Three big mistakes couples make on their wedding day

November 20, 2019

Being a Canberra Wedding Photographer, I’ve seen my fair share of moments, but also mistakes that couples far too often can make.

I’m going to tell you about three of the most common and biggest mistakes that couples make when it comes to wedding planning.

The couples shown in this post are all awesome and all followed the below!

Big mistake 1: Having the ceremony too early

An early ceremony may be one of the most frequent problems I see at so many weddings.

It’s summer, and you want a great summer wedding down on the beach. It’s tempting to think that you want that beautiful mid-day celebration to kick-off so that the rest of the day can be filled with cheer. However, there are quite a few problems with having your wedding anywhere near midday:

  1. You’re going to cook your guests alive – people love to dress up for your wedding, which can mean the suits come out and the thick dresses as well. You will make your guests uncomfortable if you have a ceremony at 2 pm in that summer heat.
  2. You’re going to sweat like mad and smear your makeup – there is only so much magic that makeup artists and hair stylists can do. Sweat will appear, and it will show up in the final images.
  3. ‘Harsh light’ is a real thing, and it is unflattering AF – go and grab a lamp. Now stand underneath it and look into the mirror. That is what you look like when you have mid-day sun above your head. It creates a very sharp contrast over the whole land, and your face, resulting in some intense shadows which are not flattering.
  4. You’re going to most likely forget to splash some sun lotion on and burn – while any other day you could blow it off as a ‘crikey, look what I did!’ moment. Still, on your wedding day, I can promise you that any red burns will show up. Your photographer (hey, that’s me!) will not be able to spend 50 hours, unfortunately, photoshopping out the redness from the sun from your shoulders.

The solution

Instead of having a mid-day ceremony, don’t be afraid to have a later ceremony. In terms of timing, your photographer should be able to help you out with the specific timing. Still, as a good rule of thumb, you should have the ceremony around 3-4 hours before the sun sets.


Here’s an example Canberra Wedding Photographer timeline, with the sun setting at 8 pm:

4.00pm – Ceremony
4.30 pm – Ceremony concludes – Family photos start
4.45 pm – Family photos finished – Couples and bridal party photos start
6.00 pm – Couples and bridal party photos finish
6.15 pm – Bridal party enter reception
7.30 pm – Couples sunset photos start
8.15 pm – Couples sunset photos finish

Do you see how easy that flows? And your guests won’t be roasting like chickens either. This means you’ll still have plenty of time for partying as well.

Big mistake 2: Getting ready places aren’t great

A small detail that is frequently overlooked but one which can make the biggest of differences when it comes to capturing your day.

There are three big mistakes that I see people fall into for weddings here:

  1. Having a getting ready location that is an hour away from the central ceremony location – for an elopement, this is pretty standard fare, especially on a hiking elopement. Still, for a wedding, this can be a bit of a time-waster for you. Talking from a photography point of view, that may mean that I’d have to spend an hour driving to get to the ceremony location after capturing you.
  2. Having a cluttered room which is full of a mess – it’s easy to make a mess on your wedding day. Hell, you should see my room sometimes, I’m a classic messy man. However, when it comes to your wedding day, having a tidy space to get ready in means the world of difference when it comes to your getting ready images. Nobody wants to see your panties or briefs littered around the place when it comes to your badass getting ready images. They can be distracting at the very least, so make sure that when you are getting ready, you have a clutter-free room.
  3. Getting ready in a small hotel room, or one with little personality – don’t get me wrong, your wedding day is all about you. However, having a little bit of flair to your wedding day is what I’m sure you’re going to enjoy. I always recommend that you choose somewhere, which looks absolutely awesome. I’m talking about that awesome hotel room you once stayed in with the huge living room and the big windows with lots of natural light — not mum’s spare room which is cluttered with old towels.

The solution

When it comes to finding places to get ready, your best friend is AirBNB. I do encourage my couples to find excellent and unusual places to get ready in and stay for their night. Give that ‘standard hotel penthouse’ room a miss, and go for something a bit more special and unique! AirBNB is full of beautiful places, and they are surprisingly affordable!

Big mistake 3: Missing out on sunset photos

You’re going to be drawn to a wedding photographer’s work because of what you’ve seen from them. No doubt part of their work will have those elusive and ever-popular sunset images in them, right?

Of course, they will, and for a good reason. The colours and light at sunset are like nothing else and can create the most intense and dramatic portraits out there.

However, far too often, I see couples who don’t include sunset photos as part of their initial timeline. I’ve spoken to couples who had their wedding and revealed their disappointment when the importance of sunset images wasn’t even highlighted to them.

This is frequently missed off of the list because sunset sessions will usually happen when the party is in full swing in the evening. There’s nothing wrong with a good party at all. Still, I love to show my couples why taking a 30-minute break from the festivities will get them most likely some of their favourite images from the day. These images end up being the front and centre of the wedding album, and on the wall.

Living in Canberra, the sunsets we get here are insane, and being a Canberra Wedding Photographer means working with our gorgeous sunsets is so important!

The solution

Talk to your photographer and ascertain when the sunset will be, and what times would be best to allocate for sunset photos. You have to accept that you’ll be leaving your mates for a short time, but in return, you’re going to get some bomb images of yourselves.

Now the critical caveat to mention with this is that the sunset may not be as intense as other days on your wedding day. Like with rain, it’s impossible to predict months and months in advance what a day will be like. So equally please don’t be too disappointed if the cloud cover is a bit much and you won’t get super intense rays. Either way, you’ll have another mini-portrait session when you can kick back and have a great time!

If you found this list helpful, and are looking for more advice with your wedding, let’s have a chat today and I’ll see how I can help you! I love being a Canberra Wedding Photographer and love to help however I can.

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