Mar 23

Mythbusters: Concierge Vendor Referrals

Engagement Ring

Image by Chip Gillespie Photography

A new trend of Concierge Vendor Referrals has popped up on sites like Wedding Wire and Aside from their anti-wedding planner marketing techniques, I have absolutely no problem with these services. I think they’re great for those on a tight budget…with a caveat.

How they work.

You contact their client concierge, give them details about your wedding including the budget, personality, style and taste. Once they have a quick overview of your wedding, you provide them with the vendor services you are looking for and they provide a list of people within your budget, personality, style and taste that are available for your date. Quick, cheap and easy!

What you may not know.

The vendors they are recommending to you are paid advertisers. This is just about the same as picking from a preferred vendor list at a venue that asks those vendors to pay to be on the list. It is just about the same as the venue getting a kick back from your vendor for booking their services.

Sometimes, the vendor will raise their rates to accommodate these increases, therefore passing the cost of advertising with the venue on to you. It’s not unfair of the vendor, after all, their services and overhead are the same – it’s unfair of the venue.

Most importantly, you are not getting referrals that are the best fit for you – you’re getting the best fit for your wedding out of the small percentage of vendors that advertise with that concierge service.

Paid preferred vendor lists are bad.

What if a vendor started providing terrible service to it’s clients, but is still advertising with these client concierge services? The client concierge will have to continue to refer them business per their contract. Hopefully, the clients who were provided bad services will leave reviews so that you are aware of this – but what if they don’t?

Often paid preferred vendor lists are contracted for 6 or 12 months in advance. How does this service guarantee that the vendor will provide awesome service consistently until the end of their contract – or will they offer a refund? Probably not.

Wedding planner referrals are about relationships not recommendations.

When a client hires Kate Whelan Events to plan their wedding and needs vendor referrals, the first thing I tell them is that we do not take “kick backs.” The people that are on our vendor list are on the list because they provide a consistent level of service that is in line with our excellent experience.

In fact, when vendors love working with us so much that they want to send us a bonus when our clients book, I ask them to pass this discount on to the client. We are completely transparent with our clients and they know that there is no financial gain to work with a particular vendor – we refer them because they will make a part of an amazing Vendor Dream Team.

Having a Vendor Dream Team is ideal on your wedding day – not only will you know that the vendors can work seamlessly together because of their good working relationships, but they will all work tirelessly to make sure everyone can do their best job. A Vendor Dream Team knows that each failure reflects on everyone, just as equally as every success. We cultivate Vendor Dream Teams, not just provide recommendations.

Is it worth it?

Ultimately, paying $49 for a vendor referral from a client concierge might be quick and easy, but you might end up losing that $49 (or more) on your wedding day. If you have the budget to work with a planner, make sure you hire them at the beginning of the process so that you can make the most of your planning and get the best Vendor Dream Team for your unique wedding.

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