Dear engaged couple, And that line is from what musical???? You’ve got it, if you said, My Fair Lady. Eliza’s father sings those lines the night before his own wedding, “Just get me to the church on time.” Timing is very important in planning your wedding. Lives are so very busy that it makes good sense to really study time frames as you put together a plan for the day or days leading up to the BIG one. Your friends and family members will be grateful, even if they don’t say so.
In my years as an officiant I have done my fair share of waiting. Not that I mind too much. I enjoy meeting the bride’s and groom’s family and friends and of course, I understand. Best laid plans….Some folks, though, particularly those who are on a strict time schedule, those who have planes, or trains to catch for instance, may not be as understanding. So, here are some things to think about as you go about planning for your big day:
1) Friday afternoon DC traffic. IF people in your wedding party are coming from anywhere North, just assume they will run into traffic. Your wedding rehearsal is at 5 p.m on a Friday? Your best man and his girlfriend should NOT plan on going to work that day. I know it’s a 2 ½ hour drive from DC to Charlottesville and/or Richmond. I have driven that myself many, many times. However, my friends and associates in DC note that DC’s Friday rush hour (particularly in the summer) begins around noon. Here we could say something derogatory about government workers—and it may be the case that they are the primary culprits, but no matter—the fact is that unless your wedding party participants leave DC early, they will face heavy traffic. They can count on spending five or six hours in bumper-to-bumper traffic. That means they’ll either miss the rehearsal, or slow down the rest of your plans for the evening—if the rehearsal starts late, so does the rehearsal dinner, and so does the late night excursion at the downtown mall (in Charlottesville) or the stroll on Cary Street Road (Richmond). Think dominoes.
2) Saturday DC traffic. Usually, Saturday traffic heading south from DC is not quite so heavy, but still, it is wise to advise guests coming from that area, to allow extra driving time.
3) Vendors. At a wedding at which I officiated last week, the makeup artist arrived very late, which held up the wedding—one hour! That’s a long time for guests to sit and stand around. Although the wedding was outside, the August day was temperate and the scenery absolutely gorgeous. It could have played out far differently. Imagine guests waiting for the wedding to begin in 100+ temps—we’re talking sweating, short tempered friends and family members, wilting flower arrangements, melting ice, and spoiled food (if the reception is also outside). Musicians tell me that stringed instruments can’t take the heat either, so you could be making your walk down the aisle accompanied by a squeaky stringed quartet. I heard from a friend that his daughter’s wedding started late, so the caterers opened the bar before the wedding service. That certainly gave the guests something to do, but the caterers ran out of wine and beer before the reception even got underway! Yikes!
So make sure that your vendors, as also your guests, have directions to your wedding, and that they take account of traffic, so that they can get to the church, vineyard, ballroom, orchard or plantation home on time!
That’s it for now.
Happy wedding planning!
Your wedding preacher for hire