Avoid Common Mistakes on Your Wedding Day With These Tips

Avoid Wedding Mistakes

With simple tips, you can have the best wedding day possible. As a long-standing San Diego photographer, I’m sharing easy ways to avoid wedding mistakes. That mean less stress + the best wedding day photos.


Bridal Party

One of the main wedding mistakes I see is a big bridal party. It typically invites more issues, like:

 Finding a space that has enough good light.

Having a big enough area with beautiful decor – and still fits everyone. This is especially true for the getting ready location.

A general life principle: The more people involved, the more hectic things often get. #TooManyCooks


Another of the grandiose wedding mistakes for wedding photography: An odd bridal party.


An odd bridal party number makes the photo composition real freakin’ weird.  

I.e. 3 groomsmen on one side. 5 bridesmaids on the other. One side of the photo has wayyyy more dresses vs. suits.

An odd bridal party gets awkward when walking down the aisle.

I.e. Have more bridesmaids than groomsmen? That often means one guy walking two ladies down the aisle.

Aisles tend to be narrow. When y’all 3 don’t fit – it’s awkward for them. For the guests watching. For the wedding photos.  For everyone, really.


Flower Expectations VS Reality 

When you choose arrangements based on flower seasons, they will be:  

More readily available.

At their most prime bloom.

Typically better cost-wise.

In my opinion the prettiest blooms are in Spring and late October, & since i’m a flower lover.

Those are the only two seasons i’ll be getting married! 

Solution : Ask your florist what flowers are in season.


As a San Diego photographer (for a lot of the year anyhow!), here are my recommendations for favorite florists in San Diego:

Blooms by Bressalee

Native Poppy

Bloom Babes

Layered Vintage

Bespoke Occasions

Don’t be under estimate florist costs. Most So Cal wedding florist have 3-5k minimums!

As a destination wedding photographer, I know florists in many other cities, as well. Let me know where you’re looking, I may know some peeps. Hit me up here.


What to Avoid for the Wedding Day Precession

Say no no NO to Bubbles: (Not champagne type. The playful, childlike, “Oh, I want to pop that!” bubbles.)

People get too distracted and forget to blow them BEFORE you start heading down the aisle. It takes a while to get a good flow going.

Instead, use rice (except at national parks) or flower petals. Much more bang for your buck!


One of Biggest Wedding Mistakes: NOT Doing A First Look

Holy freaking crap – I could go on and on about why doing a wedding first look is such an AMAZING thing.

In fact, I already did for another post. Find out : Why 99% of My Couples do a First Look.


Don’t Miss this Piece of Wedding Day Catering Contract

Most folks don’t realize: Vendors typically get fed last and miss the opportunity to eat.

Why: There is a very short amount of time between food plating and toasts. That is the sole window when a wedding photographer gets to eat. If they get food last, there isn’t time to eat before toasts begin.  

 A wedding photographer is there, working, 8 – 9 hours with heavy equipment at a fast pace.

A little break and time to refuel lets a wedding photographer jump back into getting your best reception photos with fire and energy!

Solution : Ask your coordinator and wedding caterer to ensure vendors get food. Perhaps they put aside vendor plates first. So they can eat some grub and be up and at ‘em for toasts.


Why this Ceremony Venue Tip Avoids Wedding Mistakes

Try touring your wedding ceremony venue at the same time of year and approximate time of day BEFORE booking your wedding venue.

What you’re looking for : Soft, even lighting.

What to avoid: Harsh lighting. Lots of shadows across the floor. Take a few photos on your iPhone – is it hard to snap pics where all the light is even? No bueno, my friend.

Ask your wedding photographer what their favorite venues are and what their thoughts are on ceremony location & times!


As a San Diego Photographer, I Plea for a Good “Getting Ready” Venue

The location you get ready is important. It’s where we capture:


Getting into your dress

With your parentals

Stunnin’ with yo bridal party

Bridal pics of you solo (makeup when it’s extra fresh.)

Solo pics of the groom

All thoseee details


Fun, little known fact: These images could be as much as half of your wedding day photo gallery.

So, yep, it’s important.

I recommend getting ready in the same location as the groom.

Makes things a whole lot smoother.


Ideas for where to get ready on your wedding day:

An Air BnB

Private estate

A location that is (whether one of the above or otherwise):

An open floor plan

Has plenty of natural light


Tip: Ask your wedding photographer before booking.  


Don’t Postpone the First Dance; Have it Right After Grand Entrance

When a first dance is postponed, it makes for less quality lighting.

To get the most flawless first dance photos, start your slow jam right after the grand entrance.

It’s a wedding mistake to NOT take advantage of the last, final sunlight.

(Once we start shooting with flash…it still works but, let’s be real, it’s just damn pretty and romantic with real deal sunlight.)


Recommended order:

Grand entrance

First dance

Parent dances


Boom. Bam. Done.

It gets all those scheduled situations handled – and makes the most of the lighting. Plus, it’s less interruptions later in the night when you’re trying to live it up with your new boo spouse thang.


When It Comes to a “Wedding Checklist”, Opting Out of Sunset is a Wedding Mistake

Alright, this destination and San Diego photographer is getting real. I recently added a clause in my contract that you & your new spouse MUST reserve a minimum 30 minutes for sunset wedding portraits.

Why: It’s where your wedding photography investment shines.

Theme of this post is lighting, right?

Well, lighting at sunset is the true royalty of Pinterest status photos. They are the photos that you will end up framing – trust me hard on this one.


Caution re a Videographer  

When you hire a videographer plus a second shooter, holy crap that’s intense.

That’s 4 people pointing a camera at you. ALL DAY.  That can be overwhelming.  

If photos matter to you, keep in mind: Having two videographers also makes it hard for photographers to do their job. One is preferable, fa sho.

Check out my thoughts on Hiring Wedding Videographers here.


Final High Five and Words from this San Diego Wedding Photographer

There, now your wedding problems are solveddddd!

Well, at least a fair few. 😉

If one is that you still don’t know who your photographer is…? Well, you can always say howdy here.

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