You’re brimming with ideas for your Mitzvah DJ about how your party should unfold. But why hasn’t he called back? You want to check this off your list NOW!
If this sounds like you, read on. Your schedule and your vendors’ schedules are not in sync… yet. You’re working on one major event. Vendors are working on multiple events – in some cases HUNDREDS of events – before yours becomes their main focus. We grilled David Samdperil, founder and co-owner of Track Seven Events in Atlanta, for the scoop on how to get what you want and when you can expect to get it.
Book the Right Vendor at the Right Time
Larger vendors may be able to accommodate bookings whenever you get around to deciding, but for the “only one” scenario, go ahead and contract far out from your date. Examples: The only ballroom that can accommodate all your guests or the only vendor that provides the service your Mitzvah kid most wants. But, Samdperil cautions “Make sure your vision matches the choices you make in vendors and venue. Think about the outcome you want for your event.” A dark, nightclub theme won’t work at 1 p.m. in a window-filled party space. Check references and be sure you’re confident in the abilities of your vendors before signing on the dotted line.
Set Early Expectations
When you meet with vendors you’re considering for your Mitzvah, be sure to ask about their approach to communication and when you can expect to hear from them. According to Samdperil, vendors should do this but they don’t always, so it’s a good idea for you to. Ask these kinds of questions if the answers are not offered: When can I expect to see a proposal? When should we meet again? When do we need to have plans finalized? Every vendor relationship is different, and you’ll have less communication with a coach bus vendor than a decorator.
Get it in Writing
“If it’s not on paper, it doesn’t exist,” Samdperil says. Once you have your paperwork, read it and understand it. “‘I thought’ and ‘I assumed’ won’t get you anywhere,” he explains. The vendor/client relationship should be give and take, and every conversation should translate into vendor paperwork for the client to check and re-check to make sure it’s correct. If a vendor doesn’t want to provide written documentation of an agreement, Samdperil says, “Move on.”
Remember that you want to be treated respectfully by others, and your vendors do, too. If you’ve chosen vendors whose professional expertise you respect, let them do their jobs, Samdperil says. But, if you’re not happy, speak up. “We can’t fulfill your needs if you don’t voice them,” he says. “In a restaurant, you’d send back a $35 steak not cooked to your liking. Don’t pretend it’s fine when you don’t like the way your Mitzvah event order is coming out and you’re spending thousands of dollars!” Remember that you get the best results by speaking calmly with professionals and respecting their experience. Make sure you’re all on the same page before moving on.
Instead of trying to catch a vendor on the fly with a question here and there, set up phone or in-person meetings and bring ALL your thoughts and concerns to discuss at these agreed upon times. Samdperil says you’ll have much better success in being heard when you have a set time to discuss your event rather than trying to catch someone on the go multiple times.
Trust the Process
Your ideas may be fabulous, but trust your vendors to work with them in the way that’ll get you the best results. In other words, after your plans have been agreed upon, let them have at it. “You don’t watch the mechanic fix your car, do you?” Samdperil asks, “Vendors do their best work if you let them do their thing and don’t micromanage.”
From Booking to Cooking
While every vendor works differently, you can get a general idea of when your contracted vendor should be “cooking” on your Mitzvah* with our at-a-glance chart.