Many vendors have posted in the past on Facebook that they don’t pay for referrals, and that no one in the wedding industry should expect to pay. There might be a small group of professionals out there that work together that don’t charge each other, but that is definitely not the norm. The norm actually is people “Pay to Play” and it typically starts with the venues (but not all) with their “preferred” vendors list. The reason they recommend the vendors on their list is because each one of them paid hundreds, even up to $2,500 to be on a preferred list, or charge a percentage like 10-15%. This can mislead the bride because when the brides are asking for an opinion they want a real answer, not one based off of monetary gains. We all hate how lobbyist use millions to change laws in our Government, and paying to be preferred doesn’t mean anything except for the fact that you payed to be on their list. Some venues will even charge the client extra for choosing an “outside vendor,” the extra charge is so overpriced they just stick with the Preferred list because it’s cheaper.
With our other business we have chosen not to pay to be on lists in Portland. As a result MEGA Music Entertainment is only recommended by 3 venues. Sometimes when we do a wedding at a venue we are not preferred at we run into problems with the management & some of the staff in charge. They will intentionally make things harder for us to do our job in hopes that we look bad, and I wish I was making this up. We have had a manager tell us that our setup looks ugly, and takes up too much real estate, so we should take it down (even though our client hired us specifically because of our setup). I have had a very popular venue not call me back even though we have called 3 times & left 3 emails, but they have preferred DJ’s, so I don’t get any response back. I did a walk through with the clients and the weddings & event coordinator would not talk to me, and left as soon as she could. This is a high-end venue and I expected higher standards, but when money is involved, I guess I can’t expect much . . . it’s politics. The whole point of everyone’s job is to help the client as best they can, and money should not effect service.
If you are a bride that is looking at the list of “Preferred Vendors,” there is a good chance that the people on that list are paying to be there in some form, or doing “trade.”