The Preferred Vendor List.

It’s like the Holy Grail for wedding pros. Get those coveted venue referrals and you’ve got it made.

But how do you get your wedding business at the top of the list?

A recent discussion in our private Facebook group (for Acceleration members only) shared some tips. Yeah, our members rock. 🙂

#1 – Photographers, send them your images!

Consistency…Sending images always…Sending albums always… Persistency.

— Edna Eudave, Square Eye Photography

#2 – Build a personal relationship.

If you aren’t a photographer, you have to work the personal connection. Visit, take the venue coordinator out to lunch, bring them treats, thank them publicly every time you work there, follow the rules. Above all, you have to ask the question once you have established the relationship 🙂 — Brandy Blackford, Sweet I Do’s

One needs to build this personal connection before attempting to build a business connection with venues which will take some thought out processes, some effort and an investment of your time.

Be genuine with this relationship, no one wants to feel used, don’t make them feel as if you are using them as a means to an end.

When you work at these venues, go above and beyond, bring in snacks/coffee, make it easy for them to work with you. — Krystle Barnes, A Night to Remember

#3 – Connect at a bridal show.

I utilize the wedding shows to start the relationship.

My booth is always near at least 1 venue; I utilize the downtime to be extra friendly, joke around, bring snacks, bring coffee, be on a personal level, build that connection.

They want to like the people they refer so make them like you. Plus it makes the slow time of the shows go quicker anyway. –

– Krystle Barnes, A Night to Remember

#4 – Ask!

Once you’re confident they remember you from show to show, they actually like you, then proceed to discuss the referral processes.

I would not refer a business that plain out asked me to refer them or asked me how they could get on my referral list. The only businesses I refer are ones that I have built a relationship with and like on a personal level so I would assume others including venues also work like that.

— Krystle Barnes, A Night to Remember

#5 – Say thank you and communicate in advance.

I send a “thank you for the referral” to every venue where we book a couple (even if they didn’t give us the referral).

I also keep them in the loop of communication about any booked wedding there (as appropriate) and send out a week-before the wedding reminder of who will be officiating and the details of the wedding.

That makes us stick in their mind as true professionals and they end up referring us often.

— Maureen Thomson, Blue Sky Elopements

#6 – Get on the RIGHT Lists.

Do you simply want to be on anyone and everyone’s preferred vendor’s list or do you want to be on the right lists?

Foster the relationships you want the most… the venues where your target couple books.

Do great work.

Provide exposure for these venues.

Be the kind of vendor that’ll make the venue look good for the recommendation.

Make the venue’s life easier.

Be humble.

Don’t expect immediate results.

— Kurtis Cross, Kurtis Cross Professional Wedding DJ

#7 – Think like a venue and act accordingly.

Speaking as a venue owner – I’m constantly approached. Here’s some thoughts:

  1. Bring me business.
  2. Don’t leave brochures, etc, everything is digital these days.
  3. Show me proof of insurance and proper licensing.
  4. Follow me, like me, tag me, share me, on social media.
  5. My schedule is busy; don’t just pop in.
  6. Show up with your clients, be informed before showing up, make me look good in front of your clients, I will do the same for you.
  7. Over perform. Be the last one to leave, and make sure you haven’t left anything for me to clean up, repair, or hold as a lost and found. 
  8. Leave a review for the venue. Getting a bride or vendor to go to Yelp, Google, WeddingWire, The Knot, Here Comes the Guide, etc, isn’t easy, but it has value to the venue. Just yesterday, we put a make up artist on the list because of how she approached us, and the reviews she did.

— John Alden, Mountain House Estate

How did you get on the Preferred Vendor List?