Five tips for choosing the best event vendors

Whether it’s a fundraiser, media event, open house, New Year’s Eve party, speaking engagement, gala or grand opening, the limit does not exist when it comes to the different types of events our team at Obsidian has planned and executed for clients. No matter the event, you’ll have to rely on a combination of trustworthy vendors – caterers, florists, event rental companies, musicians, photographers, bartenders, etc. In our experience, even tarot card readers and fire dancers have come into play!   

The vendor relations process can determine the success of the event you’re planning. But, it can be a challenge to find the right vendor for each component of your event. Let’s break down a few tips for vetting vendors and knowing how to communicate with them. 

Always begin with the venue 

You don’t have a date until you have a venue! Securing the right venue that is available within the time period you’re looking to throw your event can be tough, so it’s always smart to rent the venue and set your date simultaneously. In addition, the type of venue you secure will determine the tone and theme of your event. You’ll likely find that all other vendor decisions revolve around the space you choose – often because venues set parameters around which vendor businesses they’ll allow to work at their facility. 

Build your list of options by doing some online stalking 

When it comes to vendors, don’t be the odd couple. Find vendors that share your values and vision – ones you would be proud to take home to your “family.” Most (if not all) of the vendors in your area have an online presence. And if they don’t in the year 2022 – they may not be the best option. Take some time to review their website; browse their social media platforms; and monitor their online reviews to get a better sense of their brand and how it aligns with yours. 

Present them with all the facts 

Knowing as many details as possible about your event when contacting vendors for quotes will ease the outreach process. This allows you to be direct with potential vendors, informing them of your exact needs. If you have a specific vision, explain that to them upfront so there’s no confusion down the line. It’s then their job to determine if they can bring that vision to life. Having all the facts is also important for budget building – if you don’t paint an accurate picture of your event needs, they won’t be able to provide an accurate quote. 

Pay attention to their communication 

As the event planner, you are a potential client – and should be treated as such! Evaluate the timeliness of the vendor’s response and the manner in which they communicate with you. The initial communication can be very telling of how the remainder of the relationship will go. You’re entrusting your vendor of choice with an important service (not to mention the significant monetary costs involved), so it’s crucial to be comfortable around them and to trust they’ll stay organized and on top of deadlines.

Follow up and stay organized 

After reviewing all of your options – make a choice! From there, it’s smart to set up a phone call or in-person meeting with the vendor to finalize all details and ensure they have everything they need before the big day. It’s important to set reminders for yourself to follow up with your vendors a few times leading up to the event to ensure all of your ducks are in a row and that everything will go off without a hitch. And lastly, make sure you’re prepared to pay the vendor on the deadline they request. There’s nothing more frustrating for a vendor than when they do their job and have to wait a significant amount of time for payment to process. Make it a priority to stay organized during the planning process and all should run smoothly.  

And of course, if the vendor relations process is a daunting undertaking for your business, our team at Obsidian is one phone call away! Cheers!