Vendor Issues & Difficulties
Updated: Jan 11
Issues with vendors happen, and most of the time it's due to human error or miscommunication. Here is my method for dealing with it and e-mail templates to make it easier.
Over a week with no response:
I don’t care how busy someone is, if they can’t respond to an e-mail in a week or give a timeframe for a response I’m knocking on their door again.
**If it’s busy wedding season and your event is not for several months I may give them a little more grace.**
If this is a potential vendor you haven’t hired, I would be cautious about if slow communication is their norm. You can always voice your hesitation about working with a vendor for whatever reason; doing so opens the conversation to fixing the issue and allows the vendor to address if there are extenuating circumstances that are preventing timely communication.
If your wedding is within the next month and a vendor hasn’t responded to your e-mail and has been unresponsive to other communications, call them. People are much less likely to ignore a phone call than one of dozens of e-mails in their inbox. Let them know you’re calling because they haven’t responded to your e-mails and you need to connect with them as the wedding date is soon approaching. Even if they can’t answer all of your questions right then it brings your wedding to front of mind for and they will likely e-mail you back shortly.
Use the e-mail templates for 'Untimely Vendor Communication' and ‘Unresponsive Vendor”.
Under-delivering of Contracted Services
This could be a vendor stating they will be at your event for 6hr instead of the agreed upon 8hr, or your baker giving you 75 cupcakes instead of the 100 in your invoice. This happens most often with rentals – specifically large quantity items such as plates and candles.
Supporting documents are everything. E-mails, invoices, contracts, and pictures of the items upon pick up/delivery. If you don’t have supporting documentation and there is a discrepancy, it becomes your word against theirs.
When you pick up items or they are delivered, count them with the vendor there and take pictures - if done then it can be quickly fixed or noted down by both parties so you are not charged. This is also a time to note any existing damage to items and take pictures of it.
If there is a discrepancy prior to the event, address it from a point of kindness and assume the best in others. Point out what the discrepancy is and what the contracted terms are, by referring to supporting documentation.
(example: I noticed in your last e-mail you wrote 50 cupcakes for our order, the contract and invoice we paid states 75. Please confirm 75 cupcakes will be delivered.)
If you noticed the discrepancy during the event and it couldn’t be rectified, or it’s from a vendor whose delivery is post-event (film & photography) you can ask for compensation.
State what the discrepancy was and what it was supposed to be referring to supporting documentation. You may ask for a refund proportional to the amount of services not rendered (ie. The cost of the missing cupcakes or the hourly rate of the vendor for the amount of time they were absent).
If they say no, remind them of the contract and the supporting documentation stating they would be in breach of contract for failure to provide contracted services and you could take legal action if necessary to obtain the refund. Whether you choose to pursue the refund through the legal system is up to you, often the mention of legal action is enough to acquire the refund.
Drastically changing Cost
This happens when the final cost for your invoice is substantially higher than the original quote. This is most often with florists and caterers; largely due to the supplies they need frequently changing in cost and is out of their control.
To try and avoid this, set a budget with vendors and give suggestions on what you would like, but ultimately leave it up to them to meet the requirements within your budget. This would look like giving your florist a set budget and stating you would like mostly white florals, come the time for your wedding they will choose the specific white florals that fit within your budget to meet the quantity of florals pieces needed.
An alternative option is having a clause in the contract stipulating the price is set at an agreed upon point, and that by booking the vendor now you will be paying the current price and not the price at the time of your event (Booking now you pay the venues 2023 fee rather than what their fee is in 2025 at the time of your wedding). The vendor may require a variance percentage to account for fluctuating cost of items & goods (likely florals and food). Set the variance percentage maximum before signing (ie. no more than 10% over the quoted cost).
If a vendor sends an unexpectedly high invoice compared to the original quote discussed, send them an e-mail addressing the discrepancy between the original quote and the new invoice; ask for clarification on why there is such a large difference between the two invoices and how you can work together to get it back in your budget. This will likely require a reduction in the number of deliverables (number of centre pieces) or changing the specifics of the items (cheaper floral options).
Use the ‘Changing invoice cost’ e-mail template.