Professional Vendors or Friends? The Nitty Gritty and What You Need to Know.
Let’s face it folks. If we could have our dream wedding planned, organized, and put together by our nearest and dearest, we would! Right? Giving business to a loved one is a very noble and thoughtful idea… in theory. You support your Great Aunt Nancy’s business and livelihood by giving her the task of putting together the most gorgeous flower arrangements on your special day, and she gives you “the most gorgeous flower arrangements on your special day”!… or does she?…
There are a few reasons you might want to hire a professional vendor instead of a talented friend. Here are just a few:
You are paying these people good money for a service to be rendered. They are running a bona fide business and they want to deliver the best product out there so that you smile from ear to ear on your big day! To a vendor, a happy bride is the most valuable and priceless form of advertisement. They do a good job, you will talk about it! They do a bad job, you will *definitely* talk about it! And they know this. Vendors will be punctual, they will listen, and they will be attentive to every detail. And if they aren’t, you can kick them to the curb before the big day with no hard feelings. You can be brutally honest with them from the very start. There’s no risk in hurting feelings, disagreeing on ideas, or letting biases get in the way of planning your special day. However, if you decide to trust your Aunt Nancy with the flowers, and she heard “daisies” when you clearly said “dahlias”, and nothing is written down on paper, you might be in for a world of hurt. Or if you asked for blush and burlap, but she thought coral and twine looked better, it might be harder to be brutally honest with your dear Aunt Nancy. This would be a nonissue with a professional vendor—your wish is their command!
2. Official, umm, “stuff”.
Professional vendors also have these fancy little things called “insurance” and “contracts” with pretty dotted lines that you sign on! Who knew that a piece of paper with a couple autographs on it would provide such security and peace of mind?! The only thing that Aunt Nancy can “ensure” is that she’ll be at the next family reunion talking about how “lovely the daisies were” while you’re eyeing her from across the room, chugging the Franzia mumbling “dahlias damnit! they were supposed to be DAHLIAS!”.
3. Professionals do this all the time.
Since professional vendors are business owners, they do this sort of thing literally all day, every day, for. a. living! They have checklists and protocols to ensure that no detail is forgotten. Sure, there might be some snags and snafus here and there; no wedding day is completely perfect! But you can guaran-damn-tee that if something is going to go awry, the professional vendor is going to have a backup plan in place for the backup plan! They will handle things seamlessly and with poise. Heck, if the vendor is any good at their job, you won’t even know there was a hiccup! And they are not going to let emotion get in the way of performing the task at hand. Whereas, if your cousin George is hosting the hog roast reception in his backyard, and he runs out of baked beans, it’s doubtful he is going to have a worthy stash of beans in his pantry to replenish the buffet! If a professional caterer is used however, they will have planned on running out of baked beans and will have enough for everyone to have seconds! I’m not sure if I would want to have a second helping of beans on my wedding day, or even a first helping for that matter, but that’s not my point. My point is simple: professionals just know what’s up!
4. Relationships remain intact.
The last thing you want to do is burn a bridge with a dear friend or family member! Keeping family and friends happy while planning a wedding is HARD ENOUGH as it is! I have planned many weddings, including my own just recently, and it was not easy. Trust me on this one! You have guest lists and seating charts, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You have Uncle Tom who is recently divorced from Aunt Sally and he is bringing his new girlfriend—30 years his junior! So you start thinking… “Ok, so, the divorcees must sit across the room from each other. Speaking of Sally and Tom, don’t they have a son that’s an amateur photographer? I could really save some money there and have him take the pics!! What a great idea!” But then you keep thinking, like all brides do, and you go further down the rabbit hole of wedding planning: “Wait, don’t I have a cousin on my Mother’s side that’s a better photographer?! Ugh! Since I didn’t give Sally a plus one, is she gonna be mad if I don’t ask her son to take the pictures?” Then your head starts spinning as you twirl your hair and chug your third cup of coffee that morning, “I’m the bride, and I wanna make everyone happy! What do I do?!…” What do you do? Here’s what you don’t do: you don’t hire either cousin for starters! Don’t even go there. Sure, you might save some money if you “keep it in the family”—but really, at what cost? If your cousin is your videographer and he forgets to press “record” while you and your beloved are exchanging your “I Do’s”—what then? He’s going to feel like crud and even though you’ll say “It’s fine”, you know it’s not. Save yourself the potential heartache and don’t muddy the waters by mixing family and business. Sure, things might work out just fine, but if they don’t, you might not be prepared for the consequences.
Ok. So you might be thinking: “wait, so does this mean I shouldn’t hire a friend at all?! For anything?!” Ultimately my sweet, that’s up to you. You will have to weigh the risks and benefits and decide for yourself. Asking people you know to help with the wedding can be a very budget friendly option for the frugal and fiscally savvy bride! I have had several clients that have had great success in hiring friends. But I have also had many clients where it resulted in disaster. Now that’s what I am here for so let’s grab coffee and find the right balance for you!