Thursday, August 13, 2009

Wedding Q&A Thursday - Vendor Meals

**I know what you're thinking..."Yay, Q&A Thursdays are back!" Sorry for the little hiatus.**

Q: Do I need to provide vendor meals for the florist? What about the ceremony musicians? My band has it in their contract, but other vendors don't, so do I only provide meals for those that request it?

A: Vendor meals! They are a hidden cost that is often not revealed to a bride until the week or so before her wedding when she, or a the family member paying, is reviewing her final bill. They may even be forgotten, leading to frustrated vendors and possible scrambling and annoyance at the reception. But they are important!

Many of your wedding vendors are working long hours (active work at that) on your wedding day. If they are smart, they know they need to eat. Some vendors do include a meal requirement in their contracts, other don't. So how do you know who gets a meal? I generally use the 4-hour rule - if a vendor works for 4 hours or more, they get a meal. This typically includes your planner, photographer, videographer, and reception entertainer (dj or every member of the band). But there may be more, so do the 4-hour test with all of your vendors. For example, photo booths usually include a technician for the entirety of your reception to make sure the machine continues to function properly, not run out of supplies, etc. This attendant should be included in vendor meals.

What that meal is will depend on your preference and the options provided by your caterer and may be anything from a boxed lunch to the same entree you are serving your guests. Obviously, I am biased, so I won't make a blanket statement about the choices you should make, but I will give you a few pointers that your vendors will appreciate:

1- You ask your guests about their food restricitions, give your vendors the same curtosy. Ask if any of your vendors are vegetarian because unless you specify, they will most likely not be able to eat their vendor meal. If there are food restrictions that cannot be accomodated by your caterer's vendor options, let the appropriate vendors know that you will give them money ahead of time to bring their own food.

2- If you have a buffet or stations reception, it is fine to have your vendors eat from the buffet, but it is nice to have a private area for them to eat in. After all, this is their break time.

3- Vendor meals will usually be available when your guests are eating. If there is a scheduling reason to have any of your vendors taking a break much earlier or much later, let your caterer know so that their food is available for them when they are ready to break.

Readers, do you have an unclear vendor-meal situation that you would like clarification on?

Do you have a question for us? Email us at and we might feature your question next!

1 comment:

  1. This hungry photographer sure loves it when this is thought of beforehand. I can also tell you that it is greatly appreciated when the meal is kept small and simple, such as a sandwich a piece of fruit and a bottle of water, something that can be eaten quickly and in private. I once worked a wedding where the guests were all served fried chicken, mac and cheese, etc buffet style, while I was set up at a table and served an elegant spread of shrimp pasta and salad. I was mortified. I would have rather grabbed a drumstick and hidden somewhere! ;) Thank you Ainsley for mentioning this!