Beware The “Friendor”: Why You Shouldn’t Hire Your Friend As A Wedding Vendor

If we had to offer one piece of advice to our newly engaged couples out there, it would be this: “Beware the ‘Friendor!'” While they may have the best of intentions, do not hire your friend as a wedding vendor!

This is something that I feel very strongly about. Allow me to tell you a true story about a recent experience with the dreaded “friendor”:

Last week, a potential client called Elevee Events. She was a wonderfully excited bride, and launched right into telling me about her ideas for her upcoming wedding.

She was beyond excited to have her friend – a well-known DJ in her hometown – already contracted for the wedding. She went on to tell me about how great and talented he was…and that he would be seated with the guests, drinking and partying with them all night. Wait…what?!

I had to stop her right there. Unfortunately, I had to inform her that this wedding would not be a good fit for Elevee Events. I made some suggestions on how to research other planners, and sent her on her way to continue her planning with a competitor.

That’s right. I turned down business, all because the bride insisted on working with a “friendor.”

As a person with years of experience in the wedding planning industry, I have had the opportunity to learn from my past. I know that I want to work with experienced, professional vendors; “friendors” can be my worst nightmare, and a disaster for the happy couple as well.

Of course, I understand how wonderful it is to have a friend or family member be involved in the behind-the-scenes effort to make your wedding day a special one. Asking your best friend to be ordained, allowing your cousin to perform a reading during the ceremony, letting your sorority sisters give toasts at the reception, etc.; all of these are acceptable ways to invite your closest loved ones to participate in your wedding.

However, I feel very strongly about leaving the work of your wedding team to outside professionals. Here’s why:


  • Your wedding team will be working. Not one person working your wedding should be drinking. They are doing a job for you, which will require them to safely unload, clean up, and drive home at the end of the night. Would you ever consider drinking on the job? I didn’t think so. So why hire a vendor who will?
  • You should allow your friends and family to enjoy your wedding day with you. Do you want your close friends enjoying themselves, or running around the crowd taking pictures and looking on as everyone else enjoys your special day with you?I recently helped plan a gorgeous beach wedding, the likes of which photographers dream of. Unfortunately, the wedding photographer hired on that day was a good friend of the couple from school. I had to run off and find him during every single toast, first dance, and memorable moment during the reception; every time he could always be found sitting down and socializing with his mutual friends. So many wonderful shots were never taken, all because the newlyweds hired a “friendor” who preferred to hang out over doing his job.
  • If your friends or family insist on providing a service for you – have a talk up front about your expectations and theirs. I have been a planner at a number of my own friends’ weddings. I work until the cake is cut – at which point 2 of my team members take over for me. I don’t touch a drop of wine until I meet up with everyone after, even though I am technically off the clock. The timeline for my work vs. the time I get to spend as a guest is always very clearly laid out with my friends, and when I’m on the clock I’m the epitome of professional.
  • Worried about your vendor friends feeling rejected? Use their services before or after the wedding! If your close friend is a photographer, ask them to shoot your rehearsal dinner (your engagement shots and wedding photos should be shot by the same photographer whenever possible). If your cousin is a florist, ask them to decorate the dining space where you’ll be hosting your day-after brunch. If your aunt is a musician, ask if she’d be willing to perform during your ceremony, then join the party at the reception.

I understand how important it is to let those who are closest to you offer their talents to make your wedding day a special one. Take it from me: you’ll be much happier if their skills are allocated elsewhere, and they are able to party with you on your big day!

Click here to request a list of Elevee Events’ recommended vendors.


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