I was told by my photographer that they require a meal for them and their second shooter. I am paying thousands of dollars for them to shoot our wedding and do not feel that I should have to pay for their dinner. Can you tell me if this is customary?
Call me the Cheap Bride
Dear "Call Me The Cheap Bride,"
"It’s one of lifes' eternal questions. Riots have broken out in some cities as both sides clash with certainty that they know the only true answer. People have been injured too, with some attending their wedding with broken bones – but they stuck to their guns.
(please note that exaggeration can sometimes be found in journalism and, as such, you may find it difficult to substantiate the previous claim)."
This was Phil Drinkwater a photographers humorous approach to the question. Phil Drinkwater
The correct answer is there is no correct answer.
The unfortunate thing is every event is different and has different elements at play and therefore each event may have a different standard. Vendor meals however should be something on your radar and something that is discussed with your event team prior to your wedding day.
Your list of event professionals is potentially endless and therefore a simple answer of yes you should feed your vendors is not accepted. Some of the obvious: delivery drivers, cake, hair and makeup, etc... are typically not present during the "wedding meal" and therefore are not part of the discussion.
Our answer pertains to the service providers present during the reception and is not limited to them nor is it specific for each event. There really is not a correct answer to this question.
If you have an event coordinator this problem is solved. Typically the coordination team sees to it that meals and breaks are had by all vendors. Event coordinators communicate with the caterer and or venue staff to arrange food and snacks for event professionals involved.
Photographers should be your primary concern. The crazy thing about photogs is they are spending 8-10 hours (NO BREAKS) on their feet shooting, moving, and yes starving. We can joke about being "hangry" and how if you do not feed the photographer he will photoshop gray hairs, a wart on your nose and make you at least 20 pounds heavier; or we can just smile and say feed your photographer.
Some venues and/or caterers include vendor meals. This may be a lower grade meal than the event and it is often served in a side room or out of public view.
If you choose to have your photographer seated he or she should receive their food or be allowed through the buffet line shortly after the bridal party. The photographer should be eating while the married couple is eating. You do not want pictures putting food in your face anyway. This moment is very needed for a photographer and they will be appreciative.
Shorter term professionals like DJs. photobooths, and musicians may not fall under the same restrictions as photographers but it is important to exchange dialogue about meals with them as well.
Also remember if you have chosen McCall for your wedding or Sun Valley some of your event professionals may have travelled and so eating may be a must.
The end of the night... the venue closes at 10 and you book your photographer until the last minute to catch the sparkler send off and the venue ends up letting you push it to 10:30 and the party is going strong. If you have a hungry photographer when that 10 o'clock hour hits no sparkler send off is as important as a stomach that has not eaten all day.
Apples, granola bars, and bottled water are also nice to have on hand for not just the bridal party but your event team.
Wedding planning is really about controlling elements that are within your control in order to help with elements that are out of your control. Feeding your vendors is within your control.
Request your vendors get enough sleep before the event, enough to eat during the event and accept enough praise after the event.