Back in March of 2008, Liene from Blue Orchid Designs discussed some dirty wedding secrets of kickbacks and commissions. It prompted me to discuss how I put together my own preferred vendor list for my company.
Like all wedding consultants, we have a list of preferred vendors for our clients. However, for wedding consultants, our list works a little differently than a venue’s preferred vendor list. We have to “qualify” both our clients and vendors when planning weddings and referring. Not every photographer is going to work for every wedding, for example. And, I don’t refer vendors based on my friendship with them either.
Also, we do not simply hand over a list to our clients. So when a wedding professional such as a photographer or florist hands me a stack of their business cards, I usually have to refuse them. If I handed out business cards, I wouldn’t be doing my job for my clients – helping them plan their wedding!
Here are the requirements to get on my preferred vendor list:
In most cases, I don’t refer wedding vendors that I have never worked with before in some capacity. However, if it is a vendor with a long standing reputation, I will refer them after I’ve built some sort of relationship with them. I may also get some references from other wedding planners if I am interested in working with someone new.
I’ve been offered payment in exchange for being added to my “list” and I’ve always declined. In the past, they have always been wedding vendors that I’ve never worked with before. I have to decline because:
(a) it’s unethical
(b) I’ve never seen their work or seen them in action
(c) I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night
All venues also have a preferred vendor list. As stated by Liene, about 90% of these lists are “paid lists”. It’s deceiving and sad because most brides and grooms don’t realize this and will trust their venue almost completely. This is not to say that these vendors do not qualify for the job or that the venues have not qualified these vendors. I’ve known great wedding professionals who pay to get on these lists but it’s the bride and groom’s right to still understand how they are getting on these lists. When looking at your preferred vendor list from your wedding reception site, don’t be afraid to ask your catering manager if it is a paid list!