Ask A Planner: Vendor Meals

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Ask A Planner: Vendor Meals

Hello Wed Heads!!!  The following is a question that has been asked of me many times by brides, grooms, wedding professionals and facebook fans:  “What about vendor meals?”

Great question!  I take pride in making sure that all of the vendors at my weddings are well taken care of and happy!  I make sure they have food, water, sodas, sun screen, anything they need during the wedding.  Unfortunately, I think only about 10% of couples hire wedding planners.  So here is my advice.  😉
Brides and Grooms:  
Make sure to ORDER meals for the vendors that will be on site for an extended period of time on your wedding day.  This would be, but not limited to, planners, photographers, videographers, DJs, bar staff, site staff and band/musicians.  Make sure to find out if they have assistants.  Almost no one comes alone to work a wedding.  Do not add these people to your guest count for your caterer.  Let the caterer know a separate count for your vendor meals.  The reason, caterers may charge you a reduced rate for wedding vendor meals.  Most importantly it alerts their staff that they will need to serve your vendors and that your vendors’ meals have been paid for. 
Plan ahead as to WHERE your vendors can eat.  Most of us like to eat somewhere close by, but somewhere we can be unseen.  Although some photographers like to eat where they can see the bride and groom so they can jump up and get a shot if they need to.  Ask your venue if they have a location especially for your vendors to eat, ask your vendor if they have a preferred location to eat at the venue.  
Do not serve your vendors a meal that differs from your guest’s meals.  Quite frankly, we don’t like this and find it insulting.  Your wedding vendors are working tremendously hard to give you your special day, treat them like an honored guest and they will treat you like a cherished friend.  No boxed lunches please.
Plan on WHEN your vendors can eat.  I have vendors eat at different times.  For example, I always have the photographers and videographers eat as close to the time as the bride and groom.  Photographers love this because they are done eating by the time the couple is and can get back to capturing the moment.  I have had a photographer tell me she was yelled at by a site manager for eating before all of the guests had.  A good reason to have a table somewhere close to the action but behind the scenes for your vendors.  Also a good reason to explain your method to the caterer ahead of time.  If your photographer all of a sudden tries to get food before some of the guests, the catering staff could be totally thrown.  If it is all planned out ahead of time, they will know when to serve the paparazzi.  😉 
Wedding Professionals:
May I suggest addressing your meal in your contract or at least simply bringing it to your bride’s attention that yourself and your assistant will be needing a meal.  You would be surprised how many brides hire me for ‘day of’ wedding coordination and haven’t even thought about vendor meals until I come on the scene.  They will appreciate being alerted ahead of time.  Caterers, please make it a point to ask brides and grooms about their vendors.  Do not assume they will know to add them.  
Hope this helps!  Thanks for submitting all of your questions on my facebook page.  Have a question you need answered?  Want to ‘Ask A Planner?’  Leave a comment, I’d love to help.  😉

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