We have all been there: a friend or family member offers their services up for you on your special day. For some, it’s a hobby; for others, they mix and mingle with the service, and for others, they are on their way to becoming a professional at that special talent but are just not quite there yet.
It is always nice for family and friends to offer help and services to save you money, but in the grand scheme of things, it usually isn’t really saving you much money, and to be honest, it is probably adding stress to your planning process.
In many meetings, I have clients say, “Well, our friend offered to help with playing the music, taking the photos, creating the flowers, doing hair or make up, or even being their Day of Coordinator.” Again, it is a great thought and a generous offer, but I like to break it down and walk my clients through the process. As sweet as the offer is from your friend or family member, a professional will take your day seriously, as in his/her job (because it IS his/her job). By this, I am not saying your friend or family member wouldn’t take your day seriously, but at the end the day a professional’s name, job, and reputation are all on the line here. They do this for a living, weekend after weekend and sometimes even everyday, depending on what it is. Your day is important, and as a professional vendor, they will take this on as their job, from making sure they have the proper equipment, experience/education, and decision making to make sure your vision for your big day comes to life.
Also, there’s a contract! There is an agreement between two parties on what is expected, what will be exchanged as goods and services, what the price of those goods and services will be, and when those goods and services will happen. The details of a contract are extremely important because confusion, miscommunication and misunderstandings come up for friends and family, and sometimes friends and family may back out of the “offer.” While there can also be concerns with a professional, things are generally spelled out in the contract, and there is recourse built into the contract. Professional vendors have a signed contract with you on a specific date, and they know they will need to show up at a predetermined time, for a predetermined delivery, service, or good.
Before taking your family member or friend up on that wonderfully generous offer, ask yourself these questions: 1) What if they don’t meet my expectations? 2) Will I be upset and carry that against them? Most vendors won’t be at your next holiday gathering, so you don’t have that awkwardness with “Aunt Sue” because she didn’t get all the pictures you wanted. And last question and most important question, 3) Wouldn’t you rather have them as guests so they, too, can enjoy celebrating with you?
At the end of the day this isn’t saying your family member or friend can’t do the job, but it truly does help to have a professional in control because you count on them to be there, know what to do. . .even if plans change quickly, and since professional vendors do this for a living, they may have ideas or concerns you haven’t considered in the planning process.