… for starting the ceremony on time?
- The musician?
- The DJ?
- The florist?
- The officiant?
- The wedding coordinator?
- The wedding planner?
- The photographer?
- The event rental company?
- The security?
- The couple?
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?
Maybe it’s a double standard.