The internet is a very big place. The internet when you’re looking for something specific is even bigger. We understand how difficult it is to narrow down your options when it comes to selecting any type of vendor for your event. We also know how important it is to get all the answers you need to know before making an informed decision and selecting the company you work with. Here are some tips for choosing the right vendors to work with for your event.
#1. Make a list of what you do not want.
This does not have to be a complete or detailed list, but sometimes it is easier to know what you don’t want rather than what you do. For instance, what is your favourite movie? It’s seemingly an easy question, but this usually makes me feel like I have never seen a single movie in my entire life. Now, what is a movie that you hated? I can name at least three. Knowing that you want nothing pink or shiny at your wedding, is a good starting point. Your vendor might introduce options that you hadn’t even thought of.
#2. Listen to the sound of their voice the first time they answer your phone call.
How did they sound? Annoyed, angry, cheerful, asleep? You might think it is irrelevant right away, but the way someone answers a phone call will set the basis for any future correspondence. Now maybe you didn’t call them, maybe you sent an email. Read that email response. Read it again. Look for tone and enthusiasm in their response. This isn’t to tell you to dissect your interaction with everyone you consider, but it is important to know how your relationship with this person/company will unfold during the course of your event. If your initial correspondence is late, rude or aggressive– chances are that the entire process is going to feel much the same.
#3. Look locally.
There are hundreds of companies to choose from when you’re planning an event. Your chosen venue will recommend a couple dozen to you right away. Don’t stop your search there. Check out local resources, like facebook or instagram to find smaller companies that work out of your city. It will be infinitely easier to set up last minute meetings or solve any issues that arise when they are nearby.
#4. Keep tabs on their promises.
Did they say they would send you a quote by the end of the day? Did they say they would return your call in the morning? Did they follow through? Anyone that isn’t following through on basic run of the mill promises will likely continue this pattern of behaviour. Now imagine dealing with multiple vendors like this, days before your event, with issues or questions idling that have yet to be resolved.
#5. Request multiple quotes.
Don’t choose the first quote you receive. This is not because there is anything wrong with the first company you hear back from, this is more for your own peace of mind. You want to be sure that you are getting quality service. Have the same conversations with multiple companies, chances are most quotes will be relatively similar. When they’re not, you can do some research to find out why. Some companies might have higher markup to account for greater overhead costs, others might be running a small business out of their garage and cut half their costs that way. Either way, it is important to see what is out there before committing to a vendor. You want to be sure you are making the right decision. By reviewing multiple quotes, you do not necessarily need to select the least expensive option, but at least you have what is most important: options.
#6. Learn about their experience.
It’s one thing to be wooed by fancy websites and brochures, but most life experience doesn’t translate onto paper. Ask questions. Learn what their biggest mistake was, how did they fix it. Ask them what they would do if they woke up the morning of your event and all of the flowers had wilted. Ask if they have alternate lighting technicians, what if their main tech is sick that day? What happens if your lead makeup artist breaks her hand, who will come to her rescue? We learn best from our mistakes and from our experiences, I guarantee the vendors you’re talking to will have plenty to share.
#7. Meet them in person.
Email is great. Really. The phone? Fantastic. But if you can, if the option is there, try to meet with your potential vendors in person. I know that everyone is busy and I know that we have twenty things to do any given day, let this be one of them. Meeting someone is person and measuring how well you get along is so crucial to the success of your working relationship. You need to get along, is what I am trying to say. You need to be able to have open and honest communication amongst one another– the success of your event relies on it.
#8. Go with your gut.
I know, our mothers have been saying this since we were seven. There’s a reason for it. Our guts are right. If it feels like the right decision, then it is.