Managing Vendor Communication

Chateau Laurier Wedding, Ottawa | Wedding Cake Flowers & Stand by Sage Designs

When you hire multiple vendors for an event, there’s a good chance that some of them need information from one another or that some of their work will depend on the work of the others. To allow everyone to do their best work, it’s important that everyone gets the information they need when they need it. 

Inevitably, some details are missed; Here are five areas where miscommunication happens most often:

1. Cake Flowers: In our experience, Cake Designers only plan a week or two out for their upcoming events. We’ve deduced this due to the number of times we’ve been asked for cake flowers the week of a client’s event. For our part, we finalize flower orders a full month before an event so obtaining extra flowers during event-week can be tricky. We have systems in place to avoid this issue, but inevitably, it comes up a few times each year. Be sure to discuss your floral needs with your cake designer months before your event so that you can finalize your floral contract on time.  

2. Venue/Caterer/Decorator Provisions: There are a number of items that could be provided from several different vendors, not just the three mentioned. Linens could come from your venue, your caterer, your decorator, or even from a separate rental company. The same goes for napkins, charger plates, dishware, dessert platters, candles, and more. It’s important to figure out your needs in all of these categories and to ensure you’re clear on who’s doing what. It also imporant to communicate where everything is coming from to any vendors for whom it may be relevant (i.e. your caterer will want to know who is providing your cutlery, your venue will want to know who is bringing in your table linens, etc).

3. Floor Plan: Sometimes our team provides the floor plan, sometimes it comes from the venue, sometimes from the planner, sometimes from the caterer, and sometimes the client creates it themselves. We’ve taken to creating more floor plans these days since so much of our design relies on it being done well. Still, there are a number of vendors who need specific information from your floor plan so it’s important to make sure everything is there. 

For the ceremony, remember to map out locations for the musicians/band/DJ, altar/aisle, seating layout, register-signing table, and any important signage. 

For the reception, map out locations for the DJ/band/muscicians, dance floor, bar, guest tables, head table, podium, cake/dessert table(s), buffet table(s), entrance/guest book table, photobooth, statement areas, cocktail space, lounges, and any important signage. 

It’s important that this floor plan is finalized and distributed to every vendor for whom it’s relevant roughly 1 month before the event. 

4. Venue Access (per vendor): Your venue may provide you with venue access at 9:00am but you may not want, or need, all of your vendors to show up at the same time. You should stagger your vendor arrival times based on a two factors: a) how much time they need to get ready, b) whether one vendor needs something from another (i.e. caterer needs linens from decorator before they can place cutlery). Once you know how much time a vendor needs and if they need anyone else to set up ahead of them, you’ll be able to better organize your vendor access times. 

5. Wedding Day Management: It’s important to figure out who will be in charge on the big day and to ensure that your vendors know who that person is and how to reach them. Some venues have a coordinator on-site all day, others have a coordinator who only shows up an hour or so before guest arrival. When each vendor arrives, they should know who to seek out if they have questions. Ask your venue if you have a coordinator and what time they’ll arrive. If you have vendors arriving before that time, either hire someone or make someone in your wedding party responsible for vendor management. Be sure to provide your vendors with the name and phone number of their contact person. 

When you hire Sage we can help identify some of these common communication issues so that you can ensure that your event day runs as smoothly as possible.

As always, if you have any questions for our team, feel free to call or reply to this email. We’re always happy to chat.


Team Sage Designs

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event flowers and decor, ottawa, Ontario | 343.488.8243

1475 Star top rd, unit 3, ottawa, on K1B 3W5