How to Make Hiring a Friendor Work for You
If you’re considering hiring a friend to provide a service for your wedding day, this post is for you. Learn how to hire your friend for your wedding and still be friends after.
Want to hire a friend to work at your wedding? It’s not as bad of an idea as wedding planning websites would make you believe. With clear communication, effective boundaries, and a little bit of prep work, you can make a “friendor” situation work for everyone involved — including you.
Here’s my advice as a professional wedding planner who got her start when two friends asked if she could help with their wedding.
Ask yourself: Is your friend a professional or is your friend a talented friend?
Friendors fall into two buckets: Friends who are professional wedding vendors and friends who happen to have a certain skill set. We can work with both groups but how we work with them will need to change.
For the first group — friends who are professional wedding vendors — my biggest piece of advice is to recognize what a gift this person is giving you and your partner. There’s a chance they are giving up better-paying work for your wedding. That’s a big deal in an industry where our inventory as vendors is days of the week. Be sure to thank your friend!
For the second group — friends who happen to have a certain skill set — you’re going to need to be more involved than with the first group. This isn’t because we don’t trust your friend to do a good job but because it’s unlikely they’ve ever done this before. While yes, your friend is very good at making cupcakes on the weekends, it’s a whole different ball game when that’s the dessert for an entire wedding.
Clearly communicate expectations.
When hiring a friend, it can be very easy to say things like “whatever you think best” or “we trust you.” While these things aren’t bad, they’re also not helpful to your friendor.
Your friend’s top priority is to not screw up your wedding. That means they want to know exactly what you want so they can, to the best of their abilities, execute that plan. This desire to serve is inherent in all wedding vendors but I notice a particular sense of urgency when the vendor is a friend. Now it’s not just their livelihood on the line, it’s their friendship!
Don’t know what you want? That’s OK. Own it and ask for your friend’s expertise. Here are a few examples: “You know, we really don’t know what we want to do with flowers. Here are some loose ideas of what we were thinking. What do you recommend?” or “We really don’t care what’s on the playlist but know we’ll need songs for these particular events during the wedding. Any ideas?”
Whatever you decide, make those expectations painfully clear to your friend. I recommend writing them out and ideally, signing a contract once both parties feel appropriately represented in that document. Our goal here is to minimize your friend’s fear that they’re going to mess up your wedding while simultaneously letting you do what we want you to do: Enjoy your own wedding.
Compensate your friendor in some capacity.
One of the biggest benefits of hiring a friend is that they are, in nearly all situations, more affordable than hiring a professional wedding vendor who isn’t your friend.
This is not a shameful thing. Weddings are very expensive and top dollar professionals aren’t always within your wedding budget! Is there a way that we can save money in a meaningful way that also respects our own time and brainpower? Great! Let’s do that — and I say this as someone who makes her living as a professional wedding vendor.
However, as with all choices, there is a trade-off. This is your friend that we are talking about and as such, it can be very tempting — and even feel somewhat unnatural — to follow typical business etiquette like signing a contract or paying a fee.
Don’t fall into this trap. Sign a contract or, at minimum, write out a list of expectations for your friendor and for yourself and your partner. This helps avoid any confusion in the inevitable chaos of a wedding day.
Also, pay this person at least a little. A $15 gift card or even a free but thoughtful thank-you card goes a long way to recognize that this person is more than a guest. If your friend is also looking to build out a business in weddings, review them online, too.
These efforts take your time and, sometimes, your money. They also recognize the responsibility that you gave your friend and so can go a long way to making sure your friendship lasts long after your wedding day.
Get out of the way.
When we hire our friends, we have a tendency to believe that they don’t mean what they say. It’s one of the biggest problems in wedding planning. Everybody is telling us they want to help but we have no idea what to ask them to do!
In a friendor situation, you can help your friend and also yourself by following the advice above — set expectations, communicate expectations, say thank you — and then getting the heck out of the way. I don’t say this to make you feel bad if you have the (very understandable) sense of “if I don’t do it, nobody will.” I’m a professional wedding planner and also a Virgo, so trust me, I get it.
It’s also true that you have a much more important task to accomplish on your wedding day: Get married! You’ve done the hard work of doling out responsibilities to qualified people. Now, let them do their job so that you can do yours. Believe me, there is no greater gift you can give your friend than for you to enjoy your own wedding.