Ask the Expert: Do I Have to Use My Venue’s ‘Preferred’ Vendors?



Question: I just got engaged and am in the very beginning stages of planning, starting with looking at venues online. I know that if a place has an exclusive caterer, then that is the only caterer that can be used, but when it comes to their lists of “preferred” vendors, what does that mean, exactly? Do I have to use those florists, etc., or can I still bring in whoever I want?

Answer: “Preferred vendors really are just that—preferred,” says Marley Alig, the catering and facilities manager for Brûlée Catering at the Please Touch Museum at Memorial Hall in Fairmount Park. “You don’t have to use them, but chances are that they are preferred by your venue for a reason.”

Those florists, photographers and others specifically mentioned by your venue will know the venue itself, the staff and what “works” in that particular space, she says, and so using that preferred list as a resource is always a good idea—along with asking your planner or catering manager for any tips and advice along the way (“They’ve seen it all, and them some!” says Alig)—but at the end of the day, the choices are all up to you.

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