My Final Words To You

Professional Services

I am a Chicago Wedding Officiant
How to Obtain Your Marriage License

Your Wedding Ceremony
Elopement Ceremonies in Chicago
Chicago Justice of the Peace

Pricing and Fees

Contact Me (by email)

(708) 490-8860

See My Weddings

See the Images of My
Wedding Ceremonies

All About My Services

About Thomas Witham
How My Ceremonies Are Different
The Couples I Work For
Wedding Venues Where I've Performed
Religious & Philosophical Expression
Your Greatest Advocate
Letters of Appreciation
For Those Previously Married

Designing Your Ceremony

Facing Your Guests (Modern Format)
Backs Turned (Traditional Format)
Examples of Wedding Vows
Effective Seating
Aisle Runner or Petals
Children in Wedding Ceremonies
The Escorting of a Bride
Taking Parental Vows
The Use of Music
Using a Pedestal
Using a Wedding Carriage
A New Role For Grandparents
Wedding Ceremony Readings
In Memoriam

Ceremonies in Special Places
Ceremonies in Theme
Taking Your Ceremony to Others
Staying in Character
What Name Should I Use?
What if it Rains?
Fibbing Your Start Time
Ceremonies in Candlelight
The Reception Line

The Order of Events

Primary Options:
Read this First
The Unity Candle
Champagne Sharing
The Sand Ceremony
The Blessing Tree
Tying the Knot
Tasting the Elements
Using a Photomontage
The Giving of Roses

Options In Finale:
Butterfly Release
Dove Release
Balloon Release
Tossing Petals
Bubbles in a Wedding Ceremony
Applause Walk

The Five Rules:
Rule One
Rule Two
Rule Three
Rule Four
Rule Five

Advice on Photography
Advice on Wedding Coordinators
Death by Venue
An Invitation To Journalists

Resources and Links

For Those Considering Plagiarism

Home Page

Site Map


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.

Copyright Statement