This topic is no where close to new in the wedding industry. Time and time again, vendors & bloggers tackle the “heinous crime” of having your friend serve the duty of a wedding vendor on your wedding day. Now these posts always bugged me because they never seemed to show more than just the side of the one vendor posting the article. What about the times where a friend was exactly what was needed and things worked out perfectly because it was done right? I always wondered if other people got turned off a bit, like I did, when you read a vendor telling you to hire them instead of hiring someone else. Well DUH they want you to hire them!
Now, before the entirety of the wedding blogosphere storms my house and tries to burn me at the stake, don’t mistake what I am saying here. I will 100% advocate (just like I did with my post on DIYing your wedding flowers) that a professional vendor is and always will be the best and safest choice for your wedding. Wedding Professionals know the intricacies and complexities that wedding days require and they will ALWAYS be the best choice for your wedding day vendors. You cannot compare a professional vendor’s services and outputs to that of a friend/novice. This is also a reason why you should work with experienced professionals and not “I have an iPhone so I can shoot your wedding” photographers – but that is a whole other blog I will someday write.
But what about all the countless couples (including yours truly) that have asked friends to serve as wedding vendors for their big day – and it worked out just fine? What if you just don’t have the budget to hire a professional for EVERY aspect of your wedding day? Well then, let us share some real insight, from REAL couples that used a friend as a wedding vendor so that you guys can see ALL sides of this argument, not just one.
Hiring Friends as Wedding Vendors – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
[My friend Dorothy on the left, helping my sister with the processional | Image: Live It Out Photography]
First let’s start with a note of caution. The all-important warning that just because hiring a friend worked for me and some others, it DOES NOT MEAN it will work for you. This is not an all encompassing post. This is a reflection of a handful of real couples that used friends as vendors to help YOU decide if it MIGHT be right for you and your partner too!
The [Cautionary] Good: It Worked For Someone Else [But that Does NOT Mean It Will Work For You]
Recent DC area bride, Ashley, hired her friend to serve as her day-of coordinator. For Ashley, this decision worked out perfectly! She shared:
“One of the hallmarks of our wedding was the way that our friends and family were so much a part of it. I had never considered a traditional coordinator (and frankly, felt that I would be more stressed out by one), so to have a friend that was willing to take this on was a gift indeed. She helped me feel confident about any decisions I second-guessed, she asked questions I didn’t think to, she handled some rather upsetting vendor issues effortlessly. ” – Ashley
Another former bride, Rachel explained that they also had success with hiring friends. She attributes her success to mainly 3 things. 1, that she was a fairly laid-back bride, 2, she was also highly organized, and 3, her friends that were involved were also pretty experienced at what she was asking them to do!
“I was laid back in that I was up for anything, but in general I was more so highly organized with checklists and timelines and charts (such as: “who is driving in what cars to which parts of the wedding” WITH pictures all neatly tacked up on the food cabinet… I got a lot of flack for that haha). I don’t recall setting out to have friends so involved in my day, but a few offered and we ended up reaching out to a couple others and it just happened that way! The friends that I involved in the day were already very experienced and very talented in what I asked them to do.” – Rachel
I would second Ashley & Rachel’s sentiments. Personally, I asked a friend to help coordinate our wedding – she helped us make favors, decorations, and served as a day-of coordinator for us. Dorothy had a professional background in design and managing bands – two key items that lent itself to making her a great wedding coordinator. The other two things that set us up for success were:
1- Just like Rachel I was HIGHLY organized bride (is anyone surprised by this?). I had binders, budget spreadsheets, a calendar view schedule, and I even had a weekly meeting with Andy … including agendas that we had created (hah, I wish I was kidding). I was really hands-on and involved in my own wedding planning, so I did not feel I required the full-scale help/assistance that a planner might want to give me & Andy.
2- My catering company also provided us with a day-of coordinator that had worked with us from the minute we hired them to ensure our linens, tablescapes, escort cards, and decorations were all laid out properly. I do not think this is normal – but I could not say enough about what Catering By Uptown‘s Jeff did for our wedding day. He seamlessly decorated and setup a lot of our DIY details and decor – something that Dorothy might have had to do if not for them!
Click inside for The Bad & The Ugly …. and advice if you are still going to do this any way ;)