It was easy to ask random people to help with my yearly geek convention. After all, you could just head out to social media, announce what help you needed and how you were planning to pay for it, and somehow by event magic people would volunteer. (We didn’t pay enough to call it applying.) And having door people, kitchen helpers and people to help set up and close down didn’t exactly spoil any surprises.
You’d think the same principles would apply to the wedding, but that’s where good manners, wedding etiquette, and shyness step in. I’m reluctant to ask guests to help with making the guest gifts and other things because I want the wedding to be a surprise for them. At the same time I have a nasty habit of resentfully staring at my mom and fiancé while I craft instead of just saying “please help”.
I lucked out by having a craft group who listened to me being excited to marry Hardus, and then offered to help. They’re awesome. My only stroke of genius was accepting.
Can you ask people who are not invited to your wedding to help?
I’m pretty sure the traditional answer to this is a resounding “no”. Etiquette doyennes have a lot to say about what’s tacky at a wedding. I’m already ticking some of their boxes with the cash bar, non-traditional dress and lack of pollen arrangements. I think the main thing is to use the common-sense approach. Check out Offbeat Bride for support and advice on parting with tradition.
About dear hearts who you haven’t invited… since weddings cost a lot, the budget is usually why you can’t invite everyone you like. My mom’s considering inviting some people to the kitchen tea who aren’t invited to the wedding. But asking friends and friendly acquaintances to help you make things for the wedding is still a gray area to me.
For any wedding planning and help from non-guests to be useful, everyone must have the same idea of what the help means. Even if you pay your helpers in some way, it must be clear that you’re not going to invite them to your wedding as reward for helping. You have to be happy with letting people help you and not feel guilty that you can’t invite them.
Accept offers of help
I didn’t ask non-guests to help make thank-you gifts for guests. I lucked out by having a craft group who listened to me being excited to marry Hardus, and then offered to help. They’re awesome. My only stroke of genius was accepting. I also accepted my bridesmaid’s offer to let us work at her workshop. Perhaps getting quiches, custard slices and brownies to say thanks was also smart.
The craft day will probably be one of my favourite prepping memories. I can’t go into too much detail because that would give away wedding surprises, but highlights include the impromptu union demands, the rivalry between the store room and the unskilled labourers, the holey cape and the wonderful feeling that everything would actually get done in time. With the group’s permission, I’ll post the exact story after the wedding.
Disclaimer: There are also times when it’s better to turn down offers of help. Would you be interested in an article on my experience with that?