One of the key components of a good wedding vendor is having trust and accountability. It also doesn’t hurt if they’re easy to communicate with and make the wedding planning process fun—almost like a good friend. But what happens if you have a friend who just so happens to work in the wedding industry and is offering to take on a job for your big day? Do you treat them more like a friend or as an employee? Should the hiring process be as formal as it would for a complete stranger?
Hiring a friend to handle the flowers, officiate your wedding, or even be your wedding coordinator means having someone you trust to be in charge—but it can also mean that if they don’t hold up their end of the bargain it can spell disaster for your friendship. Considering hiring a friend to be a vendor at your wedding? Here are five things that you need to ask before you agree or sign on the dotted line.
1. How Many Weddings Have They Done Before?
Sure, your friend may be interested in photography—and her amateur stuff might look amazing—but you (probably) don’t want your wedding to be her guinea pig. Before you agree to hire your friend in any capacity for your wedding whether that’s as florist, photographer, performer, or baker, you should ask them how many weddings or events they’ve handled before.
2. Will There Be a Discount?
One of the big perks of hiring a friend to do a task at your wedding is that they will usually offer you a friends and family discount. However, you shouldn’t expect that there will be a discount. Remember, they are a professional and earn a living off this work. You definitely don’t want to assume they’ll do it on the cheap just because you’re friends.
It’s also worth it to ask yourself the following question: Do you really like their work or are you just hiring them because you think it’ll save you some money? And if they offer you a discount, can you expect the same level of service that any other client would get? The last situation you want to find yourself in is that you’re constantly asking them what the status is on the flowers/cake/catering or feeling like you’re bugging them because they’re giving more attention to paying clients.
3. What Will the Contract Look Like?
Even if you’ve been friends with this person for your entire life and trust them to do a great job, you should never hire someone for your wedding without a formal contract. Whether they already have one for their wedding business or you need to draw one up yourself (there are plenty of boilerplate templates available online), a contract is a way to protect both you and your friend from being taken advantage of in this business negotiation.
At the very least, your contract should contain the details of your arrangement (how much you will pay them, the details of a deposit, when they will arrive at the venue) and information on violations of the contract. It may feel weird to discuss these items with a friend, but if they’re a true professional they’ll understand—and appreciate—your attention to detail.
4. Are You Sure They Don’t Want to Just Enjoy the Wedding?
Your friend may have offered their services for your wedding (and maybe even gave you a sweet discount), but before you sign a contract or agree to move forward, be sure to ask them this: Are you sure you don’t just want to enjoy the wedding?
This is especially something to take into consideration if your friend will have a lot of mutual friends attending the event. Instead of running around and taking photos or ensuring that the flowers are being stored properly, they may want to catch up with old college roommates or say hello to high school classmates. If you think they’d be happier to just attend as a guest, be sure to ask them for their recommendation on another wedding professional who could do the job justice.
5. Would You Work Well Together?
You know yourself better than anyone, and you know exactly what you’re looking for in a wedding vendor. Take some time to think about whether or not your friend is the kind of person you’d want to work with professionally. If you’re teetering on that answer, it may just be best to invite them as a guest. Trust us, it’ll do both your wedding and your friendship a huge favor.