This post was inspired by this episode of The Bridal Breakdown podcast. I highly recommend listening to it!
Answer us honestly—have you been on top of communicating with wedding vendors? Yes, you should definitely be answering their questions and providing the details they ask for, but there’s also an art to going above and beyond to ensure everyone on your vendor team is on the same page so that your plans are as cohesive as possible. If you’re not hiring a coordinator or planner, we highly encourage you to take the time as the bride to communicate your wedding plans effectively. Let’s explore why it’s important to do so, and then we’ll share practical tips for handling communication!
Imagine your caterer needs 3 rectangle tables and linens for those tables to serve the food on. However, you forgot to communicate that to your venue and linen rental company (or you didn’t think to ask, which happens!). This means dinner could be delayed when those items aren’t in place when the caterer arrives at the venue.
Here’s another example! You originally estimated you would have 20 guest tables, but then you realize you have to add one additional table a month before the wedding. You let your venue know so they can add it on to your floor plan, but you didn’t notify your rental company that you need to add an extra linen onto your order. Now you have a naked or mis-matched table!
They all have the same overarching goal of creating the best day ever for you, but they’re focused on different aspects of the day. Don’t let this create conflict with each other!
For instance, your caterer’s focus is to provide excellent hospitality and a great dining experience for your guests. Your DJ’s focus is to keep the party going and create a seamless guest experience. Your photographer’s job is to capture beautiful memories for you to remember your day by. Part of your venue’s job is to keep the space well-maintained and see to it that legal requirements and regulations are seen to.
Sometimes one vendor doing their job makes it difficult for another vendor to do their job. A common situation (as described in the podcast episode linked above) is between photographers and DJs. Photographers take the couple out of the reception for sunset photos when the lighting is right. However, this makes it really hard for the DJ to keep a party going when the couple is gone. DJs often aren’t very big fans of those photo breaks for that reason!
When you’re only in communication with one vendor you’re only getting one perspective on what will make a wonderful wedding day. For most couples, they communicate the most with their photographer. Ask for honest feedback and input from other vendors for your plans and day-of timeline. This gives you more information and viewpoints so you can make more carefully weighed decisions. When you’ve hired a good, seasoned roster of vendors, they’ll each have valuable input and advice to pass along to you.
Your DJ might feel very strongly that having the couple leave the dance floor for sunset photos or a fake exit will break the hype of the dance floor. Sure, he might be right, but if those photos are really important to you, take the photos!
The coordinator or planner’s job is to cross-check the small details to make sure nothing is overlooked. They’re also there to balance the priorities of the different vendors. This will fall to you if you don’t have a planner or coordinator. Effectively communicating with wedding vendors through email and phone calls takes time, attention to detail (to catch potential conflicts), and availability.
Write all the major timing points of the day. Including when access to the venue starts, ceremony time, cocktail hour, grand entrance, dinner, toasts, dances, send-off, teardown, and the time everything has to be out of the venue, etc. The timeline should also include all important times for the day. Use the times listed on your photography schedule, the times your vendors will be arriving/making deliveries and leaving/picking up, and note when important things need to be done by responsible parties.
Bonus: Create a mood board document to keep all design work vendors (rental company, lighting company, florist, cake artist, etc.) on the same page as well! Here’s a video that will show you the basics of creating one.
Your rental companies will appreciate having your venue floor plans. Your florist might want the rental invoice to ensure they have the correct number and size of arrangements. If you’re not sure what would be helpful for each vendor to have, just ask them!
Does your cake artist need to have flowers on hand to decorate your cake? You’ll want to arrange deliveries so your florist arrives first. Do you gain access to your venue at 12 PM? Double check that your rental company isn’t delivering in the morning.
Make sure your mom, maid of honor, or whoever is managing the day has the timeline, floor plan, rental invoices, and anything else of importance.
Quick tip: We strongly recommend having printed copies of rental invoices handy for your teardown crew. Often family members or friends who pack and clean up will mistake rented items for personal items. You’ll either have to return them later or pay a replacement fee. Having the rental invoice handy allows helpers to make sure they have all the right things packed up to be returned!
If you’re not a type A or project-oriented type of person, this might seem overwhelming. Putting these tools in place from the get-go and updating them as you meet with vendors makes this very manageable! If you’d rather not do these things yourself, we highly recommend reaching out to a coordinator or planner who can take on these tasks for you! It’s what we do, and we love it!
The Radiantly Curated Team
Ready to get started communicating with wedding vendors? Here are our favorite questions to ask during your wedding venue walkthrough!