Archive for May, 2009

What do you do when a Vendor does not Show up to your Event?

Friday, May 15th, 2009


As the principal owner of A Wynning Event, I know the importance of keeping my ducks in a row and making sure on game day that my vendors show up on time and at the right location.  But what happens when one of your vendors doesn’t show up to your event?  How can this happen?  What do you do?

This scenario recently happened at a major Hollywood Studio A-List premiere.  When I heard about this, my first reaction was how could this happen?  Where was the communication breakdown?  Apparently, the date was changed and the event coordinator did not relay this information to the caterer.  There was a production timeline sent to all the vendors but by mistake the caterer was over-looked on this piece of information and they never received it.  Ok, mistakes happen but with an event of this size, magnitude and publicity surrounding it, why wasn’t there verbal communication between the event planner and caterer 48 hours to a week before the event? 

Call me neurotic, but I always check in with my vendors a week before any event no matter if it is a 10 person sit-down dinner or a Hollywood A-list live television show such as the SAG Awards(R).  Then, 48 hours prior to the event I call each vendor again and speak to them personally to confirm numbers and answer any outstanding questions they may have. 

Again, at A Wynning Event I may drive my vendors a little crazy at times with my phone calls but better to over communicate with your vendors than to assume everyone knows the program and are all on board the same ship. 

So how did this happen at this recent movie premiere?  Maybe because both parties involved have many years of major event experience they just relied on the fact that something like this could never happen.  Wrong!! Whenever human beings are involved in anything mistakes can happen and these are the types of mistakes that ensure we learn our lesson for the next time.   Remember the saying that a million dollar mistake never happens twice because you learn after the first time what went wrong and how to prevent it so it doesn’t happen again.

Ok, so now we know human beings are prone to making mistakes and that a major vendor can potentially not show up at your event.  What is your action plan?  How do you provide the missing element hours prior to the event start time?  First, I always have a worse case scenario action plan in place prior to the event.  Since day one when I opened the doors at A Wynning Event, I have always had this action plan in place for every event I produce so I am prepared to deal with any hazards should they arise.  Thankfully, whatever incidents have come up over the years I have been able to quickly and efficiently squelch and fix them prior to guest arrival and no one had ever noticed that anything was amiss.

My second approach to preventing this type of incident to occur is to communicate.  Not once, but continually up until the actual event day.  Never leave anything to chance or think that the other participants involved already know everything about your particular event.  Remember, most of your suppliers are dealing with multiple events the week and sometimes the day-of your event so you need to communicate with them often to ensure that they are on the same page as you regarding your event.

Finally, when you send out your production timeline, call each vendor afterwards to ensure that they received it and read it.  Again reiterate the date and time they are to show up at your party.  When you call and get their voicemail, leave a message for them to return your call so you are assured that they received the timeline, read through it and don’t have any questions.  Use your vendor contact sheet to generate the written communication and timeline; don’t go off the top of your head thinking you have noted all the vendors. 

Check and double check your work.  After all, that is why your client hired an event planner and expert to produce their event.  Your client doesn’t want to leave anything to chance and neither should you.