A few weeks ago I was headed out to DJ a wedding for a great couple down New Haven, CT. This was a fairly recent booking within 30 days of the wedding day. My clients were originally going to have a friend DJ for them. Turns out, the friend bailed and hasn’t been heard from since. Some friend. 🙁 This is one of a handful of weddings I have booked over the years due to a friend of the bride or groom not coming through. Perhaps it’s a blessing in disguise. Sometimes the real damage happens when they DO show up.
So this begs the question, “Should you hire a friend for your wedding?” My two cents…no. When couples hire me, at some point I ask them about the other vendors they’ve hired. It’s important for me to know who all the players are. That’s part of my process. When a couple tells me they are considering having a friend do the photography, or the catering, or the wedding planning & coordinating, the first thing I always ask is “Does your friend do this professionally?” That can make all the difference in the world. A professional is an expert who is a master in a specific field. Professionals most often do what they do for a living, commercially, and not just at home for fun.
I’m not a major sports nut, but the NBA finals are going on right now. For a moment, compare your wedding to a big game in the NBA finals. You’ve put an enormous amount of work into this game. Blood, sweat, tears, countless hours of planning and strategy has gone into this day. Then, imagine someone made the decision to have a friend come in and be your point guard. Or visualize one of your friends being a referee. To save even more money, you could have another friend run the sound system and music programming for all your fans. That person could even use the microphone to talk to the crowd. For pictures, your cousin Glen has a new camera and is getting better and better all the time. He could come in and shoot. This will be fantastic! You probably see where I’m going with this. The game will still be played, but all of your fans will be disgusted by the game, upset with the referee, bored and unmotivated by your DJ, and weeks after the game when you look at the photographs, you’ll be in tears because every important shot you wanted was missed.
This is not a stretch. And I understand there are tremendous savings in having a friend help out at the wedding. Times are tough for all of us and every dollar counts. My advice? Don’t hire your friends, unless they are professionals in the industry. Plan your wedding early, with plenty of time to save up for the right players to do the job. I often talk with couples not just about the details here and now, but how they will feel 5, 10…25 years from now. When you look back on your wedding day, you don’t want to feel regret. You don’t want to push your wedding album to the back of the closet because you’re embarrassed to look at the pictures or show them to friends & family. You don’t want to relive your first dance when your DJ friend started playing the wrong song or the music just stopped while all your guests were watching you, or he got up and said something completely inappropriate or offensive. Those memories last a lifetime and you can never, ever go back and do it over.
If your friend is truly a friend, bring them in for your wedding. But only as a guest…