Whether you are getting married, planning a product launch, or a large corporate event, it is important to get the right vendors. Often a person charged with planning an event will have a general idea and feel like they should simply hire whomever they can find for their event. Little thought tends to go into whether or not the person or entity they are hiring is truly the right person for the job. This is like rolling the dice with your event. You may get lucky, but like Vegas, the odds are highly stacked against you, and unfortunately, this tends to have unexpected, and sometimes disastrous consequences.
I’ve previously discussed how you will select the florist you will hire, but for the sake of this blog, I’ll revisit a couple of things. First, ensuring that you are hiring someone that has experience with weddings is key. Just because someone works at a flower shop does not mean they possess the skills and experience to create your perfect wedding. As you probably wouldn’t go to the flower shop at a cemetery to hire a florist for your wedding, you probably should steer clear of the shop on the corner. Someone who can wrap a few flowers in plastic with some greenery is well-suited for the flower shop you visited last ‘Mother’s Day’, but if you expect them to know how to create 25 matching centerpieces, aisle accents, wedding bouquets, and head table spreads, you may be expecting a little too much. Instead, look into florists that are listed on the websites of hotels. Those vendors, though perhaps slightly more expensive, will have far superior knowledge and experience when it comes to decorating. Another source for a florist is a referral. Ask people you know who they used and what they thought. Websites like Yelp are useful tools, but don’t be deterred by a couple bad reviews that have posting dates within a few days or weeks. People rarely post the “Good Stuff”, but are very quick to post the bad, and occasionally will get their friends to post as well, which can mean more negative results than positive, despite the fact that 99% of the vendor’s clients have nothing but great feedback to give…that unfortunately never seems find its way online.When planning a typical event, you will probably need a caterer, some sort of entertainment, and perhaps someone or something to add decor to the event. Using a wedding as an example, you would most likely hire a caterer, a florist, a DJ or band, perhaps a make-up artist, a photographer to memorialize your event, and probably a coordinator. Now, I’ll go over each one category by category and explain the differences.
Photographers are tricky. There are a lot of great photographers out there with package prices all across the spectrum. In hiring an event-appropriate photographer, make sure the photographer you are looking to hire has extensive experience with your type of event, and isn’t simply “moonlighting” as a wedding photographer to make extra money. A friend that takes beautiful pictures of the beach will probably not have the expertise to take great photos of a company football game or a Prom. At the same time, someone who specializes in portraits may not be the best photographer for a wedding, as they may not know when the “traditional photos” that need to be taken, and therefore may miss something you were hoping to capture in photos. It is important to reiterate that photos are the memories of your event that will last a lifetime, and that will be shared with future generations! Whether you are talking about a corporate team-building event or a wedding, you want to make sure you get exactly the right photos in the highest quality possible, and that friend, cousin, guy in the mall, and so on, just may not be the right person for the job.
Finally, and perhaps the most important part of your event is the entertainment. The entertainer you hire will depend on the type of event you are planning. As a DJ and emcee, I have worked at nearly every type of event imaginable because, for those events and their guests, I was the right person for the job. Some events found me doing more than others, but overall, I did exactly as much or as little as was desired by each client, with the equipment necessary for each type of event. One of the biggest mistakes that can be made by an individual entertainer is the utilization of improper equipment. In the case of a DJ, it may mean that they bring and setup lights and lasers at an event that was supposed to be “classical”. This could also mean that a ‘Classic Rock’ band is hired for an event whose attendees would prefer a quartet or ‘Top 40’ dance music. It could also mean, as was the case at an event I happened upon recently, that a large band is hired for a small venue. In that instance, it was obvious that this band did not possess equipment that would suit such a small venue. With eight speakers that were approximately 5 feet tall , 3 feet wide, and 3 feet deep, it was evident that this band was not accustomed to playing indoors, nor did they have the proper equipment. Truth be told, their instruments were loud enough that they didn’t really need amplification, but that is a testament to their inexperience improper placement at this type of an event. There are plenty of bands that play that type of music, that would have been appropriate for that particular venue. Unfortunately, a number of guests left the event because they were unable to hear each other from close proximity.
From the florist, to the photographer, to the entertainment, hiring the right vendors is key to hosting the perfect event. Nothing can ruin an event quicker than realizing the day of your event that the vendors your hired, though they may have more easily fit into your budget, were not the right companies for the job. It is always better to spend a little more time and money hiring the right vendor than to make your guests uncomfortable or to add stress to the already stressful situation that is planning an event, especially when the event is the most important day of your life, your wedding!
***Geoff Maddox has been a professional wedding and event emcee and DJ for over 12 years in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, as well as various weddings and event across the country. For more information or for booking, please visit http://gmedj.com, or call (949) 342-5079.