Every vendor has different expectations and individual responsibilities, but an event can only be truly successful when everyone works together to achieve the same goal.
However, this isn’t always the case and sometimes vendor interests conflict. In such cases, it’s important to set aside any differences and focus on the important thing: the client’s happiness. Better yet, preventing a disagreement can be as simple as being considerate of the others involved and being open with communication.
Here are a few tips that will make the process smoother for you and the planner (and other vendors!).
If you have an idea or a request, you need to make it known. Planners are often dealing with input from all different directions, so it’s important to reach out with any specific feedback. For example, if your vendor meal needs to be vegan or gluten-free, let the planner and caterer know with enough time for them to make sure you’re taken care of—not the day of the wedding.
On the same note, it’s important to be responsive when you are contacted first. When I’m working on an event, I make it a habit to send over a timeline draft well in advance of the event so that the event team can weigh in on the breakdown. When I don’t hear anything from someone, I assume everything is approved and we go ahead with finalizing the schedule. On several occasions, I’ve had photographers (and other vendors!) reach out only days before the event to tell me that there isn’t enough time for them. At that point, the timeline can’t be changed and it leaves everyone a bit unhappy with the situation.
Moral of the story: Communicate well and communicate early.
This is one that I see a lot with vendors who are hired for a set amount of time, so I understand it. However, if you feel so rushed that you have to be first in line at the buffet (yes, even before the couple and wedding party!), you may need to reconsider your priorities. A great planner will ensure that you have time to eat and be ready for the next round of photos, so let the wedding party serve themselves first and have faith that we know exactly how the schedule pans out. It’s not up to you to worry about when the formal toasts or the big dances will happen—it is a planner’s job to make sure they are done before you have to leave. Just eat your dinner and trust that the planner will handle it.
One last thing…
Whatever you do, please don’t hijack the couple for an extended period of time without letting the planner know. We understand that every couple wants sunset photos, but the planner is busy keeping the guests entertained so make sure your intentions are clear.
When it comes down to it, a happy relationship between planner and photographer needs two things: communication and patience. Start working together throughout the planning process, in terms of meal planning and timelines, so that you’ll be ready to go when the big day comes!