How to avoid being late

Some people are always late. You know who you are. I am not one of those people so I find it hard to understand. Having said that, it is easier to […]

Some people are always late. You know who you are. I am not one of those people so I find it hard to understand. Having said that, it is easier to see how this happens at weddings. Even the most punctual brides can be late to the church or the ceremony and usually the reasons are easy to see.

Hair and make-up

If you are doing this yourself or getting your friends to do it (don’t, by the way) this will take much longer than you think it will. You won’t get it right the first time and will become more and more flustered as time ticks on. The easy way around this is to get a pro to do it all for you. Having said that, I have worked with hair and make-up artists who have got their timings all wrong or who have been forced to take longer for reasons beyond their control. Give yourselves plenty of time to have your hair and make-up done.


You need to eat something or a) you’ll faint or b) get so pissed at the reception it will be embarrassing or c) both. Just don’t let the eating get in the way of your hair and make-up artists and everyone else doing their jobs. If you are getting ready at home then mum will almost certainly plan to feed everyone at some point. If you are in a hotel, get some room service.

The Dress

The Dress is, without doubt, the most common reason for being late to get married. Here’s why…

  • “I don’t want to put my dress on too early” or “I’m going to put my dress on at the last minute”. I can understand that you don’t want to stand around in your dress for an hour but leaving it until the very last minute is a recipe for disaster. Aim TO BE READY TO GO half an hour before you need to. Pretend you are getting married half an hour before you are and tell your hair and make-up artist(s) this too.
  • Doing the dress up isn’t easy. Obviously it depends on what sort of dress you have. If you just have a zip then no problem. If your dress requires any sort of buttoning or lacing then it will take time to do (and probably re-do). It ususally goes something like this. You go to the dress shop/designer for your final fitting and the lady shows your mum how to do the lacing at the back or how to do the buttons. It looks pretty straightforward. The dress lady has done it thousands of times before but how hard can buttoning and/or lacing be?  Your mum even tries it in the shop and everything seems fine. Now the big day is here and the moment to put the dress on has arrived. But mum is all fingers and thumbs because you’re running a bit behind schedule, she hasn’t even had a chance to do her make-up yet and just where the hell is your dad? Probably hiding somewhere doing his bloody speech – again!  Try lacing or buttoning a dress under these conditions and it will take at least twice as long as the lady in the shop suggests. The worst thing about it is that the bride just has to stand there while mum and all the bridesmaids get involved round the back. She is the only one who can’t ‘help’ with the dress and the one is is most likely to have heightened stress levels. This is often easily avoidable if you…
    • Give yourselves plenty of time. Double the amount of time you think it will take. I cannot stress how important this is.
    • Clear the room. Many hands can make much stress. Allocate the buttoning and/or lacing to the person most able to operate under potentially stressful circumstances or to someone who has done it before. Bear in mind that this person will probably have to come to your final dress fitting with you.
    • Everyone needs to stay calm. Don’t get cross and all Bridezilla with your mum if she’s getting it wrong. She’s doing her best.
    • Whilst it is important that you look your best, perfection is not attainable. Be realistic and ensure that others are too. This is often an issue if your dress needs lacing. The lacers often feel the need to ensure that the laces are absolutely perfectly done like the lady in the shop did. I completely understand that the laces need to be flat etc but there will come a point where the lacer just needs to tie the bow and walk away from the dress. Any guest who says “It was a lovely wedding but I couldn’t believe that the laces on her dress weren’t PERFECT” needs to get a life. Just a boy’s opinion? Fair enough but I see this stress all the time.

If you are ready to go half an hour before your supposed to, all you can do is swan about having a glass of champagne whilst everyone else fusses about. Result!  The best case is where everyone is ready half an hour before you need to go (good skills Esther and team!). Crack a bottle and enjoy this moment together with your parents and bridesmaids. It’s a great way to calm the nerves but also to get used to wearing and moving about in your dress. You get a chance to ‘breathe into it’ and if you are getting married in a church you can practice kneeling becasue you are going to have to in about an hour’s time!

The Car

You car will never be on time. It will either be early or late. I have seen the early arrival of the car cause absolute panic as everyone checks their watches. Don’t panic – they are just doing their job properly. You can’t fault your driver for arriving early but you can if they arrive late. I have to say that it is rare, in my experience, for reputable wedding car companies to be late for the collection of the bride. What is more common is for some to not know where they are going or for the car to break down en route.

  • First of all, make sure the driver is furnished with all the info he/she needs to get you to the church/venue. At the risk of teaching them how to suck eggs at least you will have peace of mind if you have given them directions, address and postcode!
  • Secondly, if you have an old (classic!) car there is probably a greater chance it will break down. Whatsmore, the further you have to go the greater the chance of a breakdown there is. Again, this is rare but it is worth making sure your dad has a cab number on his phone. (You won’t need your phone!!).

No one ever means to be late, well, not that late. Sometime you will be late even when you have done everything you can to avoid it. It’s not the end of the world so don’t panic. Everything will be ok. You will get to the church/venue and you will get married.

Unless you are REALLY late and everyone has already gone to the reception without you and drunk most of the champagne. (No, that’s never happened before!)