Playing Matchmaker: Finding true love between clients and vendors

One of the most important (and rarely mentioned) parts of a planner’s job is connecting clients to event vendors. It may not be as glamorous as décor development or as urgent as scheduling, but the choice of vendors can make or break an event.

I believe a vendor needs to suit a client on several fronts: skills, pricing and, not least of all, style. The first two may seem simple to assess: Does a particular vendor have the necessary expertise, and do the fees fit within the client budget? But the answers require a deep knowledge of vendors far beyond what’s found in a Google search. Networking, research and regular contact with vendors in local and specialty markets (e.g. coastal Carolina and popular Caribbean destinations) allow me to maintain an up-to-date understanding of offerings, specialties and corresponding costs.

Style is also an important consideration. Whether formal or fanciful, traditional or trendy, an event should fulfill a particular client vision. The right vendor, from caterer to florist to entertainer, can make the difference between concepts that fall flat or take flight.

The other crucial aspect of style involves the working relationship. The correct combination of personalities will result in good communication, realistic expectations and an overall positive experience for both client and vendor