"While most of our have been so supportive and helpful, I have been getting a lot of crap from people about our low budget DIY wedding. I was told just the other day that asking family/friends to help with things is 'rude...who asks their guests to work'. I couldn't help but feel disappointed because we want our wedding to be a celebration of our love and life together shared by those closest to us. As well as a celebration of the joining of our families. And what better way is there to do that then everyone coming together to make reception food, and 'arrange' flowers, etc."
Hear, hear, dear Reader! I completely understand both your frustration and your hope.
Matt and I decided to ask many guests to do many jobs for many reasons:
- We wanted to have a budget wedding. There's no way we could have hired external vendors for everything and still stayed within our budget.
- I don't find working with vendors all that fun, especially vendors who are accustomed to working on weddings. Their prices are inflated, and their investment in individual weddings often seems insincere. [Editor's Note: There are lots of quirky and cool vendors out there in craft-land who would be fun to work with. We just couldn't afford them.] Plus, we wanted to be immersed in our closest friends and family. For example, while I was getting ready for the ceremony, my good friend, Beth, was doing my hair, Marie was getting the ceremony drinks out of our refrigerator and putting them into the cooler, and Marsha was taking pictures of it all. It was like a slumber party!
- Our friends have a lot of unique interests and talents, and we wanted to showcase them.
- We speculated that people would feel more connected to the experience (and therefore enjoy it more) if they were truly part of making it happen.
For the most part, however, people were eager to help. We tried to break down each job into something small, so it wouldn't be too overwhelming. Then I wrote explicit and detailed instructions for each job (see below), so people could take it and run with it. I was worried that I would have to answer a bunch of questions during the wedding weekend, and that would have been stressful (like a doctor on call). Instead, the whole thing was pretty seamless.
One of our friends picked up the kegs, set them up, and returned all the rented parts. I had paid for everything in advance, so there wasn't much trouble. Another friend picked up fresh bread from Whole Foods on her way to the Welcome Picnic. Someone else picked up the pre-paid cakes on her way to the ceremony. Another friend took the margarita machine back to her house so the company could pick it up within their delivery area. There were lots and lots of jobs!
For the people who took on bigger jobs, we tried to pay for their accommodations, so they at least felt compensated somewhat.
Across the board, the feedback was very positive. Noah, Frank, and Brian even said he enjoyed the wedding more because they contributed to it. Bingo!
All the people at our wedding who would normally fall into the it's-rude-to-give-people-jobs camp noticed how amazing our friends were and said things like, "Wow, everyone really stepped up to help out." It created a truly communal and merry feel. I think the naysayers were surprised by how well our experiment with jobs worked out.
The one job I regret was the fajitas chef role. One of my closest friends, Brent, took on the role. We purposefully set up the four grills in the main area, so he wouldn't feel separated from the group. However, the prep just took a lot longer than we anticipated (in part because our juicer broke, and Brent juiced something like 15 pounds of limes). It seemed like he gave up a significant portion of the Welcome Picnic to make the marinade. However, another dear friend of ours, Laura, helped out a lot, and they were working in the kitchen of the main lodge, which was pretty much in the center of everything.
In the end, Brent still enjoyed himself, and everyone who contributed their labor to the wedding seemed to be the most invested and connected. It was way better than any registry gift!