Catersource is part of the Informa Connect Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Bridging the Gap Between Vendors and Venues

It’s no secret that the best events often entail open communication and a happy relationship between a venue and the vendors. However, in some cases, it’s easier said than done. Despite equal commitment to providing clients with the very best service, sometimes miscommunication happens to even the best of us.

The venue. The planner. The DJ. The caterer. The florist. The lighting designer. When it comes down to it, we’re all on the same team—the client’s! We all want to put on a successful event, so it’s important to nurture the relationships within the team to ensure that everything goes off without a hitch.

In addition to collaborating on a great event, developing these mutually beneficial relationships can open your business up to referrals from fellow event professionals or even get you a highly coveted spot on the preferred vendor list—talk about a win-win situation!

With that said, there are plenty of ways to strengthen the venue-vendor relationship, no matter what side you find yourself on.

What can venues do?

First and foremost, venues need to communicate their rules and regulations before the event to set expectations ahead of time. Provide all vendors with a timeline of events to guarantee that everyone is on the same page. Be prepared for the event by ensuring staff is properly trained and that there is an on-site contact on the day of the event to help with unloading.

In addition, venues can help their vendors have a smoother event day by ensuring there is enough free parking for everyone and that they are fed at the same time as the bride and groom. Oftentimes, vendors get fed after the guests have finished eating which makes it difficult to cover the speeches, dances, and other moments that come directly after dinner. Several of the venues in our area have started that practice and it’s always appreciated. Bonus points if it’s a hot meal!

What can vendors do?

One of the biggest things that vendors can do to maintain good relationships with venues is to respect their property and the rules that come with it. This means taking care of the property while you work, showing up for scheduled appointments only, and communicating in a timely manner.

Come prepared with everything you need to be successful—don’t expect others to pick up the slack. On that note, it’s important to remember that the event is about making the client happy rather than showing off a craft. Be open to helping others out if they need anything and always have your cell phone on you in case the venue needs to find you.

Methods of communication

There is no “best” way to communicate, as every venue and vendor will have their own preferences but email is generally held as the most convenient for back-and-forth chats while phone calls are saved for more in-depth conversations so you can really get into it. The best practice is really to ask what the best method of communication is and to stick to that as much as possible.

At the end of the day, it comes down to two things: professionalism and communication. Remember that you are a representation of your brand, so you should be acting as such. It doesn’t matter what your role in the day is, as long as you can come together to truly give your client their dream event.


Kevin Dennis is the owner of Fantasy Sound Event Services, a full-service event company based in Livermore, California. Dennis is the current chapter president for Silicon Valley NACE, and the immediate past national president for WIPA.


Kevin Dennis

Kevin Dennis is the editor of WeddingIQ and the owner of Fantasy Sound Event Services, a full-service event company based in Livermore, California. Dennis is the past president for Silicon Valley NACE, and national vice president for WIPA.