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Etiquette

Culturally "accepted/expected" lateness to wedding ceremony - what to do?

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Re: Culturally "accepted/expected" lateness to wedding ceremony - what to do?

  • OjitosVerdesOjitosVerdes member
    250 Love Its 500 Comments Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited September 2013
    I'll take your word that this is somewhat of a cultural thing. I lived in Italy, and start times were more flexible there than they are in the very etiquette-proper area of the U.S. I grew up in. 

    But your final point is the salient one -- amongst themselves, at events they're hosting, they're welcome to start things late. But at your event, that you are hosting, they are not allowed to be late. Part of etiquette is adapting to the social norms of the society where you live -- and in America, we start weddings on time.
    Ugh - I agree - I guess I just get hung up sometimes not wanting to appear insensitive to their culture that I'm hesitant to put my foot down. 

    But the truth is, even though I included "culture" in my title, it's really irrelevant. The facts are that due to our timeline, we have to start on time, and because of the layout of the church and its location, we can't be opening and closing doors. Period. So I think I'll just have FI communicate that when he talks to everyone. You just can't be late. Period. I'll keep my fingers crossed that any past tardiness was due to the fact that there was no communicated expectation of punctuality. 

    Edited because I always it post before I'm done thinking. 
    PrettyGirlLostsimplykayla
  • natswild said:
    That's the first thing that came to my mind. Our family does it with my brother all the time, because we know that he's always going to be at least an hour late. We just don't tell him that the time we give him is different from the actual get together time. 
    We used to do that with my father - give him a 30-45 minute earlier time, and he was usually STILL late! oy...
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    PrettyGirlLost
  • This post really reminds me of my friends in Spain - they are all perfectly on time for work (and were always on time back when we were in school) but as soon as it's a social engagement you have to factor in their tardiness. As one of those people who's always 5 minutes early to everything, it would drive me crazy!

    That being said, all the weddings they've thrown in Spain have always started roughly on time (a little late, but not the standard 20 minutes to half an hour late that is their norm for other social engagements). I think this is because it's such a formal event, as opposed to an informal gathering of people.

    OP, good luck with dealing with this. I think that by taking the steps you're planning (having your FI spread the word and such) that you are dealing with it in the best possible way.
    image
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited October 2013
    Have your FI tell his mother and everyone in his family who might do this, "Sorry, but we are getting married in a venue that doesn't tolerate tardiness, regardless of cultural backgrounds.  The doors will close promptly.  Anyone who is not in the sanctuary will not be allowed in to witness the ceremony.  This means that if you want to be there, you will need to be there before the doors close.  Period.  There are no exceptions."  And stand by it.
  • My husband's family is Hispanic and some of them are late for everything.  On my wedding day, once I was in the church the main door was locked.  The family members that arrived late were able to come in the side doors though, so they weren't stuck out in the cold, and I let them all know in advance that would be the option once the ceremony started.  Part of me understands cultural differences and the other part knows that everyone who received an invitation can read and saw that our church ceremony started at 4pm.

    There's nothing wrong with giving an alternative like side doors, or if your church/ceremony space doesn't have them, lock the door once you're in, and then unlock it once you've walked up the aisle.

  • If invites haven't been printed yet I would put on there that the ceremony starts 30 minutes earlier then you plan to have it start. This way you can have a small window to allow for late comers, say 5-10 minutes, or even if there a traffic issue that delays a lot of the guests. This way you will still make it for your photos. Yes traffic delays happen even on the weekend. Several of my guests were late for my wedding because the day of our wedding the president, vice president, presidential canidate and his VP were all in our town to campaign. Well when the president goes down the freeway, the freeway gets shut down. It caused issues for my guests getting to the ceremony.

  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Erikan73 said:

    If invites haven't been printed yet I would put on there that the ceremony starts 30 minutes earlier then you plan to have it start. This way you can have a small window to allow for late comers, say 5-10 minutes, or even if there a traffic issue that delays a lot of the guests. This way you will still make it for your photos. Yes traffic delays happen even on the weekend. Several of my guests were late for my wedding because the day of our wedding the president, vice president, presidential canidate and his VP were all in our town to campaign. Well when the president goes down the freeway, the freeway gets shut down. It caused issues for my guests getting to the ceremony.

    This is rude to the guests who will actually show up on time if not earlier.  I would be pissed if I were a guest and went to a wedding where I thought that the ceremony started at 4 and I showed up at 3:45, only to find out that the ceremony started at 4:30.

    If guests are late that is their fault and the ceremony should not be held up because they can't seem to get to the location on time.  Shit happens but you shouldn't have to adjust your ceremony for a few late guests.

    HisGirlFriday13PrettyGirlLostlizybeff
  • scribe95 said:
    I guess I'm having trouble grasping that there is a culture in which being late is normal/expected. Seems like an oversimplicfication for a group of people who are rude and you are blaming an entire culture, which is ridiculous.
    Depending on where you are in the Hispanic world, lateness is actually so culturally ingrained that there have been government initiatives to combat it (Ecuador, for example, has held a National Punctuality Day before, and studies shows that so many workers arrive late to work on a frequent basis that it has had huge effects on the country's economy).

    That being said, saying that being chronically late is a part of all Hispanic culture is an oversimplification - it depends on the particular country, region, socioeconomic class, and a whole bunch of other factors. Additionally, not every person from that particular country, region, etc. etc. will be chronically late to work, social events, etc. Instead, those who do arrive on time are sometimes in the minority.
    image
    OjitosVerdes
  • This is not a cultural thing. This is a rudeness/entitlement thing, where people think they can do what they like and work only on their own time. I work in a salon near Boston, with plenty of American clients, whose files have notes that say things like "TELL HER THE APPOINTMENT TIME IS 15 MINS. PRIOR TO THE ACTUAL START TIME, SHE IS ALWAYS LATE!!" I have one client who strolled in late for her ACTUAL start time and said "I'm here! My stylist called me this morning and asked me to come in early, so I rushed right down!" Like, no..... just no. The stylist called her on purpose because she knew she'd be late. Another client once asked "Is that the actual appointment time, or are you telling me to come early? Because I don't want to come early just to wait around." We said "Yes, this is your actual appointment time." She was still 25 minutes late. Doesn't matter, people are going to do what they want.

    I repeat: this is not a cultural thing. This is a rudeness thing. Stick to your guns, OPs
    PrettyGirlLost
  • There are punctual people from every culture and chronically late/rude people in every culture.  
    Don't worry guys, I have the Wedding Police AND the Whambulance on speed dial!
    PrettyGirlLost
  • Thanks again for all the opinions/feedback, everyone! 

    I didn't bring up culture to excuse behavior at all - but to explain the dynamic. As @allispain pointed out, there are places where people do collectively and legitimately treat punctuality differently, and since my FMIL & crew self identify with one of those cultures (she explicitly told me it was a cultural thing), I'm hardly in a place to turn this into a right vs. wrong, rude vs. polite, "that's not your culture! You're just rude!"  issue with her. 

    Now that said, my ceremony being uninterrupted is a hill to die on for me, and culture really is irrelevant. In fact,the word "culture" could have been totally left out of my original post. What we plan on doing is what many of you recommended - we're letting ALL our guests know that due to the layout and location of the chapel, we will not be able to accommodate latecomers. 

    We'll have the opportunity to do this over the phone with FMIL's side when we call to see whether they are coming or not. They apparently don't RSVP either .... 

    image


    smalfrie19PrettyGirlLost
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