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  • Liz Stam

Should I Hire a Friend as a Wedding Vendor?


wedding table centerpiece with flowers and candles
Photo: Alex Maldonado Photography

Deciding who to hire for your wedding day can be a huge stress for couples. You want to choose a vendor team that understands your vision, fits your personality as a couple, and is reasonably priced for your budget — and that can be an intimidating undertaking!


It’s easy to get “sticker shock” when receiving quotes from vendors. It’s no secret that weddings can be expensive, and you might be searching for ways to save some money. This can give you the brilliant idea to message that friend who you went to college with who minored in photography. She was pretty good right? Plus she'd probably get you a discount since you always bought the vodka for the parties you went to together? Oh wow, what a genius idea! Right?


That’s what we’re here to talk about: Why Friend Vendors (or “friendors”) can actually be bad for you and your budget!


Why We Don't Recommend Friendors


The biggest reasons we recommend hiring professional wedding vendors are timeliness, accountability, and experience. Weddings are very specialized events: the flow and timeline of the day are different than any other type of event. In the months leading up to your wedding day, we follow a specific process to ensure your entire vendor team is on the same page and working together to create the wedding day you’re envisioning. Just because your friend may create beautiful floral arrangements or capture stunning photos doesn’t necessarily mean they have a firm grasp on what to expect during a wedding day.


Let’s talk about some specific vendor categories and the differences you may notice between a professional wedding vendor and a friendor.


Photographers

Choosing the right photographer is so important! You’re with your photographer for the majority of your wedding day and want it to be someone that makes you feel comfortable and confident in front of the camera.


While your photographer friend might be an amazing photographer, there are a variety of different shots on wedding day that they may not have experience with. Photos like detail shots (photos of your invitation suite, attire, shoes, etc.), first looks, and family photos require specific styling and a solid process to ensure they’re executed successfully.


We also need your photographer to be comfortable using and following a timeline. With other types of photography, such as landscape, portraits, family/maternity, etc., there typically isn’t as rigid of a schedule to follow. However, with even the most casual & laid-back wedding day photo sessions, we need a structure to when certain photos are taking place and how long we have for them. There are so many small moments throughout the wedding day that the photographer needs to be prepared for, while also knowing how to effectively use the time we have.


DJs

I have worked many weddings with friendor DJs. The thinking for a lot of couples is, they're just going to play some great music and dance along, right? Lots of couples forget that when the reception begins, the timeline is in the DJ’s hands. The DJ is often the emcee for the night, guiding the flow of reception traditions and getting your crowd pumped up.


Often what we see with friend DJs is that they are not experienced with this side of things. They aren’t comfortable with emceeing, and because of that, the transition from one reception tradition to another can feel awkward and clunky. We need the DJ to seamlessly flow from speeches to dinner to special dances to partying.


You also want to make sure you trust your DJ to be ready to begin your special dances, speeches, or even transfer your guests from one space to another. You don’t want your Dad’s cousin’s son taking a shot when you need him most!


Florists

There are many complications when choosing a friend or family member to do your floral. The struggle I see most often is the question of who will set up and tear down. Most venues will not allow you to keep items in their space overnight. Plus, you will need a climate-controlled space for any living flowers. This means your friend or family member will have to bring all the floral the day of your wedding. If this person is also going to be a wedding guest they will probably arrive with their hair/makeup done while they set up your floral arrangements. I can promise you, they will be sweating by the end!


If you are opting to work with a friend on your wedding florals, ensure they have specifically done weddings before. The processes of taking care of & prepping wedding flowers can differ quite a bit compared to that of a flower shop.


Professionals Are Proactive


Most importantly, professional wedding vendors know what info they need for wedding day. They’ll reach out to you weeks, if not months, before your wedding to get your timeline, photo lists, song choices, load-in information, etc. These are often details that you might not be thinking of! Having proactive wedding pros takes this worry off your plate.


All you have to do is sit back & have a glass of champagne!


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