James Archer

7 Ways To Avoid Failing Your Wedding Day

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Weddings are a crazy thing; you love someone, and suddenly you have to plan a huge party, connect with multiple vendors, organise and secure venues. They can also be amazing events filled with joy and deep felt happiness if done right. After having been to a ton of amazing ones, and been to a ton of maybe not that successful ones, I can at least share my thoughts and experiences about what to avoid on your journey to the perfect wedding day. Some of these will seem obvious to you, but they are unfortunately not obvious to everyone. Let’s dive into it. 

James Archer

Wedding Photographer. Watford, UK

1. Plan for failure

With this, I mean don’t be too optimistic with your time scheduling. Yes, your ceremony may be scheduled between 10:00 AM and 12:00 AM, but don’t plan the wedding shoot for 12:00 – 12:30. I guarantee it will take longer to get out of the church. Uncle Bob wants a hug, your sister wants to tell you about her own upcoming wedding, Uncle Bob wants another hug, your mother is tearing up about how proud she is, and before you know it it’s 12:30 AM and you missed your shoot.

Now, if you want your shoot, you have to push everything half an hour ahead, and suddenly the catering has to wait, the driver has to wait, the horses for the chariot are getting bored and start planning a revolt, and it’s all going to cost a lot of extra money. What I suggest is scheduling breaks before important events so there is room to breathe if everything goes well, and room for failure if things take a bit longer, and Uncle Bob wants that third hug.


2. Have a spare everything ready, or secure items in good time

It’s the most silly things that can delay the whole wedding and cause people to run around confused, looking for small but important items. I once waited 30 minutes together with every single wedding guest for someone to finally find a pen so they could sign the wedding contract. No joke. They first searched the entirety of the building, then had to go purchase a pen at the local store. Have a spare pen. Have a spare cake knife. Put your wedding ring in a firm, established place where no one is ever going to “clean and organise this part of the house”, leaving you with panic minutes before your ceremony. Spare strings for your guitar performance in case they break. Even try looking up secondary choices for vendors just in case one of them sleeps in or at least finds out that they didn’t feel like coming anyway (especially if they are free) and you need to make an emergency call. This may just save your day.


3. Remember to ask for help

Weddings can be real stressful and it’s important that you realise the day is for you, not for anyone else. If you start feeling overwhelmed, try asking a friend if they can help out with planning, or find a wedding planner that can sort things out for you. It might just save you a few headaches and make the day something you will enjoy instead of fear. Always know that your friends are there to support you as toast meisters, organising and hosting the speeches and dinner events. They will love it, and you get to enjoy the event and look at your fiance instead of your watch.
Sometimes your friends may have decoration items stored in their cupboards, or could help build and DIY items!


4. You always get what you pay for

Finding the cheapest vendor for everything could be a tempting move, or even have people do it for free if you know someone who knows someone who got a camera for a Christmas gift last year or who does cooking at home and don’t mind doing it for 200 people. I mean, how hard can it be, you just do what you usually do but times 100, right? The issue is not so much that you don’t get the quality you were hoping for, even though this is of course also a very real concern. The issue is that you expose your wedding day to a huge amount of unreliability.

Having someone help on your wedding day for free is great until they feel a bit sick on the day, or a bit lazy. Suddenly, you get that wedding morning call from your nephew Thomas saying that his cat is currently on fire so he needs to put it out for the rest of the day, or that he was struck by a small, non-fatal meteor on an unspecified body part, so they are not able to do their job on your wedding day.
Another scenario is that you get a call after the wedding from Uncle Bob stating that they may or may not have accidentally forgot how their camera works during the wedding, so now all the pictures look like a mixture between a Jackson Pollock painting and the omelette you burned yesterday.

Invest a bit, you only have one wedding day. Don’t gamble with it.


5. Check the weather

Even though you can’t change the weather, at least you can prepare for it. I’m sure some smart person said this at some point. Many people already have the habit of checking the weather, but you would be surprised how many weddings are completely empty of umbrellas even though the weather forecast has promised the second coming of Christ on that date. This can be especially important for outdoor venues obviously, but also the photo shoot which could go from “lovely day in the park” to “swimming among trees” very fast, and it can be good to relocate shoots to places with cover, or simply do some more intimate umbrella shoots and have a few assistants to hold them for you. 


6. Relax, the day is meant to be fun

It’s a special day and all your friends and family is here, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to have fun. Goof around, if an accident happens, just laugh it off. If you’re feeling a bit tense, have a few glasses of champagne and loosen up. Just not too many; the ability to stand up is definitely preferable during the ceremony. 


7. Pay vendors the amount they are worth

Even though it seems like a logical thing to save some money by haggling some prices, it works very differently when you hire an actual person to do a job. I do get where the mentality comes from; if you want to buy a TV and you haggle your way down to half price on it in the shop, then the TV is gonna stay the same TV no matter how cheap it was, and since you may never have hired someone to do a job before, this seems like this tactic would apply to real people as well.

But with humans, they are driven by two things: their own professionalism, and their mood. Even though every vendor is supposed to do their upmost regardless of how much you skimped and haggled and bargained with them to reduce their price in the last moment, it always shows in their work in varying degrees. I’ve been to weddings where every vendor had been haggled (and cheated) moments before they were supposed to be paid, and the atmosphere was horrible. Everyone was doing the minimal effort and it showed on the mood and quality of everything. When the bartender isn’t jolly and making jokes, the DJ is doing minimal effort, then the guests are also gonna feel it.


Besides that, it’s a bit of a dick move.


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