When it comes to saving money, having talented or resourceful family/friends is naturally quite crucial. Maybe you have a brother who is a semi-pro photographer, maybe your aunt offers to bake the wedding cake for free, maybe your girlfriend has a niche for floral arrangements – even if they are willing to help, should you ask or not?
Certainly, if everything can be done with helps from family/friends, it is a no brainer that doing so will save quite a bit of money. But, on your big day, do you really want the people you love and cherish so much (if not the most) to slave away instead of enjoying the moment with the newly-weds because it might save a couple hundred dollars? If every job is outsourced, it is highly likely one will be going over the set budget – so what about the budget?
The way I treat it is definitely dividing helps/resources into categories to determine if I should ask or not.
1. Prep work vs. The-day-of work vs. When-it-is-happening work
In general, I would graciously take the offered help with prep work or the-day-of work (immediately before/after the wedding), but not letting anyone (almost) do when-it-is-happening work simply because I do not want them to miss anything or stress over their tasks in situ.
For example, I had quite a few DIY decoration projects going for a few months before the event. It saved me a lot of money by buying just the material and crafting things myself and with hands from close-by family members. Since they could come and craft with me or at home whatever time they found available, it did not seem too big of a burden to their schedule and life and I went with the help. There were also at least a dozen people helped with putting up the decor, place cards, tipping the vendors, etc. on the day of the wedding, but it was mostly before or after the wedding for an hour or so.
But there is one kind of prep work that I strictly outsourced – cooking and baking. If you are having 20-30 people max., cooking or baking for everybody might be do-able, but stressful nonetheless. In our case, with 150 guests, we would have needed a chef army and cooking non-stop until meal time – let alone the food quality may suffer tremendously which would be intolerable with me. It would have saved a lot, but we deemed that it would worth every penny to hire professionals. The same logic goes with the wedding cake.
2. But, what if it saves a lot of money or adds a lot of fun elements? – well, let us analyze a bit further.
I did end up having friends do some when-it-is-happening work, I have to admit. And here is how I dealt with it.
There were four kinds of when-it-is-happening jobs: special roles, servers, musicians/DJ, photographer/videographer.
Special roles are people who perform certain tasks at the wedding. For example, we had a traditional Chinese portion that was hosted by my best friend from childhood and the whole session took place for about 5 min. It was super short but it received so many compliments about how special and unique the whole thing was.
Servers are people who set up/break down tables and chairs, serve guests food, pour guests drinks, and oversee the flow. They are the ninjas during the event who make the process flow smoothly. It would be too tedious to have any family/friend to work like that, so, NO.
As far as photographer/videographer goes, it was a “relatively” easy NO to us. Yes, photographer/videographer costs a ridiculous amount money! Yes, we also have friends who could shoot on a professional level! But still, NO!! Here are two major reasons why:
1. It would be miserable for any of our dear friends to follow us for 8-9 hours and not be able to share the joy with us.
2. Since it will be memory saved for life, we would rather keep it more on the business and formal side than a blurry defined favor/duty.
Musicians/DJs, that was a tricky one. They work for up to a couple hours, but not a whole 8-9 hours like photographers or servers, and having friends play the music will definitely save money (potentially quite a lot). There was a fine line here for sure – we decided to go with friends who played really well but were also trying to get gigs to build their portfolio. We had a great friend who brought his string quartet gang to play during the ceremony and that was a wonderful period of 30 min beautiful classical music instead of using iPod songs (which would have been my plan B otherwise). And we had a fantastic jazz band (also our friends) play during the reception for about 1.5 hours mixed with prepared iPod music. The band took breaks every half an hour as iPod took over and sipped on some microbrewery beers, and that worked out fabulously! 🙂
So, asking family/friend to help in the wedding? Yes and no. What is your thought on this topic? Thanks again for checking in!