When securing a venue, the couple will often be given a list of “preferred vendors” to use for their wedding. Some even require that you use their vendors as a condition of using their facility. While there may be a convenience factor to this, there is also a dark side to it that should be considered.
In many instances, the reason that a vendor is listed as preferred is that there is a financial relationship between the venue and the vendor. To put it bluntly, the venue gets a kickback from the vendor for booking the business. How do I know this? Because I have been approached by a few event managers over the years that have offered such arrangements with me, with 10% to 20% being typical of what was required. In some instances, preferred vendors are required to pay an “advertising fee” to be listed with the venue’s promotional material. This can be anywhere from several hundred to a few thousand dollars that the vendor must pay to work at that facility.
If this fact was fully disclosed to the client, I would have less of a problem with it. The thing that I find troublesome is that most customers will be led to believe that the vendors are being recommended solely on the excellent service that they provide, rather than the fact that the venue is serving as a booking agent and collecting a fee. And some venues will charge you a premium price if you DON’T use their vendors. It speaks volumes if you are not allowed, or are required to pay a surcharge, to have the professionals that you want for your wedding.
That’s really the thing. What if you have a florist whose work you love, or a photographer that is exactly the style you are looking for, or a band or disc jockey that you saw and loved at a friend’s wedding? I find it almost criminal that unsuspecting couples, caught up in the excitement of their planning, can be misled this way.
I am very proud of the fact that there are several venues who will recommend me when a couple looks for a DJ referral. I have never paid a fee to be recommended and never will.