I think every single couple saw the circulating article last year (and if you didn’t, here it is) about the photographer who was denied a break or a meal and promptly deleted the photos they had taken throughout the day and left the wedding. And while that is an extreme example, I think it brought up a great opportunity to talk about the need to properly feed your wedding vendors – and how to do so.
First and foremost, I think the best choice is to check with all of your vendors prior to the wedding day – and I’m talking at least 60 days in advance, if not longer – to find out how & when they would like to make sure they are allotted their break and their meal time.
For me, due to food allergies and the need to make sure that I am well prepared, this is something that I include in my agreement, but I know for many vendors it may not get that specific. However, in this age with so many people learning about food sensitivities and allergies, I find it even more important to double check that the people who have put so much time and energy into serving you and making sure that your day goes off without a hitch be fed.
Your vendors that will be needing to eat while dinner is served are no less than your photographer, videographer, DJ/band, wedding coordinator/staff. Some venues are full service and will prepare your food on site and therefore will need a proper headcount to coordinate the right amount of meals, and if you are hiring out your catering company you will need to account for those heads as well. And while I am well aware that this is an extra cost to you, I’d like to remind you how we all get when we are working & haven’t had a chance to eat anything (need a Snickers anyone?).
Jokes aside, your vendors are all eyes on you and the event in front of them making sure that things are running and running smoothly, and for a large portion of your vendors that are with you throughout the day, dinner is the first chance they get to use the restroom and eat or drink something.
For photographers and videographers it is extremely important to make sure that we are fed when the bride & groom eat. Why, you ask? Because more times than we can count, something important will happen during dinner that we do not want to miss. Following dinner you typically have toasts, and your important dances if they haven’t happened before dinner, and if that happens before we get the chance to eat, we will miss out on any opportunity to do so. With that also being said, shortly after the bride & groom get their meals, and depending on how your tables are being served/dismissed, your DJ and coordinator staff will then eat their meals.
I’m writing this to help educate you so that you are well aware of the need to serve those serving you. To let you know that I have photographed weddings where I was not informed there would be no meal for me & I could not prepare; where I have had to hunt down a meal because it was not prepared and ready and by the time it was found I needed to be back photographing; because I have gotten raw meat in my meals; and because I have had to drop my fork 2 bites in & run back to the reception so as not to miss a single thing. And while this is not a “typical” job, just like other wedding vendors, this is my 9-5 and if we can all be informed and working together, the day will run more efficiently and your vendors will be able to continue their role without fatigue and burnout.