Sunday, April 15, 2012

If They Aren't a PRO - JUST SAY NO!

Photo from The Bridal Blog

I have had many, many clients decide to use friends and/or family as one of their wedding "vendors".  Whether for the photography, cake, music or other - I still will always tell them I don't recommend it.  Of course, I will work with whoever they choose to hire (or use at no cost), but I will always, always, always be a little nervous doing so...and some of my clients have been very upset/stressed/crazed that they went through with it in the end.

So, I thought I would draft a little blog for my reasoning behind these feelings and I must note - these are all based on true stories and real happenings in my professional planning life.  Here goes...

1.  Family and Friends should be guests, not workers.

When you send your friend or family member a wedding invitation, they should have no other job that day than enjoying the beautiful vows, food and celebration.  And, this is what they will put as their first priority.  Trust me.  Don't assume that because you have discussed with them what they will be responsible for that day that they will take those jobs too seriously.  If they aren't a PRO, then just say NO!  You will be very thankful you did so.

2.  Only the PROS know the "in's and out's" of a successful wedding day.

If the person you have chosen to create your wedding cake has never created, charged for, designed, set up....and on and on...a cake for hundreds of guests then the chances of it turning out perfectly are slim.  Especially if, as mentioned in #1, they are also playing "guest" on wedding day.  

When you hire a PRO, their only thought/goal of the day is to get you exactly what you ordered - on time and perfectly executed.  They know what it takes to get the job done correctly, efficiently and in line with all the other elements surrounding them that day. 

3.  PROS keep it real.

Unless your vendor (any of them) is a true, licensed business - having many weddings under their belt - they won't know how to keep it real.  They will make promises that will be broken, they will tell you "yes" to everything and they won't be able to help you stay realistic in your planning.  That is because they don't have a solid understanding of how vendors work together during a wedding.  Not only that, they many times simply don't know the answers to your questions and will just spit out "yes, we can do that...".  A friend or family member - especially one you are not paying - will not be able to distinguish what can and cannot be done.  A PRO will - because they have seen and dealt with it all.

4.  Contracts and Costs go further than nada.

Yes, the PRO will cost you money and you will sign a contract that details all the deliverables on your end and theirs.  This will go much further than a verbal agreement with zero dollars exchanged between you and your bestie.  What happens if bestie and you have a fight or she gets sick and has no back up plan?  If that happens with your PRO - the event goes off - seamlessly.  If that happens with bestie - one week before wedding day - stressssss!    After all, bestie has no real responsibility to you, whatsoever. 

5.  PROS are professional.

A PRO will act like, look like and treat your guests as a professional.  If your aunt is making your cake or you friend is the videographer - they may have no idea how or desire to do this.  This makes for a very sticky dynamic between vendors.  Believe it or not - all your vendors are super tightly knit on wedding day - because they share the same goal - making it wonderful for YOU.  Non-PROS just won't be able to mesh well if they have zilch experience, no business license, no tax-ID and no real aspiration to do this for a living.  Instead...they are just doing this as a "gift" or "favor" to you.

So, all in all, most wedding planners will (should) let you know about their concerns when you tell them you are hiring your best friend's cousin as your florist.  What you don't see behind the scenes on wedding day are some of the most important happenings, on your behalf.  And, at BCE, we do our very best to make the vendor team a cohesive unit on wedding day no matter what - but when a non-PRO is in the mix...we work just a little more carefully.  

If you want to avoid any concern for disaster - we highly recommend hiring a PRO for all areas of your wedding day - no matter how big or small!

Boldly Yours,

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