5 Things to Consider Before Hiring Your Friend as a Wedding Vendor
The perks of hiring a friend to take your wedding photos, bake the cake or play guitar at the ceremony are huge. The obvious ones? You know them (and they know you!), you're already comfortable with them, and you'll likely get some sort of discount on whatever service they're providing. It's also a little free marketing for their business. Another bonus is you'll have one less pro to research, interview, book and pay for. But before you jump at the opportunity to have a friend be a vendor, here are a few important things to consider.
1. You'll need a contract—will that make things awkward?
No matter whom you hire—from calligraphers to florists—you should get your agreement in a written contract. Yes, this includes friends or family members you're working with. Even if they've offered to do something for free (or as your wedding gift), both of you should sit down and write out expectations (including promised services, times, dates and locations)—and then sign it. You never know what might happen (like, it's four months after your honeymoon and you haven't gotten your photos back, for example), and it always helps to be able to refer back to a signed, written document, just in case.
2. Consider whether or not they're a professional in their field.
It's one thing to have a pro photographer friend take your pics—but it's an entirely different story for someone with a hobby and a camera to do the honors. We're not saying they aren't talented or passionate, but taking thousands (yes, thousands) of high-quality photos of 100-plus people, over the course of six or more hours and on such an important day (not to even mention the intensive backend photo editing and turnaround process) is a massive undertaking and a lot of pressure. The quality, professinalism and consistency of a hired pro can't be overstated.
3. There's potential for tension if things don't go as planned.
Even the most solid relationships are susceptible to this (we're only human). Collaborating on wedding details will be entirely different than hanging out and grabbing coffee. Wedding planning (for you) and work (for them) can sometimes bring out your different sides you don't see when you're off-duty having a friends' dinner. Are you very confrontational with your wedding vendors, and will that rub your friend the wrong way? Sometimes it's harder to be straightforward with people you love. Are you a total perfectionist, and will that put too much pressure on your friendship? Your friend might take it too personally if you're disappointed. Does your friend, however talented and lovely, tend to ghost you from time to time? We'd never want you to resent a good friend for being a bad communicator on the business side of things.
4. They might need to work at your wedding.
If your friend's working, they'll have less (or no) time to celebrate with you. Bottom line, if you'd rather your loved one enjoy the day (and the signature cockatils) free of responsibilities, consider hiring someone else.
5. It can be uncomfortable to pay your friends.
Is your college roommate making 400 cupcakes for free? She might say it's genuinely her pleasure—but will she be offended if you don't offer at least a little compensation? Or will she be offended if you do? On the other hand, you may go into business with a friend assuming you're getting something for free or deeply discounted, then realize they're expecting more. Cue the awkward conversation. The delicate money dance is something you'll need to take into account—and yet another reason to put everything in a contract.
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