Did you know that your vendors have the power to make or break your event experience? That’s right, a poor-quality vendor can disrupt your entire event flow, while a world-class vendor can enhance your attendee's entire experience. 

Today, in less than five minutes, we’re going to share our five best tips on how to secure excellent vendors for your event. 

Ready to nail down the best vendor for your next event? Let’s go!

Tip 1: Check With Your Venue

Before you spend your weekend scouring the internet for vendors, contact your venue. It’s not uncommon for venues to keep a list of their go-to vendors. 

A vineyard might have a preferred cheese vendor, for example—who, of course, knows just the right brie to pair with the signature merlot. Or the sunflower farm might have a photographer who specializes in capturing golden hour family moments. 

If the vendors happen to match your budget and wishlist, working with the venue can take a huge load off your logistical heavy lifting!

Tip 2: Get Some Personal Experience

Whenever possible, try to get some first-hand experience with your potential vendors. If you’re planning a carnival with taco trucks, schedule a taco tasting beforehand. 

Look around at other events to see which vendors are killing it. Is the photobooth wildly popular? Snag a business card and strike up a conversation. 

Not only will you leave with snazzy polaroids for your fridge, but you’ll gain a more accurate sense of whether the vendors are a good fit for your event.

Tip 3: Ask for Referrals

As much as we would all love to sample tacos for three consecutive Tuesdays, sometimes the schedule just doesn’t allow it. When in-person meetings are too impractical, referrals are another great way to find excellent, trustworthy vendors.

Ask other event planners, customers, and friends if they have vendors who they know, like, and trust. Get curious about their experiences, and take note of vendors who seem to align with your event goals and audience preferences. 

We also recommend you take it a step further and vet your vendors online through the Better Business Bureau and Yelp reviews.

Tip 4: Write Your Contract 

Did you just yawn? We get it. Contract writing and legal jargon are not exactly exciting, but leaving an event with all parties satisfied definitely is exciting. 

Make your details clearly defined, but allow room for negotiation. If your event includes a specialized service, like a Scuba diving excursion, make sure to include insurance and licensing details too. 

Check out this link for sample contracts, and refer to the checklist below.

  • Scope of services - What, exactly, will the vendor be providing?

  • Duration of service - When will the vendor provide these services?

  • Cost and payment schedule - How and when will the vendor be paid?

  • Cancellation and/or termination policies - What happens if either party cancels?

Tip 5: Play the Long Game

After your event, if your vendor turned out to be a smashing success, celebrate and write them a raving review, but don’t stop there! Finding and keeping great vendors is an ongoing process. 

Between events, keep establishing rapport and building your own list of preferred vendors. You’ll thank yourself when your next event rolls around.

Here to help you host your most successful event ever!