I’m sure you’ve heard of a bride or groom who hired a friend (or family friend) for their wedding vendors. Maybe it was a photographer, florist, videographer, DJ, or even caterer. Through the years, we’ve talked to DOZENS of couples and even vendors with different stories of hiring a friend, sometimes we’ve even talked to the friends who were hired.
What’s the results? Have we heard countless horror stories about a friend who was a florist and they never showed up with the flowers or they were completely wrong? Maybe about the cousin who had just started videography but the whole video was shakey with no audio.
Nope. We haven’t sat and listened to married couples talk about how terrible of an idea it was to choose a vendor who was a friend.
When you’re deciding between going with a close friend to help with your wedding or picking someone you don’t know, we have a few questions you should ask yourself (and your vendor options).
First, talk to your friend about your wedding and their confidence level. Make sure they understand exactly what you want and your ideas. This is something you should do with ANY vendor, but especially with your friends.
Even if your friends have the best of intentions and they are very excited about helping you out, they may not understand what you’re looking for or if they are new to the wedding industry, they may not understand everything that’s involved with the role.
What we’ve seen is having a couple of conversations before making any decisions will either clear up the choice or make you feel more confident in choosing.
Ask if they have any example work. If they are doing calligraphy for your wedding, flowers, photography, video, or anything else. If they are just starting out, hopefully, they have at least one piece of what you can see. This will give you a rough idea if they can deliver on your wedding day expectations.
If they haven’t done a wedding before BE CAREFUL. There is nothing wrong with hiring a person who hasn’t been in the wedding industry for the past 10 years, but trusting someone with zero experience is a face
gamble. The question you have to ask yourself is “how upset will I be if this isn’t EXACTLY like I want it?”
Just like when you’re making a budget for your wedding or even planning your wedding, you need to determine what’s the most important parts of your wedding.
When you talk to a friend who offers to help you out on your wedding, one of the obvious benefits is the money you’ll save. Your buddy says they will video the wedding for $400 and you start thinking about all the extra cash you can spend on the honeymoon.
We are HUGE fans of budgeting and spending within your means. We NEVER recommend couples spend more than they have for their wedding day.
So should you hire a friend, buddy, or a family member to save money? Once again, we have no hard and fast rule you should ALWAYS follow. It comes down to what are you willing to possibly give up to save money.
Just because you’re saving money doesn’t mean you’re going to get LESS quality service. Friends or family may charge you less, but hopefully, they will provide the same perfect service they would give to any other couple who they don’t know.
Look. Here is the honest truth. If we didn’t have friends who were willing to give us a start, there is no way we would have started our business. Many years ago, we had just started photographing weddings (usually about 2 a year), and we had amazing friends and family members give us a chance to help us get started.
Looking back on those pictures, we CRINGE and how unpolished they were.
SO, should you do the same thing for a friend of yours?
Our advice is always the same. IS IT WORTH THE RISK?
Before you decide one way or another, you have to decide if you’re willing to sacrifice that part of your wedding. Hopefully, your friend or family member will do an AMAZING job. They will crush it and everything will be perfect.
But with a new wedding vendor (just like with ANY job), there is going to be a learning curve and could be a few hiccups. The important part is to have conversations leading up to the wedding and set expectations. If both you and your vendors know what is expected and what the plan is, it can hopefully minimize any possible risk.