Wedding Venues Preferred Suppliers

Wedding Venues Preferred Suppliers – A Double Edged Sword?

These days many wedding venues have a preferred supplier list for their clients. It has become common practice. However, for some wedding suppliers this is a double edged sword, as Dorset photographer Linus Moran illustrates…

I have heard many a tale from fellow colleagues naming some high end wedding venues that have a strange stance on photographers wishing to blog or publish on line the wedding photography from their venue. Where is the problem with an artist wanting to show off his/her work? Surely it acts as an advert for the photographer along with the venue. You would think that any venue no matter how grand or small would not turn down ‘free’ publicity in this day & age. But they do…

A few months ago I received a call, from a local Dorset Wedding Venue, who started their conversation with congratulating me on my recent blog post naming their venue as the county’s leading venue of choice.

Their next sentence had a change in direction asking that I remove the image of their venue from my blog or change the wording of my post. Apparently I had insinuated that I was a preferred supplier – I had indeed used a meta tag of “****** *** Wedding Photographer” on my post but had not indicated that I was ‘preferred’, official, recommended or anything else similar.

I naturally held rank and refused to remove the image as it was mine and my copyright. As for the wording, I didn’t want to budge and seized upon why he was so determined to protect this ‘approved’ vendor status. Ahhhh, the penny dropped, ‘preferred’ supplier – “I have heard of such things… that’s where you get a back hander” I said. To which the venue manager exploded, fiercely rebuffing my words and denying any improper payments taking place.

It certainly hit a nerve but I promptly apologised with my choice of wording, saying for want of a better word, the system and reality are one and the same. Wedding suppliers pay a percentage of their booking fee as a commission to the venue in return for being listed in their documentation. Some venues even refuse to let ‘non preferred ‘suppliers operate within the venue, which really does take things too far.

Now this isn’t a gripe from a disgruntled wedding photographer, trying to get his foot in the door with yet another prime wedding venue. I am not after me, me, me – I honestly see the whole system of ‘preferred’ suppliers as corrupt and exploitative of the clients – the Brides & Grooms!

The couples hiring these wedding venues are already paying a premium for using the building for its facilities and possible picturesque backdrop. So why should the ‘preferred’ suppliers now have to charge the couple and extra 10% or more to cover the ‘tax’, ‘fee’, ‘back hander’ payment to the venue ?

I am sure that if you had to add up all the key suppliers from cars, accommodation, florists, cakes supplier, entertainment, disco, hair & beauty, marquees, videographers and photographers – If they all hand over their ‘cut’ to the venue, the combined bill for the day has automatically risen by on average £1500 to £2000.

This is not only immoral but absurd and something that I will have no part in. This type of exploitation only exists as once again the venues customer service starts & stops with it opening its doors and closing them on the wedding day. I argue that the people that make the wedding a success are the suppliers operating within the venue upon the day, and they almost always go the extra distance in making sure everything is perfect!

The venue’s that operate a ‘preferred’ supplier list prey upon other suppliers insecurities with wanting to have associations with big name venues.

My perspective is clear, I am a wedding photographer uninterested in joining any kind of ‘preferred’ venue list, especially if it involved having to up my prices to my clients, for this I make no apologies.

I urge all Brides & Grooms to be to take a look further that the venues ‘preferred’ supplier list – this does not necessarily contain the best available, and they may not be ‘what you are looking for’. Your wedding day and its many aspects deserve time and thought in talking, meeting and selecting the various suppliers.

A great deal of pleasure can be derived in researching and selecting your creative suppliers that can be found easily with the click of a mouse. You should select your photographer according to other attributes such as their photographic style, their proven track record and most essentially how they ‘fit’ with you and your needs. Your ‘preferred’ wedding photographer should not be chosen according to the size of the referral fee paid to your wedding venue!!

Author – Bournemouth Wedding Photographer Linus Moran

Wedding Venues Preferred Supplier

Have you come across this? What do you think about ‘preferred suppliers’? Are you a venue which uses preferred suppliers? Are you a photographer who has had a similar experience? We’d love your comments…

November 26, 2012 | By | 6 Replies More

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Category: Wedding Venues

Comments (6)

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  1. Carla says:

    Interesting article especially as this very issue has been discussed this week in a forum of photographers I belong to.

    I completely agree that brides and grooms need to be made aware of the differences between a preferred and recommended list. Recommended suppliers are done so on the quality of the work, not because they paid a premium.

  2. I haven’t taken part in these sort of practices, but have come across couples who’ve felt their trust in the venue’s planner has been betrayed when they realise the ‘preferred’ supplier is paying for that ‘personal recommendation’. More openness is definitely required, similar to how sponsored blog posts and magazine advertorials are clearly labelled as such.

  3. I enjoyed reading this article, thank you.

    Some of the issues highlighted are ones which many Wedding DJs will also be aware of, I’m sure.

  4. Whilst I have heard of this happening withing the wedding industry, thankfully it hasn’t yet raised it’s head in my local area that I am aware of. I am lucky enough to be able to work closely with several of my local venues, and be on their recommended photographers list, but thankfully this is due to the quality of my work and my professionalism. I’ve spent time working with the venues, we have a good working relationship, and equally as important, I am also confident in the level of service that they provide to my couples, so it is a mutual trust!
    I think you are totally right to remind couples to check out all of their suppliers themselves, though, as it’s equally important that they feel comfortable with the supplier as an individual, as it is to ensure that they are happy with the quality of their work!

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