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Etiquette

Ask for help with wedding in lieu of gifts

So this is actually two related questions. 

I have a good friend who is a wonderful chef who offered to do the food for my reception. He is even taking two days off prior to the wedding to come down and prep (he lives in Boston and is traveling to New York). How do I let him know that we consider this a (very very generous) wedding gift and he should not get us something else? All the etiquette and advice I've read say that you are never supposed to expect gifts so mentioning it at all is rude. But after all that work he is offering to do I'd hate for him to this he also has to get a gift.

Part two is somewhat related. Another friend is a photographer. He has been talking about our registry so I know he plans on giving us a gift. I would like to ask him to take a few photos at the wedding in lieu of a gift. Not at the scale of a typical wedding photographer (which we are not hiring). I'd just like a handful of photos from the ceremony that aren't taken by cellphones. How do I approach this and ask for it in place of whatever registry gift he would get?

Re: Ask for help with wedding in lieu of gifts

  • edited February 2017
    So this is actually two related questions. 

    I have a good friend who is a wonderful chef who offered to do the food for my reception. He is even taking two days off prior to the wedding to come down and prep (he lives in Boston and is traveling to New York). How do I let him know that we consider this a (very very generous) wedding gift and he should not get us something else? All the etiquette and advice I've read say that you are never supposed to expect gifts so mentioning it at all is rude. But after all that work he is offering to do I'd hate for him to this he also has to get a gift.

    Part two is somewhat related. Another friend is a photographer. He has been talking about our registry so I know he plans on giving us a gift. I would like to ask him to take a few photos at the wedding in lieu of a gift. Not at the scale of a typical wedding photographer (which we are not hiring). I'd just like a handful of photos from the ceremony that aren't taken by cellphones. How do I approach this and ask for it in place of whatever registry gift he would get?
    Well, first of all, I'm going to assume he's licensed to cater and is bringing adequate equipment and staff. What type of venue have you booked? I ask because licensing laws vary, especially between states, and not all venues are open to outside catering. Something to consider, lest you receive a nasty surprise later.

    All that aside, even though you shouldn't expect gifts, you should also appreciate them when given. Whether or not he gifts you is his decision. I'd imagine it's just as rude to (preemptively) turn down a gift as it is to require one. I think all you can really do is express your gratefulness.

    For the second situation, you need to consider multiple things:
    How do you know he even intends to get you a gift? He's not obligated. So nix that idea of having a service mandated as his gift to you.
    You need to decide whether you're inviting said friend as a guest or hiring him as a vendor. There's not single scale typical to wedding photography. All sorts of packages are offered. Plus, anyone working at your wedding is working. Read: not a guest. If you hire him, he's working for you and is not a guest, even if he doesn't charge you.

    There is nothing wrong with being friends with your vendors. But it's rude to invite people under the guise of being guests and expect that they work your wedding.

    ETA: I agree with everything LondonLisa said. I didn't see it before I posted. Sorry. :smile:
    SP29sparklepants41
  • Agree with above re: friends as vendors.

    If your friend does take some photos (without prompting from you) you can always ask after the wedding if he would be able to share a few of his favourites with you.

    OurWildKingdom
  • So this is actually two related questions. 

    I have a good friend who is a wonderful chef who offered to do the food for my reception. He is even taking two days off prior to the wedding to come down and prep (he lives in Boston and is traveling to New York). How do I let him know that we consider this a (very very generous) wedding gift and he should not get us something else? All the etiquette and advice I've read say that you are never supposed to expect gifts so mentioning it at all is rude. But after all that work he is offering to do I'd hate for him to this he also has to get a gift.

    Part two is somewhat related. Another friend is a photographer. He has been talking about our registry so I know he plans on giving us a gift. I would like to ask him to take a few photos at the wedding in lieu of a gift. Not at the scale of a typical wedding photographer (which we are not hiring). I'd just like a handful of photos from the ceremony that aren't taken by cellphones. How do I approach this and ask for it in place of whatever registry gift he would get?
    Honestly, having friends as vendors is a bad idea.  It means they can't enjoy your wedding. But you especially cannot ask your friends who haven't offered. Your friend will miss your ceremony cooking, and spend the whole party serving. I'd rather have more inexpensive food and spend time with my friend. 

    When you say say he is a chef, do you mean he is a professional with experience cooking for large events? Where is all the food being stored before cooking?  Has he done all the catering training? Does he have equipment to keep hot food hot and cold food cold? Whose kitchen is he cooking in? Does it have enough catering grade storage to store and cook this food? Most home kitchens do not have the ability to handle the volume of a catered wedding. How is food being transported to the venue? Who is serving it? Who is assisting? A catering company doesn't just handle food, but all of these logistics and equipment issues

    If all of these questions can be answered to a professional catering standard, and if you must use your friend who offered to cook, you should say 'Friend, I really appreciate that. What is your rate for catering and how should we plan food delivery?'. You should pay this person the market rate. If they say no, say 'well that is a very generous wedding gift.' 

    If you want photography, you will have to pay for it. Don't invite people to work- it's super rude. 
    ^^what she said. Being a chef and working in a catering kitchen are two very different animals. 

    Don't make your friends work for your wedding, a gift is something given not something asked for.
    OurWildKingdomcowgirl8238PrettyGirlLost
  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    1. Don't mention anything about gifts to the friend who is catering your wedding. It's presumptuous to think he might give a gift in addition to the catering. If you receive a gift from him, you should graciously accept it. 

    2. You may ask your photographer friend what her fee would be for X number of wedding photos. You may not ask her to offer her services for free or in lieu of a gift. Again, it's presumptuous to mention gifts at all, since they aren't required.

    Before you accept services from friends, think about how you will deal with it if the pics/food don't come out the way you expect.
    This is another huge issue. What happens if your friend comes down with something? Is late? Just can't get done what you want. I assume you are purchasing all the supplies/food for him to cook. What happens if something burns (totally realistic thing to happen in a strange kitchen). Who is rebuying the supplies?  If you hired a caterer, they have back up staff/ other caterers that can cover it. With a professional caterer, there are contracts and methods of redress if things don't work out. It's just a huge risk. 

    If you took your budget for the supplies/food, and just talked to some caterers/restaurants, I think you'd be surprised with how much you could get for the same price (especially because they probably get wholesale/restaurant supply prices vs regular shop prices that you will be paying). It would be worth it for peace of mind. 



    OurWildKingdom
  • 1. I like LondonLisa's wording of asking your friend how much you owe for catering, and if he declines, saying, "Thank you- that is such a generous wedding gift". Beyond that, there is nothing else you can say.

    2. The only way you can ask your friend to take a couple of shots is if you offer to pay him as a photographer. No mention of "in lieu of a gift". TBH, I think asking him "take a couple of shots" is pretty unfair. I think if you saw him taking photos at the wedding, you could ask him after if you can have a copy of the photos he took, but asking him beforehand is vendor territory and I think puts a lot of pressure on him as someone who is a professional but also just wants to be a guest. What do you mean by a couple of shots? What shots? When? What if he doesn't get the pictures you'd like him to get? Do you expect him to step out into the aisle during your ceremony to capture your first kiss, or jump up to the front to get a picture of your first dance? Do you want them edited too? Those actions should not be required of a guest. Be happy if you do get photos from your guests but don't expect professional photographer quality photos without paying for them.
    OurWildKingdomshort+sassy
  • Agreeing with PPs. Food and pictures are probably two of the biggest things people notice if they aren't great. You'll be disappointed if the pictures aren't what you were wanting, and your guests will be disappointed if the food isn't served properly, etc.

    I agree with asking your photographer friend for digital copies of pictures he takes that you may want to print out.

    For the chef friend....there are way too many variables here. I think on a different post here, someone mentioned they had a friend who ran a brewery and offered to supply beer for the reception. That's a much more controllable situation, and almost all of the work can be done before the wedding. That friend was also invited as a guest, but (I think) was going to have someone from his brewery bring the beer, glasses, etc. But your friend coming from out of state, working in a kitchen he's not familiar with, likely with staff he's not familiar with....I would be very nervous.
    OurWildKingdomJen4948
  • For the chef friend, you don't say anything. I'm assuming you aren't paying him so he's probably assuming you realize this is his gift. But if he wants to go above and beyond and give you an additional gift, you just write him a very heartfelt thank you card about how much you appreciate his generosity

    For the photographer friend, you approach him by asking him if you could hire him for the few photos you would like to have done. Then it's up to him if he wants to offer to do it as a gift. But be prepared to pay though. Once you ask him to take a few photos, he is no longer able to enjoy your wedding as a regular guest.

    OurWildKingdom
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    I would not ask any friend who is also invited to your wedding as a guest to be one of your vendors.  I especially wouldn't do it for such a big job as cooking or photography. Those jobs require people who can give the work their full attention and won't be distracted by wanting to have fun. And they also require financial reimbursement for services rendered.  Whoever does the job needs a signed contract and compensation.
    OurWildKingdomSP29cowgirl8238
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