I want a win-win-win situation. My attempt to change the wedding industry.


Today I want to talk about a topic that I am extremely passionate about. Nope, I’m not talking about pockets in dresses today, but instead I’m talking about money and pricing. As the wedding industry grows, supply and demand take their toll and we are now in a situation.

Who’s the “we”? Vendors. Photographers, florists, DJs, videographers, caterers, wedding planners, everyone.

What’s the “situation”? Well, because we are a money-driven world, everyone wants a lot of something to give a little something. What am I talking about exactly? Referral fees.

Referral fees are well-known throughout the industry as a way to help get your business recommended by another non-competing vendor. For example, a photographer asks a DJ to recommend their services to a client. In return for the recommendation, the DJ asks for a referral fee. Now, the DJ says to one of his clients, “Hey, I know you were still in need of a photographer, here is So-and-So Photography’s business card. You should give them a call”. So, the client calls and talks with So-and-So Photography, loves their photos and their personality, so they book them. The photographer then has to turn around a pay the DJ a fee of anywhere from 5% to 25% or more.

Depending on their pricing structure, that can be a couple hundred dollars for some vendors. Since so many of us are service-based vendors, that takes a big chunk out of our paycheck. So, what do some vendors do? They will add an additional amount onto their services to cover the referral fees. In the end, who ends up paying the fee? Ultimately, the client.

Now, I’m not saying that is right or wrong. Everyone has their own way of doing business and I respect that. But as a vendor, we are in a difficult spot. We are providing a service and we want to be paid for that service. We all have families and bills that need taking care of and for many, this is our full-time job. We put countless hours into making sure our clients’ weddings exceed their expectations and we love what we do. Not only that, but we are awesome at what we do. Our prices are our prices for a reason. We have taken the time to figure out our value, time and experience and that is what we charge. If we wanted to make 10% less, then we wouldn’t charge what we do. That being said, shouldn’t we refer each other to brides based on our skills, services, personality, value, and customer service? Not because we get some dough out of it. Think about it. It’s a win-win-win for everyone.

  1. The client wins. They are getting a great vendor for the best price.
  2. The referred vendor wins. They are gaining a client and their business is growing.
  3. The referring vendor wins. They recommended a great business to their client, making them look professional, smart, honest, and flat-out good at their job.

With all that being said, I’m taking a vow here and now. As a wedding planner, I do not accept referral fees, nor will I in the future. I want to provide my clients with the best possible value and refer them to others who can do the same. I want a win-win-win situation. Who’s with me?

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Those are just my thoughts. What are yours? Should a vendor receive a commission for referring someone else's services? Or is it enough knowing they referred a really awesome business?

Originally posted at http://dpnak.wordpress.com

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