There are some venues in St. Louis who happily recommend a professional DJ service, photographer, bakery, floral arrangement service and others, and do so because they truly believe they are the best services. Unfortunately, there are a lot more facilities that are doing this because they make commissions when you book the services they recommend.
We have even seen venues that want to charge you, the customer, for not using one of their vendors, which in my opinion is absurd, it's your wedding not theirs to decide which vendors you are to choose from. They will site various reasons such as, "this way you are guaranteed the vendor will show up" or "we know this company has the proper insurance", but what it really comes down to is their commission.
I too once got caught up in this cat and mouse game where the more commission I was willing to pay, the more likely I would be referred. If I was not willing to pay, I could not be on the list, regardless of my excellent reputation. For well over 10 years now Elite Pro DJ has not, and will not, pay commissions for referrals. I can accept doing this under one condition only, that being I get a "Real" advertising spot with very visual placement on their web site, in which case I would consider it as true advertising. I do not condone being the exclusive recommended vendor on any vendors list, or even worse, that the customer be required to choose from a list of specific vendors or pay a fee for not doing so; I would have nothing to do with any organization that would enforce such a gross limitation.
Now, with all that said, many of these facilities do recommend some excellent vendor services, some of them may even give you a discount for using them at that location. This is fantastic if you already know the vendor you want and they happen to be on the list, it's a win-win for you! On the other hand, limiting your research to only the vendors on their list, because they recommend them, could be a detrimental mistake. You are always better off to investigate all of your options, including but not limited to, those included on the vendors recommendation list. You need to do your homework and learn for yourself everything that's available and at what cost.
In conclusion, don't limit yourself to the vendors recommendation list but don't exclude it either. You might even ask them if they take commissions for their recommendations. If they don't, then their list is truly based on what they have seen and like. Either way, I do believe that most venues have your best interest at heart, whether they take commissions or not. What they don't really understand is what you like and what your expectations are, you are the only one who really knows and understands that. With so many fantastic wedding vendor options in St. Louis, limiting yourself to choosing from a pre-selected list, is likely limiting yourself to finding the best fit for you.
Elite Pro DJ