I have been lucky enough to speak in The Wedding Suppliers Group recently, in their weekly Coaching Thursday slot.

Although I was asked about planners working with venues, and how to source venues for events that suit the occasion, the majority of members wanted to know about becoming a recommended supplier at a particular venue.

Funny things, recommended supplier lists. Wedding venues say they don’t have them, suppliers are convinced they do. Couples are swayed by them but ultimately they don’t hold a huge regard to them. So today, I thought I would myth bust recommended supplier lists once and for all!

Myth: Every venue has a recommended supplier list

Truth: Most don’t.

Most venues don’t have a formal list that every client is given. The term list can be loosely applied to an area on the website, or a line in a brochure saying “ask your coordinator for more information”. This means that there isn’t a formal list and whichever coordinator you speak to will recommend someone different for each area of the wedding. More on coordinators later!

Myth: You have to pay to be on recommended supplier lists

Truth: On the whole, no.

Although we have come across some venues that do charge to be on the recommended supplier list, most venues don’t have a fee in place. If there is a fee in place, generally speaking it is because along with the list there is an advertisement in a brochure – this is what the fee is for, not to appear on a list.

Myth: Being on a list means an automatic invitation to a wedding fair or showcase

Truth: You may have more sway, but then again maybe not

Some venues do pick from a very small pool for each wedding fair and there are reasons for this.

  1. Their coordinators haven’t done their research for who is around to change it up
  2. They have rules and regs in place which mean that they aren’t able to welcome new suppliers until they have passed checks and measures (historic sites for instance)
  3. They want an easy life! (Yes, really).
Myth: The more lists you feature on, the better a supplier you are

Truth: Nope. Actually, listing the venues you are recommended by can have a negative effect with the client, as you are seen to be spreading yourself all over, rather than providing an excellent service to one or two select venues that align with their ideal client perfectly.

Myth: Being on a recommended supplier list is the only way to make contacts as a new supplier

Truth: Actually, if you are on the recommended supplier list of a venue that doesn’t do much to change it up from time to time, you could be damaging yourself by not branching out!

How to change it up

As a supplier, it is your job to be proactive and get your name out there. Whilst I do agree that venues have a responsibility to keep their ear to the ground with new suppliers and keeping things fresh, it is not their main concern to recommend suppliers. I could go on forever about how venues can also up their game, but that’s another post for another time. Get your supplier strategy in place and make it work for you.

If you need help to do this, get in touch! My Power Hour Hero sessions are perfect to get a strategy nailed down for how to kill it next month. Get ready for those December proposals and plan now!