So your aunt is a florist, or your cousin plays the violin. Maybe you work at a new restaurant that wants to get into catering, or you have a friend dabbling with wedding photography. If you’re planning a wedding and have a need for any of these items, you might be ready to make that ask. One reason could be that it’s a nice way to include them, but you also can’t help but hope you’ll get a better price than you would hiring a third party.
Before going that route we urge you to please STOP and reconsider, as it may be more trouble than it’s worth.
While you might be very chill and easygoing when it comes to your wedding, anyone that will be providing a service to you will want to make sure they are doing the best they can. For a hired vendor, that relationship is easy. You have already paid them or signed a contract for the requested amount that their service is valued at. If they are a good business, they pride themselves in doing well and are also working for your good review and recommendation upon completion. While you may connect personally, it is still a transaction.
When you want to work with a friend or family member however, things can start to get gray. As stated earlier, it’s highly likely that you’re hoping to get a discount by using their services. Off the bat this can put them in a tough situation. If this something that the do for a living, there is likely a well thought out science behind their pricing, and going much lower than that may make it difficult to pull things off well. Additionally, as a business they may get another inquiry that’s willing to pay full price on the same date as yours, which is not always ideal to turn down.
If they are making less to no money from your business, that may also push you down on the priority list. Depending on where you are at in your planning process, that may not be a big deal. However a slower response time than other vendors may bring out some frustrations and headaches. Especially when a certain expectation has been set by everyone else you’re working with. Or it could go the other way, where they’re driving you crazy with questions on what you want exactly, because they don’t want to let you down. It’s hard to address these frustrations though, because you don’t want to make your personal relationship weird either.
While people who are “dabbling” in the industry do need to start somewhere, please have a full understanding of what you are getting into when bringing them on as your vendors. Does your friend who photographs architecture know how important it is to build and stick to an itinerary for the day? Is the new Jamaican restaurant in town prepared for the 200 plates of dinner to sit an extra 20 minutes because he didn’t stick to the timeline? Does your cousin who’s a club DJ know how to vamp when everyone is starving, waiting for their dinner? Maybe, but do you really want to test this out at your wedding?
Finally, do you really want these people to have to be working at your wedding, or would you rather have them enjoy it as guests??
So when does it make sense to take advantage of a talented person in your life? We’d recommend the following:
- When the person makes the offer to you explicitly, without you asking. For example, they say “If you want, I’d love to take care of your bouquets for you if you just buy the flowers”. You know what their limit is, you know what the cost is, they understand the scope of work and no one has to feel uncomfortable.
- When it very clearly falls in the no stress/more of a favor zone. Your talented violinist friend is probably fine playing 1-2 songs during your ceremony, but asking him to play the entire thing with music before and after without pay isn’t really fair.
- Helping with something ahead of time that doesn’t require an effort by them on the wedding day. Examples of this could be stationery or favors, where you’re flexible to work together on your own schedules and they can very much be a guest at your wedding.
The right answer will be different for everyone, and we know you’ll figure it out too. Happy planning!