I’ve had couples in the past ask if they could have a ceremony start at the 1/4 hour or 3/4 hour rather than the hour or 1/2 hour. And some have asked if they could start at the 5 minutes past the hour time because they wanted a few more minutes to makes sure everything ran smoothly.
Why does 15 minutes makes a difference in the start time? Start time in the contract is defined as follows:
“Start Time of Wedding” is defined as the time the minister and wedding party are all “in place and up front” including the couple.
There’s already a 12 minute built in window of time in the contract to make sure everyone is down the aisle.
If the wedding and/or rehearsal hasn’t started 12 minutes after the contractual start time, the wedding officiant reserves the right to cancel this agreement, without any recourse. It is very unfortunate that I have to have this section added, yet some recent weddings/rehearsals have started nearly an hour late.
Couples who don’t have ceremonies start on the hour or half hour take up two wedding time slots.
For example: If you put down 6:15pm on the contract, you contractually have till 6:27 to have me start the “dearly beloved, etc.) portion. Worse case scenario is that it ends 15-20 minutes later, say at 6:45pm. That will make me late to a 7pm wedding. Therefore your ceremony could potentially take up two wedding times, hence the additional fee. That is the reason for the time having to start on the hour or half-hour. I have to do worse case scenarios 😦
Unfortunately, as much as I love doing weddings, I still have to support my family and with this economy every dollar counts. I’ve struggled with this over the years and still do struggle with it. My contract has evolved over the years. At first, I never addressed people starting late. Then it used to say that for every minute the ceremony starts late there is a $25 fee which had to be paid prior to me signing the license. However, I could never get anyone to pay that. So instead, I replaced that with the 12 minute window of start time.
This is probably way to much information to you, and I apologize. I just wanted you to know the reasons for the $200 fee.
Last week I cut firewood left over from Hurricane Matthew (Oct.2016). This week I’m burning it in the fireplace to help keep my home warm, plus it looks nice!
Sometimes I have to do projects around the house: paint; dig a trench; mow the lawn, paint (intentionally twice cause I seem to paint a lot!); clean; handyman; and typical home owner duties.
I’m an Uber and Lyft driver just for fun. But not sure it’s fun when people leave my car dirty 😦
Three to four times a week (on the average) the local Y sees me working out doing TRX, circuit training, and sometimes yoga.
I do Short Term Vacation Rental out of the carriage house on the back of my property. Its a daily laundry and cleaning duty.
And I’m a pastor of a small Lutheran Church about 10 minutes from downtown Savannah. In 1994 I started there and soon will be celebrating my 25th anniversary. Doesn’t seem possible that I’ve been there that long, until I look at pictures of me from when I first arrived there and see that I have dark hair 😦
Recently a bride was extremely upset with me because five minutes after the ceremony was to start, while the photographer was still taking photos of the couple, and none of the 10 people in the bridal party were lined up, with no professional wedding coordinator, and after finding the couple on the opposite side of the venue, and telling her she looked lovely and that it was nice to finally meet her, I had the audacity to say to her the wedding needed to start.
She didn’t appear to be upset at the time. It was only after I received notice of a review from her that I knew she was upset with me.
Who is accountable for starting the ceremony at the agreed upon start time? That is now a question on my contract which every couple needs to answer with the name and phone number of the person accountable for making sure it starts on time.
My contract is because of bad experiences I’ve had in the past. Everything in my contract is from bad/awkward experiences with couples. I haven’t updated it in a while, in fact the last time was 18 months ago; it states the couple needs to have the ceremony choice, and any changes to it to me at least 7 days prior to the wedding or I get to use the Simple Ceremony from my site.
The reason being is that 10 minutes before the ceremony started in January of 2016 a bride sent me the email with her custom ceremony. It didn’t flow well, I didn’t have time to edit it, or even had time time to properly read it. All because of this one bad experience, I changed my contract again.
Today I’ve changed my contract because of another unpleasant experience. Not only unpleasant, but the couple gave me a 3 out of 5 star review. In her review she even stated I “did a good job on the short ceremony” but that I was rude to her prior to the ceremony. Her review number was based only on my alleged “rudeness” to her.
In the review just prior to this 3 star, the bride raved about my attention to detail and my professionalism.
*Please note what I didn’t add to my response to this bride was the following, because I was limited on character count. But I thought the reader needs to know this:
•The bride was slow to respond to me. She normally took 2-4 days to answer any of my emails, while I responded to her emails the same day;
•Since the couple didn’t hire me for the rehearsal, she wanted to meet me the Monday morning at 9 am prior to her Friday wedding. They lived around the corner from downtown coffee shop. They weren’t there at 9 am. At 9:10ish the groom finally came in. The bride never did show for our meeting. The groom was there for about 15 minutes.
Below was the response to her:
I’m glad that Ms. Chelsee D. wrote this review. It reminds me that what some people call rude other people call it paying attention to details and being professional.
According to the contract Ms. Chelsee D. signed, the ceremony was to start at 5pm using a short ceremony dialogue.
Since the couple chose not to hire a professional wedding coordinator, they had the venue’s Event Planner, whom was also the DJ taking that extra role, so it wasn’t necessarily an issue if the ceremony started on time or not because he was getting paid to be there during the entire event.
At 5:05 pm I asked someone where the bride was and then I walked to the other side of the venue where the photographer was still photographing the couple. A professional photographer should have paid attention to details and made sure that her job didn’t cause the ceremony to start late and for the guests to wait unnecessarily in the heat.
It was a hot and humid day, and the bride needed to touch up her makeup before the ceremony began, which she did after a few more photos by the photographer. The photographer was hired for hours, so it did not matter to her what time the ceremony started.
Unfortunately, as much as I would love to be able to delay the start of a ceremony as needed, it does matter to me that the ceremony start on time, which is why I have in my contract where I clearly state that if the ceremony hasn’t started with “Dearly beloved…” or something similar by the time agreed on the contract, that I can cancel the agreement at 12 minutes past the agreed upon start time. Every couple has to agree to that when they sign my contract, and no one has ever crossed it off.
The reason I can’t delay the start of a ceremony is because it would not be fair to the couple and guests of my next wedding that I am late to their wedding because the wedding prior started late; I am sure Ms. Chelsee D wouldn’t have been happy with me if I had showed up late to her wedding.
In the conversation with the bride, after telling her how beautiful she looked and that it was nice to finally meet her, I believe I said, “Unfortunately, I am the only vendor not hired by the hour. So we will need to start the ceremony.” That is the coordinator’s job, not mine to start to get people lined up and start the processional. It’s not my job to even approach the couple about starting. Would you ask the musicians to line people up? How about the photographer?
There were about 10 people in the wedding party. I didn’t notice anyone lined up and ready to walk down the aisle when I spoke to the bride at 5:05pm.
I find it very unfair and in poor taste that Ms. Chelsee D. chose to use pejorative words to describe my professionalism and work ethics, and giving me a 3 star review.
After over 6000 weddings I have successfully performed throughout the years, I have learned that it is of ultimate importance for weddings to start on time, for many reasons, otherwise why have a contract?
I have married over 12,000 people and they have agreed to the 12 minute clause. If a couple cannot agree to it, then it would be best if they have a different officiant as I don’t want the next couple waiting on me and then give me a bad review because I showed up late. I’m sure Ms. Chelsee D. wouldn’t have wanted me to show up late to her ceremony because the previous bride was still taking pictures with her photographer.
I’ve worked with hundreds of photographers over the years and most of them have a timeline to which they stick. Many are down to the minute. However with this photographer I never saw a timeline.
It would be easy to blame the unprofessional photographer for not being a detailed person. But I won’t. I stand by my contract and reasons behind it.
If given me a 3 star review is because of the photographer’s lack of professionalism, I can handle that.
Lastly, the bride is a nurse. I would hope she pays attention to details when given patients medications and treatments.
Why is it when I pay attention to details I’m called rude, but when she pays attention to details she isn’t rude as she is helping keep a patient alive?