From a wedding guest’s perspective, many factors could lead to an early arrival time. If you are staying at the venue – especially if it is a hotel – or very nearby, it might so happen that you find yourself ready to go quickly and you wish to tour the area before other attendees show up. You may have overestimated the amount of time it would take you to travel to the venue – typically a great problem to have, as that usually means less traffic! – or even just misreading the time advertised on the invitation or wedding website.
No matter the circumstances, the professionals at luxury hotel wedding venue Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica, California (pictured above) recommends the following: “Should guests arrive early, we recommend they explore the beautiful grounds of the reception location. Whether it be lush gardens, an interesting museum, a romantic vineyard, or our location, which features breathtaking views of the sea, it is best to keep yourself occupied until the festivities start.” For this to be possible, brides and grooms should consider the policies of their venue while asking themselves a few questions: What events might be taking place before the wedding? Are there waiting areas where friends and family will feel comfortable until the venue opens up to them? What kinds of shops, views, or sources of entertainment surround the venue that you might be able to direct people toward?
We don’t recommend that the couple of honor fields a barrage of text messages or phone calls from guests who have arrived early on the day of the wedding, but a simple post on the wedding website a few days before should do the trick. Brides and grooms: If people do, unfortunately, try to contact you, hopefully a wedding party member or parent can step in as a communications liaison and relay their options to them. After you – or someone else – has made their choices known to the early birds, it’s important to refocus your attention and let attendees figure out how to handle the situation on their own.