It is widely believed that the greatest form of advertising is word of mouth. When someone you trust informs you of a product or service, you are likely to choose it without hesitation. For this reason, when we first formed our music and photography business in 1999, we wanted to reach out to venue owners specifically to get on preferred vendor referral lists.
When visiting a wedding venue, you will probably receive a list of trusted vendors they have worked with in the past. Venues like to work with quality professionals who do a great job. It makes their job easier and it reflects very well on their business. This is why preferred vendor lists are such a integral part of the wedding business.
Lately, some wedding sites have been approaching their vendor referrals the wrong way in my opinion. Instead of placing a vendors name on the list because they do great work, they are actually charging their wedding professionals fees to appear on the list. In a sense, it is becoming a "pay to play" industry and if you don't pay them as high as 20% of your earnings per wedding, you don't work. That's right - 20%!
When we began, we were included on these lists as a trusted company - a company that worked very hard to deliver the best quality photographs and live music and DJ services to our clients. We got to know people and made many friendships with other professionals and clients. Now, at least to some venue operators, that doesn't seem to count. All that matters is whether of not they've made a cut of your service and your labor.
When visiting a venue, ask them how they assembled their preferred vendor list. Do they REALLY know the people they say they do? Have they seen their work? Would they choose them for their own wedding? Or have the vendors simply paid them to be there? It's your event and you have the right to know that you are getting the highest quality for the money. Let them know that you only want the best!
Band Of Gold - Band Leader
Orpheus and Aphrodite Music and Photography - Owner/DJ