Hi all - I have a situation that I'm sure someone here will have a great solution to.
FI's mom's side of the family comes from a culture in which no one attends anything (social) on time. Lateness is accepted, and even expected at family events. Her family makes up a good chunk of our guest list. (40% maybe?)
The chapel we are getting married in is a Spanish colonial style replica, and doesn't have the separate foyer that modern churches do - except for the two emergency exits at the very front of the church, two large, heavy wooden doors at the back are the only entrance and exit.
Because of this, the on-site events coordinator is adamant that once I'm in the church, those doors will be closed behind me and won't be opened again until the ceremony is over. She plans on being there to police this. The doors are a PITA to get open, and let a huge amount of light into the chapel, which is rather dark inside. She is concerned, rightly so, that any opening and closing of the doors will be a terrible distraction. She thinks we need to have a refreshment table outside for any guests that arrive late, so they can kill the 20 minutes or so that our ceremony will take.
FI's mom is not happy about this - she has expressed that her family will be late, and should be allowed in regardless.
FI and I kinda agree with the coordinator. While somewhat brief, our ceremony has been painstakingly crafted by the two of us and we don't want anything to detract from it. The solution that he's posed to his mom is to call everyone on her side, and let them know because of timing issues (we'll be racing the sunset for pics - delaying the ceremony any more than about 10 minutes won't be possible), they need to be there on time. And then it's up to them to decide how to handle that info.
FI's mom didn't like that idea either, and thinks people will be late anyway.
WWED? (What would etiquette do?) - allow the coordinator to keep those doors shut? Our ceremony won't be disturbed, but people may miss out? Our let people slip in and out, possibly disruptively so? And do you agree that there is nothing we can do beyond phone calls to communicate to people that promptness is important?
A while ago FI tried to convince me to print two sets of invites - one with a 30 min. earlier start time. At the time, I thought he was joking and said absolutely not- we didn't need to treat our guests like children. The very real possibility of half our guest list being late wasn't communicated to me until a couple days ago. And it's apparently very real. Knowing what I know now, I might have taken him up on that idea ...
Edited for clarity.