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bride in a wedding dress holds up a mechanical clock and looks shocked because her groom is making excuses for being late to a wedding

19 Worthwhile Excuses for Being Late to a Wedding

Weddings are one of the most significant events in anyone’s life, and punctuality is essential. However, sometimes things can go wrong, and you might find yourself running late. Whether you’re the bride, groom, or a guest, showing up late to a wedding is a big no-no. It can create unnecessary stress and anxiety for everyone, not to mention disappointment and frustration. It’s not like making excuses for being late for work; this is a much worse time to be tardy, so in order to avoid ruining your special day, here are some excuses for being late to a wedding that just might save the day, along with tips on how to handle them gracefully.

Our Top 5 favorite excuses for being late to a wedding

When you’re in a pinch because you find yourself late to a wedding, you might need one of the following magical excuses to save your bacon and your friendship/relationship.

1. You got stuck in traffic 

It’s a classic excuse, but traffic can be a genuine reason for being late to a wedding. Whether it’s a car accident, construction work, or heavy traffic, it’s important to allow extra time for travel. To avoid getting stuck in traffic, try using a GPS app to check for alternative routes or leave earlier than planned to be on the safe side.

2. You had car trouble

Cars can break down at the worst possible time, and a wedding day is no exception. A flat tire, dead battery, or mechanical issue can cause a delay, but staying calm and calling for assistance is essential. Consider carrying a spare tire, jumper cables, or a roadside assistance plan to help in case of car problems.

3. You plain old overslept

couple still in bed totally shocked because they overslept and are now late for a wedding reception

It’s easy to hit the snooze button and oversleep, especially after a late night of wedding celebrations. However, oversleeping can cause a significant delay, so it’s crucial to set multiple alarms or have someone else help wake you up on time.

4. Bad weather made you late

Inclement weather, such as heavy rain, snow, or a hurricane, can cause unexpected delays and cancellations. If you’re traveling during bad weather, you must check the weather forecast and plan accordingly.

5. You forgot the wedding gift

Forgetting something important, such as the wedding gift or the wedding rings, can cause a significant delay. Making a checklist and double-checking everything before leaving for the wedding is essential to avoid this kind of delay.

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Excuses for Being Late to Your Own Wedding

What a real piece of work you are, running late to your own wedding.  Guess it’s just like your old boss/teacher/parents said,  “That boy/girl will be late for their own wedding.”  Well, the prophecy is being fulfilled, which means you’ll need a handy excuse for why you’re running late to your own wedding.

6. Your hair and makeup took longer than expected

It’s no secret that hair and makeup can take longer than expected, and this can cause a significant delay on your wedding day. To avoid this, it’s important to schedule plenty of time for hair and makeup and have a backup plan in case of any delays. Consider having a trial run before the wedding day to get an idea of how long it will take.

7. You experienced a wardrobe malfunction

bride looks dismayed with her wedding dress because she now needs an excuse for being late to a wedding because she had a wardrobe malfunction

A clothing issue like a ripped dress or broken zipper can cause a significant delay. It’s a good idea to have a backup outfit or accessories on hand in case of a wardrobe malfunction. Consider doing a dress rehearsal before the wedding day to ensure everything fits properly.

8. You had a family emergency

A family emergency, such as a sudden illness or injury, can cause a significant delay on your wedding day. It’s important to prioritize family emergencies and communicate with the wedding party as soon as possible to avoid confusion. Consider having a backup plan in case of a family emergency, such as rescheduling the wedding or having a small ceremony with your immediate family.

9. Your stomach turned on you

Your wedding day will surely come with its fair share of nerves and anxiety, which could also mean extra time spent on the toilet.  We’ve likely all been there, the “pre-event” shits that cause us to be late when we really tried to be on time.

Excuses for being late to a wedding reception

It’s not just being late to a wedding that will get you chewed out by the bride and groom or your significant other and their family.  A wedding reception also requires punctuality, so if you’re running behind, you’d better think quickly and devise an excuse for being late to a wedding reception.  Otherwise, you might need to learn how to mitigate a wedding day disaster.

10. You got lost on the way

If you’re traveling to a wedding in an unfamiliar area, getting lost can happen. It’s important to plan your route ahead of time and use a GPS app to avoid getting lost. Call for assistance and try to stay calm if you do get lost.

11. You got your signals crossed with the wedding party

a wedding planner makes last minute arrangements before the reception

Miscommunication with the wedding party, such as not knowing the exact location or time of the ceremony, can cause a significant delay. It’s important to clarify all the details with the wedding party before the wedding day to avoid this type of misunderstanding.

12. Public transportation screwed you

If you rely on public transportation to get to the wedding, delays can happen (in fact, they’re bound to happen). Trains or buses might be late, or there might be cancellations or reroutes. It’s vital to plan your route ahead of time and leave earlier than necessary to account for any unexpected delays, or you know, just pay for a cab, you cheapskate!

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More reasons for being late to a wedding

13. Your flight was delayed

If you’re traveling by air to attend the wedding, flight delays can happen due to weather or mechanical issues. To avoid getting stuck at the airport, make sure to plan your travel itinerary carefully and leave room in your arrival time for unexpected delays.

14. You had an emergency work commitment

Work emergencies can arise unexpectedly and cause significant issues when it comes to being somewhere on time. Hopefully, you communicated with your employer a long time ago about needing the time off, and about the importance of you not being late, but if it’s actually an emergency and you’re the only person for the job, then you might just have to show up halfway through the ceremony.

15. The babysitter cancelled

An oldie but a goodie – and it works every time.  If you have children, childcare issues can arise unexpectedly and cause significant delays on your wedding day. It’s important to have a backup plan in place, such as a trusted friend or family member who can step in to help.

16. Passport or visa issues

If you’re attending a destination wedding or traveling internationally, passport or visa issues can cause significant delays. It’s important to plan your travel itinerary carefully and make sure you have all the necessary documentation before leaving.

17. You got stuck waiting for a rental car

man in a suit sits on the curb with his head on his hands because he cant get a rental car to make it to the wedding on time

If you’re renting a car to attend the wedding, car rental issues can arise unexpectedly and cause annoying delays. It’s important to have a backup plan in place, such as renting from a different company or using a ride-sharing service like Uber or Lyft.

18. Unforeseen circumstances (an act of God)

If it’s good enough for freight insurance, it’s good enough for when you arrive late to your friend’s wedding.  Unforeseen circumstances, such as a natural disaster or a power outage, can cause significant delays on your wedding day.

19. You ran into an issue with your personal grooming

Personal grooming issues, such as a broken nail or a missing earring, can make you late, even if most people would scoff at that excuse.  We think you’d better come up with something else, but just in case, you could try this excuse in a pinch.

In conclusion

As we all know, being late to a wedding is never ideal, and it’s better to do everything you can to be on time, but if you do run late, then it’s important to know how to handle it gracefully. Whether you’re attending a wedding as a guest or you’re the bride or groom, using the right excuse can make all the difference. So, take note of these top excuses for being late to a wedding and tips on handling them easily and confidently.

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