These days I feel like nearly every engaged couple 'knows someone' or has a friend they want to hire for their wedding. Maybe your co-worker is amazing with makeup, or your cousin is a talented corporate photographer, or maybe your aunt is passionate about flowers. Regardless of the situation, it can be very tempting to bring these people on as part of your 'vendor team.'
Now, I will admit that hiring professionals is the best way to ensure success, but there is also nothing wrong with working with friends and family. (Regardless of what other blogs are telling you!) As long as you understand how to approach the situation from the beginning, it is possible to have a successful and enjoyable experience working with a friend, or family member. Below are the six steps I recommend taking in order to successfully hire a friend for your wedding.
Set Clear Expectations
In order to prevent any unnecessary frustration, I highly suggest setting very clear expectations from the beginning. If your family member or friend is an ACTUAL wedding vendor, then I would suggest having them send over a contract spelling out their services. If they are not an 'official' vendor, then I recommend sitting down and with your family member or friend, and writing down exactly what they will be providing.
I know this may sound silly or a bit unnecessary, but I promise it is worthwhile. By doing this, you will know exactly what is and is not being provided and can plan accordingly. It will also ensure that you two are on the same page and will prevent frustration from things not going the way you expect.
Test Their Work
Before you 100% commit to bringing on a family member of friend, I suggest you test out their work. Now, I don't recommend you tell them directly that you want to try out their work because if you don't like the product, then that becomes I very challenging conversation.
Instead, I suggest asking them to do something small before your wedding. For example, if a friend offers to photograph your wedding for free, let them know that you are already speaking with a few potential photographers, but ask if they would be willing to shoot your engagement session. If you LOVE the photos from your engagement session, then you can ask your them to also shoot your wedding. If you don't love the photos, there is no obligation or hard feelings if you hire a professional because you already told them you were speaking to other photographers.
By approaching the situation this way, you will have the confidence that hiring your friend or family member for your wedding is the right call.
Be Honest and Upfront About Budget
Too often, couples assume that if a friend of family member is offering to help with the wedding, that they are either doing it for a discount or complimentary. Let me tell you from experience, never assume this! Just because someone is offering to help, doesn't mean it's going to fit your budget. Before you commit to saying 'yes,' you need to have the tough money conversation. Be completely upfront and let them know how much you are able to spend. Getting this information out in the open from the very beginning is going to prevent any money issues or surprises from popping up part way through your engagement.
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If the family members or friends you are hiring for your wedding aren't wedding pros, then you need to be extra pro-active in the weeks leading up to your wedding. Unlike a professional, they aren't going to be reaching out and asking for your wedding day timeline or your final guarantee. It is up to you to follow up with them and ensure they have all the information they need to be successful on your wedding day.
Do A Final Meeting
Not only do I recommend being pro-active, but I also suggest having a final meeting with the family member or friend you hired for your wedding. This will, once again, ensure that you are all on the same page and will set very clear expectations for the actual wedding day. Typically, when you initially decide to use them for your wedding, there are a lot of details still up in the air. This is your chance to really fine tune those details in order to set your day up for success.
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