August 19, 2019 - 10 comments

My Secret To Getting on Preferred Vendor Lists

If you're new to the wedding and event industry, you may have heard the words Preferred Vendor List floating around. It's basically the holy grail of client inquiries for wedding professionals. What I mean by that is that a Preferred List is something a venue or wedding planner has on hand that has all his/her favorite vendors. These lists are handed to potential clients during site tours and meetings and are an amazing and easy way to get more inquiries. But, getting on the list is hard.

Event Planner, Gabby Pinkerton of Cause We Can Events with branded mug and logo on wooden sign. Succulent garden with concrete walls for lifestyle shoot in Long Beach, CA

What NOT to do

Getting on the list is hard, you guys. Vendors work really hard to build these relationships and it takes time. That being said, I'll still share with you my little secret on how to get on that list but first, here's what NOT to do.

You never want to just send a generic cold email out asking to be on a list. Nope. Don't do it. It's so lame and so frustrating. Venues and wedding planners want to have a preferred list filled with vendors they trust, that offer high quality service or product and who they really vibe with. That last one is super important believe it or not. Vendors who are on preferred lists come back to that venue over and over again and if the personalities don't match, it makes for a really tough working relationship.

I'm not saying you CAN'T send an email but if you do, make is personal. Try to poke around and learn the names of the Events Team. Perhaps, take a look at the venue's Instagram account and see if there's something new happening that you can mention in your email. Ask genuine questions about them and their venue. Be a human, not a robot ok?

Getting on the List

It's not rocket science but here's my little secret to getting on preferred lists. I'm not saying it will always work BUT it will give you an advantage. Ready?

Schedule a Site Tour.

That's right. You heard me. Pick up your phone, call the venue and schedule an in-person tour. First of all, you can't get on a preferred list if you've never seen the place. This will allow you to get familiar and be able to educate your clients on offer professional recommendations whether it be for a good First Look photography spot or the best place to have place your speakers for the ultimate dance party.

Second, you get to face-to-face time with the venue manager and events team. This is where you can let your personality SHINE! Get to know the faces behind the venue, ask about them and why they love working there. Ask about who their favorite vendors are and why. Ask them what they wish vendors did or didn't do. Ask all the questions!

Now the third thing is a little bonus that REALLY sets you apart in my opinion.

Bring a photographer with you and blog about your tour. 

You guys, put yourself in a venue's shoes for a minute. You get a call from a DJ let's say who wants to come in for a site tour. She mentions that she would like to bring a photographer with her so that she can:

  1. Blog about the venue and then add these to Pinterest where the content will continue to be shared forever and ever and ever.
  2. Post on her social media accounts and therefore share with her community of potential clients as well as fellow wedding professionals.
  3. AND share these beautiful photos with the VENUE so that they can share on their website + social pages!

Who can say no to that?!! Of course, this requires teaming up with a photographer who agrees to do this at no charge to you but they also get to benefit but having their photos on so many platforms.

If you want to dive a little deeper, I made a video all about this topic! Take a look:


I hope this was helpful and I would LOVE for you to connect with us on Instagram or comment on this blog post and tell us if this worked for you. If you have any other helpful tips about How to get on preferred lists please be sure to share as well!

Photos by Lauren Mihae and Feathered Arrow // Venue Hotel Figueroa

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