Working with wedding vendors can be a great, or a horrible experience. In a prior post, “Why it Doesn’t Pay to Pick a Vendor Solely on Price,” I discussed some considerations when shopping for a tent or party rental vendor. But once you’ve made your selection, here are five tips to help you get the best vendor experience.
Communication is Key
If you want to make your rental experience as smooth as possible, communication with all vendors is essential. Typically, most rental items are delivered before any of the other vendors arrive. Rental vendors typically set up tables, chairs, and dance floor accordingly to the agreed on floor plan. The rest of the items (dishes, glassware, linens) are left behind for another vendor (caterer, wedding planner) to take over. If you’ve changed your mind in the last 24 hours and now have a different floor plan or need 20 more place settings you need to contact your vendor ASAP. If your original order has already been delivered you should expect an additional delivery charge for the new items.
Know What You’re Responsible For
Though your wedding is a hectic day for all, it is your responsibility to make sure the people in charge know what is expected of them when it comes to the set-up, take-down and care of rental items. If your coordinator puts candles directly on the linens, you are on the hook for paying for any damage to them. The same applies to broken dishes and glassware.
One of our biggest nightmares for rental vendors is arriving for pickup and there is food, flowers and trash rolled up with the linens. Flowers and other items that are dyed can permanently stain linens. Let your tear-down crew (planner, family, caterer) know they should shake out all linens before putting them in designated bins or laundry bags.
Don’t Forget to “Rack Up”
It’s usually stipulated in the rental contract that at a minimum the glasses, dishware and linens must be assembled for pickup. It will take a few extra minutes for your team to collect the items at the end of the night, but it’s worth it especially if glasses have wandered off or been broken; you won’t be surprised when you’re billed for these items.
Give Good Directions
Most vendors do their homework to ensure they have accurate directions, but what we won’t know, unless you tell us, are any “unusual” factors to be aware of that might affect us, such as a driveway with hairpin turns or major road construction on one of your streets. Additional information about your location, such as landmarks, access doors/roads and gate codes are extremely helpful.
Don’t Expect Perfection
Every vendor strives for perfection – his or her reputation and business depend on it. Unfortunately, unforeseen situations arise. Most vendors will do what they can to fix the problem, but every once and awhile something can’t be fixed. As any wise wedding planner will tell you, always expect something will go wrong and always have a plan B.
I hope these tips come in handy as you embark on planning your wedding.