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What happened when a couple asked guests to attend their 5.30am wedding

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Lauren Geall
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Wedding Ceremony Idea: Is a sunrise wedding ceremony a good idea?

After a bride-to-be took to Reddit this week to ask whether she and her fiancé were wrong for scheduling such an early ceremony, the internet weighed in on the debate. 

If there’s a type of story that will be a sure-fire hit among online audiences, it’s the classic “bridezilla” trope. You know the ones we’re talking about: whether they’re asking their bridesmaids to quit their job just so they can attend their ceremony, or instructing pregnant bridesmaids to stop holding their bumps, bridezilla stories continue to grab our attention no matter how many we read.

But the latest story to consume the internet has taken that trope one step further: this time, both the bride and groom are under fire for expecting their wedding guests to attend a 5:30am ceremony.

Taking to Reddit to share her story, the criticised bride posted her side of events, and asked if the pair were really in the wrong for insisting on such an early start time.

“Every year on our anniversary, my fiancé and I wake up early to go to the beach and watch the sunrise together,” she wrote. “It’s a very special tradition, as we have both overcome a number of personal challenges during our time together, and the symbolism of watching a new day begin is deeply meaningful for us.”

Wedding Ceremony idea attracts criticism
Sunrise Weddings: “Every year on our anniversary, my fiancé and I wake up early to go to the beach and watch the sunrise together.”

She continued: “We decided we wanted to incorporate this into our wedding. Our plan is to have our ceremony on the beach and have everyone walk over to a beachfront restaurant for breakfast, bloody Marys and mimosas… after that, everyone is free for the remainder of the day.

“Our friends and family are mostly local and should all be able to travel to the beach in under an hour,” she added.

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The post then went on to explain how the time of the ceremony had been decided based on the geographic location of the beach and the date of the wedding, which is currently planned for next summer, so that there would be “plenty of light” but the sun wouldn’t be up yet.

“We’ve been getting a LOT of backlash from our families about this, who say this is way too early and we need to move the ceremony to a more ‘normal’ time of day,” she concluded. “But my fiancé and I don’t feel like we’re asking for anything that unreasonable.”

The internet, of course, had opinions – and even shared suggestions on how the couple could appease their friends and families’ concerns while also getting to enjoy their dream ceremony.

Sunrise wedding ceremony faces backlash
Sunrise Weddings: “A good solution is to have a private ceremony with you and your fiancé at 5:30, and have a second ceremony at a more reasonable time for the guests.”

“A good solution is to have a private ceremony with you and your fiancé at 5:30am, and have a second ceremony at a more reasonable time for the guests,” suggested one Reddit user. “The first one can be just the two of you reciting your vows to each other, or the two of you with a willing officiant and a handful of close friends/relatives who are willing to join. If having two ceremonies is too costly and unreasonable, then just do the first option with the two of you only, speaking private vows.”

However, not all the comments were so understanding – and stayed on the side of the couple’s friends and families by agreeing that 5:30am is an unreasonably early time.

“ESH. I wouldn’t attend this wedding, that’s a crazy time. However, it’s your wedding, so you do you. Just be aware there may be low attendance,” read one comment.

“It’s their wedding, but that doesn’t mean that they can do whatever they want without giving any thought to the guests that you asked to celebrate with you,” argued another. “[The couple] are asking that people wake up at 3am (or earlier) so that they can leave at 4:15 to arrive at 5:15. That’s a big ask.

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“And sure, most of the guests can just choose not to go. But a lot of people are going to be put in an awkward position because arriving anywhere before 5:30 is a big commitment, but they can’t back out without being judged. Especially if [the bride] has bridesmaids, since they’ll likely need to spend hours getting ready beforehand.”

The only general consensus that most of the comments reached was that the day belongs to the couple getting married and they should be able to spend that time however they want: as long as they’re okay with some friends and family members declining the invitation.

Sunrise wedding ceremony idea faces backlash
Sunrise Weddings: “You are well within your rights to have a sunrise ceremony, and your guests are well within theirs to decline to attend.”

“You deserve the wedding you want. Yours sounds beautiful,” added another user. “It is never unreasonable to host the wedding of your dreams, but it is unreasonable to expect your desired guest list to attend if the timing/location/whatever is so unusual that it would be a hardship.

“Have the wedding you want, and if it ends up being small, that’s fine. If you want a big party, make a day of it and have a second ceremony. You are well within your rights to have a sunrise ceremony, and your guests are well within theirs to decline to attend.”

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Lauren Geall

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