How to find vendors for your event

Turning Points 3 min read

Whether you’re planning a wedding or another large event, you’ll likely need some help. Vendors supply everything from food and music to lighting and tents. You can expect to need many vendors if you’re planning an outdoor wedding or event. Choosing these vendors wisely will ensure your event goes off without a hitch. Here are some tips to consider when looking for vendors for an event.

Look for vendors with a similar personality to yours

Detail oriented

Are you detail-oriented? Do you like to have every contingency documented? Find the vendor that matches your level of attentiveness. Ask them to show you their list, plan, or bullet journal. Give them an assignment before your first meeting, and you’ll be able to see exactly how they match up to your meticulous standards.

Spontaneous or more structured

Are you spontaneous and go with the flow? Do you tend to change your mind on a whim? Be sure to ask your prospective vendors how they deal with unforeseen changes to the plan. Better yet, have them give examples of past parties where something unexpectedly changed and ask how they handled it. Do they roll their eyes describing a bridezilla that decided to change everything last minute? Or are they excited to solve a problem and come up with something new?

Micromanaging or creative freedom

Are you the supervising type? Does nothing get done without your approval? Or are you more comfortable giving someone your vision and allowing creative freedom? Ask your vendors how they work best. Will they always be looking to you for direction, or do they do their best work when left on their own?

If you are more on the micro-manager side, the last thing you want is someone who will be easily offended by feedback. Make a couple of criticisms of their portfolio and see how they react. If you want to be surprised and delighted by the result, ensure they are independent and trustworthy.

Look for event vendors with references

These days, it’s easy to get reviews online, but unfortunately, you can’t always trust those. Sometimes you need to pick up the phone and call their references. But don’t stop there. Be an investigator and find someone who isn’t on the reference list. Ask your caterer about prospective DJs. To help you be an amateur detective, here are some questions to ask the references:

  • Would you use this vendor again?
  • Describe what you want and ask if they think the vendor will do a good job.
  • What did you like best about them? What did you like the least?
  • If they made a mistake, how did they handle it?

Find an event vendor who is responsible and professional

Even if your party is a casual affair, the last thing you want is for the person you hired to be disorganized. Even worse, you don’t want a vendor to be so negligent that they cause a safety hazard to guests, damage your venue, or even flake out on you. Check if your vendor is organized, professional and if they have insurance.

How did they handle their first meeting with you? Were they late and disorganized, or were they on time and prepared? It’s common for the creative one in the business — the chef or the florist, for example — to be less organized or business-savvy. If their souffle is to die for, it’s okay if they can’t calculate your bill in their head.

This may depend on the type of business they conduct. But, overall, does their behavior, attitude, and even outfit align with what you’re hiring them for? Ensure they have the proper licensing and experience to fulfill your special event needs. You don’t want to hire an inexperienced, unprofessional vendor who can ruin your event.

When your vendor has insurance, you can have peace of mind that there’s coverage available for their negligence. You won’t be stuck with the bill if you hire a bartender to serve alcohol because that comes with additional liability. They must have the proper alcohol liability coverage for their operation. Learn more about how event insurance works.

Other considerations for choosing your vendors

When choosing your vendors, remember this is your event. The vendors you select are all part of a business transaction. You’re the boss — do your research, be clear about what you need and expect, and don’t be afraid to delegate. Your vendors will appreciate such directness, saving you many headaches come event day.

Be ready for other headaches and potential disasters with special event insurance, which can protect you in all scenarios. Whether planning a backyard wedding or special charity event, you can be covered from wedding cancellations and postponements to a stolen wedding dress or damaged event venue. You can customize special event insurance to your needs, no matter the occasion.

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