Is this working relationship salvageable?

catherine john micro wedding invite perry vaile
Credit: Perry Vaile

Now that you're planning your wedding, you're probably wondering if any of your friends or relatives are able to help provide big-day services—that's especially true if you know anyone who works in calligraphy, graphic design, floral design, event planning, and more. After all, wouldn't it be more fun to work with someone you know and love rather than set up with a stranger who barely knows your style at all? In full disclosure, it kind of depends on the friend. If you're deep in the process already and you're beginning to realize that they're not on the same page as you, here's what you should do to get through this phase and end up with the results you want.

Check yourself and your communications thus far.

It's entirely possible that you haven't clearly communicated what you want from your friend-turned-wedding-vendor, which is a stumbling block you could face with any big-day pro. When you're working with a friend, it's easy to assume that they'll know exactly what your style is because they know you; the reality is that if you haven't given them a blueprint of inspiration to turn to, they could be on a different page because they've made assumptions of what they think you'd like. Before you jump into problem solving mode, go back to your communications and double check your work to be sure you haven't given mixed guidance along the way.

Be open and honest with your friend.

Working with any wedding vendor is a fluid process that requires honesty and open communication from both parties to get to the best possible end result. While you may be more sensitive when working with a friend, it's still important to be honest about the things you don't love so you can work together to correct them and find a solution you're happy with.

Explain and revisit things as a team.

As is the case when working with any professional vendor, sometimes it's necessary to go back to the drawing board and explain the inspiration you've sent. For example, if your friend is your florist and you've been sharing a Pinterest board of imagery, it might be a good idea to sit down and talk through what you like and dislike in each image. From there, you can parlay that information as it relates to the proposal, draft, or design meeting you're currently struggling with.

Know that it's rare that any vendor hits a home run on their first pitch.

Whether it's the first draft of your save-the-date or your first meeting about design, it's important to know how rare it is that any vendor hits the mark with no edits on their first attempt. If your friend is a professional in their field, they'll be well aware that all ideas require a good back-and-forth before landing in the sweet spot where their client is happy. As long as they're listening to your feedback and making edits accordingly, you'll probably be able to land in a good place with them.

Know when to draw the line.

If your friend is being unprofessional, missing deadlines, refusing to revisit a design element, or hiding information from you, it might be time to pull the plug. You wouldn't settle for this type of behavior from a professional vendor, and if you're paying a professional rate, you shouldn't settle for this from a friend either. It's possible that your friend is treating you differently because they're not making as much as they normally would from your project and it's a lower priority for them. However, that doesn't excuse the behavior, as they committed to your project at the rate you agreed upon. While it's hard to pull the plug on a friend, it may be time to let them know that you're considering hiring someone else to complete the job in a professional manner.

Keep your friendship as a top priority.

If this friendship is important to you, it should be feasible to weather these storms and still come out as friends, even if you have to cancel working together. Keep this priority in mind and it may help you jump through the hiccups with a more peaceful and centered approach.


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