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Ask "Sense of Moment": friends as wedding vendors

Today we want to enlighten one quick, but a really important question about your wedding planning. Even though it is very common, it still needs some explanations. Here is the question:

Bride-to-Be: “Good morning. We are planning a wedding and decided to hire a friend’s catering company. He is a friend of my future husband and runs a cute small restaurant. The only thing I’m concerned is that the months keep flying away, and we still didn’t have a chance to negotiate the menu. I feel awkward asking him to sign a contract, but it seems the only possible way to protect ourselves. What should I do?”

Sense of Moment: NB!! The first advice may not be super useful for this bride, but we hope other brides-to-be will learn a little for themselves. Don’t hire a friend as your vendor (few exceptions may apply). Even though the reduced fare seems attractive, you’ll have these awkward cost-related and contract negotiations, the quality of services may be much lower than you expect and basically, you’ll have your friend working at your wedding, not enjoying a celebration with you. Hiring a professional pays off – we’ll tell you more in the next posts.

Now, get back to our question.

Dear Bride, you need to schedule an appointment with you “vendor friend” and discuss all the details. Don’t let it go. Be polite and respectful, share your excitement and understanding that he (vendor) is very busy and kindly ask for a meeting, just to make sure you both are on the same page.

Also, as much as we understand that you don’t want to insult your friend with a formal contract, we would highly recommend to get it in writing anyway. Sit down with your friend and write down specifics. In this case, you should negotiate not only menu options but also: • a timeline (time of arrival for a set-up; when the salad/entrée is served, etc.) • quantity of servers (minimum 1 server for 8-12 ppl) • any dietary restrictions (if applied) • negotiate all the details with the venue in advance (where the food comes from, access to kitchen, etc.) • a final cut off date to make any changes to the guest list (quantity) • the staff uniform

I know it may sound a little formal, but try to make it as smooth as possible. Show your “vendor friend” that you really appreciate his offer but you are a very detail-oriented bride and the more you get checked the better.

NB! It may also work if you hire a wedding planner. In this case, you’ll be relieved from the weird business conversations, but still, think twice if you’re 100% sure about the quality of services your friend provides.

Important thing – if “vendor friend” doesn’t reply, can’t squeeze you in his crazy schedule, but keep promising “an excellent service”, maybe it is better to consider going with another vendor (you can still invite this one as a guest).

We wish you a seamless and enjoyable wedding planning!


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