Don’t Let Your Vendors Starve On Your Wedding Day

Let’s talk about our wedding vendors for a minute, shall we?

You know, all of those super talented people you’ve hired to document your day, play the perfect song to get everyone on their feet, and make sure *everything* runs as smoothly as possibly. The people you researched and religiously stalked their blogs to decide whether or not you liked their work. The professionals you anxiously waited to receive an e-mail from, letting you know whether or not they had your wedding date available. The ones who are really going to make your day exactly what you’ve always wanted to be.

 Photo by: Suzy Clement on Snippet and Ink via

So, these vendors (I really kind of hate that word, but it’s the easiest way to group them together) will be “working” for you for the majority of the day. I know our videographer will be filming for about 10 hours, and our photographer will probably be there even longer. They’re going to do their best to document as much of the day as they possibly can, including the time it takes for my bridesmaids and I to get ready, aaaaall the way until we make our grand exit, and everything in between. Now, at some point during the day, my bridesmaids and I will get hungry. We’ll grab a snack, or Momma Coach will pick up some lunch for us and bring it to the hotel suite. Later on, after the ceremony, we’ll enjoy a nice cocktail hour and some yummy hors d’ouvres. Finally, that evening, we’ll get to taste the menu that Mr. C and I “worked” so hard on.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

All of the bridal party, family and guests will have a chance to grab some grub, but when/where/how are our vendors, specifically those who are there for over eight hours, going to eat something?

cocktail hour wedding

Photo by: Katie Stoops on Snippet and Ink via

Y’all, I have been pondering this for weeks now. I finally got smart and just Googled it, which provided a little help through the way of wedding boards and whatnot, but it seems to be pretty up in the air. I always knew our vendors would eat at some point, in fact one of them even included a meal in their contract, but I guess I just never took the thought any further than that? Now that I’m working on final numbers and seating assignments, I realized, “Oh hey, we actually need to provide a meal for them, and they might actually want to sit down to eat it!”

So, the question is not so much what—we will include them in our head count for the catering—but when and where?

Deciding when they should eat was a little more difficult, because of course we want them to be photographing, filming or being a part of everysinglemomentofthewholeentireday. But let’s be real here, how exciting is Aunt Sue going to be while she’s chomping on her fresh mixed greens salad?

grass and vines centerpiece

Photo by: Kristen Loken on Snippet and Ink via

The time frame while we and our guests are eating dinner is obviously the best choice for the vendors to eat as well. It’s a nice break in the evening, and more than likely the least exciting time for photo ops. (I think the only exception to this would be if you wanted pictures taken of each table, and if that’s the case, maybe you could work out some sort of overlapping schedule, like the photographer takes pictures of the tables during the first 15 minutes of dinner, but won’t get pictures of the first few people who make it on to the dance floor after everyone is done eating? Just a thought.)

Finally, where are you going to seat these important people? This is where my Google search (sort of) came in. Most folks said they either a) sat the vendors at a guest table, b) set up an alternate space/other room for the vendors or c) gave them their own table, but kept them in the reception area with the guests.

I liked the idea of the vendors getting to eat in another room, because I feel like they would get to “relax” the most, i.e. set down their cameras, step away from the guests for a bit. However, our ballroom is not connected to any other rooms, and there’s not really and secluded space where we could put them. I also worried that they might miss an unexpected moment because they were out of sight. Seating the vendors with some of the guests was something I really wanted to avoid, if at all possible. I just didn’t feel like it would be a good experience for the vendors or the people we’ve invited to our wedding. That leaves us with the vendors having their own table in the reception ballroom. I was 100% okay with that IF we had enough space after we got all of the RSVPs back. Luckily, that seems to be the case, as we have had a good bit of people tell us they won’t be able to make it (Boo!/Yay!—such is the contradiction that comes with planning a wedding).

BUT. (Of course you knew there had to be more.) Which table do we use for them? The table in the corner, where their equipment can “hide” a little easier? Or the table closest to the edge where they have the most accessibility to get up if needed? These are the things that a bride-to-be must ponder. As of right now, I’m thinking not completely tucked away in the corner, but not in a super visible, million dollar view seat, either.

Are your vendors getting a quick dinner break at some point during the big day? Where are you going to seat them? And who thinks we could make a drinking game out of the number of times I said “vendors” in this post?


Mrs. Coach

Wedding Date:
October 2012
Current Obsession: Mercury Glass
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  1. Member
    PassionatePhotoLady 995 posts, Busy bee @ 2:23 pm

    @happyface: REALLY?! And how good do you think your wedding photos are going to be when your photographer has been running around like crazy working hard for you for 10+ hours without food? Seriously… photographers are human beings, not machines, and as PPs mentioned, that’s why you make sure your photographer is fed when you are – they aren’t going to miss anything while you are stuffing food in your face. I’ve never heard of anything so selfish as to not feed your photographer for that reason.

  2. Member
    WeddingHelperNJ 2 posts, Wannabee @ 2:29 pm

    As a wedding planner, I’ve never demanded to be fed from someone who has paid me to be there! I’m there to work and as an adult know how long I’;m going to be working and will provide my own provisions. It is a nice gesture, but I don’t think the couple should be obligated to feed you. i certainly don’t put it in my contract, but I do state that my team and I will require two 30 min breaks and 1 15min since we’ll be there over 10 hours. Although I rarely take them.

  3. Member
    tv 68 posts, Worker bee @ 5:17 am

    We viewd our talented experts (vendors) and venue stewards, as our guests….The band and photographer, and stewards were seated in a little side room, but their table was a lovely as the others……minus a centerpiece but there were even a few lit votives.

    Our valets were served a platter of sandwiches and soda. Again I discussed this with the caterer prior and it cost very very little to feed these 6 individuals.

    Many folks forget that your experts are people too…and lets face no one works at their best if their hungry. We fed everyone at the same time (guests and talented experts) and it turned out perfectly.

    The good will went a long way…..because everyone thanked us and told us how special we made them feel and went just a bit further to make sure out day was special……

    The best thing to do is discuss this with the caterer while you’re planning then menu. Our caterer understood our concerns financially as well as our desire to be good hosts.

    Because I discussed this ahead of time, the caterer told me that they bring extra meals to every event that go unused. For a flat fee of fifty dollars we fed all 9 of our talented experts.

    Again because we talked about this prior, our 6 valets were given a small tray of great sandwiches and soda…for twenty dollars
    So everyone was happy and we stayed within our budget.

    It was a truly perfect day.

  4. Member
    happyface 5777 posts, Bee Keeper @ 5:27 am

    @LBPhotography: I am sorry if you misunderstood my post. I never said to not feed the vendors. I specifically said “I think the only way this will get resolved is to have 2 photographers, one working while the other is eating and then they switch so both have a chance to eat and nothing is missed.”
    This is only if the wedding couple wants the photographer to be at their beck and call, thinking that something happening while the photographer is eating will not be photographed… like a spontaneous happy dance of one guest when he finds out that the buffet has his favorite ribs… I hope this clears up any misunderstandings. I totally agree with the feeding of all the vendors, they are human beings and need 3 meals a day, and breaks, like the rest of us do.

  5. Guest Icon Guest
    Darryn Carroll, Guest @ 9:13 am

    Great article, in a perfect world, most vendors (including myself) would prefer to be served at the same time as the guests, perhaps at a vendor table in the main room. In my experience, I am typically served after the guests and in a separate area. Vendors could be just sitting down while the bride/groom just getting up to cut their cake or parent dances. We have worked it politely in our contract giving the bride/groom the choice of serving us a meal or allowing us to leave for 1/2 hour and I have yet to have someone choose the latter. I have worked at/with some great venues that seek you out and take good care of the vendors and I have also worked at venues that I need to chase someone down for the meal, can you guess which ones I recommend? 🙂

  6. mscoach Bee
    mscoach 130 posts, Blushing bee @ 10:38 am

    thanks for the input you guys! i’m going to try my best to make sure our vendors can eat while we do, in hopes that they can finish up before things get going again!
    @WeddingHelperNJ: I think if our vendors would have asked for breaks, I would’ve assumed they would use that to grab a snack and didn’t need to be fed by us, but since they asked for food, i’ll give them time to eat! I guess it seems like they would need one or the other. thanks for the input from a wedding planner perspective!

  7. Member
    heatherlm84 64 posts, Worker bee @ 2:44 pm

    I work in a wedding venue, and the vendors 95% of the time take their brakes when the serving staff has their dinner – speeches. Although the videographers & photographers normally find a random opportune time to eat/quickly shovel food in and run off.

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