A meal is usually a big part of most wedding receptions. If you are having a meal, feeding your guests is a given. And feeding your vendors should be too! To help you navigate any questions you may have about feeding your vendors, we have put together the who, what, where and when of wedding vendor meals.
Any vendor who will be at your event for more than 5 hours should be included in your meal count. This includes but isn’t limited to your photographer, videographer, wedding planner, venue manager, photo booth attendant, and DJ or band. If you’re bringing in brunch or lunch for your bridal party while you are getting ready be sure to include your hair stylists and makeup artists in your final count. Catering staff is not typically included in the meal count. Some vendors require a meal as part of their contract so be sure to read your contracts carefully. Always double check with each vendor on how many will be in their group so you can be sure to include everyone in your head count!
It is not required to serve your vendors the same meal as your guests, but you should ensure the meal is appetizing. When deciding what to serve your vendors, ask yourself if you would want to eat it after a long day at work. Be sure to check your vendor contracts as some will require a hot meal. We suggest talking with your caterer about the best and most cost-effective way to feed your vendors and still giving them something substantial that will keep them fueled.
Also be sure to ask if there are any dietary restrictions and try to accommodate them! Your vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, pregnant pros will appreciate you thinking about them!
We also suggest having bottled water available to help keep them hydrated while they work. Trust us it is a small gesture that will go a long way!
Check with your venue to see if there is a specific spot, they prefer vendors eat. If there is not a designated area, we have listed a good rule of thumb for each. We also suggest checking with each vendor to see if they have any preferences.
Photographers and Videographers. Plan to seat them in your reception area where they will have good visibility of you and your new spouse. This way they can snap some candid shots of you and your guests!
Wedding Planners. Wedding planners can eat just about anywhere. They do not need to be seated in your reception area, but it’s preferred to be close enough to keep an eye on everything.
Wedding Bands. They will typically eat in their Green Rooms or Dressing Rooms. Their requests/requirements are usually listed on their contract.
DJ and Photo Booth. Depending on when they are scheduled to eat, depends on the where. If they are scheduled to eat before the festivities begin, they are not much different than wedding planners and can eat anywhere. If it’s not possible for them to eat before, they typically eat at their posts, so they are ready for Action!
Timing is everything!
When it comes to your photographer, videographer, and wedding planner, plan to have them eat while your guests are eating. If you’re doing stations or a buffet, vendors should make their plates immediately after the newlyweds, wedding party and the couple’s parents. If you’re having a plated dinner, have the caterer have the vendor meals ready to serve at the same time as they serve the guest tables.
Your Wedding Band or DJ/Emcee typically like to eat before the reception starts. This ensures they’re ready to go as soon as it’s time to announce the newlyweds and the wedding party and they can set the mood for the reception’s festivities.
Bottom Line. Feeding your vendors shows your appreciation for their hard work and it also gives them the fuel they will need to finish out the night strong. Which is a win-win for Everyone!