Chit Chat

Why is this wrong?

ElcaBElcaB member
2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
edited May 2014 in Chit Chat
So often I find posts in which an OP explains she's asking friends/family to help with wedding-related preparations such as preparing food, assembling invitations, etc.* This is usually met with a general, "You shouldn't ask your Aunt Sue/cousin Sally/friend Sarah to help with this." 

I was thinking about this yesterday and wondered why that's the general consensus. Personally, I'd be happy to offer my time to help a close friend or family member with wedding stuff if they asked (within reason, of course).  

*I'm not referring to someone asking friends/family to help with duties that occur on the wedding day itself, like passing out programs, recording the ceremony, helping relocate chairs, etc. I understand why that's rude.

ETA: For the record, this is post is only because I'm curious. I'm not recruiting my own family/friends for help. 
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Re: Why is this wrong?

  • SBminiSBmini member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    It is rude because this is something that you would pay a vendor for.You would pay a caterer to prepare food for your wedding, but you expect your aunt to slave away in the kitchen to save you money. If your aunt offers to cook then it's one thing. But if you ask her to cook without paying her, then it's another thing. 

    An invite to assemble invitations in exchange for wine or food without any obligation attached is one thing. And I don't think there is anything wrong with that so long as it isn't mandatory and they are rewarded for their help. I also don't think it is wrong to ask people to help out with little things like passing out programs, again so long as it isn't mandatory. But when you ask your family members and friends to do things for free that you would otherwise pay a stranger to do- like cook or photograph, you've abused that relationship.
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  • Great question OP.  I have wondered the same thing.

    How do people know to offer assistance with cooking, photography, invitation/centerpiece assembly, or whatever if the bride/groom don't ask for help?

    Not being snarky, just honestly wondering.  I am someone who assumes if you don't ask for help, you don't need it or don't want it.  This is mainly because I don't want the person to feel obligated to include me or worry about hurting my feelings when they don't want assistance.  However, I have no problem helping anyone with just about anything if they ask nicely.
  • phiraphira Bahstin member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    There's a great term that I found on the boards here: voluntold.

    Asking Aunt Sue for help with something is okay. Letting Aunt Sue know that you need her to do something (voluntelling her) is not okay.

    Meanwhile, @SBmini's distinction is a handy one. If you ask for help with something that you would pay a stranger to do, you're (at best) in a gray area. When it comes to something like being in charge of an iPod, taping the ceremony, or acting as a coordinator, I'd recommend asking and then offering actual financial compensation. And even then, I'd only ask if you really absolutely could not afford to pay a professional (and I'm operating under the assumption that, if you're having an iPod DJ, you did not spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on attire, etc).
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  • smalfrie19smalfrie19 Home of SB XLVIII Champs member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Fourth Anniversary Name Dropper
    I think it a know your crowd kind of thing. If you think that people don't have a problem declining your request then ask anyways. If you feel they may feel obligated to say yes, I would avoid asking.
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  • ElcaB said:
    So often I find posts in which an OP explains she's asking friends/family to help with wedding-related preparations such as preparing food, assembling invitations, etc.* This is usually met with a general, "You shouldn't ask your Aunt Sue/cousin Sally/friend Sarah to help with this." 

    I was thinking about this yesterday and wondered why that's the general consensus. Personally, I'd be happy to offer my time to help a close friend or family member with wedding stuff if they asked (within reason, of course).  

    *I'm not referring to someone asking friends/family to help with duties that occur on the wedding day itself, like passing out programs, recording the ceremony, helping relocate chairs, etc. I understand why that's rude.

    ETA: For the record, this is post is only because I'm curious. I'm not recruiting my own family/friends for help. 
    The difference is in the structure of your sentence -- in your example, the OP is ASKING for help; you're saying, 'I wouldn't mind OFFERING' my help.

    There is nothing wrong with accepting help that is offered. There is nothing wrong with letting it be known that you need help on certain things.

    I do think it's a know-your-crowd kind of thing -- my mom helped do my centrepieces, but that's because a herd of wild horses couldn't have kept her from having SOME element of control over that. 

    For me, if it can't be done in a few hours, with alcohol, you're asking too much.

    Cooking food, btw, is generally considered a no-no because you're doing that to save mega bucks (catering being super-expensive and all) and because it puts an enormous burden on the person being asked to do it.

    Stuffing invites, folding programmes, bagging favours -- that's all fine to ask for help with, or say you need help with, but accept that people might say, 'Yeah, sorry, can't.'
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    I'm gonna go with 'not my circus, not my monkeys.'
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    I will admit I did expect my sister (MOH) to help me.   Fact is she is a major planner and it bugs the crap out of her that I'm not.  I get thing done on my own just fine.  It too  disorganized and chaotic for her.  We have had a life-time of history that says she would help.  Being in control is where she is happiest.  LOL

    If she could not help, NBD, as I said, I get things done.    However, I knew she would help.  Same way she knew she was able to call me up one day and ask if I could fly up to watch her kids when she had surgery.   

    It's just the way our relationship is.  






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • Rebl90Rebl90 member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments Third Anniversary Name Dropper
    I agree with the PPs and my hang-up has always been on the expectation to help.  I spent 4 hours on a Ssaturday two weeks ago folding programs and making crafts at a "craft day" put on by my friend whose wedding is quickly approaching.  There was the expectation that since we were BMs we would be able and willing to help, and she reminded us of the time and what we needed to do so many times that 4 of the BMs did not show and did not tell her why (so therefore her feelings were hurt).  Yes she was grateful and had snacks there, but harping on needing help over and over again really alienated the majority of us and since she has exhibited this attitude with other people/vendors multiple times, it has really changed the way I look at her. 
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  • emmyg65emmyg65 member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers First Anniversary
    As I've said lots on these boards, I don't think it's wrong, as long as you know your community, ask politely, make it easy for the person to say no, respect their time and effort (it's a favor, not an honor), and say thank you.
  • FiancBFiancB MinnesOOOta member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    I've had people repeatedly offer to help me with various things so I'll probably send out a message that's something like "hey I'm working on stuffing invitations, if anyone feels like coming over sometime in the next couple days I've got pizza and beer". If someone shows up, great. If they don't, it's not anything I can't handle. 

    Huge difference between that and "you're a brideslave so pencil it in at this time on this day and if you don't I'm kicking you out for not being brideslavey enough"
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  • doeydodoeydo Southwestern Ontario member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    If someone asked me to help with something for their wedding, I might feel guilted into doing it in without actually wanting to.  If I had wanted to help, I would have volunteered, by which I mean I would ask how the wedding planning was going, ask if he or she needed any help, then offer to help.
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    lc07grumbledore
  • My MOH (sister) was always offering to help with whatever, so I asked her to help me make the bouquets and centerpieces, and she joyfully did.  We had a fun day of it, and she's a crafty person.

    If she'd never offered to help in any way, or showed no interest in my wedding, I wouldn't have asked.

    That's pretty much the only thing I had unpaid help on.  

    I agree with pps that it's a know-your-crowd kind of thing, and get a feeling for whether this person is looking for a way to help you, or would rather just not do anything.

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  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    To my mind, these are two very different things.  Helping with the food means spending several hours preparing food plus spending the majority of the wedding focusing on making sure food is ready, set up, refilled/served, plus clean up.  There's a reason catering is expensive: it's a pain in the ass.  If someone offered and obviously wanted to do it, I wouldn't mind taking them up on it, but asking someone to take on this task is asking a lot.  I wouldn't ever ask anyone to work the wedding, no matter who they are.  

    When you get to things like stuffing invitations or making favors, you're typically looking at something that takes up an afternoon or evening outside of the wedding.  I'm still not a fan of asking unprompted, but this is the sort of thing where your friends/mom/sister will usually offer or hint.  It doesn't mean they offer specifically, but someone is probably going to ask what they can do to help.  That's when you take them up on the offer and give a specific task or two that they could help with.  
  • I agree with what a lot of the PPs said about how you go about asking for help if you need it, or accepting the offer for help.

    I am always volunteering to help my friends and family, because it brings me great joy.  I will say that I learned my limits this weekend when I did my friend's makeup for her wedding.  No joke- for 2.5 hours, I was her make-up bitch.  (While also doing makeup for MOH, MOB, and a BM around that.)  She sat there OBSESSING about how everything looked- fine, I get it- it's her wedding so she wants to look great, but limiting my (for lack of better terms) "artistic input" and overall knowledge of makeup and how it photographs, etc. made it even more difficult for me, on top of her staring at her face for way to long to make sure that everything was PERFECT.  In the end, I  looked kind of shitty because I was so busy helping others look good.  She did thank me, and I'm sure she'll thank me more once she sees that the pics look great (thankyouverymuch) - but if I knew that she was going to be THAT demanding, I would have assisted by helping her find another makeup artist.

    Note: I just happen to have worked in cosmetics and have a knack for doing makeup.  I'm not a certified MUA, nor do I do it as a paid gig.  I volunteered to help her out because she was freaking out because her first MUA was AWFUL.

    Sorry that this turned into a rant!

    TL;DR- You get what you pay for, and if someone offers to help with something that you would normally pay someone for- just accept that you might have to toss "perfect" out the window.
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  • I think it depends on your circle. My in-laws have no problem making food for a big party - they've catered weddings before for other family and wouldn't have had a problem if we asked them to help out. I asked my aunt to tape the ceremony; she brings her camera everywhere and may have taped it anyways.

    There is a difference between asking and demanding though. 




  • I think the biggest problem with this is that the people you are asking usually don't feel like it's okay to say no.  I know when I was a BM for a certain friend and was "asked" to help with things, if I didn't she was going to be seriously upset about it.  That's not fair or right.

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  • mysticlmysticl member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    My MOH stayed up helping me do centerpieces.  I stayed up helping put together her favors.  There was never any question we would do that stuff.  It's just us.  
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  • My flower girl was staring at the invites. They need STICKERS (stamps). Every single invite needs two stickers.

    Yup. I'm going to let her put the stamps on. Then I'm taking her to a kid pizza deal. Her parents are getting a night off, the kid gets to play with stickers and go to noise central, I get invites done and an excuse to play whack a mole and teach the kid skee ball. Win all around.
    RebeccaFlowerbride2b71614beharrington
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