Vendor Approval

Weddings and events at The Gardens Wedding Center require that any vendor entering our space be approved by our staff. We do this to ensure that you are working with reputable vendors who will not only do a great job for you, but also treat our venue well and follow our policies.

Although there are countless qualified event vendors to choose from in Wisconsin, we highly recommend choosing vendors that are already on our Proven Providers List, since getting new vendors approved takes time. Plus, some vendors have difficulty getting the right documentation turned in. If you do decide to use a vendor who is not on our preferred list, please note:

Because keeping up with vendor paperwork is incredibly time-consuming for our team, we charge a $50 fee to process a new vendor outside of our preferred list. and . If a vendor fails to submit all their paperwork at least 30 days before the event, the fee increases to $100.

We do not require any kickbacks or rebate fees from vendors.

Outside vendors must sign a Vendor Agreement and send us a Certificate of Insurance (sample) listing us as an additional insured.

The Client is responsible for securing these documents and getting approval from our staff before they sign a contract with the vendor. We are not responsible for lost payments in the event we are not able to allow a vendor to work in our space.
We highly encourage getting your vendor approved before you make any payments to them in the event we have had a bad experience with the vendor in the past and are unable to approve them.

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How To Get A New Vendor Approved

Step 1: Send them this VENDOR AGREEMENT to fill out and submit.

Step 2: Your vendor will need to submit a Certificate of Additional Insured (COAI). If the event is far enough in the future that their current policy will have expired, they can submit a copy of their Insurance Certificate as proof of coverage and then get us a COAI 30 days before the event.  Need insurance? Click here to view a list of possible providers. COAIs can be emailed to

Step 3: If the vendor is providing food, they will also need to submit a copy of their WI food processing (or equivalent for out-of-state vendors).


Questions about the vendor approval process? Email Remember, there is a $50 fee to use a vendor who isn’t on our list.

Common Questions About Vendors

We have been in the business long enough to have worked with many of vendors in Wisconsin. Most of them are great to work with, but unfortunately there are some bad apples in the bunch that our past clients have had issues with. There are a few vendors we have chosen to blacklist due to excessive problems. We don’t want any of our clients or their guests to have a bad experience on their event day. We have chosen a select list of exceptional vendors on our Proven Providers List that we encourage you to look at. Trust us when we say your event will go much more smoothly if you hire off our list!

First we must talk about what general liability insurance, or “GL” is. GL is a business insurance policy that protects a company’s assets and pays for medical payments if someone is hurt due to an employee’s negligence or an accident. GL also covers the cost of the legal defense and any settlement should there be a lawsuit for causing any type of accident.

As a venue, we of course have liability insurance that covers us if someone slips on a puddle that our staff fails to clean up or some other random accident. However, if the catering staff knocks over a pitcher of water and their staff does nothing to clean it up, then most likely their company, along with The Gardens Wedding Center, could be held liable for any medical payments and possible lawsuits.

We ask to be named as an additional insured on the vendor’s policy so that if they cause an accident, their insurance company will automatically cover our attorney fees and company assets. We live in a litigious society, and if there is any kind of injury on the property, regardless of who is at fault, our venue is most likely going to be sued along with the vendor at fault.

We require any vendor who is working in our space–professional or not–to provide us with a COAI. This includes your caterer, photographer, baker, musician, event planner, florist, etc.

There are a few exceptions to the rule:

  • Officiants
  • Hair/Make-up Artists
  • Live Painters/Artists who have a well contained set-up. The Venue may require that Live Painters submit insurance if paint is being thrown, items are being adhered to the walls, or other potential damage may occur.
  • Acoustic Musicians who ARE NOT plugging into a power source. These musicians must have their own completely portable amplification system.
  • Bakers who are not coming on-site do not have to submit a COAI, as long as the Client is picking up their baked goods and bringing them to the site. This exemption is NOT valid for other food items that are considered hazardous.
If your vendor doesn’t have insurance, either you or the vendor will need to purchase a one-day policy. Most one-day policies range from around $90 to $200, depending on the type of vendor and their risk level. Your vendor might be able to get one-day insurance through their homeowner’s insurance. They can also look into reputable insurance companies that we recommend.

Our clients are responsible for making sure that all their vendors are approved and insured. In the event you have a vendor show up who is not approved, there will be a $300 fee taken out of your security deposit for each vendor who is not approved.

Yes, we do charge a $50 per vendor approval for any vendor not on our preferred list. The fee increases to $100 if the paperwork is not finalized within 30 days of your event. We end up processing hundreds of vendors per year, so it is a lot of administrative work for us to keep up with!