A marriage celebrant shares 5 big wedding mistakes couples should avoid.

Carly Brown is a thirty something mum who has been celebranting all around Sydney and Wollongong for over six years and loves it.  As a part-time public servant, part-time writer, part-time celebrant and-all-the time mum, life is never dull but Carly wouldn’t have it any other way.

These are her big wedding mistakes you should avoid…

1) Being unrecognisable

Who is that walking down the aisle? Who is that in the pictures on the wall?

If you don’t want your guests to be asking either of those questions, then don’t strive to look like someone else on your wedding day.

There’s ‘looking nice’ and there is looking like a completely different human.

Of course, make an effort like you would for any other big occasion – but you’ll be way more comfortable if you stay true to yourself and you look like YOU.  Your fiancé loves you for who he fell for, not for a streaky-orange, talon-nailed, painted-faced, giant-hair, taffeta explosion version of yourself.

2) Going with traditions you don’t care for

Ceremonies are filled with traditions – do them, if you want to and they mean something to you – but not if they don’t.

Carrying a bouquet? Wearing a veil? Dad giving you away? All really not necessary if you don’t want to – this is not a surprise for most people.

Bridesmaids and groomsmen? Exchanging wedding bands? Not seeing each other before the ceremony? Not doing these things might raise an eyebrow or ten, but there are some great reasons to do away with these traditions if you don’t fancy them.

Groomsmen do absolutely nothing. One of them might hold the rings. Otherwise, they do nothing. Without the title, they can still organise your man’s bucks – he need not despair – but they can do it without anyone shelling out thousands for suits, ties, shirts, pocket squares and the flower thing no one can ever figure out how to pin on.

And do you really need five bridesmaids to help you get ready? Most of the time your good friends would prefer – shock horror – to wear a dress they actually like and dance/ sit with their actual partner while they celebrate with you on your big day.

Is the ’til death do us part’ OVER? Post continues after audio.

Wedding bands. Fantastic if you’re going to wear them but if you aren’t — like lots of grooms especially — then just know you don’t have to. Prince William didn’t get one,  and if its good enough for Kate and Wills….


Now, seeing each other before the ceremony is a big one , but if photos are important to you get them over with before the ceremony (bonus, make up is still fresh) and spend some time with each other before the ceremony. Photographers can replicate the traditional ‘first glace’ in the most phenomenal ways  and you will shake off your nerves.

And the absolute BEST BIT about this that makes it so worth considering is that after the ceremony you can go straight to the reception and enjoy the entire event you spent so much time planning,  rather than missing the cocktail hour off doing your best Blue Steel. Trust me – this one is really worth considering.

3) Not having a bad weather back up – or not using it

It is incredible the number of people who don’t have a contingency plan in case of poor weather, even though most people are getting married in wide open spaces, like beaches and parks.

You think you can hire a marquee at the last minute on a rainy day?

living apart together
Image via iStock.

You and every other bride in Sydney will be trying to hire one and it will not be pretty. Or cheap - plan to sell your firstborn. Then bargain your second born with the local council who won’t let you use pegs on the lawn in your rain soaked ‘perfection’ of a plan A.


Trust me, you are better having a plan B, and using it if you need to, than stressing about the weather. Or, like a surprising number of couples, suffering through a freezing cold or wet ceremony because you don’t want to let go of the dream of what the day was supposed to look like.

4) Trying to please everyone

You never will. Years into the future no one else is going to think about your wedding day, but you will. So, you may as well focus on your ideal way of celebrating, and try to do it that way.

Want to elope? Do it. Being the only Sydney Home owner in your friendship group because you saved the cash might make it worthwhile.

Don’t want Auntie Margaret to read Corinthians? Then ask her to read the lyrics from your favourite song, or maybe get your best friend to do it.

Mamamia OutLoud on their biggest wedding regrets. Post continues after audio.

Don’t want to walk down the aisle with everyone staring at you? Greet your guests along with your groom as they arrive - it creates the most lovely inclusive and celebratory tone to the wedding.

You don’t need to do anything you don’t want to do. (Except let your celebrant say that pesky line about marriage being between a man and a woman… But hopefully not for long.)

5) Forgetting about the ceremony altogether

I don’t mean actually forgetting to arrive, I just mean forgetting to give it much thought.

Couples spend a lot of time thinking about how to personalise the reception: ‘What kind of flowers say “true love between a golf loving Capricorn and a gluten intolerant yoga instructor” best?’, ‘what’s more ‘us’ - mismatched vintage tea cups or a craft beer tasting station?’, or ‘what colour bows really reflect the depth of our commitment, baby sky blue or midnight moonlit navy?’

Spare a thought also for the ceremony. When you say ‘I do’, what does that really mean to you? Why do you want to say ‘I do’ to? What do you really promise? And why? Say it and make it meaningful for you and your relationship.

Let your celebrant know why you want to get married, what marriage means for you and why you’ve chosen to take this step, here, now and with the people you’ve chosen to share the day with.

Without the ceremony, there is no marriage. So work that ceremony to really show who you are.