First up, ask yourself whether you even need to be on a wedding venue supplier list.
What relationships do you have already?
How busy are you?
Will you benefit from being a preferred supplier at a wedding venue?
It may be that you don’t need it, but then you probably didn’t come across this page if that’s the case.
If you want to build relationships with particular venues, wedding planners, or wedding coordinators, then you may need to do a bit of work as it doesn’t happen overnight.
First up, what venues do you want to be involved with? What venues seem to have the ideal clients, and which venues are the best fit and fit your brand?
It’s a long process, but it’s definitely worth doing the research first as you’ll find that you lose hope if you’re just making contact with the wrong places.
A good way to get the ball rolling and find out what preferred list you want to be on is to speak to fellow professionals in the wedding industry.
Speaking to fellow wedding professionals will give you valuable insights into whether it’s even worth being on a venue’s preferred list. Then of course, you can find out who to speak to, be it the venue manager, venue coordinator, or catering manager – and it literally could be any of these!
Another really easy way to narrow down what venue to contact is to look at your existing client inquiries and bookings.
This is a surefire way of knowing that the kind of clients who book that venue will also like your style. It’s also a great opening line when it comes to speaking to the venue and hopefully will result in more weddings at the venue.
Being on a preferred vendor list can help wedding vendors secure more bookings in a few ways.
Being on a preferred vendor list means that the venue will recommend the vendor to its clients. This can increase your visibility and lead to more inquiries and bookings.
Being on a preferred vendor list demonstrates to potential clients that the vendor has a good working relationship with the venue and is trusted by the venue staff.
Being on a preferred vendor list can limit the number of outside vendors that the venue will recommend to its clients, which can reduce competition for bookings.
Once a vendor is on a preferred vendor list, they are likely to be recommended for future events at the same venue, which could lead to repeat business.
Attend industry events, such as bridal shows, wedding fairs, and networking events, to meet venue managers and other vendors. This can strengthen your relationship and allow you to meet these people face-to-face.
Ask satisfied clients to refer you to venue managers and other vendors. If you’ve absolutely smashed a wedding at a venue that you’d love to work at again, ask your couples to mention this when they inevitably review the venue.
Create a professional website and social media presence, and use targeted marketing to reach potential clients and venues.
Your promotional material and online presence will go a long toward whether a venue will accept you onto their list. Think about it. If your website doesn’t look great and you aren’t using professional promotional material, will the venue be confident in recommending you?
Provide excellent service and high-quality products to clients to build a positive reputation in the industry. Your actual level of service cannot be ignored when trying to get on vendor lists. Venues want to recommend the best suppliers in their area, so be the best!
Offering package deals to venues that include multiple services can also help increase your chances of getting on a preferred vendor list.
Building a relationship with the venue and its staff can help you to understand the venue better and also helps them understand you better which can increase your chances of being on their preferred vendor list. Go out of your way on a wedding day to make these connections.
It can take time, so don’t ever get beaten up if you feel that you’ve made too many phone calls and still not got the coveted spot. The very nature of preferred lists means that it’s not an easy-access directory.
If you’ve worked at a venue, met the event coordinator, venue manager, or even the venue owner, and all went well, then use those connections to hustle your way on. It’s always worth asking the question on the day of the event, but admittedly this isn’t always possible.
So follow up afterward to say thank you and ask what’s involved. Those personal relationships will help get you through the first stage. It may be that they add you to the list there and then, or maybe they’ll invite you to an open house or direct you to another person. This is all good, they’re keen and you should follow the instructions politely and promptly.
If you’re due to work at a venue, then maybe use the opportunity to make contact to discuss things, and start building personal relationships with the planner. This may speed up the process but it is unlikely that they’ll put you on the list before you’ve worked there. They want to know that you’ll make a dream team before they make you one of their approved vendors.
That’s right! Some venues will ask you to pay a fee or commission to be on their supplier list. Personally, we would never do this, however, there are some situations where you may feel it’s a benefit to pay to be one of the venue’s preferred suppliers.
This may be down to the venue being super exclusive and that fitting with your brand. Or it may be that the venue is amazing to work at and you want to get more work there. Ultimately, this will always be your decision and will depend on so many factors, so think about it carefully and maybe speak to other suppliers who are on that list.
You may see other suppliers on numerous lists and think that you need to be on just as many. But don’t get beaten up trying to find out how to get on preferred supplier lists at wedding venues, it’s not the be-all and end-all.
You will build those relationships and you will get put on those lists if you offer a good service. Just ensure that you keep all of this in mind at every step of the way. Be friendly and polite to all members of staff at every event. Have good promo, be efficient, and keep doing what you do.
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This toolkit will help you structure your thoughts, ideas and figure out what you need to focus on to grow your wedding business successfully.