So, what can possibly go wrong when you have a friend acting as a vendor (in the wedding industry they are known as “friendors”)?
This is the scene as reported by an officiant colleague of ours from out of state:
“Pandemonium tonight. Both the DJ & photographer were friendors. Maid of honor shows up 5 min after start time, same with ceremony music guy. He thinks he’s “just playing some light background music throughout the ceremony.” Groom says “I just told him to do whatever people usually do.” So I go back upstairs and gave him the CD from my bag. Cannon in D for everyone, here comes the bride at the all rise & trumpet voluntary at the kiss. We start like 20 min late but it’s a Thursday so there is no other wedding & nobody, including me, really cares. The entrances begin and the photog is shoving me out of the way. 1st instance me: “dude? Seriously?” 2nd instance seconds later: me: “back off and give me some space” What a cluster fig”
Fortunately, they had a professional officiant and she was completely prepared, with a source for appropriate wedding music, the knowledge of how to handle situations and the ability to maintain her calm and keep the couple calm.
We have had similar experiences ourselves. We had a friend/dj play the wrong song for the bride’s entrance and she yelled out from her staging area to him. We have seen couples end up without enough food because their friend/caterer did not know how to calculate serving portions. We have seen cakes collapse or slide right off the base because it was not properly stored or secured. Without a professional on hand to know how to manage it what do you do?
So, what can you do to avoid having this situation happen to you? We recommend considering finding ways to afford having a professional provide all the major services for your wedding—officiant, dj, photographer, videographer, baker, day of coordinator and caterer for certain. There are ways to have these professionals even while on a budget (that is the topic of an upcoming blog post).
In the meantime, how can you have friends and family members provide services for your wedding and know that things are going to go the way you want.
1.Seriously consider the skill set of the individual you are going to ask to provide a service. Just because someone owns a nice camera does not mean they know how to utilize light and shadows to get great photos. Remember that owning equipment does not give a person the right to download music to play without purchasing it and paying the artist for their talent. Does your friend/dj have the legal right to play the music you want? Do they understand and know what is appropriate for the wedding you want? Are they willing to follow your desires and put aside their ego for your wedding? If you are asking someone to be your day of coordinator, do they know what that means, do they have the skills to instruct people to keep them on task and on time?
2. Have a serious long conversation with your friend about what you want them to do. Details, Details, Details! Yes, it is all about the details in a wedding. Outline exactly what you want from them—what music played when, what not to play, what shots you want to be sure are taken, how are they calculating the food to be purchased and served, what timeline will they be working with.
3. Be sure they understand how their participation will impact their ability to be a guest at your wedding. If they are day of coordinator, they will be busy during the ceremony getting everyone lined up and down the aisle and not able to be fully present for the entire ceremony; they will be busy during the reception keeping everyone on time for the various activities of your reception. Your friend/dj will be busy keeping everyone on the dance floor and will not be able to get out and dance and drink and hang out with friends. Are they willing to give this up for your wedding day?
4. Put it all in writing! Give them a written timeline, a playlist, a menu, a photo list, or whatever else they are going to be doing for you. Do not be vague!! Do not do what the above couple did “do whatever everyone else does”. How do you know your friend has been to very many weddings and knows what everyone else does? Don’t tell a friend with a camera—just get lots of photos. Tell them you want photos with grandparents, with bridal party, photos of the kiss, of the sand-blending, of your first look, etc.
5. Have anyone providing a service normally provided by a professional sign a contract. This might sound crazy, they are your friend and want to do this for you. We hear often from couples that they have had to scramble at the last minute to find a professional to fill in for a friend who bailed on them at the last minute. If someone is “under contract” even if it has little to no money attached, they think twice about being a no show. Also, it shows them just how much value you place on them and how much you expect of them.
Friends might be able to provide services for your ceremony and do exactly what you want of them. Maybe they are truly gifted in an area and will do a bang up job. However, it has been our experience that most folks end up regretting the decision to cut corners in the major areas of their wedding day.
Contact us to see how we can help you find just the right professional for your wedding day. You can call us at 336-937-0890 or email us at info@TriadWeddingOfficiant.com We want to see you have the wedding of your dreams-not your nightmares!