Your wedding is one day – and a significant day at that.
But for the many vendors who aim to get you hitched without a hitch, your one day is an entire year or more of work. Wedding planners, photographers, florists, and DJs all put in countless hours of behind-the-scenes work to ensure your special event is the one you’ve always dreamed of. So, on behalf of all vendors, we kindly ask you to treat yours with care and respect.
HERE ARE SOME WAYS TO SHOW LOVE FOR THE HARDWORKING PEOPLE BEHIND YOUR CELEBRATION.
Let’s all follow the golden rule.
A Hot Meal and Water Go a Long Way
Never underestimate how luxurious a hot meal and a bottle of water can be to a vendor who’s been on their feet all day.
“But shouldn’t vendors provide their own meals?” you might ask.
Well, yes and no. Plan on feeding those vendors who are on-site for most of the day like planners, photographers, videographers, entertainment providers, and assistants to any of these folks. Sometimes you’ll find vendor meals required by the language in their contracts, so check there first. And if you’re working with a wedding planner, they can help determine who requires a meal, connect with your caterer to ensure it’s taken care of, and assist you in going above and beyond for these folks.
As to what kind of meal to feed your vendors, think outside the cold, boxed lunch and provide something substantial. Often times these are made days in advance – let’s face it, the mayo on bread sitting in a refrigerator for days on end isn’t a great combo. Remember, this will probably be their first meal since breakfast, so hearty proteins and carbs are much appreciated. And don’t forget to check with your caterer to see what they offer. Vendor meals may already be a part of your catering fee or set at a reduced price.
Bonus? Offer a glass of wine and a slice of cake!
Welcome gifts aren’t just for out-of-town guests. A tote filled with practical items is a wonderful way to care for your traveling vendors. A simple amenity bag might include the following:
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Hand sanitizer
- Eye mask
- Ear plugs
Include whatever you think someone might need or appreciate as they spend the next day or two away from home.
Bonus? Don’t forget to make sure your photo and video team have at least two of the welcome amenities for your out of town guests. This will guarantee fabulous photos and they’ll get to enjoy the treats to boot!
Communication is Everything
First, be clear and open about what you like and don’t like. Vendors would rather you be honest about things upfront rather than after the fact. Plus, you’re more likely to get exactly what you want (or better) if you communicate your needs and desires from the get-go.
Second, don’t ghost your vendors. If you decide to go with someone else, let the original vendor you had in mind know why you chose the other company. Did they have a package more in line with your desired spend? Was it a better personality match? Offered a package that included X, Y, and Z? Just a gut feeling? That’s okay.
Speaking on behalf of everyone, we truly appreciate the feedback because…
A) it lets us know we didn’t do something wrong, and
B) we can continue targeting couples who are more aligned with our services
And, don’t feel like you have to give your feedback in person. Simply send an email if that’s more comfortable.
Third, if communication is key, conscious communication is the master key. In other words, think before you send that text or pop off that email. A good rule of thumb is to reserve texts for emergency purposes only. And remember, you aren’t your vendor’s only client. An email is more appropriate because no one feels pressured to answer immediately.
Think about your wedding day. Would you want your vendors pulled away from executing your vision to answer a text from another client? Likely not. Shouldn’t the same respect be given to the vendors other clients? Absolutely. If it’s not an emergency (and you wouldn’t text your doc or attorney), send an email instead.
Tip Your Vendors
Tipping vendors at the conclusion of service isn’t always mandatory, but like everything else on this list, it’s much preferred. Cash and non-cash tips (testimonials, gift cards, etc.) are ideal for saying thank you for a job well done.
If you haven’t already, read our in-depth Tips for Tipping guide (coming soon!), and learn the ins and outs of vendor tipping etiquette.
A great way to ensure your vendors are taken care of is to use a hospitality approach. Put yourself in their shoes. Do you often work a 12-hour shift with no breaks? Or skip lunch just to eat dinner on your feet? How often are you changing your clothes in a public restroom stall?
Here’s a few things to add to your list:
- Are there break times included?
- Is there a green room where they can eat?
- Is there a changing room?
- Where are things stored?
- Where are the designated parking spaces?
The beautiful thing about having a wedding planner is that we can answer all of these questions for you and handle the details along the way. For example, couples don’t always consider parking fees on wedding day. Not thinking through these things in advance could throw the vendors schedule off which, in turn, throws your schedule off. Some vendors include it in their contract, but when there’s nothing outlined, a vendor doesn’t know whether to bill it to their room/a master account/etc.
These are the kinds of things we’re already aware of and help our couples organize before the big day.
Getting the logistics right is important to your vendors because it can make their jobs much easier, relieve stress on you and your families, and create a better wedding experience for everyone.
One area where we see logistical details fall through the cracks is with tented weddings. There are things people don’t think until it’s too late and are then left scrambling.
For example, if a part or all of your event is happening inside a tent, think about things like temperature control and whether someone will need to turn the HVAC system. How many square feet is your tent? How long will it take to cool down or heat up? When will your vendors start loading in and what’s the heating or cooling plan for them?
What is the load-in and load-out situation like? Is there only one driveway to access the property? Will vendors need plywood put in place for easy loading and removal? Does a landscape designer need to be on hand to ensure any truck hiccups with your grass can be patched with sod?
And what about restrooms? Do you need to bring some in days before the wedding while vendors set up? Are there restrooms accessible in a nearby venue? Is there power and water hookups? What’s the emergency plan if there’s a clog?
Thinking these things through beforehand will keep things running smoothly (and everyone comfortable) on wedding day.
Treat Vendors Like Professionals
Okay, I might take some heat over this one but your vendors are professionals, not your friends. It’s important to be friendly and trust me, I have had several clients turn into lifelong friends! But when it comes to communication – operate with decorum and poise – this isn’t their hobby, this isn’t something they do for fun, it’s their livelihood and they take it seriously. You should too!
Because they are! Be conscious of what you’re asking your vendors to do, and be mindful of your expectations. You’ve hired them to do a specific job, so please don’t expect them to do something you didn’t pay them to do. If you purchase an aisle runner, don’t demand that your florist send it up for free. There’s labor and time involved.
If you’re paying for their travel, reconsider that 5am flight just because it’s less expensive. And, if possible, don’t schedule a weekly meeting at 7pm. Remember that your vendors have lives and other clients too.
And guess what guys, this is a TWO WAY STREET. Vendors should also be treating clients with care and consideration. Just like everything in life, it’s a balancing act and a delicate one at that.
Treating each other with care is really all about consideration. Just take a moment to put yourself in the others shoes and follow the Golden Rule. Treat others as you wish to be treated – and celebrate with a heart full of gratitude! Please reach out if you’d like help navigating the wedding planning journey. We vow to treat you and your vendor team with the utmost respect and hospitality!