There are a LOT of mixed reviews about hiring friends as vendors. Some say it saves money and limits the time you have to spend researching. Some say it may not be the best idea, especially if the friend is not a true wedding professional. Here are some things to consider and mull over before hiring your friends as vendors.
- Do they do this for a living? When it comes to hiring vendors, you absolutely want to hire professionals. This is one of the biggest day of both your lives and for many of you, you only get one shot. There is a difference between hiring Aunt Sue who bakes birthday cakes once a year, and your Cousin who owns a bakery and frequently bakes wedding cakes. Same with photography. There is a difference between someone who just picked up a camera and likes to shoot for fun, and someone who has all of the right equipment to make sure you get all of the photos you need. Plus, many venues require vendors to carry liability insurance.
- Contracts. Regardless of what service they are providing (floral, cake, coordination, photography, etc) always get something down in writing so that expectations and obligations are clear from the get-go. For example, if you hire your friend as a photographer, it is important to have record of how many hours they are working day of, their turn around time for images and how many images they’re delivering you. Plus, both of you are covered in the unlikely event something happens. Better to always be prepared!
- Keep in mind your relationship & how you will handle any issues if things aren’t going as planned. This is a big one. Hiring your vendors, especially friends as vendors is personal. You are investing money in exchange for a service and a great client experience. If things aren’t going to plan or issues start arising, are you okay with being confrontational and addressing the situation with honesty? Will there be long term impacts on your relationship? Can you clearly set the boundaries and expectations with your friend so that you both get what you need out of this experience?
- Your friend may just want to be a guest at your wedding and enjoy themselves. If you would rather have your friend on the dance floor with you, or enjoying a cocktail, consider hiring another vendor in their place so that you can enjoy the day with them.
- Don’t expect too much of a discount. We are big believers in always paying and investing money for your vendors. We feel you get the BEST possible experience this way. I know it may be tempting to ask your professional vendor friends to give a discount, but be mindful that your friend is likely running a business, and still has to make profit regardless of their relationship with you.
This blog was not intended to discredit the amazing friendors out there! We know your friend may be an amazing photographer or your Aunt may be a retired florist of 25 years.