Top 10 Wedding Misconceptions
You’ll wish you knew before you started planning…
We’ve mentioned in other blogs posts how there is a lot of information we pick up as wedding photographers. Having shot hundreds of weddings in countless venues across multiple countries we have a unique insight into weddings that all other vendors do not. Even your venue has only seen weddings done the way ‘they always do them’ at their own venue. Whereas we’ve seen lots of different weddings from different cultures and with different personalities – having been there with our clients from right when they booked the venue, all the way past the wedding day itself.
We find ourselves consistently being asked for wedding suppliers recommendations and even about the little details of planning a wedding. As such, we’ve compiled a list here of the most common misconceptions we encounter when helping our Brides and Grooms navigate the difficult world of planning a wedding.
1. The Father of the Bride Should Walk The Bride Down The Aisle
Yet another ‘tradition’ that sometimes causes problems. There are soooo many reasons why this may not be suitable for your wedding, and you should have no shame or sadness at all if you have another loved one walk you down the aisle. Trust us, the wedding pictures will still look amazing.
2. You Have to Get Married On A Saturday
If there’s one recurring theme in this article, then it is this: ‘just because that’s how it’s been done, doesn’t mean you have to do it that way’. Mid-week weddings are becoming more and more popular, as are Friday/Sunday weddings. Whether it’s to save money, or because your dream venue is booked every summer Saturday until 2250, there’s no reason a Sunday wedding won’t also be awesome!
True Story: We’re shooting the wedding of a lovely couple next year on a Sunday that happens to be before a Bank Holiday Monday. They’re saving over £4’000 and, as they explained it to us, ‘losing out on nothing’. After all, there’s still a day off the following day, and the venue will still be as amazing as it was on the Saturday. The couple told us that just by having the wedding a day later, they paid off the wedding dress and photography with the savings! Now that’s nice!
3. A Wedding Planner Will Help Us Plan Our Wedding
When it comes to Wedding Planning, we know you’ve got a huge mountain to climb, and in theory Wedding Planners are a brilliant way to outsource that stress, effort, time, and learning curve to an industry professional.
Please, please, please do be careful when choosing a Wedding Planner or Co-Ordinator, because they might not do the job you assume they will. For a start, a lot of information about wedding planners you’ll find on the internet relates to US based wedding planners – and the roles of a planner in the US is very different from that of wedding planners we’ve encountered in Europe.
If you’re hiring a wedding planner to help organise the day (timings, moving things along, pre-planning) then be warned – in the UK MANY WEDDING PLANNERS SIMPLY DO NOT DO THIS. Even if they say they do, in our experience, they simply don’t. We’ve shot eight weddings in the past two years in the UK that had wedding planners involved. Not one of them contacted us before the day, not one of them arranged a timeline (our photographers timeline was the one ultimately used), not one of them organised anything on the day (it was left to us, the venue staff, and sometimes toastmasters to help organise/run the day), and in 80% of cases they somehow made the day worse.
Add to this the fact that they will make recommendations (see below) on suppliers to use for your wedding, but often these are either friends or random colleagues they are recommending. Often, and more worryingly, these are usually suppliers who are paying commission to be referred – and their actual level of skill or quality is not a factor considered when referring them to you.
Furthermore, this problem is taken to the next level in Europe, where it is normal for Wedding Planners to either take 10-20% commission of whatever you pay the suppliers they recommend (same problem as above, and now they are driving the price up 10-20%!); or they are paid as percentage of your total wedding spend, taking 10-15% of the cost of your entire wedding, and all of a sudden it makes sense for them to recommend to you the most expensive supplier they can find – not necessarily the best or most appropriate for your requirements.
4. Friends Will Be Our Best Source of Ideas and Wedding Tips
Friends are awesome, and will always be there for you (because you’re there for them too…), but just because your friends like something – doesn’t mean that you will! Perhaps they’re suggesting that you HAVE to get married in the Winter to save money, or perhaps they’re INSISTING that you use this band or that wedding cake company. As well intentioned as they are, sometimes friends just have different interests and priorities.
…and after all, do you want to have your friend’s wedding again? Or your own?
5. We’ll find the average price of everything and go from there.
This crops up a lot early on in the wedding planning process. The problem is, there’s no manual or night-course for ‘planning a wedding’, let alone ‘budgeting’ one. Sure there’s a lot of advice on the internet, but a lot of that is generic bland advice from people who may work in the wedding industry – but they aren’t on the front line attending weddings every week and working with couples from the moment they book the venue up until way after the day itself (like we do).
So some advice, and common sense too, suggests that you look for the ‘average price’ of each element of a wedding, and go from there. Unfortunately there are so very many problems with this logic….
- There is such a wide gamut of options out there, the average is always skewed. Perhaps you check out ten catering companies’ prices online for the wedding cake, and take an average. But what if we told you that 6 of those aren’t full-time professionals who may work part-time in the catering industry but have little experience with wedding cakes and will do an awful job (despite the pretty pics on their website) [maybe charging £220], 2 are bargain-basement ‘ALDI’ type companies who do average work very cheap for high turnover profits [maybe charging £2-300], and then finally there are 2 options you like from full-time caterers who specialise in weddings and have exactly what you want [but these cost more like £5-600]? Well now, the 2 options you might like of the 10 seem INCREDIBLY expensive in the market place right? They seem above average, when actually what they are charging is pretty standard for the level of work they do, until you saw all the other jokers who brought the average down…
- Who wants average for their wedding day? – Looking up the average price makes sense, until you realise that you’re probably not going to actually want average when you come to book. Maybe you saw that all the wedding videographers have middle packages of around £700, and budgeted for that…. But when you meet the videographer of your dreams, it’s probably not going to be his ‘middle package’ you want, you might decide it’s so important to you that you want the best possible option that he offers [that amazing two shooter option with the highlights clip at £1100]? Well once again, now the price you’re paying seems a lot more than you previously budgeted for…
- Why even pay average if it’s not important to you? We’ve mentioned in other articles the fallacy of simply doing something ‘because that’s how it’s always done’… This point is almost the opposite the above point, but for the same reason. Put simply, if you’re not interested in something – then why even get it at all? We’ve seen lots of boring shoddy looking cakes, terrible videographers spoiling photos, unloved table decorations, and unused (but amazing and expensive looking) dance floors. All things hired/purchased for the wedding because it’s what you do. Why even pay the average price for something you couldn’t care less about? It just drives up the price of your wedding, and perhaps isn’t something you even care slightly about. Don’t pay the average (or any) price for something you don’t want, and spend more money on the things that matter to you at your wedding.
In our experienced opinion, whenever you hear couples talk about how ‘their budget ran out of control’ and/or ‘the wedding budget always doubles’, it’s really because of the above reason – the average fallacy.
6. The DJ Always Plays Cheesy Music
This may be true of your friend’s wedding, but it doesn’t have to be with yours! Simply talk with your DJ about what kind of music you would like, and explain what you want. Problem. Solved.
7. We Need ‘A’ Wedding Photographer (Box Ticking Exercise)
Relating directly to point 5 (above), we often get enquiries from couples who simply want ‘a’ photographer. You shouldn’t want ‘a’ photographer, you should want ‘your’ photographer.
We often get enquiries from a certain popular Kent Wedding Venue (owned by a famous BBC musician personality), and they invariably follow this format (and in this EXACT order): “1. have you shot there before, 2. what are your ‘packages’? 3. are you free on our date?* 4. Can we see previous galleries” **
There are all legitimate questions, but our clients find us and book because they fall in love with our work, not because we ‘tick all the boxes’
[* It always makes us laugh this is only third, not first on the list.]
[** Our ‘tongue-in-cheek-replies’: 1. Yes many times a year, 2. We have ‘collections’ not packages, 3. yes/no, 4. There are plenty around the site, maybe take a look at a photographer’s work before considering hiring them to tell the story of your most important day ;-)]
8. The Venue Knows Best
Oftentimes our clients are ‘cost-blinded’ into assuming that because they spent the most money on the venue overall, that the venue is in charge of their wedding. With a good venue the opposite is true, and you have a huge say in your wedding day because you spent so much money.
Also, even if your venue is a ‘wedding factory’, running weddings on a daily basis, you should have the confidence to tell them that just because “that is normally what happens” or “we usually serve the wedding breakfast at XYZ time” that you want something different.
Also, you might assume that any suppliers they refer are referred on the basis of skill, merit, or experience at the venue. Please see the point below as to why the opposite can be true…
9. Referrals Are The Best Way To Find Suppliers
So the venue gave you a list of photographers? What if we told you that sometimes the venue only recommends people to you if they’ve been paid to?
I know… right?
But it’s true, there are at least three wedding venues in Kent and two wedding venues in Essex that we know for sure have supplier referrals on this basis. One popular Kent wedding venue chargers over £500 a year each for their suppliers to be listed on their website and attend their in-house fairs, and they really, really, aren’t choosy over who they list.
So the Caterer / DJ / Stationary Card Company gave you a list of suppliers? What if we told you that these suppliers see only very small parts of your day and very seldom do they see the photos after, or the clients themselves, to see if the recommendations were any good?
We thought this would be obvious, but apparently not. We recently met with a couple whom we met at a wedding fair, who were also meeting with a photographer recommended to them by the venue caterers. Not the venue. By the venue caterers. We asked what experience the caterers had with the photographer, and it turns out they had none.
10. DIY Will Save Money
If you have access to lots of raw materials (or if Range has a sale on!) then perhaps. But even if so, will it cost you a lot of time? After all, time is money, and sometimes hiring a professional or buying from a company just makes sense, if only to save you that one commodity that is most precious: time.
True Story: This summer we are shooting the wedding of a couple who chose their venue in a genius way. They had so many to choose from, and so many criteria to consider – the groom went to ‘fiver.com’ and paid someone £5 to whittle the list down to the top 5 candidates that fulfilled the couple’s criteria (location, scenery, size of ceremony, accommodation, etc…). This saved the couple an estimated 10-20+ hours of their own research of venues, not to mention countless venue visits, and gave them more time to enjoy life. Brilliant idea!
Surrey & Kent 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.