Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Monday, September 13, 2010

How Fun It Is to Help

Tapping into the generous help of friends and family was one of the most significant ways Matt and I were able to stay within our wedding budget. For example, here are some of the jobs we delegated:
  1. Photographers
  2. Officiant and Ring Keeper
  3. Set up sound and iPod at ceremony and reception
  4. Marinate meat, chop vegetables, and cook fajitas
  5. Salsa chef
  6. Bean & Corn salad chef
  7. 7-Layer Dip Chef
  8. Sous-Chefs
  9. Hair
  10. Paymaster
  11. Florist, Sign Manager (including wedding favors)
  12. Pick Up Cakes
  13. Traffic Director at Ceremony
  14. Traffic Director at Reception
  15. Ushers
  16. Pick up and set-up kegs
  17. Pick up Friday Food
  18. Pick up Margarita Machine
  19. Wash Cloth Napkins
  20. Smores Director
  21. Lemonade and Iced-Tea on Friday
  22. Group Photo Director
  23. Program Manager
  24. Drink Manager
  25. Campfire Manager
  26. Videotaper

I know it's a lot! That's what happens when you're trying to put together a party for 80 people without the use of many professional vendors...

We tried to keep it reasonable and manageable by only giving one job to each person. That way, people didn't feel like they were doing chores all weekend.

Another reason the plan worked out so well was that we gave everyone very specific, written directions about how to do their jobs. The process of typing out directions about all the when-and-where-and-how details really helped us clarify our vision and forced up to strengthen our plan in the process.

We e-mailed the directions in advance, so people had time to ask questions. It would be a complete nightmare to delegate jobs to more than 30 people and then have them asking you questions all day/weekend long. Luckily, we gave people a chance to ask questions in advance (and many questions were avoided, thanks to the specific directions).

A couple weekends ago, I accompanied Matt to the wedding of some of his best friends. Since Matt was in the wedding party, we got to stay at the rental house with the bride and groom. Such close proximity to the action gave me a chance to volunteer to help. For example, the night before the wedding, I helped make boutonnieres (see above), bouquets, a ring pillow (see above), and floral centerpieces. I was nervous about messing things up, but the flowers were surprisingly easy to work with, and the bride-to-be had a very laid-back and fun attitude about the whole thing.

The next morning, I volunteered to join the wedding party at the reception site to help decorate. We assembled the centerpieces, filled vases, covered chairs, etc. It was so fun to be part of the "village effort."

Sometimes, we're hesitant to ask our friends and family to take on tasks associated with our weddings because we're afraid that they'll consider these assignments to be insulting or "tacky" or "budget." Of course there are some people who think that way, but there are many, many of us who want to help. There are a lot of us who will feel more connected to the experience if we get to dig our hands in and help.

So don't be afraid to ask!

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Jen said...

As a recently married gal who was so grateful for the help we received, I can't wait for the next opportunity to pass it on and help out for someone else! In fact I'm trying not to be pushy with a few of the brides, but I'm like "REALLY! Ask me to help! Cuz I will!!!!"

Anonymous said...

This is exactly what I was working on yesterday: Coming up with a list of things we might need people to do.

And you're absolutely right, I feel so bad even thinking about asking people to help. Even though I was just at a wedding where I helped pack up the reception for 2 hours and helped make seating cards and printed things before hand, and was more than happy to do so.

I guess I worry that our wedding is so small that everyone will have a job and no one will get to have fun. But asking someone to make sure the margaritas keep coming isn't going to ruin someone's day is it? =p

Amy @ Belles on a Budget said...

This is such a great post! And I completely agree- enlisting the help of family and friends can be such a huge money-saver (and stress reliever!) and most of the time people are happy to help!

I LOVE being asked to help in wedding projects- I tell all of my friends and relatives to put me to work! ;)

Kate said...

Having gone this way for our own wedding, I would attach one caveat to this. Prepare yourself for hearing "no".

In our case, virtually everybody was on board and THRILLED to be able to be part of the wedding, even if it was only in a small way.

HOWEVER, two of my husband's friends said no- they weren't comfortable having any part of it- they just wanted to show up. And no, the language wasn't more delicate than that.

I think it threw us both for a loop, and we struggled with our feelings over it for a bit. Their reticence was all the more glaring because other people were so enthusiastic, and it really made us wonder how much they wanted to be there and how much they supported us at all. Were they just hoping for the free food?

Being close friends, we couldn't just "uninvite" them, and at least theoretically, when you're asking, you shouldn't be assuming the answer will be yes (or you're uninvited!). It actually wound up putting a strain on the friendship- something I don't think any of us expected or had prepared for.

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