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We understand the significance of being added to preferred vendor and supplier lists at venues. It's not just about gaining exposure; it's about establishing trust and fostering long-term partnerships that benefit both your business and the venues you wish to partner with.

 In this comprehensive guide, We’ll delve deeper into the strategies and nuances of securing a coveted spot on these influential lists.

Preferred vendor lists are invaluable resources for engaged couples embarking on their wedding planning journey. When couples visit potential venues, they often seek recommendations for other vendors, such as photographers, florists, and planners. The venue's endorsement carries significant weight, serving as a stamp of approval for vendors deemed reliable, professional, and capable of delivering exceptional service.

However, gaining entry into these exclusive circles requires more than just a casual introduction. 

Venues are selective about who they endorse, as their reputation hinges on the quality of the suppliers and businesses they recommend. As such, vendors must approach this process strategically, demonstrating their value and compatibility with the venue's brand and clients.

Building rapport with other people in the venue's team is a step that usually goes missed. Whether it's the catering manager, sales director, or event coordinator, wedding suppliers must go beyond mere friendly hellos and seek to forge genuine relationships. 

This involves personalised communication, proactive outreach, and a sincere interest in the venue's offers, events and clients.

Rather than just send out cold emails we’d recommend getting on the phone and scheduling a tour of the venue, during which you are able to showcase their expertise and professionalism while gaining insights into the venue's operations and preferred vendor criteria. Asking thoughtful questions and expressing genuine interest in the venue's success can leave a lasting impression on the venue team.

The Old Palace, Chester, CH1 1SN - Wedcon 2024 Venue

Following up after the tour is crucial, but it must be done tactfully. A handwritten thank-you note or personalised email can reinforce the vendor's commitment to the venue and provide an opportunity to share additional information about their services and portfolio. If you’re a florist or cake maker, sending a small bouquet of flowers or a sweet treat also makes a nice touch and leaves that lasting impression. Photographers could print a photograph of the venue or the team they took on the walk around with a handwritten note, think outside the box and think about how you can leave a lasting impression. 

In addition to personal outreach,you can also employ a few strategic tactics to enhance your chances of being added to preferred supplier lists.

 Hosting events at the venue not only showcases your talents but also strengthens the vendor-venue relationship and provides valuable exposure to potential clients. You could arrange events from supplier showcase evenings, wedding fairs, wreath making workshops, product launches and demonstrations, catwalk shows and more. The sky really is the limit. Ensure you plan the event to perfection, make it as easy as possible for the venue to be involved and take on the bulk of any work. Market your event properly, tagging the venue in any promotional material and ensure that there’s plenty of opportunities for the venue to be showcased in all its beauty too for potential interested couples. 

Collaborating on styled photo shoots is another effective strategy for demonstrating creativity and professionalism. By curating a cohesive vision and involving other reputable vendors, participants can create visually stunning content that resonates with couples and venues alike.

Volunteering at venue events or open houses is yet another avenue for you to showcase your skills and commitment to excellence. Whether assisting with décor setup or providing logistical support, you can make a positive impression on venue staff and position yourself as reliable, helpful and practical. 

When selecting venues to target, you should prioritise those that align with your brand and the clientele you are trying to attract.

 Quality over quantity is key, as maintaining authentic relationships requires time and attention. By focusing on a select few venues that share their values and target demographic, you’ll maximise your chances of success.

Once you’ve been added to a preferred supplier list, the work is far from over. Consistent communication and engagement with the venue team are going to be essential for staying top-of-mind and reinforcing that value proposition. By providing regular updates on your business and offering assistance whenever needed, you can solidify your position as trusted partners.

Also bear in mind that being on the list doesn’t guarantee you will be recommended every time. Venues do have their favourite professionals for several reasons and you won’t be top of mind every single time. Focus on becoming a brand ambassador for the venue, promoting them, adding their content into your strategy, meet future clients at their venue for walkarounds and coffee, write blogs about them, promote their good news and look for ways you can bring business to the venue as much as you can. 

Stay in touch with your chosen contact at the venue as much as you can, noting special dates in the diary such as their business birthday, the venue manager's birthday and any special events they are holding and send them something through the post. It could be as small as a handwritten note but just let them know that you appreciate their business and relationship. Keep your venue informed of any relevant information they may wish to know and share with their couples such as any awards you’ve won or been nominated for and any new pricing. 

Also bear in mind that people change jobs all the time, and venue teams are no different. You may hear that one of your contacts at a venue has left and a new person has stepped into the position. You will need to reintroduce yourself when this happens. 

Remember to be easy to work with: 

  1. Venues are busy. Make an appointment before visiting.

  2. Make the venue look good in front of your clients

  3. Have the proper insurance and proactively provide the venue a copy

  4. If an opportunity presents, be helpful

  5. Provide any requirements or schedules well in advance

  6. Communicate proactively and responsively

  7. Don’t leave a mess or break anything. When accidents happen, fix it.

  8. Always thank the venue for any opportunities, referrals or for showing you around. 

Getting onto a venue's preferred vendor list isn't an impossible task and is something any business can do. It boils down to being precisely what the venue seeks - a preferred supplier. 

Here's what distinguishes you as a preferred supplier: 

You offer an exceptional product and service that’s on point with the venue’s brand.

If the venue is an exclusive 5 star resort, their preferred suppliers are likely to be exclusive 5 star providers too. Budget friendly halls and hotel style venues are likely to recommend similarly affordable services to match the needs of their clients. You’re most likely to get onto the preferred supplier list of venues whose clients are in line with your own.

You are a credit to the venue

Having you at the venue is a positive experience for the venue’s customers, staff and management. You are honest, open, easy to communicate with, friendly, considerate of others and understand the needs of the venue. You do not add to the pressure of the event.

You are collaborative

Don’t ask the venue what they can do for you. Show instead, what you can do for them. Wedding venues appreciate suppliers who contribute to a mutually beneficial relationship rather than simply asking them for free enquiries. Start your relationship with the venue by offering whatever value you can. Never stop giving!

Wedding venues get a lot of businesses asking them for a spot on their preferred supplier list. The ones who are successful in getting on the list usually offer a benefit to the venue. The venue gets something valuable from having the wedding vendor on their list.

The vast majority of wedding vendors approach venues by explaining the amazing product and service they offer and outlining what they can do for the venue’s clients. Very few consider what they can do for the venue itself. If you want to get onto a venue’s preferred supplier list, give THEM something. Provide value to THEM. Show them what direct benefits they will receive from having you on their team.


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Katie and Roxy are the faces behind The Wedding Business Hub and The WedPro Podcast - Interested in connecting with us? Check out our site...

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