I never cease to be horrified by stories I hear from the DJs who work for me and from other professionals in every aspect of the wedding business, who all complain about the same thing: vendors who don’t play well with others. Vendors throwing one another under the proverbial bus. Vendors not only stepping on the toes of, but actually sabotaging, others.
I can’t think of any sane reason for behaving this way, but something tells me that the vendors conducting this way can’t all be crazy, so there must be something else going on. What would cause vendors to conduct themselves in a way that goes beyond unprofessional, and right into shooting-themselves-in-the-foot territory?
I guess it may just be that some wedding vendors just can’t get past their personal feelings in order to be part of a team. Or maybe, they just don’t know how to be part of a team in the first place.
So, without further ado, I present five ways to be respectful of other wedding vendors!
1. Be communicative before the wedding. Not all vendors take the time to reach out to the others on the team before the wedding — I do, but sometimes receive surprised responses that indicate this isn’t the industry standard — but even if you don’t, take a moment to respond to the vendors who contact you! If a planner sends you a timeline, or requests your contact information, then make sure you reply. Taking a moment out of your busy week to acknowledge the others you’re working with not only can make the wedding day go more smoothly, it builds trust and confidence in your business.
2. Take a few moments to compare notes. Planners and coordinators obviously provide the vendor team with a timeline and other general details, but in the absence of a planner, the other vendors should be comparing notes to ensure everyone’s on the same page. A short huddle before the wedding starts can save a lot of headache as the event progresses.
3. Honor the timeline. Some vendors’ entire quality of service depends on the ability to maintain a schedule — when an event goes off the rails, time-wise, the caterer’s food may suffer, the DJ’s dance set shrinks, and the client’s happiness is ultimately what suffers. If a timeline has to be changed, then by all means, discuss that (even briefly) with the other vendors at the event so than a Plan B can be created.
4. Be mindful of those around you. Don’t dump your stuff in a spot that’s likely to end up in photographs — like on the cake table, the sweetheart table or the floor in front of the DJ’s table. Don’t unplug someone else’s gear or lights so that you can use the outlet for something else. And for goodness’ sake, DJs and bandleaders, don’t announce formalities without ensuring the other vendors — not to mention the couple getting married — are present and accounted for!
5. Share credit whenever possible. Interacting with the other vendors after the wedding, especially in a public way such as on social media, is a great way to spread the credit around and promote the idea of teamwork. If you’re submitting the wedding to a blog or magazine, be sure to include all of the vendors who worked on the wedding — there’s nothing more discouraging than seeing a wedding you contributed to featured in a publication, only to have been excluded from the vendor acknowledgements.
Treating the other vendors with respect and courtesy is such an essential part of running a successful business — referrals from other wedding professionals are key (and aren’t that hard to earn if you just play nice), and a reputation for being disorganized, selfish or a prima donna is extremely hard to undo. In my company, we look at every wedding as an opportunity to make the other wedding vendors shine, and it’s come back to us tenfold.