Unconventional Wedding Presents: Gifting Professional Services

Baker decorating a cake

Anyone can give a newlywed couple a great present, but not everyone can give the gift of a professional service. If you know a couple who is getting married, and you just so happen to be a florist/baker/certified minister/wedding planner, you might want to “gift” them with your skills. Not only will your present be memorable, but it’ll also help save the couple some major cash. If you want to gift a service to your friends or family, here’s how to best go about it, and how to work out the small details with the soon-to-be newlyweds.

Be Sure to Tell Them Right Away if You’d Like to Offer

Friends talking

If you are planning on offering your professional services to the couple, be sure to tell them shortly after they get engaged. Chances are, they’ll be excited to get started on wedding plans right away and you want to ensure that you let them know they might get one of their vendors for free (or at a greatly reduced price) before they book someone else for full price.

After the couple announces their engagement, approach them with the idea of offering your skills. Put the idea in their head just to let them know that the option is there, and you’re more than happy to help.

Understand That They Might Say No

Understand that when you offer your service to the couple, they absolutely have the right to say no. Whether they had a specific vision in mind for the wedding or the venue only works with certain vendors, there is a chance that they might politely reject your offer. Even though it might sting, and you may not be able to stomach the fact that they are going with your business rival in town, you have to accept it and purchase something off their registry instead.

Work Out the Gift/Payment Details

Signing a contract

If the couple does accept your offer, you’ll then need to work out the details of the agreement. Let them know exactly what your terms are and how much (if any) they will be expected to pay. For example, if you are a caterer, it might be an expensive wedding gift to prepare and pay for all of the food at the wedding. However, you could offer your services as a chef for free to the couple and give them the price you would pay for the food wholesale. The same principle might apply if you are a florist or a baker. Make sure that you are comfortable with the arrangement and don’t sign up for anything that is going to be too costly (unless of course you want to!).

Set up a meeting with the couple to ensure that everyone understands all of the details. To save yourself and them a little grief, always provide the same contract that you would for any other client. This ensures that all parties are protected and that should anything happen that’s unexpected. It can also be a starting point for conflict resolution as well.

Be Sure to Be Professional

Though it may feel tempting to be a little more lax at this wedding than you would be for another client, try to resist the urge. This couple has entrusted you to provide a service for them, and it’s important that you be prompt and deliver everything exactly as you specified in any meetings or conversations. Even when the wedding is over, perform any duties as you normally would. Of course, the couple may not mind if you partake in a little wedding fun, but don’t let it inhibit your performance on their big day. They are counting on you, after all!

Don’t Let Them Take Advantage

Stressed out woman

Just as the couple doesn’t want a subpar performance from you, you certainly don’t want to be taken advantage of. If the couple is asking too much from you or taking up time from your paying clients, be sure to let them know. Don’t suffer in silence: be (gently) honest and let them know that while you are happy to provide a service for their wedding you can’t drop everything you’re doing with other clients to cater to their every whim. And while you can go above and beyond to make your flower arrangements, cake, or performance extra special, make sure it’s not going to be a detriment to your health or business.

Don’t Feel Pressured to Give Another Gift

Giving the gift of a service is a huge responsibility and honor. Even though you might be invited to a bridal shower or a couples shower, you shouldn’t feel an obligation to give the couple a physical gift. Of course, if you can’t stand the thought of not wrapping up and presenting a gift to them, then go ahead and check out their registry. However, being in charge of a cake, the dinner, or the entire service is a pretty big deal, so don’t feel too badly if you don’t give them something on top of that.

Don’t Offer If You Don’t Want To

Never feel that you have to offer your skills to every couple you know. It’s easy to get roped into this when you have a valuable skill—who doesn’t ask their mechanic friends for help with car trouble—especially when people are looking to cut costs. If you don’t have the time or the money, or you’re just not that close to the couple in question, politely refuse and opt for a registry present instead.

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