It's no secret that event planning can be hectic, especially when it comes to coordinating with vendors. The best way to avoid potential mishaps? Tackle troublesome situations before they occur. By discussing these ten questions with your vendors, you'll bypass the problems and skip straight to a successful event!
1. Where do we load and unload our equipment?
This question is critical, especially if your vendor has oversized or heavy equipment in tow. Check with your venue to see if loading areas, ramps or freight elevators are available. Relay the locations to your vendor, so they can map out a route ahead of time.
2. When can we begin setting up?
Before you give an answer, check to see if your venue has any events booked prior to yours. If so, you'll need to wait for the room to clear out before your vendors can enter. If there are other events happening simultaneously, see if you can schedule a time for each party to use the entryways/loading areas to avoid chaos.
3. Where should we set up?
First, find out what your vendor requires in terms of space and equipment accomodations (electrical outlets, tables, seating, etc.). Connect with your venue to make sure these needs can be met, and where the ideal location within your rental area is. If it's available, ask for a copy of the floor plan for your vendor- many venues even have these images on their website.
4. Who is our point of contact?
On the day of your event, you'll have a ton of running around to do; but if your vendor has any emergency questions, you'll want to make sure they get addressed. This is where the venue's event coordinator, site manager or other staff member can be of great help. Let them know you'll be giving your vendor their contact information for any last-minute issues, then let the vendor know who to look for.
5. Where can we park?
Sounds like a silly question, until your vendor hands you their parking ticket. Discuss the parking situation with your venue, and be sure to mention if the vehicles being used will be oversized.
6. Where can we get ready, store our things and take a break?
This is an especially important question to handle if your vendor needs to change into a costume, apply makeup or store supplies. If so, a changing room with good lighting and a mirror would be ideal. If a space like this isn't available, be sure to let your vendor know so they can plan accordingly.
7. Who's in charge of lighting?
We don't just mean turning them on and off- dimmining, spotlights and other effects can have a huge impact on a vendor or entertainer's performance. Let your vendor know if a lighting company will be present, or if someone will be designated to man the switches, so they can sync up ahead of time.
8. When and where can we eat?
If your event is more than 4 hours long, or happens to coincide with dinner time, your vendors may get hungry. Discuss potential meal plans with them, including an area where they can sit to eat. Venues and caterers often offer reasonably priced meals for vendors. This point applies to all those who have a hand in your event- from photographer to DJ, and everyone in between.
9. When do we wrap?
You might think the obvious answer is, "When the party is over!" What you may not have considered, however, is that your vendor's equipment breakdown may take a while, potentially coinciding with your venue's closing. Be sure to factor this in.
10. Are there any other special rules we need to know?
Check, then double check your venue contract. If there's anything that seems to effect your vendor -for example, "No open flames" when you booked a fire-eater- make sure you address it with both venue and vendor.
It's impossible to prepare for every possible hiccup, but addressing these ten topics will ensure you're ahead of the game.