If you’re planning a wedding and have a great photographer in the family (or a chef, party favor maker, seamstress, or florist), it makes the most sense to hire them for your nuptials, right? After all, they can probably use the work, and you may be able to score a great discount in the process. What could possibly go wrong?

More than you think.

In this day and age, it’s important to remember that a wedding and the reception are, more than anything else, a family party. It’s not just about two people joining in matrimony—it’s about building a family together. By putting your own family members to work, you’re devaluing the role they play in helping you create that solid foundation for the future. You’re also depriving them of a chance to enjoy your union to the fullest.

Pros of Hiring Family and Friends

The obvious benefit of hiring a family member or friend to play an integral role in your wedding is the cost savings. There’s almost always a discounted (or even free) rate if you hire a relative, and if you do pay them something, the money stays in the family. We understand that weddings can be expensive, so it makes sense to cut corners where you can.

Other considerations include:

  • Helping loved ones build their small businesses/resumes
  • Feeling comfortable with the person providing the service
  • Involving those who wish to contribute
  • Receiving deeply personalized service

All of these benefits might be enough to convince you that hiring a relative is the right way to go. There have been many instances where a family-run wedding went off without a hitch and everyone enjoyed themselves. However, this tends to be the exception rather than rule.

Cons of Hiring Family and Friends

We’ve all heard the disaster stories—a bride-to-be who left her wedding dress in the hands of a crafty cousin or a wedding photographer who accidentally deleted your photo file. Because your wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime event, it might be better to leave the details to the professionals.

Other considerations include:

  • Finding it difficult to assert yourself and your vision (especially if the relative is older or particularly sensitive)
  • Receiving sub-quality results or last-minute changes you didn’t approve
  • Damaging relationships when things don’t go perfectly
  • Arguing over money
  • Bringing up potential legal issues in the future (especially since you’re less likely to use a contract with a family member)
  • Hurting the feelings of other relatives/friends who offer similar services and didn’t get hired

You also can’t forget the importance of letting your relatives participate in the celebration to its fullest. This day isn’t just about you and your spouse-to-be—it’s also about the family you’re building together. Take the time to celebrate everything that family means by asking them to show up and enjoy…and nothing more. They deserve to celebrate in your happiness just as much as you do.