Guide To: “What Can I Do to Help?”

June 6, 2014

A question I get often from brides is, “My friend keeps asking me what she can do to help, but I feel bad putting her to work, is there a job I can give her?” This will, of course, depend a lot on how far you are from the big day, but the guilt that comes from asking friends and family to spend their Saturday putting together 300 favors never really goes away.

When taking your friends up on this offer, it’s best to plan ahead so you don’t end up asking them–a day before your wedding–to stay up all night with you and strip flowers. Here’s some pro tips on when and how you can utilize some friendly generosity.

1. Make a Decor List
Once you’re about 6 months out, you’ll probably have a good idea of what projects you’ll need to complete. A great way to stay on top of things is to assign one project a weekend. (Do buy all your supplies early on so you don’t end up making 30 trips to Hobby Lobby.) This keeps you from having those infamous all-nighters a week out from your wedding, and allows you to be more productive in assigning projects to those who might want to help.

2. Hold Weekly Craft Nights
A craft night does not mean every week your friends get together to work on your wedding, which seems like something off an episode of Bridezillas. Instead, encourage your lady friends to bring over whatever they might be working on––a knitting project, a scrapbook––and if anyone doesn’t have a craft, they can have the option to help you with yours. That way it makes the tediousness of DIYing a little more enjoyable. Try to hold it on a weekday so your friends don’t feel like you’re forcing them to abandon their weekends to hole up with you. See also: Booze & Craft Nights.

3. “Hire” Your Delivery Help
A lot of brides underestimate the amount of decor they can accumulate over the course of 6 months. Find some friends with ample trunks (no jokes here, I’m a professional) that can tote decor to your venue the day-of, and then ask them to stay afterwards to take anything left at the end of the night. Keep in mind, in addition to decor, you’ll need someone to carry your gifts, alcohol, cake, and flowers/vases. That’s at least 3 (sober) people you need to count on to get you through the end of the wedding. Let them know now in case they were planning on having a really good time and going to take a cab home.

4. Wedding Duties
Now would be a great time to ask your hilarious and amicable old roommate to kick off toasts, or your 14 year-old cousin to help man the photo booth. There are plenty of jobs to go around the day-of, and finding guests who would enjoy doing them is a cost-saver, and more intimate than having a pro. Everything from reminding guests to sign the guest book, to helping intimate family find their seats for the ceremony can make some of your friends and family feel included and special.

5. Count Your Blessings (and Talents)
That good friend of yours who has incredible handwriting? Or the best friend you met in art class? Either would be the perfect person to work on some of those craft projects. If you have talented friends (and keep in mind: GOOD friends, not acquaintances, unless they’re so good you don’t mind paying them) who are asking to lend you their services, take advantage! A lot of brides feel like their weddings should be entirely made by them, but looking around the room and knowing that your grandmother strung together the banner for the wall, or your best friend wrote all the escort cards, is part of the intimacy and magic of a wedding. One of my favorite moments at a wedding so far has been watching a Mother of the Groom carefully place the cake she had made and top it with store-bought flowers.

Lastly, stop feeling guilty. Your friends are happy to help as long as you don’t work them to death. Give them projects you know they’d enjoy, and if it’s not enjoyable (i.e. picking up cigarette butts at the end of the night) it is WELL worth the money (and your relationship with this person) to hire someone to do it for you. Promise!