"Hiring" Friends or Family Members to Work Your Wedding
November 5, 2013
As coordinators, we spend a lot of time working with our clients to find them the best vendors to partner with for their special day. When we are recommending vendors to clients we take into account their personalities, their priorities, their vision and their budget. Building the right team for each client takes time, but it is such an important piece of a well run day and happy clients.
As important as vendors are to a successful wedding day, you can imagine how nervous we get when clients say they are using friends or family members as vendors. While it would be easy for us to beg and plead for clients to "NEVER EVER....like EVER" hire their friends or family members to act as vendors, we realize that isn't practical so we wanted to give you some tips on how to hire friends in a way that protects your wedding and the friendship.
While all these tips boil down to frequent, specific, open and honest communication, there are a few specific things to do:
1. Get it in writing. While the idea of drafting a formal contract with your friend or your aunt seems cold, impersonal and just plain uncomfortable, do sit down with your friend or family member and discuss and write down specifics. For instance, if you are utilizing your friend as a DJ, communicate your expectations for: equipment (number of set ups, lapel mic, wire-less mic etc), number of hours (including set up and clean up) they will be working, song selections, what announcements will be made, what they will wear, whether they will take requests from the crowd etc. Make sure they are completely aware and completely on board with how extensive their responsibilities will be.
2. Pay them...something. Once you go over the roles and responsibilities in detail, bring up the topic of compensation. While I realize friends and family members usually want to gift their services, and I completely understand taking advantage of any opportunity to save some money, I highly recommend paying them something for the services they are going to provide. I also recommend paying them a deposit to hold your date. By securing your date with a financial deposit your friend is going to be a lot less likely to ditch your wedding when they realize that the Dave Matthews concert is the same day. LOCK IT IN!
3. Say a prayer, hope for the best and then finally let go. If you find that the invitations your graphic designer best friend has been slaving on for days and days and days are just not up to your satisfaction, and/or you feel you run the risk of your buddy clawing your eyes out if you suggest one more edit, LET IT GO. Nothing about your wedding is worth ruining an amazing friendship, or causing a major family feud over. While we hope all of our clients are able to have fun with the planning process, we always try and remind folks to focus on the end goal, and that is a happy marriage. Enjoy how wedding planning can bring friends and family members together, but first and foremost protect those relationships. They are going to be the ones you need to rely on to see you to your 50th wedding anniversary.