Having food available for your vendors is often a detail that gets lost in the wedding planning shuffle. Although it isn’t a mandatory thing to do, we highly recommend that couples provide meals for their vendors. Not only will you have happier vendors, but you are more likely to get tip-top service if you take care of your vendors.
Put yourself in the shoes of your photographer, videographer or wedding planner. These are typically the vendors that are with you the longest on your wedding day. You are talking anywhere from 6-12 hours of work, depending on the length of the ceremony, reception and how long the break is in between the two. During the reception when guests sit down to eat, and there is time to “take a breather”, is the same time the reception site should be feeding the vendors. Imagine you are a photographer and you are shooting a wedding where to your surprise when everyone sits down to eat and you go and ask the person in charge where to go for the vendor meals, they just look at you and say the bride and groom didn’t get any meals for the vendors. Well after shooting for 4 hours from the beginning of the pre-bridal, through the ceremony, formal family portraits and beginning of the reception, you are starving and ready to eat. And to hear that there is nothing for you to eat will not make you very happy. Especially knowing that there are another 2-3 hours of photos to shoot on an empty stomach.
Another thing you should be aware of is that some venues may ask you if you want “vendor meals.” What you don’t know is you may be paying $30 for a soggy turkey sandwich and chips as the “vendor meal.” So make sure you ask the site what the vendor meal consists of: a leftover sandwich, what the guests are eating, or something entirely different. This doesn’t mean that you need to feed your vendors the filet mignon you are serving to the rest of your guests, but you should at least provide them with a meal while they are working. Talk with your caterer about providing a meal for vendors and they should be able to add in a less fancy meal for them. If you are having a buffet, you could simply add on a few more people to your final count in order to allow for the additional vendor meals.
The best time to feed vendors is when the first guests get their food. That gives them time to eat. A lot of reception sites wait until all the guests are served to serve the vendor meals and by that time the bride and groom, who were served first, are done and back to dancing or walking around to tables. Keep your vendors happy and they will make you happy by producing top quality work and services for you.