Having an extra hand at a wedding is a must! But hiring your first day-of wedding assistant can be a challenge if you don’t know where to start. When I first started out, I did my first few weddings solo—and I’ve never felt so overwhelmed. There were so many places I needed to be all at once. I needed to set up the venue while checking in with vendors. I needed to be cleaning up the ceremony/cocktail hour while also helping the DJ line up the bridal party for the reception. I needed to communicate with the photographer about the cake cutting while at the same time prepare for the grand exit.
Your First Day-of Wedding Assistant
I soon realized that I needed to hire a wedding day-of assistant. I simply could not do it alone and keep my sanity at the same time. But how do you go about hiring help? Today, I’m going to share with you some much needed tips on how to hire your first assistant.
Why You Might Need to Hire Help
If you weren’t sweating at reading the telling of my story, you are Superwoman! And if you’re still not convinced you might need an assistant, here are some other examples where having an extra pair of hands might be extremely useful: If the ceremony and reception are at different venues. If you only have a two-hour setup window for the reception venue. If you have over 50 guests. If your bride has tons of DIY décor. These are all good reasons to have an assistant.
An Assistant’s Job Description
A wedding assistant’s job description entails many tasks. For one, they need to be able to set up independently from you. This means they can look at an inventory sheet and get to work without having to ask billions of questions. They can help you with the bridal party at the ceremony site or welcome guests with directions at the reception. If it’s a low-key wedding with a family friend caterer, they can help with clearing off tables and picking up trash. They can assist with passing out the wedding exit items and lining up the guests. And, of course, they can help pack things up at the end of the night.
Employee vs. Independent Contractor
It’s important to understand the difference between an employee and an independent contractor. It’s also important to be aware of your own state’s laws. For example, California has its own definition of what an independent contractor is, and they don’t follow the federally mandated one. An employee is someone you tell what do, how to do it, and when to do it. You have to pay taxes for them as well as workers’ comp. An independent contractor (also known as an IC) comes in already knowing what to do and doesn’t need any help from you. There’s a lot of gray area when it comes to hiring help as a wedding planner.
By definition, if you hire your neighbor who has no wedding experience, they would probably would fall in the “employee” category since you’d have to tell them what to do. However, if you hire a fellow wedding planner who owns their own business, you could define this as an IC in most states since they already have the skills to do the job independently.
If you decide to go with an IC, then you will want them to fill out a W-9. You will need the information listed on this form to file your taxes in January. By the way, all 1099s must be delivered to the IC and turned into the IRS by the end of January. However, if the total amount you paid them during the previous year is less than $600, you don’t have to worry about turning in any forms.
How to Pay Them
All the cool kids nowadays are using Venmo. From what I’ve heard, there are no fees to use this program. PayPal is another option, but there are fees attached to it. I make it a habit to pay my help the day after a wedding. Make sure you have agreed upon a price for their services in advance. You can either pay a flat rate or an hourly rate. I will send my help an email statement for their records once the payment is made. Technically, as an IC, they should send me an invoice, but I personally hate owing anyone money, so I like to just pay them as soon as possible.
Where to Find Help
So how do you find your assistant wedding planner? If you’re thinking of hiring a knowledgeable wedding planner to help out (which is what I recommend), then I would go to your local wedding industry Facebook group and ask there. Or ask around at a networking event. You could also send out a few emails. If you go this route, I would suggest looking for a wedding planner who has been in business 1–3 years.
Hiring a dependable wedding assistant is something you won’t ever regret doing! Because you can’t be in two places at once, having someone who you’re confident will be able to take over while you’re putting out fires is a priceless resource. Treat them well. If you’ve been going solo for a while but are feeling overwhelmed and stressed, it’s time to get some help!