Communication is key in any relationship, and when it comes to managing events alongside your fellow creative partners, truer words have never been spoken.
Start things off right simply by introducing yourself once booked, encourages event veteran Kevin Dennis of Fantasy Sound Event Services.
“Make a great first impression with a brief email, introducing yourself and expressing your enthusiasm for working together. Include the best ways to reach you, as well as any pertinent details from the onset that will help everyone do their job even better,” Dennis says.
Already work with the event pro regularly? Then it certainly never hurts to reconnect with a quick hello, he adds.
Far too often, we forget that communication strategies are not simply relegated to Event Day. In fact, one issue with communicating with vendors is waiting until the week of the event to reach out to them. At that point, all plans are already in motion, and everyone is busy with prepping.
Leah Weinberg, owner and creative director of Color Pop Events, shares, "My biggest 'don't' for communicating with other vendors is, don't wait until the last minute to start coordinating with everyone. Two months out from the wedding is when I start reaching out to every vendor to find out what their day-of timing needs are and to discuss a tentative day-of schedule--if we haven't already been discussing it already. That way, if someone is busy and doesn't get back to me for a week, no one is panicking or scrambling. And then when you have to go back and forth a few times before finalizing everything, you're not getting so close to the wedding that you feel rushed."
Most would agree that email is still the preferred way to connect. However, if you have an urgent question or issue that needs to be handled immediately, it is always best to pick up the phone and talk to your contact directly.
So what can you expect as a response time? Expect this to vary depending on the timing, as well as the urgency of the issue.
"Have realistic expectations,” says CeCe Todd, owner of floral design company CeCe Designs and Events. “Not everyone responds immediately to email, voicemail, etc. Don't place the way you respond to inquiries as the expectation of everyone you interact with.”
It’s also essential be mindful of the day of the week to make your best contact outreach. "I find the best days to reach out to vendors are Tuesdays and Wednesdays, because by then, they have recovered from any weekend events they may have had and have gotten through the Monday morning rush of emails and calls,” says Michael Coombs, owner and DJ of Michael Coombs Entertainment. “Thursdays and Fridays are production days, so their minds will be focusing on the upcoming weddings that weekend."
When it comes to the day of your event, preparation is key. Be sure you have gathered everyone's contact information to have at the ready and make a point to introduce yourself to everyone before everything kicks off.
"On the day of the wedding, I want everyone to be super-communicative,” Weinberg says. “I don't like working with people who distance themselves or make themselves unapproachable. We're all on one giant team on the day of the wedding, and we need to be communicating like it.”
For Paula Ramirez, head of Richmond, Va.-based event space Historic Mankin Mansion, you’ll want to stick to the Golden Rule above all else. "Kind and respectful communication is key when working with fellow event professionals,” she says. “Coming together as a team, along with communicating and understanding each other’s clearly defined expectations, are crucial for the success of any event.”
The event industry is a crowded one on its best day, so putting into practice strong communication strategies from the onset will help elevate your status as the ideal team player.
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.