wedding and event planning recommendations

(Image via sara_kate)

Our industry, like many industries, survives on recommendations; for better or worse, we simply can’t live without them. And I like to think that when I’m recommended for a job it’s because of the high quality of my work and my professional manner. However, there are recommendation tactics in our industry that have nothing to do with talent or professionalism. For example, it pisses me off when a client wants to hire me but has already chosen a venue that works exclusively with a short list of “preferred vendors.” In other words, if I’m not on that venue’s preferred vendors’ list, then the client cannot hire me.

Unfortunately, the “preferred” vendors make this “not very good” list for one of two reasons:

1. The venue gets some kind of kickback or special deal for referring clients to these vendors.
2. The venue is really just concerned that a client will choose an inexperienced vendor who will damage or even ruin the ballroom or other event space.

Now a few questions for you:

Has this ever happened to you? Have you had clients who were interested in hiring you until they found out you weren’t on their venue’s preferred vendor list? What happened? Did you lose the job? And for those of you who may be on a venue’s preferred vendor list, please share your perspective. I’m always interested in hearing the other side… Everyone, please join the conversation in the comments.

And be sure to check back later this afternoon; I’ve got A LOT more to say about the practice of recommendations in our industry!