No, not THAT F word...FRIEND. As in - Planner: "do you have a photographer yet?" Client: "my friend will be doing that". Cue ringing in our ears and our hearts dropping. When a planner hears "my friend will be doing that" what we instantly fear is a. no contract, b. no experience (or no paid experience anyway), c. limited understanding of how to work with other vendors and their mutual client, d. no communication with them prior to the event, e. a disappointed client.
Of course I'm making very broad strokes here and I want to point out that I had a recent client whose friend did her makeup and she looked beautiful. That being said I've had more clients who used friends for photography, videography, DJ, flowers and their results were not what they hoped for. Nor what I had hoped for for that matter. As a planner, we count on all of the other vendors to come through (and vice-versa it is a collective effort) to make a wonderful event for our client. We count on photographers to know exactly how much time they need to get all of the family photos done and to provide photos to other vendors as a way to prove their perishable work. Same with all of the other vendors, we need them to understand how long it will take them to set up, etc. We all count on one another to be professionals and when someone is not, everyone has a problem.
The problems with the "F" word don't stop there and are more importantly about the clients who use their friends. We understand that planning a wedding is not cheap and everyone wants to save money any way they can here and there. So if your friend wants to get into videography and has the equipment, why not use them right? What if you are disappointed in your video? Can you tell your friend that? Even if you've paid them, would you feel comfortable complaining? Will it hurt your friendship in the end? And what if you didn't pay and you don't like something, then do you have the right to complain? What if it isn't your friend, but your friend's friend, will your friend be offended if you don't like their friend's work after they've tried to help you out?
The bottom line is that everyone wants to save money, but do you want to do so at the risk of your wedding or event? Everyone has to start somewhere and I will forever be grateful to my first clients. However, be realistic about what is important to you. If you don't really care that much about the music and you know your friend is competent and you can put them in touch with your planner, then go for it, save yourself some money. But if flowers are the most important thing to you, then trust that task to a professional. Doing something right the first time will always save you money in the long run!