Beware of “Friendors”!

A friend is a friend till the end but that relationship can suffer if you recruit that friend to provide services for your wedding.

Now, I’m not talking about serving as the guest book attendant or being a member of your bridal party. I’m talking about being your DJ, photographer, cake baker, wedding planner, or – egad! – your caterer.  We in the industry have termed them as “friendors” and nothing sends that nails on the chalkboard sensation down our spines like hearing that word when working with a couple.

Although you may think you have a “hook up” for any of these services, it may be best to hire experienced wedding professionals to provide these important elements and here are some reasons why:

DJ (and we’ll include band on this one)

– So, your friend has DJ’d some great garage parties or a few high school dances, that doesn’t make him/her qualified to DJ a wedding.

A wedding is a completely different “animal” and it takes a lot more than hitting “play”.   You DJ may have to set up several sounds systems: one for the ceremony to include lapel microphones, one for the cocktail hour, and one for the reception area.  He/she will have to have wireless mics and should have disco lights to create a cool ambiance for dancing.  In addition, this person will serve as the Master of Ceremonies and will need to make all announcements and, along with the wedding coordinator (ie: Moi!) will need to keep the event flowing smoothly and the energy up.

 Your DJ shalt not: 

* Bring a posse or party crew with him/her, although an assistant is okay.

* Be a mic hog


* Drink – a major NO NO which often leads to being an obnoxious mic hog and sometimes a few “F-Bombs”.


– So you have a friend who has a nice camera.  Well, my Smart Phone has a great camera but that doesn’t qualify me to capture someones special day.

Again, a wedding is a completely different animal than photographing kids or rocks.  Your photographer will have to be aware of lighting: shade is good and sun spots and squinting are not, distractions, know how to pose people; yes even the most “photojournalistic” weddings have some level of posing involved, and will have to be on their feet all day and be ready to deal with all the craziness of a wedding day.  They also have to know how to capture all the important moments within the time they have to work with.  No delaying the start of dinner allowed!

 Your Photographer shalt not:

* Bring only one camera.  All pros bring at least two in case of failure.

* Work without having created a timeline.  If not they’ll have to be willing to work with mine and stick to it!

* Run late

* Be disorganized

* Use anything less than a professional color lab for processing all of your prints.

* Drink – again, they are there to work, not party.



– So, your aunt has a friend who bakes cakes “all the time” out of her kitchen….

This is wrong on many levels but a few points are:

* You can’t control the cleanliness of the home kitchen, whereas commercial kitchens are inspected by the local health department.

* She/he may not be able to replicate the design you fell in love with.  I had one sister-in-law determine that the design was beyond her skill level and bow out two weeks before the wedding!

* He/she may not know how to assemble/stack the cake to withstand delivery and hours of being on display.  I have witnessed two cakes fall because the “baker” didn’t use the proper dowels to support the weight of each tier which lead to tears….


Wedding Planner

– So, your friend just got married herself and just LOVED the experience and wants to be a wedding planner.  Although every planner had to start somewhere, your wedding shouldn’t be that somewhere.  Sure, it sounds like I’m defending why you should bring me on board but here are some great points to consider:

Benefits of working with a Professional Wedding Planner

* Experience.  The seasoned planner brings years of experience with her/him when it comes to working with venues, vendors, contracts, budgets and problem solving.

* Resources.  I personally have an awesome bank of valuable resources at my fingertips.  All tried and tested and available to me when I need them.

* Organization.  It’s what we’re known for.  Every Bride and Groom feels better knowing that someone else has a handle on all of the wedding planning and that nothing is being missed.

* Access.  You have to be able to call on your planner/coordinator whenever you have a question or concern and get an answer as soon as possible.  Not necessarily an option when your “friend” is juggling other full-time responsibilities.  A true professional only plans full time.


– So, your buddy cooks up one mean BBQ…  Again, wrong on so many levels but to hit on some points:

* Cleanliness

* Quality of the product including proper storage of meats, etc before they are prepared.

* Running out of food.  A seasoned caterer knows how to determine how much food to provide.

* Staffing – who’s going to set up the tables and chairs, serve the food, buss the tables, empty garbage, set up and tend the bar.  Oh, and by the way, bartenders must hold certification as being trained by the Department of Alcohol Beverage Control.

Now, ALL of these points and worries can be avoided by just hiring experienced wedding professionals to handle all of the important elements of your wedding day.  As the saying goes “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur”.  Why let them learn a trade at your expense?

There are no do-overs for your wedding day so keep your relationships in tact, let your friends serve as your guests and leave the rest to the pros.


Until next time!

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