Friends as Wedding Vendors: Yay or Nay?


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If your close friends are talented photographers or graphic designers or florists or pastry chefs or cooks, it can be tempting to recruit them to help plan and stage your wedding. In my experience so far, navigating (and keeping!) these relationships alive until and after your big day can be more difficult.

At this point, Adam and I are about a year away from tying the knot (read about our Doctor Who proposal here!). We already have an acceptable number of things planned and have a good idea of what we want for everything else. One of the biggest things holding us back from committing to the rest is that our many talented friends have offered their services.

When these offers are made, we’ve largely deferred making a commitment until later on. Not accepting their help may sound silly. In light of our (really, really) tight budget, it may even sound downright stupid. To work through my reasoning, I’ve put together a list.

Pros:

You know their style. You’re probably very familiar with their work, and know how it will fit into your wedding day. If it’s exactly what you want, you’ll spend time measuring someone else’s work against theirs.

Cost. Having your friends help with the wedding can cut your costs, and can also cut the time cost of having to find other artisans with similar talents.

Help with planning. Your friends can help to create your vision for your wedding and may be able to help you figure out exactly what you want.

Cons:

Contract work. Making a living off your brains and talents is difficult, and the income is uncertain. I do not write for free, and asking anyone else to—even a close friend—is an idea that makes me uncomfortable.

Town gossip: I live in Birmingham, Ala., and, with just over 200,000 residents, you’d think you might have a measure of anonymity. Wrong. Everyone is connected, and someone in your circle probably knew and hated your caterer friend in high school. Wedding planning is not the time you want to learn the salacious details of someone’s past mistakes.

Wedding day work. Adam and I met through mutual friends, grew closer through and to our friends, and got engaged on a beach in front of three of them. We’ve been hesitant to say yes to friends’ offers because for some of them, it would mean that they would be working our wedding instead of enjoying it as a guest. We’re still trying to figure out if it’s possible to do both, or if we should consider our other options.

Friendship. If your friend bails, will it ruin your friendship? If the answer is yes, you might want to consider using another person.

By Clair McLafferty

clair-mclafferty-bio-picClair McLafferty is a freelance writer, craft bartender and general nerd operating out of Birmingham, Ala. If she’s not mixing up vintage drinks or editing a story, she can usually be found reading cocktail history or science fiction. See more of her work at clairmclafferty.com.

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