Wedding Vendors with a Conflict of Interest

Wedding Planning Tips by Destination Wedding Planner, Mango Muse Events

Wedding Planning Tip:  Be careful of wedding vendors with a conflict of interest.

I recently came across a couple of incidents where wedding vendors were conducting some morally questionable practices and I wanted to share this with engaged couples who may be unaware of what is out there.  Be careful of wedding vendors who have a conflict of interest and who aren’t looking out for what is best for you.  Let me give some examples.

There are some weddings vendors who refer to or work with other particular vendors because they receive a commission or kickback for bringing them business.  There are also venues who force you to use a list of preferred vendors and in return, these vendors pay the venue by inflating their prices, which you, the client must pay.  These practices may not only affect your pocketbook but the choices presented to you when it comes to wedding vendors.  Similarly related, I find it really discouraging when wedding planners use the same vendors at every event.  In my opinion, there is no way the same set of vendors are the right fit for every client.  Every client is different and thus, the wedding vendors considered should be matched to what the client is looking for and their budget.

Another example I want to share is when wedding vendors hold multiple jobs in the industry.  For example, a florist who is also a wedding coordinator or a wedding coordinator that is also a photographer or a caterer who is also a florist.  While on the one hand this does increase their knowledge, it is a severe conflict of interest for the couple.  Having your hand in too many pots can result in a wedding planner pushing the couple to use the florist they work part time with or the venue they handle site coordination for.  Or from the other side, they will push themselves on you to be their wedding planner.  It’s just all bad on all sides!  When you look for your wedding vendors, pay attention to how they do business and make sure they are following a code of ethics you are comfortable with.  And if you aren’t sure, just ask them directly and see what their answers are.

4 replies
  1. Dianna Shitanishi
    Dianna Shitanishi says:

    Great post! We refer clients based on what is in their best interest, based on style, budget, personalities, etc. and have always made it clear with our vendors and venues that we are not exclusive to anybody, and we also would not expect to be exclusive to them as we in turn may not be the right fit sometimes too.

    I wish other vendors would respect what a coordinator does and not try to do their job (we also have some florists and caterers that are trying to do both) and are going to let something fall through the cracks at some point in time.

  2. Jamie Chang
    Jamie Chang says:

    Hi Dianna! I totally agree. I think we all have our specialties and it amazes me that some vendors try to expand and take on multiple jobs instead of focusing on doing their job really well.

  3. Lesle
    Lesle says:

    I thought that a wedding coordinator was like the conductor for an orchestra – making sure all of the parts and pieces work together, but not play the various instruments/vendor roles themselves. I’m a florist, and was invited to a wedding planning meeting this week by the happy couple. When I arrived, I was introduced to the wedding planner, who was also providing table centerpieces, lighting, reception décor, and offering brooch bouquets. It was extremely uncomfortable and quite honestly, embarrassing, as we both tried to pitch to the couple different floral solutions. What items I did manage to present and “sell”, the event planner suggested design changes/upgrades, which quite frankly, added unnecessary cost. I’m tempted to walk away from this wedding, but wanted to know if this is accepted practice for the world of weddings. Thanks.

  4. Jamie Chang
    Jamie Chang says:

    Hi Lesle – I agree, I think our job as wedding planners is to be like the contractor and interior designer in the building of a house. We help the couple to build the foundation, plan out the house, help to design it and then manage and execute it with vendors who specialize in their respective areas – plumbing, heating, fixtures, etc…

    Now there are those vendors in all areas (planners included) who try to take on multiple roles. I’ve heard of officiants who do flowers or a DJ company who also does videography. It does happen, but I wouldn’t say it’s common or best practice. I think we’re all good at what we’re good at. When you see companies trying to do multiple things I feel like it usually means they aren’t that good at any of it. Now, of course, this doesn’t cover every situation. But, I think, for the most part, it’s pretty true.

    I’m sorry that you were in that uncomfortable position. Honestly, I think you have to decide for yourself if you want to work with this planner and the couple. Will you encounter more of this? I don’t know, but there is a good chance. You have to see how you feel about it. In the end, it may not be worth it. Sometimes saying no is the better way to go. But, trust your gut and do what feels right to you. And good luck!

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