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Fibbing Your Start Time
Wedding Ceremony Guests
Guests await the beginning of a wedding ceremony at Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum - Chicago, Il.


Punishing The Lot For The Sins Of a Few

It was now about twenty till the start of the ceremony and I, as is my custom, was making the rounds checking to see if everything and everyone was ready for the ceremony's start. I typically spend the final minutes talking to and prepping my bride and groom.

The ceremony was to begin at four and all was ready. It was then that the bride told me that her ceremony would not be starting at four, as her invitations had stated, but rather at four-thirty. This puzzled me. Is your family late I asked? "No" she replied.."I put four on the invitations so that everyone would think the ceremony is starting earlier than it is; that way all the late comers will be here for the real start at four-thirty."

I walked over to the banquet room where 75 guests were now seated. All sat quiet, neatly dressed, with some speaking to their neighbors in hushed tones to pass the time. It was about a quarter of, and these guests who respectfully came early, some as much as a half hour early, had only another fifteen minutes to wait (or so they thought) as they passed their time listening to the DJ's house music. I stood at the doorway and looked in. Some of the guests who realized I must be the minister politely smiled at me as they sat silently waiting.

I felt sorry for them. For these guests- the ones who made a point of being on time- whether they enjoyed wedding ceremonies or not, were going to be punished for the sake of the tardy, and as you will see, for those who wanted to skip the wedding altogether. These guests had another forty five minutes of waiting ahead of them, which meant that some of them will have been in their hard steel seats for an entire hour.

When explaining to me why she would be starting her ceremony late, the bride also told me: "You see Tom, my family is never on time, it's a cultural thing." To this I responded to her "It's not a cultural thing- it's a decision." No culture is inherently late, just like no culture is inherently on time. And I've had the good pleasure to have worked for them all.

Four-thirty finally came, and the ceremony, which the bride wanted everyone to see finally began. Midway through the ceremony though, the latecomers arrived. They stood at the back of the room with surprised looks on their faces as the ceremony they wanted to avoid was going on right in front of them. And so they decided to seat themselves- in the middle of ceremony. This caused so much commotion that I stopped the ceremony to let them take their seats.

It's ironic to me that that the very people who had no interest in the ceremony, and who were trying to avoid it, delayed and interrupted the ceremony for those who did. It would seem to me that a couple should try and reward those who respectfully show up on time for a ceremony with a timely start.

Fibbing a start time is a disqualifying decision. I will not officiate for any couple who is deliberately intending to misrepresent their start time. Doing so disrespects the guests, me, and the hired professionals attending the ceremony.


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