Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Preferred Vendor Lists

Recently I was meeting with one of my clients, reviewing all the plans for her wedding. When we got to the videography tab in my planning binder, I asked a few basic questions and her answers lead me to realize that she had hired this company without doing research. I cringed. She had selected them simply because they were on the venues preferred vendor list. She hadn't seen one of their wedding videos or even a wedding clip, She didn't know what her tangible product would be or what options she would have, or how this compared to other vendors who charged the same amount. This isn't the first time I've heard this from clients.
You wouldn't choose your venue ONLY because you saw it in your favorite magazine, so don't take this path with any other part of your plans.

You'd consider the costs, the location, the menus available, the atmosphere, the contract terms, what you get for your dollar, etc.
The good thing is that you can trust that preferred vendors are well versed on the property. Most of the time (please note that I did not say always), its okay to trust that the professionals on venue lists are quality, dependable wedding vendors. But this is not always the case, and there's much more to consider than this.

A few things to keep in mind when you start your vendor planning:
1. Realize that some venues charge vendors to be on their venue list or pay a commission every time they work there.
2. Realize that there may be many other reputable high quality vendors that are better for your event, better suited for your personality, offer better services/products.
3. Invest the time to compare. Get samples of each professionals work that applies to what you are asking for, and compare to other professionals.
4. Don't rule out vendor lists, but don't make them your play book either.
5. Get referrals from everyone, other vendors and previous brides (recent brides, married in the last 16 weeks).
6. Check out wedding planners blogs. Wedding planners are notorious for only highlighting good professionals because these are vendors who are good to their clients.
7. Remember that price is not everything and that great marketing is just that- great marketing (look deeper).
8. Look for experience and talent.

A few wedding planner-bloggers who highlight great wedding pros (and there are many many more (check out "My Friends say" on the right sidebar):

101 Destination Wedding Planning Tips

From the editors of Destination Weddings & Honeymoons