I hope you are well. Today’s post is likely to turn into a small rant. It’s on a topic which has been irritating me since we first started out and this irritation was poked again the other day by a venue. Today’s post is about venues asking for 10% from our bookings if we want to continue being a ‘recommended supplier’.
Now, I don’t know about you, but this really gets my goat. And, you may be surprised to hear, it’s not just about the money. Yes, it really peeves me that the venue are essentially asking for us to attend every 10th wedding for free, in order to pay them for mentioning us to their couples. I wonder whether they would hold every 10th wedding for free? I doubt it. As a small business every single cost counts, so this would become a fairly big loss if every venue did it (So far we would have done almost 40 free weddings if this was to happen at every venue). Or we would have to pass the cost onto our couples – which then prices us above our competitors and we potentially loose out that way. Financially the only people gaining are the venues.
However, that’s not the thing which really annoys me about this system. It’s the effect it has on the wedding industry as a whole which irritates me. I hate the idea that people think we charge more the ‘moment you mention weddings’. We don’t, but this behaviour from the venue indicates they are happy to take money however it comes.
I also hate the restrictive nature of this idea; I’ve even heard of venues charging a couple for not using their ‘in-house’ dj. Please, don’t get me wrong, ‘suggested suppliers’ lists are brilliant when done correctly. When a venue (Or even another supplier) recommends a business on their merit, because the products they supply are of the highest quality. Because that particular supplier has never been late, or let them down, and will often bend over backwards to fit in a couple, that’s the list we want to be on. We want to be recommended because we shine, above all other light suppliers, at customer service and we like to think we are warm, friendly and polite to everyone – including the staff at the venue. We also genuinely believe that this ‘recommended supplier’ idea works both ways, and we will often suggest other suppliers and venues to people we meet. We work with them on photo shoots, we blog about them and have them on our ‘Folks We Love‘ page. Most of these vendors do the same for us, we never ask to go on a list, we never pay and we never put someone on ours who we don’t think should be there.
In the long run, it’s the couples who lose out in this set up. Ask yourself – if a supplier needs to pay to be on a list – are they really the best you will get? Or, are they just the one who is prepared to pay the most? Do your research. Granted, a venue will never admit they take a cut from their suppliers, but look at who else recommends those suppliers, and really check them out to see if they are the best you can get. It’s your BIG day, make sure you have full control over it.
Happy planning – and do contact me if you have any questions, or feel free to join the discussion in the comments, I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject,