Common mistakes wedding couples make as seen through the eyes of the wedding venue
Since opening the doors of Sunninghill as a licensed wedding venue we have noticed a number of common mistakes that can lead to problems both leading up to the wedding itself and on the day. These mistakes are common across different wedding themes, types of wedding couples (the uber organised and the laid back) and weddings that are planned for different seasons. These top 10 common mistakes made by wedding couples were identified in discussion held earlier this year by the Sunninghill Weddings Team as we debriefed last season and planned ahead for a successful 2018 wedding programme.
Wedding Couple Mistake No.1: The Wedding Breakfast Guest List
,Next to the venue hire fee the cost of the wedding breakfast catering is a substantial amount of the couple's wedding budget. When couples first set pen to paper (or digits to tablet) to compile the wedding guest list there seems to be a great difficulty in deciding who should attend the full day and which guests are best suited to an evening invitation. At Sunninghill we can cater for up to 200 people, however the maximum number we suggest for a wedding breakfast in the main house is 70 guests. Many couples are able to reduce their daytime guest list which saves money that can be better spent in other areas. We are not sure how the daytime guest list has increased over time to sometimes well in excess of 100 people; we suspect it might have something to do with wedding venues imposing a minimum number of guests for the wedding breakfast. Our advice is don't be intimidated by this, the trend is moving towards fewer and fewer day guests (checkout micro weddings) - keep your wedding breakfast for close family and friends and invite everyone else to the evening bash.
Wedding Couple Mistake No.2: Friends Acting As Your Wedding Photographer
During the early years of Sunninghill Weddings as a licensed wedding venue we held a number of weddings where either a family member or close friend took the wedding photographs. Chatting with our wedding couples after their big day there is a growing sense that some of our couples were disappointed at their wedding photographs, one couple actually decided to return to the venue to retake certain shots. It's not that the nominated photographer on the day wasn't good at taking photographs far from it, they were simply inexperienced when it came to wedding etiquette and protocol. Is it amusing when you see the photographer sitting in the seats allocated for the wedding couple so they can get 'the shot' or a priceless sensitive moment go un-captured because the amateur photographer wasn't prepared; the answer is a resounding no. We advise all our wedding couples to think carefully about their wedding photographer and to choose someone who can professionally and unobtrusively capture their happiness and joy throughout the day and evening.
Wedding Couple Mistake No.3: Doing Your Own Bridal Hair and Make Up
I can already hear Brides-to-Be saying that they are perfectly capable of doing their own wedding make up, they do it everyday so why do they need a professional? Apart from the obvious treat of having someone else put on your bridal make-up, on a more serious note, MUA (Make Up Artists) are specially trained for the job and they use the professional products to support their trade. It's little things such as the type of powder used that bounces light off your face or the use of products to emphasise your eyes for those important wedding photographs. Below is a video link to Jacky Walker, the Sunninghill Wedding's Event Manager, having a professional make-over from the talented and award winning Caroline Swaffield of Amazing Faces Bridal Hair and Make Up. This is a very natural live video feed to the Sunninghill Weddings Facebook page, totally unscripted - You can start watching the video Now
.Wedding Couple Mistake No.4: The Best Man Will Act As the M.C
Fine at the beginning of the day but over the course of the ceremony and celebrations quite often the duties associated with organising your wedding guests and making announcements, etc. tend to fade after the Best Man's speech - need we say more....
Consider using a professional toast master or enquire if your DJ can provide this service as part of their package.
Wedding Couple Mistake No.5: How Will You Get Home or to Your Hotel?
It isn't uncommon to find the wedding couple have been so engrossed in making sure their guests' needs are taken care of that they forget about themselves. Wherever you choose to stay on your wedding night, do you know how you will get there? Do you really want to be competing for a taxi late at night? This isn't an issue so much if you have hired wedding cars; often, for an additional fee, they can stay with you for your final departure from the venue.
Wedding Couple Mistake No.6: Coordinating Your Own Wedding On The Day
You have heard that old saying 'the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry' - it doesn't matter how well you plan your wedding day it is highly possible that something will not go according to plan on the day. Do you want to be hassled with minor hiccups? If your wedding venue doesn't offer on the day coordination (Sunninghill Weddings venue do as part of the venue hire fee) it is recommended you budget for a third party professional to do this for you - maybe the budget can come from the savings made on your wedding breakfast guest list.
Wedding Couple Mistake No.7: Returning To the Venue The Next Morning
Couples can return to their wedding venue the following day for a number of reasons. It might be to collect items left overnight e.g. the bride's suitcase if she has used a bridal changing area or perhaps you have agreed to leave your wedding gifts and cards overnight. You might even have stayed overnight at the venue. Returning the morning after the night before to the location of your wedding celebration should be avoided if at all possible; enlisting the help of family friends being much preferable. This is a little trickier for wedding couples who wish to decorate their wedding venue themselves, for example, as part of the increasingly popular DIY Wedding Option. Generally the arrangement is that you have to remove all items the following day. Using a venue stylist is one solution as they usually offer a take down service however this will be reflected in their price (some stylists even go back to your venue in the early hours of the morning to pack everything away!) If this isn't possible, we advise you try and arrange a close family member or group of friends to take down the decorations on your behalf.
There is much to be said about seating arrangements which generally fall within the following three categories: firstly, inappropriate seating e.g. your granny sitting on a hay bale; secondly, lack of seating e.g. guests can just mingle which is fine until they have been standing for hours and are desperate to put their feet up! Both these issues can be solved by hiring furniture, be it folding chairs as in the picture above or outdoor tables and chairs. At Sunninghill Weddings we use Rochesters Event Hire who have an online price list so you can see how much additional items might cost. Lastly, whilst it might be unpopular to some readers, the lack of table planning (usually associated with couples who want a relaxed atmosphere to their wedding) can be problematic. Assigning seats to individuals ensures family groupings are kept together (or apart as the case may be). It also avoids a rush to get to the table first which can leave the important guests well away from the top table/wedding couple. It's also a nightmare for the caterers particularly where guests have been given a choice of menu or have dietary requirements. Try instead to make your catering less formal (if that is your vibe) through the choice of food offered, the type of table linen used and the glassware and crockery. Actually we find people quite like being told where to go and when, especially at an unfamiliar event such as a wedding, as it can help them feel more secure and therefore more able to enjoy the big day.
Wedding Couple Mistake No.9: Time for Wedding Speeches
Yes you don't want to have many speeches - a few words and that's it, however, bet you a penny that whatever time you allocate for speeches will take longer than anticipated! There are two main implications of this: firstly it might affect the quality of your catering as some food once cooked just can't wait too long before it has to be served and secondly, your evening guests start to arrive before your wedding breakfast has concluded. Do either of these sound familiar? You can mitigate this some way by the choice of food you serve and also by pre-planning a separate space for your evening guests to enjoy a welcome drink just in case you run over time. Ask your wedding venue what they suggest. Just a little thought can go a long, long way......
Wedding Couple Mistake No.10: Musical Entertainment
Your taste in music is not what has the potential to be a mistake (don't tell my mother that who was tortured apparently during my youth by the sweet tones of Joni Mitchell at full blast), where couples often go wrong is assuming that a standard speaker and an iPod or equivalent will be sufficient during the wedding breakfast and post ceremony drinks. Outrage you might be saying, perfectly fine what does this person mean - well, if you use a standard blue tooth speaker to amplify your music this has the potential to be unheard by some guests and cause ear blasting deafness for others depending on the location of the speaker. You might want to consider asking your DJ if appropriate to channel music during the wedding breakfast or alternatively, consider using live performers whilst your guests eat and drink.
Do you agree?
The Sunninghill Weddings Team