hire a pro
The size of the wedding really doesn't matter. I've had brides who had "simple" elopements with 20 close friends and family members and brides who invited 350+ guests. Ask any of them and they'll tell you putting on a wedding is "a process!" Basically, when you try to get more than 3 people together in any kind of orderly fashion, it starts to involve some work.
While having "semi pro" friends help out can seem like cost savings in the beginning, it can also lead to the biggest headaches and regrets of the day. Here's why you NEED to hire professionals for the big ticket items on your wedding day.
Now don't get me wrong. Having your best friend act as your officiant can be super touching and absolute perfection on your wedding day. Having your cousin make a beautiful photo album to use as a guest book is lovely. And even having grandma make some treats for the dessert table can work out swimmingly.
Where you DON'T want amatures "pitching in" is for the following, big ticket items:
2. Wedding Planning
Why? Here are some real-life horror stories I've witnessed occur at REAL weddings (some I've worked, others I attended):
Exhibit A: The close friend of the happy couple, who also knows how to use a camera, gets a little too tipsy at the rehearsal dinner. The next day (the wedding!) they aren't feeling so good and have ZERO plan for capturing the day. Said happy couple then waits 3 YEARS for images that are "eh" at best.
Exhibit B: The videographer is a good friend of a wedding party member, but said videographer hasn't actually shot a wedding in over a year. Videographer and assistant then proceed to stand in front of the professional wedding photographer the couple has hired in pretty much EVERY documation shot; the processional, the ceremony, the first dance, etc. They even interrupt the photographer during formal family photos to ask about lens choice! During the reception, they stand directly in front of the family members giving the speeches, so much so that the guests complain that they can't see who's talking.
Exhibit C: The bride's mother is a very, very efficient woman. And she's crafty too! So the couple doesn't think it's necessary to hire a wedding planner. Mom's got this, right? Well, she does...until the day of the wedding. Then, while mom is trying to have a moment with her baby girl, pinning her veil in her hair, the best man pops in and asks where the boutonnieres are. No one else knows, so mom has to go and get them. Then during family pictures, mom is pulled away by the florist to ask if certain garland is what the bride wants on the altar. After the ceremony, the caterer asks mom where the place cards are for reception tables...and the list went on, and on, and on, and on. On the day of her daughter's wedding, mom didn't get to be mom. She had to be a wedding planner.
Exhibit D: As the couple is walking down the aisle, the processional music skips. I'm not even sure how that happened (because NO ONE has used a CD since the early 90's) but it did! Then, during the ceremony, the audio equipment for the officiant and the couple keeps popping, hissing and shrieking. Towards the part with the vows, it cuts out completely. Then, the DJ can't seems to keep the order straight for the grand entrance, so they keep running outside the reception hall to ask the bride and groom who should be announced first. Their audio equipment isn't loud enough, so the guest can't hear them over the cocktail hour, announcing that the grand entrance is about to start. The bride, groom, and wedding party then stand outside, in the cold for 30 MINUTES until the best man finally walks inside and yells for everyone to "shut the $*!$@ up!" The first dance starts and the couple is waltzing away to a soft beautiful song, which is then supposed to morph into a funky rap beat. But the DJ can't manage the transition and the music just stops, and the couple walks off the dance floor, trying to explain to their guests what SHOULD have happened.
No wedding is perfect. And sometimes the imperfections are what make the day amazingly yours. But these types of situations simply will not happen if you hire ture, experienced, professionals to handle the work that has to be done to make a wedding run smoothly. Take it from me and my wedding industry pro buddies, #hireapro!!!!!