some times in the map/directions if you want. I think this is pretty common for walking directions. We had walking times included in our directions (although, just so our relatives who aren't used to the city would understand it's walkable, not because we were concerned about people being late), but it clearly could work for your purposes as well.

    For instance, we gave both driving directions to the venue, and public transportation directions, and mentioned that the venue was about a 5 minute walk from the train stop.

    You could easily include on the map that the walk from the front desk of the lobby to the location of the ceremony is about a 15 minute walk through the hotel, for instance. 
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    MandyMost said:
    I like the idea of a map, and you can even put some times in the map/directions if you want. I think this is pretty common for walking directions. We had walking times included in our directions (although, just so our relatives who aren't used to the city would understand it's walkable, not because we were concerned about people being late), but it clearly could work for your purposes as well.

    For instance, we gave both driving directions to the venue, and public transportation directions, and mentioned that the venue was about a 5 minute walk from the train stop.

    You could easily include on the map that the walk from the front desk of the lobby to the location of the ceremony is about a 15 minute walk through the hotel, for instance. 
    I think this is a great idea. You can mention at your meet and great that if people forgot their directions "here are maps but there will also be some at the hotel front desk"  and from the front desk it tacks x amount of time to reach the room. Make sure the walking time is a casual pace, not a speed walking pace. Hopefully people will plan accordingly & if they don't, their loss.
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