When It Doesn’t Go To Plan

When It Doesn’t Go To Plan

Elite Vendors Network - When It Doesnt Go To Plan
The irony! Not even one full week after a successful Elite Vendors Network event, celebrating our 3rd year anniversary I have one of my toughest days doing production in awhile. It was for what is probably my last big wedding production of the year for VNV Live.

We sell perfection…weddings must be perfect. You tell the world it will be perfect via your marketing and then you tell the client it’ll be perfect during consultation, and then again during the site visit; and then again over the phone and on Whatsapp any time they ask or show anxiety.

Then the day arrives and for some odd reason things are going wrong and you don’t feel like you were negligent, complacent or unprepared; you really are just having a bad day due to a few unplanned chain of events that cause you to have a few more issues than you wanted.

Last Saturday; we worked with one of the most calm, patient and polite brides; far from a bridezilla. Even if she was a bridezilla, this is business, and the last thing you want is to feel like you spoilt someone’s day.

However, her kind nature made it even more painful and embarrassing when she walked in for her first look or ‘room reveal’ and the room wasn’t ready yet! In that moment, no matter how much anyone tries to comfort you, you really want to disappear. You want the ground to open up and swallow you whole; or even ascend to heaven…lol

As her and her husband walked in to a room where everything else was ready, the decor by Designer Chair Covers To Go, the cake by Ty Couture Cakes, the photography team and the videography teams, Godson Studio & Samon Films were ready to go. DJ Tallest, saxophonist Saxman Justyn and literally every other vendor was ready to go apart from us.

We had started from pre 9am that day, it was now about 4pm and we still were not ready. The only thing I could do was continue and carry on to try and get the job done, keep a cool head and smile but also ask my team; ‘what the heck is going on?’!

There is a common saying is that ‘failure is the best teacher’ and you learn the most from your mistakes, but at that very moment when you are ‘learning’, especially on a live event, particularly a wedding day, it really doesn’t feel great.

So, you probably want to know exactly what went wrong…I had a very good team on the day, but not my a-team; essentially meaning that set up was slower than usual. Some of the problems we had whilst setting up on the day were not rectified as quickly as they usually would have been, meaning that we were way behind time.

I answered a question by Seyi of Love Weddings NG at the recent EVN event by saying “…in live events things can go wrong, but it’s only experience that allows you recover more quickly…” and I still believe this to be the case. Problem solving, trouble shooting, team leading and making decisions quickly is something you really have to get used to when working in ‘the big league’.

Team Work Makes The Dream Work
Being the optimist I am, means that although I know it will be hard for everyone within the Elite Vendors Network and the wedding industry to get along and be friends; I do truly believe that once we get to know each other more there will be more unity, and more of an attitude of ‘having each others back’ and wanting to help each other out; instead of so many vendors operating as islands.

My reputation for ‘getting the job done’ is there for a reason. There are challenges with live events week in week out, but between myself and my team we always manage to figure it out, so when it doesn’t completely come together for the big clients and big events when you do so many, there is always that feeling of disappointment.

Sometimes ‘your team’ extends to other vendors too and I guess one of the main reasons I have been inspired to write this is because of the support I received from my fellow Elite Vendors.

Whilst on stage last week for the EVN 3rd year anniversary event, we were discussing how we can help out one another more, both Mati (of Mati Gono Events) & Nigel (of Favour Catering & Events) mentioned being able to cover for one another in times of need.

I’m not saying that this is a given or to be expected by anyone, but when you have a good reputation and good relationships with your industry colleagues you are more likely to be ‘saved’.

I want to thank Elizabeth Kalu (of Liz Bespoke Events) for her patience on the day when she could see that things really were not running to time, and her way of seeing if there was anything she could do help.

I also want to thank Toyin & Lisa of Ty Couture Cakes for having exactly the right words to say when I was by no means feeling great/

I also want to thank DJ Tallest of Puresound who could be called one of my competitors in this industry, who could have been happy to see me fail, but jumped off the DJ stage to come and help and be positive. This is something I will never forget and I definitely owe him one!

Going Forward… 
The most common thing I hear is that people want to work for rich clients or luxury events, and that was once my dream too, because of course, even if you know nothing else about the event, the clients or the struggles it all looks amazing online and most of us go by what we see.

There is a price to pay for working at this higher level and it includes pressure, stress and anxiety…and you know the saying; ‘the higher you go the further the fall?’. Well the more money you take, the higher the risk and if something goes wrong it can really go wrong!

I wouldn’t deter anyone from it though; I think it’s a good dream to have and something we should always be striving towards. Even if its not luxury, we should all be striving to be better.

I always try not to make my mistakes define me, which is why I’m able to write and put out a piece like this.

Although I can’t say I’m happy with the way Saturday went, I’m always of the mind-set that I go into each and every event with the attitude of wanting to do my best.

Arrogance, ignorance and pride hold us back from admitting our mistakes, but I was always brought up not to be of this stance…it’s better to own up, apologise and move on, even when it’s difficult to do so.

I’m not perfect, but the majority of the time I am humble enough to admit when I have made a mistake, and apologise for them. I’m not here to be so caught up in my own hype that I cannot admit when I haven’t done my best. I pride myself on good service and always try and put myself in the client’s shoes before I start making excuses.

I am also writing this, I guess, because I see so many situations, in and out of business, that get blown out of proportion and quickly escalated when all someone had to do was just own up to their mistake and apologise.

The next time #TeamVNV take on a project like this, we will be faster, more prepared and we really will show up with our a-team, and literally just do the best we can do. If we make a mistake again, we will use that situation to learn also, and continue to learn as the years go on, the clients demand more and the productions grow.

Our bride Ashley, who will forever be our friend, sent me this message to me at the beginning of the week; adamant that she is still happy with our service…

“We had a beautiful day thanks to you guys. When we get back I will definitely drop by again with a thank you. Please don’t be sorry I totally understand. We were already behind schedule and I think everyone just got a bit agitated. It’s absolutely fine. Thank you guys for all your hard work!!!”

These type of clients do not come around all the time so let us not take them for granted.

Sincere apologies once again for not making it perfect from myself and the VNV team.

Dean