How important are your relationships with vendors and what are some ways that you successfully cultivate and ensure good rapport?

How important are your relationships with vendors and what are some ways that you successfully cultivate and ensure good rapport?
We asked some of the top event planners about their relationships with vendors. Here's what they had to say.

We always like to make sure that a vendor is the right match for our client's needs, so we are always making new connections and on the hunt for new partners.

Vendors can absolutely make or break your event! As an event planner, working with great vendors not only makes our lives easier but when we refer them to our clients who fall in love with them just as much as us, it speaks to our judgment and helps build additional trust with our clients.

We are so lucky to work repeatedly with some great partners in the industry that make the planning process easy, engaging and FUN! That being said, we always like to make sure that a vendor is the right match for our client’s needs, so we are always making new connections and on the hunt for new partners. It’s very key to read reviews of any new vendors you may be working with in addition to meeting them in person and asking them questions about their work and previous clients.

"We always like to make sure that a vendor is the right match for our client's needs, so we are always making new connections and on the hunt for new partners." Click to Tweet

Kelly Soule

Founder/Principal Planner

Kelly Elizabeth Events, Boston, MA

Being able to lean on your vendors, especially if something goes wrong, is so important because they are the ones who have your back and they want your event to be successful.

This is so important. Being able to lean on your vendors, especially if something goes wrong, is so important because they are the ones who have your back and they want your event to be successful. Also, having a good rapport with a variety of vendors helps you leverage pricing for your clients. I have successfully cultivated many relationships by being part of the International Live Events Association (ILEA) which helps me be involved in the events industry within my city and provides me access to other members throughout the world.

"Being able to lean on your vendors, especially if something goes wrong, is so important because they are the ones who have your back and they want your event to be successful." @planitevents15 Click to Tweet

Courtney Coulombe

Owner/Lead Planner

Planit Events Inc., Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Wedding planning is a work of heart, and it is simply impossible without the cooperation and level of service vendors provide.

Wedding planning is a work of heart, and it is simply impossible without the cooperation and level of service vendors provide. Vendors become an extension of the Suzanne Reinhard Events team and are treated as such. I want everyone to feel appreciated and supported throughout event day and especially during the planning process. Timeliness, communication, and transparency are first and foremost.

"Wedding planning is a work of heart, and it is simply impossible without the cooperation and level of service vendors provide." Click to Tweet

Suzanne Reinhard

President and Lead Planner

Suzanne Reinhard Events, Atlanta, GA

We strongly believe in Southern Hospitality so we like inviting the vendors we love to coffee or lunch and sending thank you gifts throughout the year.

EXTREMELY important! An event is only as successful as the team selected to build it. Building a good rapport and relationship with professional vendors is key to producing stellar events. As a planner, we are like the captain of the ship and while we steer and guide the event in the right direction, if you have a team of vendors that don’t trust or like you, the ship will crash. And we do not want that.

We strongly believe in Southern Hospitality so we like inviting the vendors we love to coffee or lunch and sending thank you gifts throughout the year. We are also lovers of please and thank you in the heat of the event, which I think many planners seem to forget.

"We strongly believe in Southern Hospitality so we like inviting the vendors we love to coffee or lunch and sending thank you gifts throughout the year." @SAWedding_Event Click to Tweet

Robyne Swink

Owner & Lead Wedding Designer

Southern Affairs Weddings & Events, Dallas, TX

We know how much support they need from us and we need from them, and we consider each of our events a team effort!

Our relationships with vendors are extremely important to us. We’ve been in this industry for ten years, and have worked closely with so many vendors that we love. We know how much support they need from us and we need from them, and we consider each of our events a team effort! We are there to make sure the clients have an incredible day, and everyone who works with us knows that we will support them in any way they need. Together with the vendors, we share a collaborative attitude that ensures we are all able to do our jobs effectively to execute a fabulous event. Our relationships with the people we’ve met on the job are invaluable.

"We know how much support they need from us and we need from them, and we consider each of our events a team effort!" @aelochicago Click to Tweet

Carolyn Johnson

Owner & Co-Founder

An Event Less Ordinary, Chicago, IL

Being able to work with vendors who produce incredible work and are excited to show up for our clients and go above and beyond are the relationships I really focus on building.

Vendor relationships are one of our top priorities as an event planner. Being able to work with vendors who produce incredible work and are excited to show up for our clients and go above and beyond are the relationships I really focus on building. I have successfully cultivated strong relationships within the industry by being someone other vendors can trust, being a team player and taking care of my vendors who I have the pleasure of working with! We’re all in this together!

"Being able to work with vendors who produce incredible work and are excited to show up for our clients and go above and beyond are the relationships I really focus on building." @urban_soiree Click to Tweet

Renee Sabo

Founder and Lead Wedding Consultant

Urban Soiree, Boston, MA

All our events are team projects and our vendors are an integral part of the team.

All our events are team projects and our vendors are an integral part of the team. And everyone on the team is treated with respect. I believe it is very important to pair vendors well with each client – taking into account vision, personality, budget. That is how we assemble a dream team for each event and take care of both our clients’ needs and our vendors too.

"All our events are team projects and our vendors are an integral part of the team." @nyluxevents Click to Tweet

Andrea Adelstein

CEO/Event Planner

NYLUX Events, New York City, NY

Treating them and their time with the utmost respect is the only way to work together.

Relationships with vendors are one of the MOST important aspects of our business. Treating them and their time with the utmost respect is the only way to work together. As a designer and planner, many times I refer and get hired the vendors I know will give my clients the very best service. Sometimes, a bride & groom hire someone they have already decided upon. In either case, we become a team and we have to allow each other to use our creative talents, as we are all there to bring together a vision and an experience for our client.

"Treating them and their time with the utmost respect is the only way to work together." Click to Tweet

Lisa Formaro

Owner

Willow Jaymes Events,

Relationships are the ultimate foundation that you can build your career and events on.

Relationships are the ultimate foundation that you can build your career and events on. It is the same as having circles of people to support you in your personal life, you also need them in your professional life. Their support will help you grow and evolve your events. It is important to remember that relationships are a 2 way street and you need to also be a giver when they need you!

"Relationships are the ultimate foundation that you can build your career and events on." @TownSqCon Click to Tweet

Stacy Felkar

Principal

Town Square Consulting, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Since we are not one-stop-shops, we rely on vendors and their areas of expertise to capture the vision of the client and help us execute.

I think relationships with vendors are very important. There is no one person that can make an event successful. Since we are not one-stop-shops, we rely on vendors and their areas of expertise to capture the vision of the client and help us execute.

However, cultivating vendors takes time. Often you see a potential vendor based on the work he or she executes, but that doesn’t always mean they are easy to work with. Just like clients, vet event and wedding professionals. It’s key that we vet each other to make sure we can work well together. Ask other vendors who have done work with the vendor you want to work with, how well they worked together. Ask the hard questions such as turn around times, how often they reply to emails and calls, how fast or slow do they execute on the day of.

These things you will not know unless you ask. You never want to wait until the day of to discover you booked the wrong vendor. When you do find a great vendor, keep them in mind. Send them business even if you are not working that event. Stay up to date on what offerings they have and have an in-person meeting with them at least twice a year.

Vendor relationships are forever on-going and something that we all can do better with.

"Since we are not one-stop-shops, we rely on vendors and their areas of expertise to capture the vision of the client and help us execute." @andrewrobyevent Click to Tweet

Andrew Roby

Event Storyteller

Andrew Roby Events,

When we all respect each other and feel like a part of a team, creating a magical event for this couple, the whole team is more motivated to go above and beyond throughout the day!

My relationship with my vendors is invaluable! Of course, we all want to make the clients happy! We all want a successful event and clients that will be singing our praises to all of their friends! However, I know without a shadow of a doubt that I am only as strong as the team that surrounds me.

I work hard to maintain great relationships with my vendors. The goodwill and team approach this creates makes the event days so much more fun! Not to mention hugely more successful! When we all respect each other and feel like a part of a team, creating a magical event for this couple, the whole team is more motivated to go above and beyond throughout the day!

"When we all respect each other and feel like a part of a team, creating a magical event for this couple, the whole team is more motivated to go above and beyond throughout the day!" Click to Tweet

Laura Maddox

Owner/Partner

Magnolia Celebrates, Atlanta, GA

I love working with the same vendors. I essentially "get" how they operate and what they need to succeed.

I love working with the same vendors. I essentially “get” how they operate and what they need to succeed. It makes my job easier working with a select group of people because I am confident that the client will have a rockstar team. When they bring in their own people (and I have not worked with them) it is a crapshoot. Egos can get in the way pretty quickly as some people never learned how to play nicely in the sandbox.

"I love working with the same vendors. I essentially "get" how they operate and what they need to succeed." Click to Tweet

Ashley Radosav

Owner and Lead Planner

Ashley Nicole Events Inc., Chicago, IL

The overall success of an event is dependent upon all parties working together toward the common goal of the ultimate guest experience.

Relationships with your suppliers and vendors are extremely important. We look at these groups as partners – or extensions of our company. What they do and how they execute reflects on us. The overall success of an event is dependent upon all parties working together toward the common goal of the ultimate guest experience. We ensure these relationships stay strong by getting to know our vendors on a more personal level, treating them with the utmost respect, and always making sure payments come on time.

"The overall success of an event is dependent upon all parties working together toward the common goal of the ultimate guest experience." @brinkevents Click to Tweet

Aidan Henry Brink

Owner & Creative Director

Brink Events, Victoria, BC

Our creative partners are just as important to CCE as our clients.

Our creative partners are just as important to CCE as our clients. We provide comprehensive details to each vendor involved with the events. We show the utmost respect. Without them, we could not be CCE.

"Our creative partners are just as important to CCE as our clients." @christinaevents Click to Tweet

Christina Currie

Owner/Event Producer

Christina Currie Events, Barrington, IL

We’re able to direct business to each other, give each other advice, and make recommendations about new and creative ideas.

I wouldn’t be half as good at my job without the relationships with my vendors. Many times, they become my friends. We’re able to direct business to each other, give each other advice, and make recommendations about new and creative ideas. It’s incredibly important to surround yourself with people you trust. I met all my vendors through ILEA and because we volunteer together, we get to know each other in that capacity since there is no formal client/vendor relationship to me it allows me to see how they are with the ILEA volunteer client lead onsite and while working with them beforehand.

"We’re able to direct business to each other, give each other advice, and make recommendations about new and creative ideas." @CurePSP Click to Tweet

Jaclyn Zendrian

Vice President - Events

CurePSP Inc., New York, NY

Having great partnerships are everything!

Having great partnerships are everything! The first thing I do is be upfront about everything. I don’t take kickbacks from my vendors so whatever price they give me is the price that I give my clients. Depending on the event there may be a 10% design charge but that is upfront and paid to me by the client who usually makes up for it from discounts that my vendors would typically give me.

I ensure great communication. This also means I don’t overshare. Being the planner it is my job to disseminate information that is appropriate for each vendor. Most likely the cake vendor does not need to know what the band or photographer is up to. I also keep my emails to the point. We are all busy so when my name pops up in the email box my vendor knows it’s going to be a quick read.

"Having great partnerships are everything!" @keithwillard Click to Tweet

Keith Willard

Owner/Designer

Keith Willard Events,

I see every wedding professional as an extension of my team, and I strive to create a group of partners that are strongly committed to everyone else’s success.

Strong partnerships with vendors mean EVERYTHING to me. I see every wedding professional as an extension of my team, and I strive to create a group of partners that are strongly committed to everyone else’s success. When this happens, the energy of the event day is bright and positive, and we can accomplish anything together. It’s especially important to have a tight team for destination weddings because the crew is traveling together and sharing multiple days of hard work. Over the last 6 years, I’ve worked hard to curate a group of talented vendors who can’t wait to work together, push each other to new heights, and can nearly complete each others’ sentences. I care deeply about creating unique experiences for my clients with rich hospitality, and I could never do that without my talented partners.

"I see every wedding professional as an extension of my team, and I strive to create a group of partners that are strongly committed to everyone else’s success." @MeggieFrancisco Click to Tweet

Meggie Francisco

Wedding Planner and Designer

Meggie Francisco Events, Columbus, OH

Vendor relationships are hugely important in the event industry!

Vendor relationships are hugely important in the event industry! We love working with all types of event vendors, including wedding planners, event planners, photographers, DJs, bands, florists, venues, and caterers. We’ve developed a VIP Vendor program to thank vendor clients for continued business. Through this program, vendors earn points on every order, and they can redeem those points for either cash back or gift certificates towards future orders. We also have a referral program, which is ideal for event industry professionals that do not wish to place orders directly but refer clients to RENT MY WEDDING.

"Vendor relationships are hugely important in the event industry!" @RentMyWedding Click to Tweet

Marie Kubin

Founder and CEO

Rent My Wedding,

My vendor relationships are one of the most important aspects of my business because half (or more) of the work of planning an event is knowing the right people to do the job.

My vendor relationships are one of the most important aspects of my business because half (or more) of the work of planning an event is knowing the right people to do the job. I save my clients a ton of time by getting to know a variety of professional, credible and reliable vendors to do the job right and stay within my client’s budget and style. The best way I’ve found to have good vendor relationships is to keep up with my vendor friends (a.k.a. friendors 🙂 ) by meeting up for one-on-one’s, sending emails to check-in, and thank you cards to acknowledge their hard work and referred business.

"My vendor relationships are one of the most important aspects of my business because half (or more) of the work of planning an event is knowing the right people to do the job." Click to Tweet

Maya Tarach

Owner and Certified Wedding & Event Planner

Preoccupied Bride Events, Evanston, IL

From NYC to Austin to Chicago, JME can execute events with a seamless guest experience because we have an extremely well-developed professional network in all those markets.

Your vendors are everything! I joke with clients that I have over 150 years of experience because I have 3 vendors that are over 50 years old. I wouldn’t be where I am today were it not for having the best team in every state we work in. From NYC to Austin to Chicago, JME can execute events with a seamless guest experience because we have an extremely well-developed professional network in all those markets. I constantly stay in touch with vendors in states I don’t have projects in to let them know they are important to me even when we aren’t working together. I also rely on them to keep me abreast of any local innovations, services, and experiences that they think would add value to JME’s events. The most important tool I use is transparency. If a vendor has a great idea I make sure my clients know where it came from and from whom it came so that person can be credited.

"From NYC to Austin to Chicago, JME can execute events with a seamless guest experience because we have an extremely well-developed professional network in all those markets." Click to Tweet
Joe Moller Events

Joe Moller

CEO

Joe Moller Events (JME), Los Angeles, CA

In my opinion, the best way to work with reputable vendors is to become a reputable vendor.

Relationships with vendors are at the top of my list of importance. In my opinion, the best way to work with reputable vendors is to become a reputable vendor. Communication is key to any relationship, and as long as those lines are open and you are willing to be flexible (which you should be in this business) then you will be in good standing. Knowing what each of you is doing and your specific roles for each event is a roadmap to success.

"In my opinion, the best way to work with reputable vendors is to become a reputable vendor." Click to Tweet
Owner of Monica Lattimer Events

Monica Lattimer

Owner

Monica Lattimer Events,

We view each of our vendors as event partners, and as such, we treat them as extensions of our own team.

We view each of our vendors as event partners, and as such, we treat them as extensions of our own team. We maintain constant communication leading up to an event, and as much as possible, we try to meet post-event to share feedback. These partnerships are the foundation of our business, and we share our gratitude as often as we can by referring business to event partners we trust.

"We view each of our vendors as event partners, and as such, we treat them as extensions of our own team." Click to Tweet

Joyce Malicse

Co-founder

Pink Salt Cuisine,

Without good vendors, there is no event so nurturing these relationships is very important for us.

Very important! Without good vendors, there is no event so nurturing these relationships is very important for us. However, after being in business for many years, we’ve cultivated a long list of vendors for different budget restrictions. If we have a client with a high budget who wants the top of the line, creme de la creme, we have our go-to people. On the other side, we also have vendors that are local small businesses that are better suited for a smaller budget or smaller-scale event. You have to know your client and most importantly, their budget, to know which vendors to use & recommend.

"Without good vendors, there is no event so nurturing these relationships is very important for us." @Hollywood_Pop Click to Tweet

Brett Galley

Director of Special Events

Hollywood POP Gallery,

I treat my vendors as a member of my team.

I treat my vendors as a member of my team. In essence, we are connected and we need each other. They know my work acumen and what I stand for. Recently, one of my vendors whom I’ve supported donated products to my apprenticeship program. I’ve known the owner for over five years and I consider her a friend. I have a vendor whom I utilize for custom cake toppers. We known each other for years and took advanced cake courses together. When we are collaborating, we make sure to share as much information as possible down to every detail and maintain communication so the end results is a very happy client.

"I treat my vendors as a member of my team." @DelorCakery Click to Tweet

Kayisha Shoshana Thompson

Cake Executive Officer

De L’or Cakery Corporation, Bronx, NY

In order to maintain a good rapport with vendors, I take a simple approach: be kind.

Incredibly important! Vendor relationships can make or break an event. In order to maintain good rapport with vendors, I take a simple approach: be kind. Do what you can to make their lives easier, always over-communicate the details (the more communication the better), always be gracious, and thank them/their staff after each event. It’ll do wonders for your working relationships.

"In order to maintain a good rapport with vendors, I take a simple approach: be kind." Click to Tweet
620 Events

Samantha Bellinger

Owner/Event Planner

620 Events,

I think that when you and your vendor become relatable to each other then it becomes really easy to contact them for an upcoming event.

Vendor relationships are essential! Usually, I will try to connect with vendors after events. I think that when you and your vendor become relatable to each other then it becomes really easy to contact them for an upcoming event. You are now calling a friend asking for a favor.

"I think that when you and your vendor become relatable to each other then it becomes really easy to contact them for an upcoming event." Click to Tweet

Meredith Bond

Founder/ Creative Director

Seven14 Events, Boston, MA

Without amazing vendors, we couldn't produce amazing events.

Without amazing vendors, we couldn’t produce amazing events. Without trusting vendors, we wouldn’t have clients that trust us.

When you’re in a bind your vendors will help you; you do the same for your vendors. Our vendors are our partners and we are nothing without amazing partners!

"Without amazing vendors, we couldn't produce amazing events." @pearleventsATX Click to Tweet

Becky Navarro

Founder

Pearl Events Austin, Austin, TX

I always give new people in the industry a chance to tell me about themselves and what they do.

Most of my vendors I have known since I started my business. However, I always give new people in the industry a chance to tell me about themselves and what they do. Nice to stay current with options. Important to have the right people at your event. A lot of people have to do their job to make the event successful. I am tying them all together. I like to trust who I hire.

"I always give new people in the industry a chance to tell me about themselves and what they do." Click to Tweet

Jamie Joffe

Owner/Planner

Jamie Joffe Events, Chicago, IL