On Friendors


This week’s inbox poison from The Knot is the “Top 10 Wedding Planning Myths,” the first of which is “hiring friends is the same as hiring wedding vendors.”  In the busting of this myth, The Knot warn that no matter how brilliant and talented your friends may seem, they are inexperienced with the delicate field of weddings and therefore will be one of your lifelong wedding regrets.

Does “shut up” go without saying?

Although honestly, and I can’t believe I’m about to say this, The Knot is right.  Hiring friends is not the same as hiring wedding vendors.  Allow me to mythbust:

1. Friends are generally more affordable than wedding vendors. Sometimes even free!

2. Friends are more pleasant to be around than wedding vendors. Personally, I prefer having a close friend hang out with me for hours on my wedding day, using his familiar photography catch phrases of “this is nothing!” (for test shots) and “Laa!” (to force natural smiles) than some stranger who might, for example, always try to shoot me from my right so you can’t see the scar on my eyebrow.  Because Stranger doesn’t know I like the scar on my eyebrow, and frankly I don’t want to have to put a scar-representation clause in my contract.

3. Friends care more about you than do wedding vendors. Wedding vendors want to avoid breach of contract and want to secure a nice tip and good word of mouth.  Your friends want to be a part of what makes your wedding wonderful. That sounds more valuable to me.

So we’re trying to use friendors as much as we can (almost definitely for photography, probably for ceremony music, but we have a lot of negotiating ahead).  I’m really not concerned about “not getting the same results.”  What does give me pause about hiring friends is I want them to enjoy our wedding instead of feeling on the clock.  If I wrote for the Knot, and I needed to soullessly terrify brides into hiring wedding professionals, I would definitely emphasize that concern.  [Dear The Knot, please see "contact" on the right margin to inquire about my freelancing rates when the time comes for next quarter's wedding myth column.  Kisses!]

How about you? Are you using any friendors?  Have you any doubts?

P.S. I really enjoyed this post a few weeks back on A Cupcake Wedding, poking fun at how friendors are not necessarily available to all, nevertheless emphasizing that if you are so blessed as to have friends with wedding-adaptable talents, take advantage of it!


  1. YES TO FRIENDORS! Our photography, centerpieces, officiate, and wedding set up army is all friendors. And you’re right, they really do care. Who else would stay on the phone with you for 45 minutes to bitch about tables? Not the venue owner, but your bff who is also going to marry you and your honey.

    Love the way you twist these Knot posts around. Love it.

  2. The only silver lining I can find here is that they acknowledge that there are wedding rules that can be broken without dire consequences…maybe? It’s like how in One Perfect Day, Rebecca Mead talks about how it’s really the wedding industry that keeps pushing up the average cost of weddings so that when you’re like, well we’re so far below the average cost, you forget that, oh god this is the most money I’ve ever spent on anything ever. Except maybe my degree.

  3. yes friendors! we have been blessed, I know not everyone has this opportunity, but people have been coming out of the woodwork. one of my friends is a pro event planner (aka day of coordinator), my mom’s friend is an interior decorator (aka setting up reception & arranging florals!), one of my bridesmaids has a business making custom veils and doing hair and makeup styling, my grandma always makes the ginormous fancy tiered cakes for all important holidays/events, fiance’s friends are in a band, future inlaws have a timeshare (so they gifted us a free honeymoon hotel stay!), we have 3 different photographer friends (all have different styles/perspectives, might have different people shoot different parts, so they can enjoy the rest of the day). phew.

    there will definitely be some sort of compensation involved. And I like the idea that there will be very few complete strangers hanging out at our wedding.

  4. ahaha, what would we do without the Knot? They make me feel so sane and grounded!

    We are using friendors for dessert, ceremony music, officiant, and trying to find a DJ friendor possibly. Plus, my aunt is a magic worker and is kinda my wedding stylist.

    LOVE friendors/familydors

  5. @Jen- A friendor DJ? Have you gotten a little closer to solving the iPod vs. DJ dilemma?

  6. Yes! love em! We have family-friendors doing catering, dress, flowers, photography, and music – all of whom we are paying but discounted to various degrees. And I love them all and am so happy to have people doing these things who I know and trust.
    My only doubt, and I wouldn’t even really call it a doubt because we never doubted hiring these people, maybe a better word would be consideration, is that mixing money and friends/family does introduce some awkwardness. These people are professionals and (for most) this is how they make their living. In many cases they are far beyond what we could normally afford and with the discount they become just within reach – so we really do need to know the prices up front to budget but I find it difficult to discuss it. And since I am so grateful for the help, I find myself fighting a mental battle between letting them do exactly what they want with asking for what I would like.
    Those relatively small issues aside, the friendors are wonderful and I wouldn’t want to have anyone else there on the day!
    (and I realize this is a slightly different issue from the Knot’s gripes that your friends don’t know what they are doing – sigh, the knot is so good at peddling fear)

  7. We’re actually relying mostly on our own talents, with the exception of asking a friend who is a graphic artist to help us with the fonts and layout on our invitations.

    We did hire a photographer and a day-of coordinator person, but only because we want my family to be IN the pictures, not taking them, and we didn’t want our guests to be running around the city trying to find and then schlepping the food/cake.

  8. yay for friendors! a good friend is doing our photos and all our vendors are awesomely hip low key easy breezy people who I secretly want to be our friends :)

  9. YAY friendors!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. I vote YES to friendors. In addition, I’d like to submit my resume. I’m an expert at whatever you need to be done. Just let me know what you’re thinking, and if it’s something like ice sculpture, just give me a few weeks notice so I can prepare.

    Yay weddings!

    • Sean, how about you get stuck in Groundhog Day next year so you can not only learn ice sculpture, but also how to play our ceremony songs on every instrument you own, plus how to throw cards into a hat and ALSO make Andie MacDowell fall in love with you?

  11. I’m all about friend-ors, especially friends who are one generation removed – I love that we hired Mark’s sister’s best friend as our photographer, because I’m not worried about her not having fun, since she probably wouldn’t have had that much fun anyway. But in terms of caring, I could NEVER have had a photographer I hired sit through bridesmaid dress shopping and invite stuffing the way Kiersten did. Plus, she is a professional, we’re just lucky enough to know her.

    Our cake is our first friendor we booked, and 900 million people have told me it’s a TERRIBLE idea because even if she is a chef, she’s Mark’s ex girlfriend and might poison the cake. I am unconcerned about this.

    We picked up other friendors along the way – video, which we didn’t care much about but wanted if we could get it; makeup (which means I get to use my own stuff and do several free trials); ceremony music (because Sea of No Cares just sounds so good on acoustic guitar).

    I’m not worried about any of them working during the wedding, but that had a lot to do with why we are hiring a DJ and a bartender. We could have had friends help out, but we wanted them to really have fun.

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