When your budget is stretched so thin it's bursting at the seams, it's awfully tempting to grab free services anywhere you can. But sometimes the discount isn't worth the price you'll ultimately pay. When tensions are running high and perfection is the goal, wedding disagreements can be the end of friendships and the start of family feuds.
How would you feel if the photos were all a little bit out of focus? If the vegetarian dish was mostly chicken? If the cake showed up two hours late? If the officiant cracked jokes throughout your vows? Unless you're willing to accept any result with a smile, turning down your friends' and family members' offers is your best bet. The only trick is doing so graciously.
The best way to deliver a rejection is to put it in positive terms. You may not want your childhood friend baking your wedding cake because you know her skills haven't improved much since making playground mud-pies. However, if you explain how acting as a vendor will take away from her experience of your wedding, you'll be on solid ground. After all, no one wants to be distracted on such an important day.
Compliment your friendship foremost. Tell your friend that you want her attending your wedding as herself, not as the florist, the photographer, or the dishwasher. If she attends in a professional capacity, she'll just be rushing around all night worrying about details–and you want her there as an honored guest, instead. Let your friend know that you wouldn’t hear of her lifting a single finger on your wedding's behalf. You don't want anyone so important missing any of the action. The biggest gift she could give to you is to be an enthusiastic part of your celebration.
Protecting the Relationship
The most compelling argument of all is also the best reason for not hiring a friend or family member as a wedding vendor. What if you don’t like the end result? While you could demand a refund from a professional, leave them a scathing review, or in the worst-case scenario, take them to court, you have no options when it comes to a vendor you know personally. Tell your friend that, while you have the utmost confidence in their talent and skill, you simply don’t want to take the chance that something could go wrong. You don’t want to ever find yourself in the position of choosing between your wedding and your friendship. For that reason, you'd feel best if your friend came as the honored guest she is.