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05 Jan 2018

Church Imposes Controversial £100 "Fine" On Late Brides

by helen@hitched

A vicar has made the controversial decision to impose a £100 "fine" on brides who turn up late for their weddings.

Canon John Corbyn got so fed up of couples turning up late for their allotted time slot that anyone arriving more than 20 minutes late for their service at the Holy Cross Church in Bearsted, Kent will be charged.

This isn't even a demand after the event; the cost is built into ceremony fees and handed back in a cheque at the end of the wedding along with the marriage certificate if the ceremony starts within 10 minutes of their slot.

In case you're wondering, Canon Corbyn has yet to actually fine any couple, despite imposing the fee at another nearby church too. But he's very prepared to lay down the law with any bride who turns up fashionably late.

You might think it's rather a tough decision but the vicar has some sound reasons that might not cross a bride's mind while she's frantically getting ready to walk down the aisle.

"I'm not calling it a fine, but if you want to hire the venue for one hour or two hours, you pay different amounts.

"The money goes to the 20 or so volunteers who give up their time to assist at a wedding, including the verger, organist, choir and bell ringers.

"These people give an hour or so out of their day - generally at a weekend - which can turn into 90 minutes or more if the ceremony runs late. It seems reasonable to me," he said.

READ MORE: Everything You Need To Know About Booking A Church Wedding Ceremony

It's a topic that many brides will feel very passionate about. As many know too well, your carefully-planned wedding day schedule can be thrown into chaos by any number of things.

Hannah Davies, Features Editor of You & Your Wedding warns that the fine could end up only adding to the worries of a bride on her big day.

"I hope this ‘fine’ isn’t imposed when couples are late due to circumstances outside their control.

"Even if a couple has planned their wedding morning running order with military precision, things can – and do – go wrong, from unexpectedly heavy traffic to last-minute issues with the bride getting into her dress.

Image: The Flower House Studio

"It’s very rare, but I’ve even heard of some weddings where the arranged transport hasn’t turned up!

"If a couple has made every effort to be on time, it seems unfair to add to their stress levels by ‘fining’ them on what should be a joyous occasion," she argued.

However, the strict rules didn't seem to be putting off brides, including Clara Hubbard, who married at Holy Cross on September 9.

She said: "I was totally okay with the ‘fine’. I understand particularly as they often have more than one wedding in a day and it would affect them as well if it all doesn’t stick to time.

"Though I was a minute or two over the ten minutes, I still got the cheque.

"My husband and l loved the service and the whole day was just great."

READ MORE: A Guide To Planning The Order Of Your Wedding Ceremony

Wedding expert Caroline Bradley of Sorella + Co also agrees in theory with the vicar's plan, although thinks a fine might be a little heavy-handed.

"I can fully appreciate the frustrations this vicar in Kent is experiencing but I still can't quite believe the lengths he has gone too to ensure the brides arrive on time. 

This vicar is notorious for his strict rules and in 2003 he also banned strapless wedding dresses which I think may be a step too far! 

"This vicar is notorious for his strict rules and in 2003 he also banned strapless wedding dresses - which I think may be a step too far!" she said.

Clearly Canon Corbyn doesn't mind a controversial rule, but what do you think?

Should couples be fined for being late? Let us know in the comments!





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Published 5 Jan 2018 11:16 by helen@hitched
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