Over the last few days I have received two emails from very distressed brides, reaching out to me and hoping that I was still available for their wedding date. Their wedding date which is only a couple of months away. You see, they’d both had friends or family members offer to photograph their wedding for free (or very little) as a wedding gift, which is a lovely gesture for something that couples would normally pay $3000 – $4000 for. Honestly, I don’t want to take away from the love & good intention that is behind that sort of offer, especially considering they are really sacrificing enjoying the wedding as a guest, as they will be documenting it (which, trust me, is a very different thing!) I’m not sure on the specific details on why these particular “frendors” – friends that are vendors – have bailed, however, it did make me think – what are the risks when trusting a friend or family member to document what will be, the biggest day of your life? and are they worth taking?
So, I did what many of us would do, I took to Google. I started researching. I delved into the depths of wedding blogs to find some answers. I particularly loved this article on Offbeat Bride that seemed to accurately list the pro’s & con’s of hiring a friend to be a part of your wedding day. Now, I don’t want this post to be super against or super for friends as wedding vendors… I’m sure there are those that have had amazing experiences using friends and/or family, and those on the other side of the coin that haven’t, but I do want to help create awareness so that if this is something you decide to do, you do it knowing every single risk involved. Which hopefully loves, will help you avoid having any post-wedding regrets.
Here are some things to consider before saying YES to your frendor:
– Since you’ve probably known your friend longer than any other vendor, you hopefully will feel completely comfortable with them (which is super) – but you have to consider as well, because you have a relationship with them, will they deliver the goods in a timely fashion as you’d expect from a professional? As Offbeat Bride mentions “they might see donating their gifts as a reason to slow up their game” – for example “this is my gift for a friend’s wedding. They’re saving money by having me do this, so they’ll understand if I can’t get to it right away. They know me, they’ll be cool with it.” Are you prepared to wait months for your photos? If the answer is yes, totally cool! But just remember that after the wedding day, when you’re waiting…
– I would think you’re hiring your friend because you believe they will do an amazing job – what if something does go wrong? What if their camera breaks the day before the wedding, or worse, the morning of the wedding? What if they missed your first kiss during your Ceremony? If you were disappointed by what your received from them, would it put a strain on your friendship and are you willing to risk that?
– Lastly, it’s free! (perhaps this benefit should have gone first) After years of being a part of gorgeous wedding days, I totally get it. I understand how the costs of a wedding day add up quite quickly and heck, someone offering to photograph it for free (or very little) means you can reallocate that budget to another area of your day! Score right! Not always. These brides I have been speaking with recently have done exactly that (and who could blame them!) they’ve used their photography budget towards another element they had to pay for, but now – they have no photographer and no money to hire one. Plus, when you are paying someone for a service, there are things that are in place (like contracts) to make sure that they deliver on what you’ve hired them to do! Even having this peace of mind when it comes to your wedding day is huge!
I’m doing my very best to help these brides that contacted me (because if you know me, that’s just how I roll) and either offering to help them out myself if I can or referring them to photographers that I know & trust – but I can only imagine the stress & worry that these girls are feeling having this happen only a couple of months out from their already organised Wedding Day (with most skilled professional photographers already being booked 10-12 months in advance!)
Lastly, as one of my celebrant friends Josh Withers, posted “as nice as it might be to save $6000 on photography, not many people are giving $6000 wedding presents.” It does make you wonder, in a world where you generally get what you pay for – what will you get if someone is doing it for free? That my loves, is one scary thought when you’re talking about documenting your wedding memories for a lifetime to come.