My Guests Ruined My Wedding With One Simple Mistake: Photographer Reveals Worst Wedding Photo Fail

How not to ruin a wedding – from a professional photographer who has seen it all

Weddings are supposed to be the happiest day of your life, but with so much planning and organization, sometimes one simple misstep can bring disaster.

Kris Labang at Hawaii Wedding Photography is one of Hawaii’s most experienced wedding photographers. With more than twenty years of attending weddings under his belt, he’s seen it all. Here, he reveals the worst wedding photo fail he has seen (so far).

The Worst Wedding Disaster

‘Believe me when I say that I have seen and heard it all,’ explains Kris, ‘but some wedding disasters you can never forget.’ The worst disaster he knows about was caused by one simple mistake that could have easily been avoided.

‘Another photographer I know had met with the happy couple in advance to discuss and plan their photos for the day. Every couple is different, and every wedding is different, so planning is important to make sure the best shots are all captured.’

How It All Went Wrong – Fast!

Everything went well at the ceremony, and the time came to take the group photographs. ‘The photoshoot started well enough,’ Kris explains, ‘but then the mother-in-law decided to get involved.’

Rather than leave it to the professionals, the groom’s mother started directing the wedding party, telling them who to include in the shot and where they should stand. Then, she began taking photos with her phone as well. The photographer tried to explain to her what the bride and groom wanted, but she insisted she knew better.

The biggest mistake came next – when the photographer asked the groom to intervene, he suggested they go along with his mother’s ideas ‘just to keep the peace.’ The bride was clearly unhappy, and a frosty atmosphere developed.

Kris says, ‘The photographer did his best, but with an amateur taking control, the results were…disappointing, to say the least. People didn’t look happy in the photographs, and an argument even broke out among the family. At one point, the bride was in tears.’

High Emotions Make A Difference

Kris says, ‘A wedding is a highly emotional day, and the frustration when something goes wrong can escalate quickly, ruining the day. Weddings are once-in-a-lifetime, and the run-up to the big day puts tremendous stress on those involved. Sometimes, it all comes out during the wedding.’

The professional approach, he adds, is to be polite but firm; the photographer is there to create the most amazing photos, and nothing should be allowed to get in the way of that – certainly not a bossy mother.

Kris says, ‘A more experienced photographer would have handled the mother’s interference, got the shots, and kept everyone happy. Being a professional is about understanding people and circumstances and working the crowd.’

‘On this occasion, most of the planned photos were never taken, and the ones that were looked disorganized and a mess. No one was happy with the results, yet it all could have easily been avoided,’ he adds.

Kris’ Top Tips For Avoiding Wedding Photo Fails

  • Consider designating a ‘photo-free zone’ where only the professionals can take photos (no camera phones allowed).

  • Try to hire a professional with a second shooter, as you will get a wide range of shots that are not possible with just one photographer working the day.

  • Warn guests not to use flash photography during the service, as this can interfere with the professional’s shots.

  • Consider requesting no guest photographs during the service (a polite notice in the church or comment from the official at the start will do), worded to suggest the happy couple just wants guests to enjoy the ceremony.

  • Actively encourage guests to instead take lots of photos of each other at the reception or wedding breakfast afterward. These will be all the moments that the bride and groom will otherwise miss. Create an online space for everyone to upload their reception photos; it’s one of the best gifts for the happy couple.

Kris suggests, ‘Be clear with everyone what is planned and communicate this well in advance. If you know you have someone who may try and disrupt things, you need to speak to them before the day.’