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3 Pro Tips for Maintaining Fab Vendor Relations During a Post-Wedding Day Dispute

By: Alisha Chadee of Whim Event Planning & Design
3 Pro Tips for Maintaining Fab Vendor Relations During a Post-Wedding Day Dispute
The longer I work in the wedding industry, the more I learn about how critical relationship management is in order to be successful in business. I work with a whole host of companies throughout the year, and for the most part, all of our weddings go beautifully. That being said, every season there is always a dispute, and this can happen for a number of reasons.
Oftentimes as the planner,  we feel like we are caught in the middle. We are contracted to and answer to our clients, but in a real way we definitely have a responsibility to our vendors as well.
Most seasons I work with a group of vendors dozens of times, so it is always in my interest to maintain strong relationships on both sides.
How do we do this when a client isn’t happy with one of our treasured vendors’ work?  Here are my three best tips for maintaining good vendor relationships during a client dispute.
Maintain strong communication and documentation during the planning process
Your role before the wedding and during the planning phases is to keep a good record of what each vendor is providing (this is not always detailed thoroughly on contracts or invoices).
It’s also critical to note what requirements the vendors have of the space, that you will be responsible for ensuring is in place on the wedding day.
This will also make follow up after the fact much easier as you will have thorough notes to refer to.
A simple trick is to follow up phone calls, in-person meetings or even less-than-clear emails with a follow up email that clearly outlines the vendor’s responsibilities versus that of the client or venues.
For example, if your client has hired a dance floor vinyl company, your email will note that the company is responsible for a wrap of a specific size and design and their time of arrival for set up, and your client’s responsibility is to ensure that the venue has laid down the dance flooring prior to the arrival time of the dance floor company.
These details are especially important to detail out if you are working with a month of management company, as the timing information may not have gotten to all parties involved – like the venue!  If you find it challenging to keep track of all of your vendors and events, you may consider adopting a planning software like Aisle Planner or Planning Pod to make it easier to maintain vendor and client files alike.
Be polite and professional 
In case there is a dispute after the wedding, be sure to check your personal feelings at the door and maintain polite and professional courtesy as you navigate these unpleasant waters.
Remember, you need to maintain relationships on both ends, and taking sides is not the best way to do this.
Your client is the couple, undoubtedly, but the wedding industry is a small one, and you’ll likely run into the vendor again.
Be sure to clearly outline the facts and stay as impartial as possible.
Identify gaps and revise your planning strategy
Always debrief after every single event and identify any gaps, even if it isn’t on your end.
It’s always great to identify potential gaps that vendors may have in their own communication techniques and address them even before it can become an issue.
Not only does it make you seem more informed as a wedding planner, this will also endear you to your vendors even more. This shows that you care about their experience on the wedding day, as well. As planners, we all know that mistakes happen, but IS our job to identify areas where vendors and clients may not communication or transfer knowledge well, and bridge that gap.
Easy ways to up your game is to create information-gathering templates and refine them until they are perfect.
Sit down and chat with your vendors and ask them about critical details they wish all clients knew and incorporate that into your templates and itineraries.
I use Typeform to collect data from both clients and vendors, and it’s very easy to set up and incorporate into your daily tasks.
Another plus is that using easily customizable tools like Typeform make you look quite impressive and polished to potential clients and vendors.

Each season we look forward to beautiful events with wonderful clients and vendors, and we obviously never want to be in any sort of negative situation. Still, should one pop up, I’m confident that the tips and tools above will help you come out looking like a superstar to your clients and vendors alike.

Happy planning and cheers to a wonderful 2019 season!

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