So many times, and I mean, so, so, so many times, brides start the planning process hoping to depend on their friends, family and others to do a favor for them for the wedding. Whether your best friend designs websites and is dying to do the invites or your personal hair stylist can’t wait to style your wedding day ‘do, there is typically a myriad of people wanting to be involved in the big day. To this, I say, great, amazing, fabulous and wow, what good friends you have, BUT, I also say, be careful. Often that best friend has the best intentions which fall to the wayside when a paying client hires them to create a huge new website/campaign which has now pushed the invitations back a couple of weeks. And, personal hair stylists who are amazing at your highlights and cute, little cut, are not so good at updos or staying on the wedding day timeline. I’ve seen it so many times that couples want to take advantage of their friend’s generous offer, only then to be stuck in a situation where their expectations are not met and now they don’t know how to say, “thanks, but no thanks.” I mean, how do you put pressure on an overworked friend who is offering their expertise for free, and come on, you don’t want to have to find another personal stylist because you had to fire her from your wedding day after you realize that precious wedding hair just isn’t her schtick. My best advice: Think about things long and hard before agreeing. Be up front and as nice as possible by letting them know that you appreciate the offer, but you are also checking out everything on the market to make sure it’s the best fit. This way if you decide to go another route, they won’t be as hurt. Or, if you have a wedding planner, feel free to use him or her as the scape goat. Things like, “my wedding planner already has someone in place for us” or the like, is usually acceptable and then they can be a little bitter towards a perfect stranger rather than you. Now, as always, I want to say, some friends come through and some are AMAZING! I just had a wonderful wedding where the friend was making the cake (Yikes with a capital Y!!) and it beyond exceeded my expectations. But, with this bride, she treated the friend like any other vendor. She let her know that she was going to do a tasting with other cake designers and was also hoping to do a tasting with her as well. In the end, it worked out well and all was happy. But, to avoid potential frustration, try to lay the ground rules in advance or do whatever you can to experience your friend’s product or service prior to committing. If this seems harsh, consider the alternative scenario, which is firing a friend or being disappointed by the end product.