Friday, September 11, 2009

Vendor Friends

In the events industry, we have a unique relationship with our fellow vendors. Working together on the weekends and late into the night when the rest of the world is with their families creates a certain bond between us. We are the ones willing, no really, joyfully giving up a Saturday night out in order to work at someone else’s party. We are together in a stress filled, emotionally charged atmosphere full of timelines and deadlines, all the while being grateful and humbled that these hostesses have given us an integral part in a life event for their family.

On wedding days we’re a well oiled machine working together to see that the event is a success. Behind the scenes, we eat stale turkey sandwiches together (otherwise known as vendor meals), brave the rain and heat and sometimes mud together and discuss whether or not we will eat wedding cake that night. We wager on which groomsmen will drink too much, make a game of guessing the age of the bride and groom, and become the style critics when it comes to guest attire. We collectively agree that the word “overtime” is our worse enemy and that a filled dance floor and a happy bride is our greatest achievement. We complain when we work all weekend and we complain when we don’t. We talk about last weekend’s wedding, next weekend’s wedding and how grateful we are to be busy.

Vendor friends (as we call ourselves) do see each other occasionally outside of the actual wedding day. There are the appointments with the client, the NACE meetings, the bridal shows and networking events at which we get a chance to chat. In addition to friends, we are each other’s business consultants, confidants, grapevine, and barometer of the wedding industry. We exchange website links, blog tips, and marketing strategy. We are Facebook friends and Twitter followers. We want to know how each is faring during these tough economic times, which media we are using in which to advertise, and which are the most comfortable shoes to wear for those long wedding days. We argue and laugh over which venue has the toughest load-in and rules, which caterer has the best food and which wedding trends we wish would disappear.

Talented wedding photographer Arthur Remanjon died suddenly last week in a motorcycle accident. We spent many Saturday nights together over the past decade, he as the wedding photographer and I as the wedding planner. He was one of my most loyal supporters and I of him. We often talked on the phone about business as we challenged each other to raise the bar. He was an old-fashioned, true gentleman who dressed the part. His passion for wedding photography was contagious and he lit up whatever room he entered. When I arrived at a wedding and saw him behind the camera, it gave me such comfort. He treated all my assistants with respect and kindness. He was a true professional and a joy with whom to work. I feel honored to call him my vendor friend and only wish I got the chance to tell him goodbye.


videot45 said...

Wow Beth, I think that post best sums up the last 15 to 20 years of my existence. As I look around occasionally and take stock of where I'm at, I find that the number of friends I am in contact with and feel closest to, are the folks that I've met and work with under the pressure of the events we do. It is truly a comarades in arms mentality. And I consider myself blessed to have met so many commited people. The loss of Arthur was devastating to us and surely to anyone who ever met that dynamo of positive energy. He is already missed.
Well before this comment becomes a novel, thank you Beth, well done!!

Jim at Black Tie Video

Evan Reitmeyer - said...

Arthur was a great guy, I know the two of you were really close. Thanks so much for sharing this with us, we'll all miss him...