Helpers, Taskers And Other Party Elves

By Kristen Castillo

July 1, 2015 5 min read

Wedding planning is filled with details large and small. Finding help isn't always easy, but it's necessary.

Need help planning your engagement party? Want assistance assembling your welcome bags? Looking for someone with nice penmanship to write out your place cards?

It used to be that you'd have to do these jobs yourself, ask friends or family, or hire an event professional. So what should you do when you're overwhelmed and family and friends aren't available? Nowadays, you can go online to hire helpers to get the job done.

That's what happened for a couple's wedding in Los Angeles. The groom surprised his bride during the reception with her favorite New England treat: Hoodsie Cups, which are paper cups filled with a mix of both chocolate and vanilla ice cream. But first the groom had to figure out how to get the frozen dessert to the West Coast for his bride, who is originally from New England. He hired a "Tasker" via TaskRabbit, the leading on-demand home services app connecting busy people with a network of Taskers in their area -- or in this case, someone from the Northeast who could buy and overnight ship 150 ice-cream cups in an industrial strength cooler!

The groom tells TaskRabbit that making the Hoodsie Cups surprise happen was "definitely a memory the both of us will have for the rest of our lives," and he says that without the Tasker's help, he doesn't think he could have made it happen.

*Help for Hire

Many couples are hiring helpers to assist with pre-wedding prep including everything from envelope calligraphy to decorating the venue to DJ'ing or baking the wedding cake.

Some brides and grooms solicit the help online with ads on Craigslist or via social media posts asking for help with certain wedding tasks. Sites like TaskRabbit are growing, too.

"Taskers helping with weddings has become a big thing in the past two years," says Jamie Viggiano, TaskRabbit's VP of marketing, citing examples like helping to plan a surprise engagement by decorating an apartment with hundreds of rose petals and LED candles; delivering a wedding cake in Washington, D.C.; and helping assemble and deliver flower arrangements.

Additional wedding tasks completed include picking up and delivering last-minute items like ice, batteries and coffee; sorting, scanning and uploading photos for a wedding slideshow; and setting up wedding FaceTime sessions between the couple and their loved ones who couldn't attend the ceremony in person. "This has been done a number of times with older clients who aren't savvy with technology," says Viggiano.

*Pricing

Paying for wedding help a la carte seems to be a fit for couples who can't afford or don't want to hire professional wedding coordinators. Some brides and grooms list the project budget in their social media and Craigslist posts; others take bids from anyone who responds to the ads.

On TaskRabbit, Taskers set their own hourly rate by category. When clients post a task, TaskRabbit provides a list of several candidates in the area and the individual's skills. The client pays once the task is finished.

"Brides and grooms are recognizing that they don't need to do all the wedding prep on their own and that they can outsource some of the more mundane, tedious tasks to qualified people," says Viggiano, noting that outsourcing the work "makes a stressful situation less stressful."

*Buyer Beware?

Some wedding experts caution brides and grooms that hiring a stranger to assist with wedding details might not be a good idea. The reason? Typically, the helper is inexperienced with weddings and might not be accountable.

"Unless you are a really laid-back bride, I would not recommend hiring helpers in this way," says Michelle Balducci-Connelly of Michelle Marie Photographie. "Craigslist workers have little to no repercussions if they don't perform. A professional will have a reputation to uphold and has an incentive to perform well because they are making a career out of their service."

Still, she understands the appeal of hiring wedding helpers.

"With ever-increasing costs of weddings, my couples are always looking to save in areas they deem appropriate," says Balducci-Connelly, noting that hiring a day-of planner, for example, would cost anywhere from $500 to $1,000 for reception setup and organization, compared to a hired helper, who would likely charge an hourly or flat rate "that would be far less than a day-of coordinator would charge."

Before hiring anyone to help with your event, get references if possible, and make sure you're comfortable with their skills, reliability and overall credibility. You only get one chance to make your wedding day a success, so be confident in your hiring decisions.

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