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Why Trust Diamond Certified Weddings and Events Companies Rated Highest in Quality?

Photo: Mountain House Estate 2020

You are the customer. If your goal is to choose a weddings and events company that will deliver high customer satisfaction and quality, you’ll feel confident in choosing a Diamond Certified events and wedding company. Each has been rated Highest in Quality in the most accurate ratings process anywhere. And you’re always backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. Here’s why the Diamond Certified ratings and certification process will help you find a top-rated wedding and events company and is unparalleled in its accuracy, rigor and usefulness:

1) Accuracy: All research is performed by live telephone interviews that verify only real customers are surveyed, so you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews.

2) Statistical Reliability: A large random sample of past customers is surveyed on an ongoing basis so the research results you see truly reflect a Diamond Certified company’s top-rated status.

3) Full Disclosure: By clicking the name of a company above you’ll see the exact rating results in charts and read verbatim survey responses as well as researched articles on each qualified company.

4) Guaranteed: Your purchase is backed up with mediation and the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee, so you can choose with confidence.

Click on the name of a Diamond Certified company above to read ratings results, researched articles and verbatim customer survey responses to help you make an informed decision.

More than 200,000 customers of local companies have been interviewed in live telephone calls, and only companies that score Highest in Quality in customer satisfaction–a 90+ on a 100 scale–as well as pass all of the credential-based ratings earn Diamond Certified. By requiring such a high score to qualify, the Diamond Certified program eliminates mediocre and poorly performing companies. Read detailed information about the ratings and certification process.

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John Alden is managing member of Mountain House Estate, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (707) 948-6943 or by email.

John Alden

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

John Alden: An Inspired Estate

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

CLOVERDALE — Between his past livelihoods as an agricultural engineer and a real estate broker, John Alden has a pretty impressive professional resumé. However, one credential he never imagined he’d add is owner-operator of a wedding venue. “Not in a million years did I expect to be doing this,” he laughs. “It was sort of a coincidence, really. After living in Carmel for several years, I decided to move north of the Bay Area to be closer to my family’s timber and vineyard properties.

There was a property I’d driven by many times—over the years, I watched it be developed and go into foreclosure. By the time I purchased it, it had been abandoned for six years. It just so happened that in addition to a home and acreage, the property came with an unfinished wedding venue.

“After I remodeled the house and fixed up the property, I thought I may as well finish the wedding venue,” he continues. “I didn’t have any big plans for it—it was just a project I did for fun. When it was finished, I offered it to some wedding planners to use. In 2016, we had two weddings, and in 2019, we had 48. So, it has definitely become a much bigger venture than I ever anticipated.”

Today, as managing member of Mountain House Estate, John says his favorite part of his job is helping couples have the perfect day. “When I was working in real estate, I helped people get their dream homes, and today I help couples get their dream weddings. When a bride gives me a big hug and says it was the best day ever, that’s a very rewarding feeling.”

A resident of Cloverdale (where he lives with his partner, Lane), John spends his time outside of work on a variety of pastimes. “I’m one of those people who likes to stay busy,” he says. “I have a commercial-grade machine shop and a woodworking shop on my property, so I have spaces to pursue my personal hobbies like restoring hot rods and doing building projects. I also enjoy gardening.”

Speaking with John, it’s evident that Mountain House Estate is less a business venture than an extension of his creative expression and ingenuity. “A lot of my hobbies are tied to the venue,” he affirms. “I’m always coming up with new ideas to make it better, whether that’s building custom light fixtures, bringing in new plants or putting up a wood archway. I get to build all these cool things and they add a unique feel to the venue because they’re one-of-a-kind. People are always amazed at the little touches around the property, and it’s like, ‘Well, that was something I just did for fun.’ At the end of the day, I guess that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing. It’s not about money or achieving success—it’s just something I enjoy.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?

A: Both. I keep farmer’s hours—I’m up before dawn and I go to bed after dark.

Q: Do you collect anything?

A: I collect vintage hubcaps, especially of car brands that no longer exist. My collection is displayed on the barn by the oak tree terrace on the property.

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?

A: Papa’s Pizza Café in Cloverdale. It’s owned by the former mayor of the town. We’ve actually had their pizza delivered for a wedding before. It takes a lot of pizzas to feed 150 wedding guests!

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

A: Greenland.

Q: What’s your favorite snack?

A: Anything with chocolate.

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Choosing a Focus for Your Wedding


CLOVERDALE — Every couple wishes they had an unlimited wedding budget, but unfortunately, very few have that luxury. Still, many couples operate as if they were on an unlimited budget and spread themselves too thin in the process. The reality… Read more


INDUSTRY INFORMATION - Sonoma County – Wedding – Venues

Agua Caliente
Alexander Valley
Bodega Bay
Boyes Hot Springs
Camp Meeker
Duncans Mills
El Verano
Fetters Hot Springs
Fort Ross
Glen Ellen
Mark West
Monte Rio
Rio Nido
Rohnert Park
Russian River
Russian River Meadows
Salmon Creek
Santa Rosa
Stewarts Point Rancheria
the Geysers
Sea Ranch
Two Rock
Valley Ford
Villa Grande


Know What You Want
Questions to Get Answered Before Booking a Wedding & Events Venue in Sonoma County

It is important to consider several different factors before selecting a venue for your wedding or event in Sonoma County. A critically important consideration is whether or not the venue meets your specific needs. Write down everything that is important to you. This way you can ensure that it will happen. Secondly, research several different venues for weddings and events before making the final decision regarding which one meets your needs the best. Below are several questions to consider before you make your final decision regarding which wedding & events venue in Sonoma County is best for you.

  1. Do I want a Diamond Certified company that is rated best in quality and backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee?
  2. What is the date and time of my wedding?
  3. What types of amenities or services will I need at my wedding or event? For example, chairs, audio equipment, visual equipment, etc.
  4. What are my plans regarding decorating?
  5. What is my budget?
  6. How many guests am I expecting at my wedding?
  7. Do I want a wedding & event venue that is in the country or in the city in Sonoma County, including the larger cities of Sonoma, Cloverdale, Sebastopol, Cotati, and Guerneville?
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What To Ask In Person
Questions to Get Answered When Speaking in Person With Sonoma County Wedding & Events Venue Representatives

Once you have called several wedding venue representatives on the phone, the next step is to interview your favorite choices in person. Consider asking the following questions:

  1. What is the payment policy?
  2. What are the rules regarding guests that come unexpectedly to the wedding?
  3. What will be the total cost for the rental of the wedding venue?
  4. What is the wedding venue’s policy on extension of time?
  5. How many weddings and events has your venue hosted this year?
  6. Does your wedding & events venue have references that I may check?
  7. What is the cancellation policy?
  8. Will the wedding venue provide chairs?
  9. What other events are scheduled on the same day as my wedding?
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  • What To Ask References
    Questions to Get Answered When Interviewing Clients of a Wedding & Events Venue in Sonoma County

    It’s best to locate a Diamond Certified wedding & events venue in Sonoma County because all certified companies have passed an in-depth ratings process that most other companies can’t pass. If you want quality from a wedding & events venue in Sonoma County and the greater Bay Area, you can have confidence choosing a Diamond Certified company. Diamond Certified reports are available online for all certified companies. And you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews. That’s because all research is performed in live telephone interviews of actual customers.

    If you can’t locate a Diamond Certified wedding & events venue within reach in Sonoma County, including the larger cities of Sonoma, Cloverdale, Sebastopol, Cotati, and Guerneville, you’ll have to do some research on your own. If you do, it’s wise to call some references provided by your wedding & events venue.

    Remember, though, that references provided to you by the wedding & events venue are not equal in value to the large random sample of customers surveyed during the Diamond Certified ratings process. That’s because references given to customers from companies are cherry-picked instead of randomly selected from all their customers. So the contractors will likely give you a few customers to call that they know are satisfied.

    If you do call references on your own, specifically request a list of the company’s 10 most recent customers. This will help avoid them giving you the names of only clients they know were satisfied.

    1. When did you have your wedding or event that the venue hosted for you?
    2. If you need a wedding and events venue in the future, will you consider going back to this particular one?
    3. Were you satisfied with the service from the wedding venue?
    4. What types of amenities or services did the wedding venue provide for you: audio equipment video equipment, chairs, etc.
    5. Would you recommend this wedding & events venue to your family and friends?
    6. Did you feel that the cost of the wedding venue was reasonable?
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  • Review Your Options
    Finding the Perfect Wedding & Events Venue in Sonoma County for You

    The Diamond Certified symbol has been awarded to companies that scored Highest in Quality in an accurate ratings process.

    Before deciding on the best wedding & events venue in Sonoma County for you, it’s important to consider the following questions.

    1. Is my wedding & events venue of choice in Sonoma County, including the smaller cities of Duncans Mills, Fallon, Graton, Occidental, Roseland, Russian River Meadows, Salmon Creek, Point Rancheria, and Vineburg, well-established in the community with a good reputation?
    2. Does my wedding & events venue provide the availability and privacy that I need?
    3. What types of amenities or services will I need to hire that are not provided by the wedding venue? For example, photography, visual/audio equipment, decorations, chairs, etc.
    4. Does my wedding & events venue have good references that I have checked?
    5. Which wedding & events venue offers the better package for the price?
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  • How To Work With
    Communicate Honestly Before Signing a Written Contract With Wedding & Events Venues in Sonoma County

    Now that you’ve located a wedding venue in Sonoma County that meets all of your needs for your wedding, it’s the perfect time to request a written contract. This contract should include all written details on the total price of the venue rental, the services and amenities provided in the cost of the package, any additional services or amenities that you may need and their cost, and the date of the wedding venue rental.

    It is important to communicate candidly and honestly with the wedding venue management in Sonoma County, including the larger cities of Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Windsor, and Healdsburg. Be sure to know exactly what you want for your special event that is being hosted by the special events venue. This way you can get all of the details in writing so that everybody understands the expectations and the cost involved.

    Before signing the contract, be sure to carefully read through it and make sure you understand all the terms and limitations. The contract you sign is binding, and should protect your interests as well as those of the wedding & events venue management. For this reason, never sign a blank or incomplete estimate.

    When signing the contract, make sure to write in special requests or verbal agreements. This will protect you and help ensure you get the services you have agreed on. Along with the wedding & events venue rental date and any special instructions, these add-ons may also include related issues that aren’t always covered by a standard contract.

    Once you’ve reached an agreement, both you and the wedding venue manager should sign and date the contract.

    Signing a Service Agreement with a Professional Sonoma County Wedding Venue Manager
    When you’re satisfied with the information the Sonoma County wedding & events venue management has given you, sign the estimate and service agreement. Be sure that the wedding manager has a phone number where they can reach you at all times. If there needs to be an adjustment made in the services provided, the wedding venue management must get your final approval. Furthermore, your approval should be noted on the estimate and the invoice.

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  • Be a Good Customer
    Plan to Be a Dependable Wedding & Events Venue Client

    It’s the wedding & events venue management’s responsibility to provide quality service. But you play a big part in the success of your wedding & events venue, too. Here are a few simple steps you can take to be a good customer when hiring a Sonoma County wedding & events venue.

    • Ask your wedding & events venue if you should call to check on the progress or if he will call you with updates.
    • Be clear and upfront with the wedding & events venue. Let them know what you want from your wedding venue, the long-term outcome you’re expecting and specific ways they can satisfy your expectations.
    • Be sure your service representative has a phone number where they can reach you at all times during the planning stages of your wedding. The work will move along more smoothly if your wedding & events venue can reach you for any necessary updates or questions.
    • Before you hire a wedding & events venue in Sonoma County, restate your expectations and goals, and reiterate to the wedding & events venue representative your understanding of the agreement. Most problems with local wedding & events venues occur because of a breakdown in communication. By being clear about your expectations and theirs, you can avoid most conflicts.
    • When your wedding & events venue representative contacts you, return calls promptly to keep the wedding & events venue rental on schedule.
    • Pay for the wedding & events venue rental promptly.
    • Remember, a friendly smile goes a long way!

    Why would you want to be a good customer? Wedding & events venues in Sonoma County, including the larger cities of Sonoma, Cloverdale, Sebastopol, Cotati, and Guerneville, appreciate clients who are straightforward, honest and easy to work with. Your good customer behavior sets the tone from your end and creates an environment conducive to a good relationship. Things may very well go smoother and any problems may be more easily resolved.

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Check The Work
Comparing the Wedding & Events Venue in Sonoma County with the Written Invoice

Once the wedding and reception are over, the wedding venue management is required to give you a written invoice. This must include the following information:

  • The name and physical address of the wedding venue
  • A list of all services and amenities purchased or included in the package, including audio/visual equipment, stage, clean-up, set up, decorations, etc.
  • An itemized list of each service and amenity that is included in the package
  • An itemized list of the cost of each service and amenity that is not included in the package
  • The total banquet hall and reception venue cost
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Top 10 Requests
Top Service Requests from Wedding & Events Venues in Sonoma County

There are many different types of wedding & events venues in Sonoma County. The following are the most familiar types of local wedding & events venues.

This is a building that houses objects of historical, artistic, cultural, or scientific interest for the purpose of exhibition.

This is a large room that is used for social dancing.

This is a plantation of grapevines that are typically used to produce grapes used in winemaking.

Botanical Gardens
This is an establishment where plants are grown for display and then opened up for the public to view.

This is a resort that has a mineral spring that is claimed to have health-giving properties.

Beach Locations
This is the shoreline of an ocean or large body of water.

Conference Centers
This is a center that hosts conferences which are typically large, formal meetings.

Art Galleries
This is a large room or a series of rooms where works of art are displayed.

Bed and Breakfasts
This is a guest house or small hotel that provides sleeping accommodations with a morning meal for paying guests.

Reception Halls
This is a large room in a hotel, private house, or a resort that is used for the purpose of gatherings or parties.

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Glossary Of Terms
Glossary of Terms for Clients of Wedding & Events Venues

Below are key wedding & events venue terms and descriptions that will help you navigate your way through your wedding venue experience from beginning to end.

black tie event services
These are services provided for a formal event that has a formal dress code. A formal dress code requires a tuxedo or a formal dress.

boat clubs/yacht clubs
This is a club that promotes and supports boating and yachting.

buffet catering
This a catering service that provides a meal that consists of several dishes comprised of salads, entrees, and desserts from which guests serve themselves.

Also known as: catering ideas, catering, wedding buffet catering, buffet style catering, buffet catering menu, buffet caterers, Chinese catering, food caterer, wedding reception catering, cheap wedding catering

This is a public building or room where gambling games are played.

Also known as: catering, catering ideas, buffet style catering, wedding buffet catering, buffet catering menu, buffet caterers, food caterers, wedding reception catering, cheap wedding catering, caterers

champagne service
This is a service that provides champagne. Champagne is a white sparkling wine that is often served at celebrations such as wedding receptions.

cocktail bar service
This is a service that provides cocktails at a bar. A cocktail is an alcoholic mixed drink.

Also known as: mobile bartending services, mobile bar, bartending services, mobile service bar, food service companies, mobile bar service, bar services, mobile bartending, mobile bartending service, wedding bar, bartending service, food service suppliers

custom menu selection
This is a process of choosing your own menu from a list of foods that will be prepared by a catering service.

dance floor rental & services
This is a reference to the rental of a dance floor which is an uncarpeted floor reserved for dancing.

Also known as: dance floor rentals, dance floor rental prices, outdoor dance floor rental, light up dance floor rental, dancing floor rental, portable dance floor rental prices, rent a dance floor, portable dance floor rental, dance floors rentals

dessert catering
This is the service of catering desserts for a special event such as a wedding reception.

Also known as: dessert catering business, catering, catering desserts, catering ideas, caterers, breakfast catering, dessert bar catering, catering prices, catering menus, catering services, catering dessert ideas

event planning services
These are services that help you plan a special event such as a wedding, a reception, an anniversary party, etc. Event planning services consider all aspects of the event so you don’t have to.

Also known as: event planning, event planning companies, event planning company, event planning service, corporate event planning services, event planning firms, event planning courses, event planning agencies, corporate event planning, contract for event planning services, event planners

event set-up and clean-up
This is a service that sets up for an event and then cleans up after the event is finished.

floral services
This is a service that provides fresh or artificial flowers. A floral service arranges and delivers flowers.

Also known as: floral wire services, flower delivery, flowers online, flowers arrangements, send flowers, floral delivery services, flowers delivery, mothers day flowers, flower shops, florist, florists, online flowers, flower shop, sending flowers, floral arrangements

food preparation
This is a reference to preparing the food for an event. Food preparation is often done by a catering service for a wedding reception.

Also known as: food preparation safety, food preparation courses, raw food preparation, disposable food preparation gloves, kitchen utensils list, food preparation certification, food preparation techniques

full-service catering
This is a service that provides a full staff to take care of a meal and all that entails such as the purchase the food, preparing the food, and serving the food, at an event such as a wedding reception.

Also known as: full service catering, full service caterers, full service caterer, wedding catering, catering prices, catering companies, cheap catering, breakfast catering, full catering service, corporate catering, wedding caterers

historic buildings
These are buildings that have been preserved from a past time or culture.

hors de oeuvres service
This is a service that provides small appetizers that are served both warm and cold.

This is an establishment that provides accommodations, meals, and other services for paying guests.

Also known as: hotels inns, hotel inns, hotel inn express, hotels and inns

indoor & outdoor seating
This is seating for guests indoors as well as outside.

Also known as: outdoor seating, patio sets, outdoor restaurant seating, outdoor cushions, restaurant seating, outdoor seating cushions, outdoor bistro sets, outdoor chairs, outdoor patio, restaurant chairs, restaurant furniture, plastic patio table

limousine service/transportation services
This is a service that provides transportation for VIPs in luxury vehicles such as limousines.

Also known as: limousine services, limousine service prices, airport limousine service, global transportation services, transportation service, international transportation services,

photography & video services
This is a reference to professional and high end digital photography and high definition video services that are hired out for events such as weddings.

Also known as: photography and video services, photographer and videographer, photography services, photography and videography packages, videographer and photographer, photography videography, wedding video services, wedding photography and video, wedding videographer, professional photographers, video photography

This is a popular destination for vacations or recreation that includes lodging and other services such as dining as well as options for entertainment such as skiing, diving, etc.. There are many types of resorts such as luxury resorts, vacation resorts, or all-inclusive resorts.

Also known as: luxury resorts, resort, vacation resorts, all inclusive resort, dreams resorts, spa resort

This is a place where people place to eat meals. There are many different types of restaurants that offer different types of cuisine such as Mexican, Italian, Greek, etc.

This is a place people go in order to withdraw from regular life for a period of time for seclusion, solitude, or socialization with a particular group of people for a unique purpose such as prayer, meditation, or renewal of health.

Also known as: spiritual retreats, meditation retreat, silent retreat, wellness retreat, yoga retreat, health spa retreats, yoga retreat

sound system services
This is a service that provides a set of equipment for the reproduction and amplification of sound at a special event such as a wedding or a reception.

Also known as: sound system rental, portable sound system, sound rental, portable sound systems, surround sound systems, sound systems rental, rent sound systems, pa sound systems, system sound services, concert sound system, sound system rentals, portable pa system, audio equipment

theme night event services
This is a service that provides everything you need to make your event that is centered around a particular theme such as an era in time successful.

Also known as: event planning services, event planners, corporate event planning, event planning companies, event themes, corporate event planning services, corporate event services, themes for events, event production, party themes, event designers, party service, event coordinators

valet parking services
This is a service that is provided whereby an attendant parks and retrieves patrons’ vehicles.

Also known as: valet parking service, valet parking, valet park, valet parking jobs, valet parking games, valet parking tips, valet services, valet parking companies

venue decorating
This is a reference to decorating a place where an event such as a wedding or a reception takes place.

Also known as: wedding venue decorations, table decorations, venue decorations, venue decoration, wedding venue decoration ideas, wedding table decorations, table decorations for wedding, wedding venues decorations, wedding venue decoration, wedding venue décor, wedding decorating ideas

wine tasting
This is an event at which people taste and compare several different wines.

This is an establishment that maintains a collection of wild animals. Zoos are often in a natural setting such as a park or garden.

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Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why choose a Diamond Certified Wedding & Events Venue?

A: Diamond Certified helps you choose a wedding & events venue with confidence by offering a list of top-rated local companies who have passed the country’s most in-depth rating process. Only wedding & events venues rated Highest in Quality earn the prestigious Diamond Certified award. Most companies can’t pass the ratings. American Ratings Corporation also monitors every Diamond Certified company with ongoing research and ratings. And your purchase is backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. So you’ll feel confident choosing a Diamond Certified wedding & events venue.

Q: How far out do I have to book a wedding venue?
A: This depends on the availability of your particular book. Typically, it is wise to book approximately nine months in advance. Sometimes a wedding can be booked as little as six weeks out.

Q: Is a wedding & events venue environmentally friendly?
A: This depends on your wedding venue of choice. Some venues do have a green wedding package which means they recycle and compost almost all of the wedding related garbage. This includes flowers, paper products, and food. They also strive to use non-disposable products as much as possible.

Q: How much does it cost to hold a wedding at a wedding & events venue?
A: This depends on what services you want as there are various packages available. The price usually depends on the time of day, the day of the week, and the day of the year.

Q: What does it mean if a wedding venue claims to be “exclusive”?
A: That means that your party is the only party being hosted by the wedding venue on the day you have booked your wedding. The staff will be completely focused on your wedding in order to make it everything you want it to be. You will have the privacy and personal attention you need.

Q: How does an open bar at a wedding & events venue operate?
A: If you choose to have an open bar at your wedding reception, you place a certain amount on the bar for your guests. For example, you may choose to pay $600 for your guests to have as a tab at the bar. Then if your guests consume $525 in liquor, the wedding venue will refund your remaining $75 dollars.

Q: Will the wedding & events venue charge for the rental of tables, linens, and chairs?
A: This depends on the package that you purchase. Often tables, linens and chairs are priced individually, so the more guests you have, the more expensive the cost overall. When you rent the chairs, tables, and linens from the wedding venue, the delivery, set up and pickup are all included.

Q: What does a wedding venue charge for rental?
A: Wedding venues typically offer several different packages that offer different services and amenities. It depends, therefore, on the package you choose. Usually pricing depends on several factors: the time of day, the day of the week, and the day of the year.

Q: Am I required to put down a deposit when I sign the contract for the wedding venue rental?
A: A requirement of most banquet halls is a deposit in order to ensure that it will be available when you need it. There are usually different options available for the remainder of the payment; however, it is typically due in fall on the day of the banquet unless you make other arrangements with the management.

Q: Will I be able to bring my own liquor into the wedding venue on the day of my wedding?
A: A wedding and reception venue must have a liquor license in order to serve liquor. For this reason, you may not bring in outside liquor.

Q: What are the limitations regarding the type of décor I set up in the wedding & events venue?
A: Most wedding venues do not allow you to use nails or tacks in the walls. However, you can typically use tape if it is needed.

Q: If the wedding venue I have booked offers catering, can I customize the menu?
A: If catering is an option at the wedding venue you are renting, they usually offer the option of customizing the menu. Most catering services at wedding venues provide a number of cuisines, including Chinese, vegetarian, Japanese, Indian, vegan, and many others.

Q: Do I have to work with the preferred vendors that the wedding venues recommend, or can I work with any vendor of choice?
A: Most wedding & events venues allow you to work with any vendor of choice even though they do have vendors that they highly recommend.

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