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Dear Liz, 

My fiancé and I have finally (!) picked our wedding venue and now we are to the point where we are selecting our photographer, caterer, and florist. Our venue has a list of their preferred companies, but I don’t know if I want to use them. For instance I have my heart set on a florist that my best friend used in her wedding, but they’re not on the list. Am I required to stick with the suggested companies or can I choose my own? Is there a benefit to using the companies that are being recommended to us? I am afraid that the only reason they are on there is that someone is getting a kickback.


Off the Grid


Dear Grid,

Ah, the “K” word, “kickback.” Nope, most of the time preferred vendors are on a venue’s list because they’ve worked there enough times to be trusted to not trash the place. Okay, I’m exaggerating, but it does come down to those with more experience at the venue and a good relationship with the venue. I’m a preferred vendor for several sites in L.A., and have never had to pay a dime to any of them. I have been known to drop off pastries, though. :-)

I can’t tell if the list they’re giving you is a “suggested” preferred list, or if it’s a list of the only vendors you can use. Either way, use Wedding Rule #2 – Ask. Explain that your florist is a professional, that she did the flowers for your best friend’s wedding, and you’d like to use her. They could say “No,” in which case you’ll have to move on. They could say “Yes, but with conditions.” Maybe your florist needs to have insurance, maybe they need to talk to your venue manager first or schedule a visit, maybe you’ll have to pay an extra fee (I’m going through outside bakery vs. venue right now, myself), and you can decide from there. Or, they could just let you have your florist, which means that your problem is solved. But you’re not going to know until you ask.

So, how about you? Are you stuck with a vendors list, or having trouble getting your vendors waived in? Let us know in the comments below! And if you would like to find out more about me and my part of Wedding World, go to silvercharmevents.com.

See you at the end of the aisle,


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