Five pitfalls to avoid when planning your wedding

Getting Ready | Kent Wedding Photographer | Bridal MUA 2017-18 Gallery | Kent Wedding Venues

Recently in Kent we’ve had a major Kent Wedding Venue as well as a major Kent Wedding Photographer separately let lots of couples down in a huge way; the first by going into administration and creating a nightmare for brides letting them down (sometimes last minute), whilst the Kent Wedding Photographer who was recently jailed for having indecent images of children was perhaps even worse as this supplier had been taking deposits for weddings he knew he could never shoot right up to his incarceration. 

Naturally – the Kent Wedding community has pulled together to do what it can, but clearly these are problems we want to avoid for future Kent Wedding Brides!  We are always keen to share our tips and tricks on getting married in Kent, Surrey, London, and beyond… Today’s blog post follows on from our recent post about the top 10 misconceptions about weddings in 2018

Five Pitfalls to Avoid When Planning Your Wedding

Booking a Wedding Supplier can be a huge gamble – as unfortunately there are a lot of ‘cowboys’, as well as many well-intentioned amateurs trying to break into the industry (both of these can be as bad as each other).  Obviously the above examples are on the extreme side, but we see brides being let down allllll the time, and want to do our bit to help the industry improve.  The first step, always, is educating our clients and the public at large… To this end, please see below our list of five pitfalls to help you avoid such wedding nightmares.

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1.  Set a realistic budget – cheap suppliers are the most likely to let you down…

Budgeting for a wedding is easily the most contentious issue out there, and there’s plenty of bad advice in the bridal magazines and wedding websites out there.  One piece of advice we’re often reminding people of (because people already know this) is that “You get what you pay for…” and cheap always costs you more in the long term… There are a number of things to consider:

  • Prioritise – We’ve mentioned in blog posts before, that if something is important to you then it deserves a bigger slice of your wedding budget.  If something isn’t important to you – then why spend money on it at all?  Often the last minute bookings (wedding videography, photo booth, fireworks, etc…) with ‘left over budget’ invite the most danger…
  • Research – Make sure you familiarise yourself with the costs of those important parts of your wedding you wish to book.  Don’t just look for the cheapest or even the average price, as this can be misleading.  With so many cowboys, wedding factories, and amateurs touting low prices to try and drum up business wherever they can – you might find that either your budget becomes unrealistic (skewed too low), or that you are booking lower end wedding suppliers without realising it.
    • To use wedding photography as an example, there are plenty of Kent wedding photographers out there charging sub £1000 or even sub £500 for ‘all-day photos on disk’, but whenever we are approached by couples whose wedding photographer has cancelled on them last minute (or who ruined their wedding photos) – they always paid less than £1000.  A reputable wedding photographer in Kent tends to charge £1400+ with the best Kent and London Wedding Photographers charging circa £2-3000… If photography is important to you, then this is the minimum you should be thinking to spend.
    • We were approached by a distraught bride who had booked the Kent wedding photographer who went to jail, telling us that he had charged them ‘£500 cash up front’ for a service normally charging £1500+, it was a sad tale to hear, but the couple themselves remarked “clearly it was too good of a deal…”

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2. Make sure you get wedding insurance. 

Wedding insurance is pretty important as weddings involve a lot of costs and working with a lot of wedding suppliers.  This issue is so important we’ve even done a whole blog post just for this issue: Is Wedding Insurance A Good Idea? If a wedding photographer or wedding venue you have booked and paid money for suddenly disappears or lets you down last minute, then wedding insurance would be your first port of call to get things fixed. Or to put it another way – if you don’t have wedding insurance, could you afford to book and pay for another wedding venue last minute?

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3. Think carefully before booking friends instead of experienced wedding suppliers.

Whether it’s your friend who has just started their MUA business, that member of your family who fancies themselves as a wedding planner, or the wedding photographer offering to shoot for dirt-cheap so as to aid in building their portfolio, there are always plenty of friends with ‘mates-rates’ for your most special day…

But what cost is ruining your wedding day, or worst still, ruining a friendship?

Now of course, if they are full-time professionals then of course you should consider hiring them – but here’s a tip: make sure you pay full price. Why? Because if anything goes wrong, you need to be able to feel you have the right to complain if something goes wrong.  In fact, you will want to know before then that they are treating you with the same due care, respect, and attention that they give to all of their clients.  Paying full price either ensures this, or gives you the right to cancel or demand better service.

If they aren’t a professional? And I mean – a full-time professional making their actual income from weddings (not just a glorified hobby on the side)? Then RUN!

There are so many reasons hiring hiring a non-professional is a bad ideaand ‘being a friend’ doesn’t dismiss any of them.  Not sure how to tell them you aren’t interested?  Tell them they are invited to the wedding as a ‘guest’ not an ’employee’, because as a friend you want them to enjoy themselves and be part of your most special wedding day.

Just to re-enforce the above point, we’ve had no less than FIFTEEN enquiries in 2017 alone from brides who had a ‘friend let them down’ for their wedding day – and all of them struggled to find and/or afford a proper professional.  Food for thought…

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4. Don’t get caught out by wedding scams

These days most businesses are on social media – and as such businesses run a Facebook Page or Instagram Feed showcasing their work (check out our pages!), but that shouldn’t be their only business presence.  Unfortunately, there have been more and more people running ‘businesses’ entirely from a Facebook page and offering seemingly professional wedding services at bargain-basement prices. Whilst some of these may be legitimate (if not a bit unprofessional) many can only offer such services at very low cost because they aren’t insured, aren’t registered, don’t follow industry standards/practices, and as a whole are no better than ‘some random person with no real experience’ to deal with.  Others, as the above brides found out far too late, are just outright scams… A few things you should bear in mind to protect yourself:

  • Do they have a postal address (not a PO box or fake address) they can give you? Here at Mykey Day Photography we don’t publish our trading address on our website anymore as it lead to a mountain of spam – but we routinely hand out our real world address to our clients and genuine enquiries. If they don’t have (or won’t provide) a real address then this is a massive red flag, as it makes things truly difficult when things go wrong…
  • Do they use contracts? If someone you are paying money to for a future service does not offer a contract then walk away… Also, don’t forget to read the small print in the T&Cs, many scams involve completely unfair hidden terms…
  • Do they have flexible payment options? What do you need to pay and when? Firstly – make sure only to pay the company directly – never through a 3rd party (scam alert) – and for that matter, make sure only to pay the amount you owe.  One famous scam involves them overpaying you or over-refunding you and then asking for the difference back (or paying another supplier) – anything like this is almost definitely a SCAM.  Beware of any company that only accepts one form of payment, as this may be a ruse… Whilst it’s standard for some small companies to charge credit or debit card fees, if they are using this excuse to force you to pay by bank transfer or cash – then this is another red flag. There are also several ‘Paypal’ chargeback scams at the moment – so beware if they push you to only use Paypal…
  • Don’t forget – ‘you get what you pay for…’ If the service seems like too good a price, or they are offering more than others for less, there’s probably a reason for that…

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5. Only Book Established Wedding Photographers, Caterers, Toastmasters, etc…

Sometimes it can seem like a deal or a bargain to go for the ‘new’ or ‘up-and-coming’ option, heck – you may even like the idea of helping out a young professional or ‘mum starting a business on the side’ with their new venture… But almost all the horror stories, the cancellations, the wedding nightmares, and the trips to small claims court that we know about, involve one of these inexperienced members of the wedding industry.  We’ve talked before about the unfortunate fact that the wedding industry is a cottage industry with a lot of amateurs posing as professionals, and we’ve seen the disappointment and the heart-break that can come from using one of these untried and unknown quantities.

Now we know ‘everybody has to start somewhere’, but we strongly believe that ‘somewhere’ should be shadowing a tried and true professional for a few years – not with your most special day.  Whilst we aren’t the only ones, wedding photographers are easily in the top 5 of most guilty when it comes to cowboys and amateurs masquerading as professionals at real people’s weddings. Whether it’s showcasing fake portfolio shoots and training day photos with models as real weddings, to outright lying about their level of experience or qualifications, wedding photographers are definitely among the worst in the wedding industry. Our small contribution to help fight this and clear our industry’s name, is to educate the wider public about these practices, so as to better improve weddings for everyone involved…

More Wedding Advice for Weddings in Kent, Surrey, and Beyond…

For more information about us or tips and tricks on how to plan your wedding, please check out the rest of our blog posts with lots of wedding advice and insider information…

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Kent & Surrey Wedding Photographer Mykey Day

Your Wedding Day will never be as important to anyone else as it is to you, but trust us when we say – your wedding will be crucially important to us as well! Please browse our website for examples of our work, and we look forward to making your wedding photographs special too.

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