10 Big Wedding Mistakes You Don’t Want To Make!


steve mcmarson


My name is Steve McMarson. I have been photographing weddings and producing creative wedding photos for 15 years. Wedding Mistakes come in all shapes and sizes.  Here are 10 Big Wedding Mistakes that I regularly see.





When you are thinking about hairstyles for your special day, consider how you will look during the ceremony from your guest’s point of view.

Hair styles that falls across the bride’s right cheek will usually mean that guests don’t get to see  facial expressions during the ceremony. This means that your smiles, tears and the general love in your eyes are invisible to parents and friends who have travelled to see you married.


Have a makeup trial and take someone with you who will give you an honest opinion. Most makeup artists love to have a few reference images to work from, so take some clippings along to share with them. This will make the process of nailing down your look a little less like a game of Marco Polo.

If you are not the type of person that usually wears makeup, build in a few opportunities to wear makeup before the wedding day. If you feel uncomfortable, chances are you will look it! So trial and play away before the wedding day!

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Before walking into a bridal gown store and falling in love with the ‘wedding dress of your dreams’, stop and think about the entire wedding day experience.



– the physical environment.

Not all dresses suit all environments. It may look a little odd if your venue has a country feel and you are wearing a gown better suited for an inner-city ball. This mismatch of styling will be particularly evident in your wedding photos, so consider all aspects of your styling and venue when picking your dress.


– the cut and design of your gown.

It is one thing to try on a gown in a store and parade around for half and hour and another to wear it for 10 hours. The things that you might love about it when wearing it for 30 minutes may well be the things that make you excited to get it off as soon as possible on the wedding day!!

– the fall and length of the dress and train.

Inevitably that dress that you take paranoid care of leading up to the day will get marks during the wedding celebration.

If it has been raining for a couple of days before your wedding and the ground is really wet, how will your dress look after the bridal party images, where you might be doing a lot of walking?

– toilet stops.

Have you given thought to going to the toilet in your dress and the size of the toilet at your venue? Having attendants willing to help you perform your toileting functions is great, but if you can’t all fit into a small space, how will you … umm ..go?

– dress for the climate.

If you are getting married in the warmer months in South-East Queensland, consider a light weight fabric and possibly even a shorter length wedding dress.

Similarly – if you are wearing exposed shoulders and open backs in a cooler environment you might need to consider a shawl or wrap of some sort.


Every person that hugs you will pretty much tug on your veil. Depending on its placement and weight this can really start to get annoying, possibly even a little painful.

– the party factor.

Does your dress let you dance and enjoy reception activities? An idea growing in popularity is to have a second more practical dress for the reception so that you can party to full potential!




I don’t care how great your taste in music is and how awesome you are at building playlists, most receptions that have DIY music die an ugly death.

Guests tend to take over the music when they have a sniff of being able to get access to the music. Consequently, you will have music that randomly chops and changes half way through a song (even if people are really liking it).

Worse still, a dominate personality decides they are DJ Wedlicious and your carefully constructed playlist is replaced with the songs that they like, even if it is that weird Icelandic rap that sounds like whale calls.

Professional DJ’s know how to read a room and get the party started. Better still they keep it pumping until the very end. Most Dj’s offer an MC service as well which is worth considering.



Themed weddings can be nothing short of amazing spectacles. Unfortunately, they can also be one step away from being a debacle if you are not committing to it properly.

If you are having a theme, let your guests know on their invitation and get them in on creating a unique atmosphere. Coordinating some small aspect of what they wear will add an extra little bit of buzz to the gathering.

Themes don’t have to be elaborate and can be as simple as colour to tie it all together.




I will say this only once. Plan. Plan good. But then let go. Don’t stress if/when events don’t run true to your vision.

Almost all weddings get a little pear-shaped at some point. Keep focussed on what your wedding day is really about and be flexible and practical if adjustments need to be made.

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Consider the shape and size of your tables and the space available. As a photographer it is super difficult to work tables that have chairs backed up almost against each other. Add to the equation waiting staff and it becomes trench warfare.

Most clients really love to see the many candid images captured of their family and friends at the reception. So if you would like pictures of couples together, seat them together, in a side-by-side arrangement. Visualise the difficulties of getting table shots of couples who are seated mid table if they are opposite each other!


Photography is an Art but fundamental to it is the science of light!

For this reason, give thought to where you will be during the different times of the day. For instance, if you are getting married outdoors, check that the sunlight is not beating down on you face, making you squint excessively. Tears of joy are great. Eyes watering from glare is quite another thing all together!

During the reception there will be times that you need to consider lighting of a different type. If your DJ intends on using those horrid pin style laser lights for the dance floor, have them turned off for your first dance. A white dress with green and red laser dots is never a good look! Instead opt for a gentle wash of colour.




There is a temptation to fit in every photo location within Coo-ee’s distance of the venue. Slow down!! Opt for quality over quantity.

Time is everything on your wedding day. Finding the balance for bridal party photos that don’t leave guests hanging for hours on end is important.

Another time related consideration is having a large bridal party. If you want to go off-location, perhaps take bridal party photos at the venue and leave the bridal party behind. Loading and unloading people into vehicles takes time that might be best spent mixing with guests and having a great time.

Another thing I sometimes see is a large wedding party in a small venue. Before inviting your 20-favourite people to be part of your bridal entourage make sure they can fit into the space!




Despite best intentions, getting ready rooms tend to look like they have been attacked by a laundry basket bomb.

If possible, keep a clutter free bubble around the immediate getting ready space. Have a nominated messy area where all the miscellaneous items get stowed.




This one is a little contentious. We love our friends and family – but sometimes they can be proper pains!! Everyone will have an opinion on what is the best way to go about organising your wedding. Overhelpful friends and family members can add all kinds of angst and anxiety to organising our wedding day. Particularly if the two families have strong and very different ideas! Communicate early on that their advice is valued – but you and your partner will be making the final decision based on what best suits your personalities.

From those people who need to tell you why you should do it the same way they did it (because their wedding was the most amazing celebration in the history of celebrations) through to the parental types who feel that because they have contributed financially that they get an automatic voice on every decision that is to be made – it is important to remember that it is YOUR WEDDING DAY!

All of these ‘helpful’ voices should be listened to and their opinions respected, however be true to your ideals and values. Family and friends have had their turn to organise a wedding, this is your time!

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“10 Big Wedding Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make” (2018) © Steve McMarson Photography.

Steve McMarson is a multi-award winning photographer.  To view his full portfolio visit: stevemcmarson.com.au