I hear it all the time. Do we feed our vendors? The short and simple answer is yes. Who you feed, what you feed them and why are the next big questions.
The reason isn’t very complex, even though we hear the question every week. My boss doesn’t feed me, why would I feed someone who is essentially at work? Your boss is required to give you 2-15 minute breaks and a half hour lunch break in an 8 hour day. If you apply the same reasoning, that means somewhere in the 9 or so hours you might have for example, your photographer. They should stop everything they are doing and take a break. Right? We all know that things don’t happen that way. You will expect your photographer to be there early to take shots of getting ready and formal shot of the bride and maybe bridal party. They might even run to get shots of the groom and groomsmen. Driving to your church or venue isn’t a break. Then they will shoot your ceremony and do formal shots with the bridal party. They will follow all of that up with photographing your reception. By the time your reception begins, they are going to be hungry. So this is where your choice really happens. Do you want the photographer to leave to go eat? What shots might he miss if he leaves the building? Do you want to have the dj eat when people will want to dance? They will be at your reception site long before you arrive for setting up. I think that you want your vendors to be where they should, when they should. I think you want them to be at the top of their game, performance wise. I don’t think hungry vendors are working at their best.
Who you feed and what you feed them are the next big things to go over. Who will be at the wedding and reception the entire time? Your caterer will provide enough for their staff. The dj, the photographer and planner should be with your for most of the day. They should get meals. If they have assistants, mc’s, second shooters, they also should get a meal. What you feed them is between you, the vendor and your caterer. Your vendor may expect the same meal being served to the guests. Others would be happy with a sandwich. Check your contract with each vendor. Your caterer may just feed the vendors the same food since it is easier to prepare a few more portions of the same food than it is to stop production to make sandwiches. Check with your caterer on pricing. Your dj might eat at his station. Your photographer may eat at a guest table. They all might eat in a vendor room (depends on your venue). If they aren’t seated at a table, the price should be lower since a full table setting isn’t needed.
If you won’t see the vendor that day, say the florist, you wouldn’t feed them. You can do small sandwiches or picky (not messy) foods to snack on while you get ready. Offering something to the hair and make up people is nice, but probably not necessary (unless they are staying to do any touch ups after the ceremony).
If you use good common sense and ask questions, you won’t go wrong.