How to Find Vendors
For the new event planner, finding reliable suppliers can be a daunting task. Fortunately there are some great resources available to help you find vendors for just about any situation. For starters, check out two of the most popular magazines for the special events industry. Both of these magazines publish yearly source guides of vendors, and much of the information is available online.
Special Events Magazine publishes a Buyers Guide with dozens of categories covering virtually everything you might need for an event – from Access Doors to Wristbands. Although there is not a large selection of the usual types of vendors such as Photographers, this is a great place to find some of the not so usual, such as Dunking Machines, Robots, and Video Walls. Another excellent source of vendor information (below as well) is published by Event Solutions Magazine.
Once you sign up on vendor mailing lists, you’ll start receiving tons of useful info from suppliers, wholesalers and vendors. Start a good filing system so this information will be at your fingertips whenever you need it.
While websites and national directories can be excellent sources for vendors, don’t neglect the local market. You’ll want to consider going local on most services including catering, equipment rentals, and even entertainers (unless your budget allows for national acts). In addition to the Yellow Pages and online searches, you may be able to find local suppliers through your Chamber of Commerce. Many chambers publish a membership directory which provides company contact information.
You can also ask the venue you are working with for recommendations, as they are likely to know about a variety of local services.