When you're in the midst of wedding vendor searching and budgeting is wrecking your head, having friends as wedding vendors can seem like the dream option. But there are pros and cons to having 'friendors' - friend-vendors. Whether it be photography, floristy, planning, or other services, we think there are a few things you should consider before hiring a friend to do your wedding.
Pros of friends as wedding vendors
We'll start with the obvious major benefit of having your friends as wedding vendors: it's free! Or at least, heavily discounted or often done in lieu of them giving you another gift on the day. When your budget sheet is breathing down your neck, this is often massively welcome. It can mean you get to have whatever service it is at your wedding when you otherwise wouldn't have been able to afford it, or if you had budgeted for it initially, now that money is freed up to be spent on something elsewhere. Win-win, right?
Often friendors are professionals in the field already, or at least, experienced hobbyists - so they know what they're at. It's one thing to have a professional photographer friend take your wedding pics, but it's a very different thing for someone who just owns a DLSR to do the honours so you need to be careful whose offers you're accepting. However, if your friend is a professional, you can see previous work of theirs and decide if it fits with your wedding, and you know you can rely on them too, and they're going to be able to answer your queries etc with expert knowledge.
If you know your friend is a pro, and that they'll happily donate their services as a gift, well that's one category of vendors you don't have to sift through, contact, get quotes from, and organise a deposit for. One more thing ticked off that checklist!
If this friendor is your close friend or family, chances are you know them well, and they know you well too. That can actually help more than you think - they know you best and are more likely to make decisions that they think you'll want. They'll have your best interests at heart, and likely know your style and taste, so you won't end up with something totally off the mark.
Cons of friends as wedding vendors
On the flip side of being free, you likely won't have a contract with your friendor, so you don't really have a leg to stand on if they don't deliver the services they promised or if you're unhappy with the results. You can't say 'Hey I paid for this so I expect a certain level of results' when you haven't, er, paid. And this applies double if your friend is a professional wedding vendor - they might love you to bits, but at the end of the day, they have other paying clients whose questions and deadlines may have to come before you, and it can be difficult to kick up a fuss with a pal.
That leads us to our next point - there's huge potential for tension if things don't go as planned. Your wedding is going to be a big deal to you, no matter how chill a bride or groom you may be, and you may be upset if things don't work out as you imagined. That goes equally for the planning part as the actual day-of results - sometimes it's harder to be straightforward about what you want with people you love. Do you think you'll be able to shut down their ideas if you hate them, without hurting their feelings? Are you a total perfectionist? That might put a lot of pressure on your pal, especially if they're not a pro, and they may take it personally if you're disappointed. Is your friend a little airy fairy about things while you're the kind of person who has checklists for their checklists? You may butt heads over deadlines and timelines. All of this is easily overcome if you think you have the kind of relationship where you can get all this out in the open, but it's important to consider how you'll work together before jumping in feet first.
Even if your friend is a super talented hobbyist, there's a lot of expertise that comes with doing loads of weddings, as they're a very specific beast. A photographer pal may not know how to corral all your 19 aunts into a photo or the best angle to get that shot of the first kiss, in the way a professional has done it a million times before. A friend who has a knack for flower arranging might create you a beautiful bouquet on the morning, but if it's half-dead by lunch, that's no good to you. And if you're hiring a friend to make your cake, you need to know it's not going to be stale or teeny tiny when it arrives. While you might not be too bothered if your friend who offered to craft some decor bits for you doesn't come through, you better believe you'll have a disaster on your hands if your bestie DJ turns up without speakers or something major.
Depending on the job they've volunteered for, it may mean they have to work at the wedding. If they're working, they'll have less, or potentially no time to celebrate with you. This might be fine with you if it's a distant cousin you wouldn't normally hang out with, but if it's your best friend, you might be disappointed when they're not around to enjoy a signature cocktail with you, or too busy snapping pics to join you for your guys' favourite song on the dancefloor. If you'd prefer they were able to enjoy the wedding, you may have to look at hiring someone else.
Three things to consider before hiring your friends as wedding vendors
Your priorities - Consider what's important to you, and invest in those areas. If this friend doesn't work out, or doesn't quite do the job you hoped they would, are you going to be crushed, or is it not that big of a deal? If you are super, super excited about your wedding photos, don't leave them in the hands of someone who isn't a professional. Same goes for if dessert is your favourite meal, don't leave your cake to a pal who bakes the odd time. On the flip side, if you're not sure you can squeeze a cake into the budget but a friend can make one, maybe that's the key. If there's something you care less about - maybe your friend is the group's hairdresser for nights out and you love how she does your hair, then work away with your friendor. If a band isn't a priority for you and a trusted friend can DJ for the night, work away, but if you're going to be worrying about the entertainment all night, it won't be worth it. All couples have to make priority lists for where they want to spend more or save, and we recommend not opting for a friend for any of your top priorities. If it goes wrong and it's that important to you, it has the potential to put a dampener on the whole day, so don't do it to yourselves. It's not worth the saving!
Their expertise - Whether they're a professional in their field or not, if your friend has never done a wedding before, think carefully before deciding you'll be their guinea pig. A wedding is a super unique kind of event and they may not be prepared for it, which will leave you with a heap of unnecessary stress potentially. A well-versed wedding vendor knows how to handle the kinds of unexpected circumstances that come with weddings and will have things sorted and running smoothly before you even realise it's an issue. This links in with priorities in that you may not be bothered if the service isn't tip top for some things, but you really will for others.
Your timeline - Some of your closest friends and family are obvious people to ask - you know them super well, they get you, they want to help out wherever possible, and you probably have the kind of relationship where you can be open about these things with them. However, if one of your groomsmen is in a wedding band, think about the fact he might struggle to do a soundcheck if he's supposed to be doing wedding portraits at the time. Things like that are things you forget to even think about until it's too late, and besides the logistics of it all, it may be a lot of pressure to put on your loved ones, who you want to be able to enjoy the day too.