What makes a wedding vendor 'preferred'

For me... a preferred vendor is someone you can trust, someone who shows up, on time, ready to go. They have clear boundaries, so you know what to expect, but they are always willing to go a bit above and a bit beyond. Miranda with Mirandart (and 139 Hair by Heidi) does just that every single time. She's organized, she always arrives early and she perfectly blends creative freedom with delivering what I'm looking for.

And that’s who makes up my preferred vendor list, the Mirandas and the Heidis of my local wedding market (plus Kyle Loves Tori from Utah because they are KICK ASS and because they come to MN annually). Sixpence clients get access to the list, as a perk, because I spend a lot of time cultivating that list and making the web page pretty. Also because my list isn’t something you can buy or finagle your way on to. It’s totally got to be genuine and based on the satisfaction of our mutual clients.

Otherwise it’d be like recommending a toothpaste you’ve never used just because the commercial told you to.

Weird. (weird analogy).

I decided to pick the brain of my fellow wedding planner friends and here is what they had to say about what makes a wedding vendor preferred?

Melissa Hernandez-Erickson with MH Event Productions & Consulting says,

“Their communication skills as well as their quality. I actually force them to do a styled shoot with me first if they want to be on my list. I want to see how they coordinate with me before they even work with one of my clients. Plus I get to see their work too!”

I love this, and I actually do something similar, utilizing styled shoots to broaden my connections and get to know vendors that I haven’t yet worked with.

April Long with Evergreen Weddings and Events says,

”Their presence on the wedding day. I choose to work with vendors that are pleasant, enjoyable and provide a high quality service. I don’t want to spend my day with crabby or bossy vendors 😉 I could name a whole list of my favs! Shane Long Photography, Cameron & Tia, Makeup by Mindie, Classic Catering & The Picnic Pleasers, and The Cutting Garden.”

Raise your hand if you like being around pleasant and enjoyable people


Seriously, what could be better than the vendor you’ve hired showing up happy on your wedding day and then providing incredible service?!

Royal Cliff Styled Shoot | Behind the scenes wedding planning
Royal Cliff Styled Shoot photo by Rachel Graff Photography | behind the scenes Miranda Art makeup artist

Christina Formico with Dos Goats Plans says,

”We have a preferred vendor list and these are people that we have worked with & we feel comfortable sending clients too. They answer emails in a timely manner and we enjoy working with them. We know they will be organized and we know how they handle the day on their end. 

We also have a vendor “wish list” which can be vendors we have reached out to, heard about, or follow them on social media and we love their vibe and would love to work with them, just have not had the chance to.”

So key to have a wish list as a wedding planner. I mean these are vendors that you know rock their job but just haven’t yet crossed paths with. Take photographers for instance, I’m sure they outnumber us planners 20 to 1 - that means we have yet to work with (or maybe haven’t even heard of) quite a few of them out there.

Emmy Ross with Posies and Poise says,

”Someone I can trust, have personally worked with and value their work ethic and style. They are vendors I can call on in a pinch and are willing to go above and beyond for their clients. We also know that their style and price range generally matches ours as well, so our clients can have a cohesive experience with all of their wedding vendors. Some of our favorites include Ivory Isle DesignsWinter ArtistryEyetographyEnticing Icing139 Hair by HeidiChowgirls Killer CateringLilia Flower Boutique, and Festivities.”

Such a great point about style and price range. A preferred list is of no use to you if the vendors that are on it are complete opposites of what you want your wedding to look and feel like and how much you want it to cost.

Jaime Engebretson with J’aime Events says,

”They are vendors I have formed a relationship with that I know will do what needs to be done to give my clients the best experience. I have vetted them for my clients, I know their style will match what they are looking for and will fit our budget. Communication is a must and I keep in touch with them throughout the year not just when we are working on a wedding together. It’s two way also, they refer me to their clients because we work well together. Some of my favorites: Socojo Makeup + HairSummer Street PhotographyThe Cutting Garden, and Farina Baking Company“

As a service based industry we wedding planners thrive on referrals, and I think it’s got to be really encouraging for you brides and grooms out there to hear the same names popping up or to know that your vendors have worked together before (and get along).

Royal Cliff Styled Shoot | Rachel Graff Photography, photo of Katherine Bowes Photography | photographer behind the scenes, what to wear at winter weddings

What are some of the things that you look for in a wedding vendor? How can we help make better recommendations or referrals for your wedding? Comment below with suggestions and thanks for reading!

Also big thanks to all of the contributors for this post, including photos by Rachel Graff Photography (header photo by Salty Raven Photography).

Prosperity, Love & Happiness,