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Wedding Expert Advice: Beware the “Friendor”

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Beware the “Friendor”

Now, we know what you are thinking. Do friendor’s really exist? The short answer: yes. The rumors are true, and as wedding planners, we have seen every species of friendor to ever occur. So, for the new people, what is a friendor? Listen up, a friendor can be described as a “friend” that a couple hires to be their wedding day vendor. A risky move that potentially leads to two fallouts, a genuine friendship, and a flawless wedding – in particular cases.

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To help us better understand friendor’s, we enlisted the help of Colorado’s top-notch wedding planner, Adrienne Gardner, of the Gardner Effect. Gardner shares a few true (and cautionary) tales of the friendor’s she has been exposed to and why it’s important to keep your BFF on the business sidelines.

A Common Scenario: “It’s fine, my friend is a great DJ.”

We see this scenario pretty frequently. A couple, desperate to save on expenses, hires a friend to DJ one of the most important celebrations of their life. If the friend was a professional DJ, we would understand. But, more often than not, the response we receive after prodding is, “No, they have never DJed a wedding before, but how hard can it be?”

September 2016

This wedding was a classic worst-case friendor. The friend, who had been hired to DJ, arrived to the wedding under the influence of, what was most likely, Colorado’s latest legalized item. His appearance gave us the impression that he had just gotten out of bed. He was so inebriated he even forgot the couple’s names! Instantly, we pulled him from the wedding. Luckily, we used an iPod until we were able to get a replacement DJ on site.

April 2016

Throughout the business, we have seen a fluctuation of entertainment at weddings. Some couples favor DJ’s, preferring a mixture of songs and genres. Others, opt for a classic live band. Are you seeing the pattern…you guessed it, “My friend’s band is playing our wedding.”

That morning, I was introduced to the singer of the band, as she was setting up the sound system for the reception. I was shocked to see her wearing hot pink Daisy Duke shorts. I hesitantly asked her if she was planning on changing for the actual ceremony. Unsurprisingly, she said no. Of course. For a concert, I am sure this attire would be fine, but for a wedding ceremony at a nice venue? I had to step in. Fortunately, we had a wonderful venue manager on site that offered to run the sound as I executed the ceremony. Phew!

April 2017

This particular bride admitted that she had hired her “friend from college” to be her wedding photographer. As a coordinator, it’s super important for us to confirm details before the big day. We typically will send off a timeline and call the photographer to ensure everything is in order.

The day of the wedding, the photographer failed to show up! Despite calls, emails, and texts, we couldn’t get a hold of this guy. Our day was wasting away – the bridal party was ready, the bride was waiting to put on her dress. To make up for lost time, we begin taking our own images for the bride. It would be several hours before we finally got word from the photographer.

He dismissed his absence by exclaiming he thought the wedding was for tomorrow. He reassured us he was on his way, but wouldn’t arrive for another hour…

He finally arrived just as the bride was about to walk down the aisle. We couldn’t believe how close he had cut it. To make it worse, he later accused me of sending him the wrong date on the timeline I had emailed him. This was 100% false, not only did he mess up, but he refused to take ownership of his mistake. The bride later told me, “That’s what I get for hiring a friend.”

Lesson Learned

Though hiring a friendor is a risk, it doesn’t mean that all examples turn out badly. I have been impressed by a handful! My advice: be cautious and get all agreements in writing – even if they are your oldest/closest friend. It’s also smart to have an open conversation with them, vocalizing your expectations. You will thank yourself! After all, your friend might be craving a breakout gig, but the best day of your life shouldn’t be an experiment.

From the Hip Photo
From the Hip Photo is Colorado's best photography team. Based in Denver, they photograph assignments across the country and the globe for individuals, couples, families, businesses, and non-profits. Their photo adventures have taken them to Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Russia, among other spots.

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