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Are Preferred Vendors Legal?

Case Study (Courtesy of AVVO)

Question (from anonymous in New York):

“Not allowed to work at a wedding venue? 

I am a wedding vendor. A local venue recently told all its customers that they must buy a photo booth in house from them, and that no outside vendors (like me) are allowed to bring one in. Is this legal?”

Response (from Attorney Rob Schenk):

As a private operation, the wedding venue has the absolute discretion to negotiate the terms of its business, so long as it does not run afoul of federal, state, or local discrimination laws. No monopoly issues or anything like that either.

Moral of the StoryAs the famous philosopher Luther Campbell once stated, “This ain’t China. This ain’t Russia. This ain’t the place where they brought down the Wall.”

Equality of the Dotted Line

Great article by Heather Somerville for the San Jose Mercury News:

“Gay Marriage Is Legal, But Wedding Industry Stuck In Old Traditions.” 

Something insignificant to one can mean all the difference to another, and may turn an average customer experience to an unforgettably thoughtful one. Something as simple as remembering that your business materials should reflect who your customers are.

“While some businesses have embraced gay weddings, others still cling to marriage rituals that exclude same-sex couples, often turning what is expected to be an enjoyable experience into a frustrating and at times painful one.

“Every form you fill out, it says ‘bride and groom.’ But not every bride has a groom,” said Lena Brancatelli, 32, of San Jose, who will marry her partner of nine years in September. “The wedding industry is very much heterocentric. It doesn’t include same-sex couples.

Most wedding websites, cards and invitations are designed for a man and woman, and business contracts and marketing materials are tailored to straight couples, say same-sex couples and gay marriage proponents.”

As a wedding business professional, take the time to consider this in your professional and legal documents.