Tell Your Vendors The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly About The Dreaded Load-In

Posted by Dave

Some venues make loading in easy for florists, decorators, deejays, and bands.

Many hotel ballrooms are on the ground floor, avoiding any need for dealing with freight elevators. Likewise, even some of those venues with upstairs ballrooms have conveniently-located and easy-to-access loading docks and elevators.

Of course, some don’t. In fact, a surprisingly large number of hotels and clubs almost seem to go out of their way to make getting in and/or out difficult. And it behooves you, as the person responsible for the party starting on time, to know which of these two kinds of venues yours is.

So – one of your most important, yet least-performed duties is to personally check out the load-in. Have your catering executive walk you to the point of entry for all your decor, flowers, and music. Check your watch. Then, trace every step your vendors will have to make in order to be where you need them, when you need them.

How long did it take you? What if you factored in parking the delivery vehicle in a separate place? Is there a security check point? How much time does that add? If a freight elevator is involved, are there times of day when your vendors may have to contend with janitorial service personnel for its use?

Does the entry require going through a parking garage? If so, what is the height of the ceiling? At the extreme end of the difficulty range, is a trip through a service tunnel required, or are multiple elevator trips needed?

Any of these factors cost your vendors precious minutes. A combination of them can literally double the amount of time needed to get your party’s components in place. You need to know what your vendors will be dealing with, so that you can help them anticipate the additional time or personnel needed in order to be at the right place at the perfect time.

Many experienced vendors are already familiar with certain venues. But – have they been there lately? One of our town’s most prominent country clubs is on a street which is now undergoing extensive reconstruction. There is a back door, but your vendors have to know where it is, while also dealing with all the extra traffic which has been re-routed from the primary entrance.

Bottom Line: You want a perfect party. A perfect party requires that every thing be in its proper place at the proper time. And for that, you, as the party planner, have both the duty and the rare opportunity to see your venue as few clients ever will – from your vendors’ point of view.


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