There are benefits to hiring professionals for your wedding day. You can ask friends and relatives to help with many tasks associated with your wedding, from making signs to creating welcome bags for out of town guests staying at hotels; from helping to address invitations to greeting guests at the ceremony. But there are some tasks that I suggest are best handled by professionals.
I will admit that I am biased, since I’m one of the professionals you can hire for your wedding day, but stay with me as I make my case. You probably have an amateur photographer among your acquaintances who could take pictures at your wedding. But they likely will not have the experience or equipment to capture all the special moments that a professional photographer would. And you can certainly ask a friend to run your recorded music for your ceremony, but do you have appropriate speakers so the music will be heard? Will that friend know when to start, stop or cycle a given song so the last part of the processional doesn’t happen in silence and you don’t have to stand awkwardly waiting for the music to finish? Professional DJs and live musicians with wedding experience can ensure there are no awkward silences or over long musical interludes.
Those are just two examples of the difference between using professional vendors and gracious friends and family. Within the world of wedding ceremony trends I cringe when people tell me they’ve asked a brother, uncle or friend to act as their officiant. I’m personally busy enough that I’m not concerned with losing business to this trend, but I worry about the resulting ceremony for a couple of reasons. First, the person acting as officiant often knows one of you better than the other, and likely has a limited perspective on your relationship. This can result in an unbalanced ceremony that doesn’t really focus on you, your love and commitment to each other. You really don’t want your ceremony to sound like the warm-up for the evening’s toasts.
The second reason I worry is because these well-intentioned folks usually don’t have training in what we call the “emotional arc” of the ceremony. A well designed ceremony will carry you and your guests on a journey – it will build to a crescendo, and close with feelings of hope and excitement for your future. Untrained officiants are likely to place ceremony elements in a haphazard order, or draw focus to concepts out of order in a way that leaves everyone feeling a bit at sea. And worst case, the untrained officiant might not follow state requirements to be able to perform a legal ceremony for you, or may get cold feet and back out altogether, only weeks or days before your wedding.
For all the above reasons, I encourage you to consider hiring professionals to handle what you consider to be the most important parts of your wedding day, and to engage your helpful family and friends to work on the surrounding tasks – or just enjoy being welcomed guests. This approach will lead to a memorable wedding day and will reduce the potential for various disasters.