Do We Have To Feed Our Wedding Vendors?

Hi friends! Today we’re talking about one of my favorite subjects… food! Specifically- food, your wedding, and your vendors. Even more specifically, feeding your vendors this food that I speak of. 🙂 All joking aside… whether or not you have to feed your wedding vendors might be one of your lingering, unanswered questions, and while the answer is quite simple (yes!), there are some particulars that you may want to think about as you come to your conclusion.

Do We Have To Feed Our Wedding Vendors? via

The short, simple answer is… YES. But perhaps your wedding is a bit more different from normal weddings. Or maybe you’re not sure who exactly to feed. So I’m going to try to provide some insight and answers to any additional questions that might come up when it comes to feeding your vendors.

 Do We Have To Feed Our Wedding Vendors? via

Image via Ashton Events

Who should we feed?

Do you work for 12 hours without eating? No, right? You have a lunch break, maybe have a snack somewhere along the way. Well, vendors have things way differently when they’re “at work”… aka at your wedding. A vendor who is in attendance throughout your whole wedding should absolutely be fed. Now, a floral designer who is only there setting up during the day, before your wedding, they don’t need a meal because they won’t be there during your reception. But your photographer, DJ/band members, wedding planner… ANYONE who is a vendor and who is there during your wedding reception– they should be fed.

Shouldn’t they be responsible for feeding themselves? 

Well, I suppose the politically-correct answer would be yes. Because you feed yourself at your job, right? However, you really don’t want your vendors going off for 30 minutes to an hour to find food, as they would during a “normal” word day, do you? Now, often times vendors will bring a sandwich or protein bar juuuuuust in case they don’t get an actual meal. But really, providing them with a meal during your reception is the polite thing to do. 🙂

What should they eat?

This is the age-old question. (Honestly, I think the venue or caterer should insist upon providing the vendor meals free of charge- and meals that are the same quality that your guests are eating. Because really, it’s free marketing for them.) Alas, it’s a rare occurrence that a vendor gets the same thing the guests are eating. The all-too-common vendor meal is a sandwich with chips or a cookie. I mean, I love me a good sandwich, but it’s kind of a kick in the shins when I’ve been staring at the delectable-looking steak and sea bass meal for the last hour. However, some brides are insistent upon their vendors getting the same meals as their guests. And let me tell you- it’s always a very nice and pleasant surprise for them! If you’re having a buffet, making sure that your vendors are included in the count is a great option. If you’re having a plated meal- well, you know what I think about that. But it’s of course ultimately up to you- any food is better than no food at all!!

Do We Have To Feed Our Wedding Vendors? via

Images by Hunter Ryan Photo

When should they eat?

This is a question that can be kind of up in the air, since every wedding’s timeline is a little different. However, it’s always a good idea for your vendors to eat while you and your guests are eating. There’s usually not too much happening in which the photographer would have to capture photos or your DJ would have to emcee anything. Try real hard to make sure they eat during that time, because if they don’t, they might not get a chance to eat the rest of the evening! It also helps to let your caterer/venue know that you want your vendors to receive their meals during guest dinner time.

Where should they eat?

This is another one that’s up in the air, because it’s dependent on the vendor, what kind of wedding you’re having, your space, etc. I know some photographers who actually have it written in their contracts that they need to be seated at a guest table, in an effort to still be present during dinner so they won’t miss anything. I myself put my vendors at their own table in my reception- they loved it! But if your vendors don’t care where they eat, it’s best to have them eating in a location that is close to where your dinner is taking place. Being up 2 floors and down a big long hallway (aka 5 minutes from your reception) is not the best idea. Usually a venue will have an extra room close to your reception where they will put the vendors’ meals- ask them if they have a recommendation.

 Alright, so I think that covers the “long answer” in regards to feeding your vendors. Hopefully this answered any of your lingering questions about this little tidbit- it’s something that often gets forgotten in all of the hustle and bustle of wedding planning. (But I do still maintain that venues and caterers should definitely use vendor meals as an opportunity to market themselves for free to other vendors!)

If you have any other questions about feeding vendors- perhaps you’re having a different type of reception or a special circumstance- feel free to ask in the comments!!


This post was originally published June 21, 2012. 

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