Real life wedding day mistakes, and how not to have them!
Header image by Kent wedding photographer Benjamin Toms
I loved this idea for a blog post about wedding day mistakes. It’s tongue-in-cheek, and the last thing we want to do is worry you! But mistakes can happen; and they often become favourite wedding stories over the years. Wedding magician Close-Up Chris asked around his wedding supplier friends and discovered some common wedding day mistakes couples really do make – and how to avoid them!
Sticking with wedding traditions even if they’re not your thing!
You don’t need cringe moments at your wedding! Don’t feel pressured to wear a tie / garter / toss your bouquet etc. if it doesn’t sit right with you. If the thought of a slow shuffle in a circle pit of camera phones makes you squirm, ditch your first dance! If not seeing each other the night before makes you nervous as hell, spend every second together in the 24 hours before you say your I do’s. Be comfortable, pick only the wedding traditions that mean something, and be you!
“Not all parts of a wedding are essential so don’t be afraid to ditch tradition if you’re not keen on certain parts of the day” – wedding photographer Terri Pashley
Inviting people you don’t know
You’ll enjoy the day more if you know everyone who’s there with you! Work on your guest list together as a couple, and when parents and families try to edge in more guests, stand strong! If your favourite auntie insists on bringing her bestie and you just can’t say no, get to know them first – pop round for tea and cakes or something!
Rushing it in the morning
Give yourselves time. If you’re having hair and makeup done, ask the experts how long it will take. And if you’re wearing a wedding dress, give yourself plenty of time to get into it and fasten all the faffy bits!
Getting ready in chaos
Tidy house, tidy mind, right? It doesn’t matter how many of you are in the room – delegate someone to stay in control of keeping everything tidy. This way you won’t lose anything, and your photos will look uncluttered! (It’s a myth that your photographer can happily ‘Photoshop out’ all the Sainsburys carrier bags in the background!)
Messing up your wedding day timings
Think your day through, and figure out what people will do for each hour of your day. You’ll need just enough time to get from place to place, without any long gaps in between – and food in all the right places!
Spending too long on group shots
Not putting anyone in charge of events!
A wedding timeline is a good start: knowing when you’ll have canapés, when the entertainment will start and when everyone should be heading in for food is crucial! But it’s super handy to have someone there to shepherd you and your guests from place to place, at the right time! This could be a wedding toastmaster if you like the traditional look, or a helpful wedding coordinator or even your celebrant. Perhaps one of your bridal party is outgoing and organised enough to take on the role!
Snoozefest drinks receptions
The afternoon wedding ‘lull’ is famously best avoided – but how? Getting your timings right will ensure any gap is filled with something fabulously fun: organised garden games and challenges, old school board games with prizes, a wedding quiz or a magician can all help to ‘plug’ a wedding lull – but the best way to avoid a lull on the afternoon of your wedding is to start proceedings later: you don’t need the event to last from 12 noon until midnight! Start at 3 or even 4!
Bringing the band on too soon
A wedding band is there to fill the dance floor and bring the party atmosphere – so you want the perfect conditions for their performance! Instead of asking your band to start before dusk, have an acoustic guitarist or a quiet Spotify playlist. Then when the band kicks in for their first set it’ll be a little darker – just enough to really feel like party time!
Not asking for suppliers’ advice
If you’re wondering anything about your wedding day, ask the experts! Never assume ‘it’ll sort itself out on the day’. Suppliers can answer all your questions about logistics – when and where and how stuff will happen, the best way to do certain things… it’s all about experience and asking for all the advice they can help you with! Giving suppliers a little flexibility is the best thing you can do. For example, trusting your florist to find the right seasonal flowers without specifying the exact blooms you need. Or trusting your band and DJ to gauge what will get your people up and dancing! It’s always best to give them a list of songs you hate, than telling them exactly what to play, even if your guests aren’t dancing!
Taking responsibility for everything
I worry when I hear people talking about ‘my wedding’. Whichever one of you is taking on more responsibility, please stop! Having just one of you being responsible for the decor, suppliers, logistics and guests is too much. Avoid wedding stress by planning together beforehand, and make sure you both know all the plans for the day. That way if something goes wrong, it’s not just on you. Wedding stress and on the day worries should never get in the way of you enjoying the day.
Wedding planner Michelle J tells how she and her team have resolved some major wedding day challenges, all in the background while the couple are happily oblivious to goings-on behind the scenes! For example, when an event hire company was struck down with Covid at the very last minute and couldn’t build a stage: “We worked swiftly to find an alternative company with just hours notice and, against the odds, made it happen… Guests began to arrive at 3.30pm. Luckily, the venue had beautiful gardens and so we worked quickly to screen off the set up which was still being finished. While not ideal, guests were unable to see the goings on and were served a pre ceremony drink while they wandered the gardens. As far as they and the couple were concerned, everything was going to plan.” – luxury and destination wedding planner Elegante by Michelle J
Leaving kids to entertain themselves
Kids at weddings are brilliantly fun and entertaining – but if you’re inviting little ones it’s important to entertain them too! A wedding creche or activity area is a fab idea, but if that’s beyond your budget try goodie bags to keep them occupied, or a dressing up corner or games for all your younger guests!
“Our tip for weddings where there are lots of children, make sure there is some form of entertainment and someone to look after so you can your guests can relax and settle into enjoying the day without running around after the little ones! Arrange an area packed with games and activities, and most importantly, someone to be in charge of them! There are companies that can do this for you, making this side of your wedding day totally stress-free.” ~ Lapstone Barn wedding venue
Forgetting to feed hangry suppliers
Now we’re not saying your suppliers will be mean if you don’t feed them. They’re professionals and will be there for you no matter what! But laying on a really decent meal for your photographer, videographer, band and any other suppliers who’ll be at your venue for more than an hour or two is the right thing to do. (And remember not to miss anyone out!)
“We can often find ourselves in the middle of nowhere, working long hours so having a hot meal provided is really appreciated. At a recent wedding, they forgot to feed the musician, whilst the photographers and myself were tucking in!” ~ Lucy the Event Artist
Mis-timed sparkler shots and smoke flares
Always read the safety info on your explosives, people! Smoke flares make beautiful pics but they get hot! Smoke and sparkler shots look amazing but make sure everyone lights theirs at the same time (esp. sparklers), knows where to wave them about and where your photographer will be. The same applies for bubbles!
Forgetting what you’re there for
Wedding mistakes happen. Cakes tumble. Flowers wilt. Guest books get forgotten. Outfits get dirty. But on the morning of your wedding you’ll wake up as singles and go to sleep as your married selves. Don’t let anything spoil that feeling of making a lifelong commitment to the best person in your world.