Post # 1
- Wedding: August 2018 - Banquet Hall/Conference Center
How do meals for vendors typically work? We are planning to provide meals (lunch and dinner) for our photographer, videographer, day of coordinator, and a couple of other vendors as stated in our contracts with them.
Do you typically reserve a table for vendors at the reception, or do they just grab a plate whenever they are free or during their break, or how does this work so that they can do their job but also have a chance to eat? We are having an informal buffet lunch at our hotel for out of town guests/close family and a formal buffet dinner at our reception for all guests. Do vendors usually eat whatever meal the guests eat (a sit-down meal), or do we provide something that’s easier to eat on the go, like sandwiches?
I’m just trying to get a sense of what will work best and be most efficient, and also what is standard ettiquette.
Post # 2
Our cateter provided meals for all vendors – we gave a count who needed to eat and they provided meals. They did not sit with guests but ate back somewhere behind the scenes. They knew the meals were there; I didn’t tell them where or when to eat.
Post # 3
Your reception venue will take care of the logistics – it is their job. You will just need to confirm the number of vendor meals needed and pay for them.
Post # 4
Our vendors ate the same meals at the same time as our guests, although it was just dinner for our wedding (no lunch). I reserved a little table for them specifically in the same reception space as everyone else.
Post # 5
We had a buffet and sat our vendors with the guests. It worked out well since we had a few tables that were not full.
Post # 6
Our vendors had the same meal as our guests, and were seated with our guests. It worked out very well.
Post # 7
The only vendor we had with us during lunch was the photographer, and his contract specifically stated that he only needed to be provided with an evening meal. We had finger foods out around lunchtime and made sure he knew he was welcome to help himself as he did my getting ready photos. I think he picked at a few items but otherwise was pretty focused on doing his job (I think he must’ve eaten before he arrived).
Our venue provided meals for all vendors. They had a separate room where vendors were able to unwind during breaks and store their belongings; this is where they ate. I was happy to seat them with guests but this is how our venue preferred to do it. Vendors were provided the same meals as the rest of the guests (only the main, not the starter) as per our venue’s outline. We had a roving dessert and plenty of wedding cake, so made sure to offer them these too (which they didn’t seem to be expect but happily enjoyed).
I would get in touch with your venue to see how they usually handle vendor meals and would probably go with whatever they suggest. I would also check your contracts to see if vendors require lunch (if they’ll be with you during this time); get in touch with them directly if their contracts don’t say anything about meals.
Post # 8
- Wedding: September 2017 - Pearson Convention Centre
Our venue just wanted a head count of our vendors and they all ate at a table thatbour venue provided behind the scenes
Post # 9
We had 18 vendors so we reserved 2 tables for them. They sat amongst our guests and ate the same meal.
Post # 10
Our caterer just provided the meals! We got five free ones, and we’re supposed to be charged for any additional (though I don’t think we had any). Actual food varies from caterer to caterer- ive heard some just provide sandwiches. But ours provided our vendors with the same food our guests were eating! No need for a table though, vendors just grab a plate whenever they have a free moment.
Post # 11
You should have your videographer and photographer eat at the same time as everyone else. No one really likes pictures of themselves eating.
Post # 12
Wedding photographer here! The answer to this is going to vary a lot based on location and your specific caterer.
In my area you give your caterer the headcount for vendors and they just make sure they’ve got it covered. If it’s a buffet we just run through the line and go grab a spot out of the way to eat. If it’s a plated meal the couple usually asks us ahead of time and catering adds it to the list. Generally vendor meal pricing is going to be less than guests, because even though we’re eating the same meal we aren’t partaking in cocktail hour or the bar. It’s not uncommon for some venues (primarily those with in-house catering) to provide “vendor meals” and let me tell you….they suck and vendors HATE them. There is nothing worse than being on your feet all day busting ass only to finally sit down for dinner and be handed a boxed sandwich, chips, and apple. That’s really really unusual in my area, and honestly I can only think of two venues who do “vendor meals” and we dread it.
One request I do make of my couples is that we eat when they eat. A lot of times caterers want to feed the vendors last, but the reason that doesn’t work (espeically for photo/video vendors) is because once you’re finished with dinner WE need to be finished with dinner so we can get back to work. Dinner is the portion of the day as a photographer we try to limit our coverage of. Photos of people eating is very unflattering and it makes me uncomfortable to have us hanging around during dinner. We try to sneak through the line with the bridal party so we can go eat our dinner and get our gear prepped for the rest of the reception.
Post # 13
I see from your OP that you’re getting married in a banquet hall/conference center. I would bet that your venue likely already has a plan in place to handle it. We had our reception at a hotel that does weddings all the time and they used two of their smaller meeting rooms as “green rooms” behind the scenes set up- one for the band and one for the rest of the vendors. I honestly wouldn’t have minded setting aside a table for them in our reception room- but my thought was that they’d probably appreciate not having to be “on” while they ate and not having Aunt Sandy trying to grab the photographer to “just take a quick picture of her family.”
Also, our venue provided hot vendor meals for about half the cost of the regular guests’ meals.
That was super rambly (as I always am on Weddingbee posts) but long story short, just ask your venue what they typically do!
Post # 14
- Wedding: August 2018 - Banquet Hall/Conference Center
Thanks all for your great and helpful responses! I will ask our venue coordinator how they usually handle this and if they have a special room. Something that might be a bit tricky is that we are using outside catering, but I’m sure they’ve dealt with this before too.
Thanks for your great perspective as a vendor! I don’t see why we wouldn’t give our vendors the same food as our guests (especially since it’s a buffet), unless the venue has some different plan for them.
Post # 15
Well in the case of crappy boxed vendor meals it usually boils down to 2 different reasons…a) the couple trying to cut costs so they opt for the sandwich instead of a hot meal, and b) some venues think they’re above serving vendors and will actually push the boxed sandwich on brides telling them there’s no reason their vendors need to eat what the guests eat. It’s a really crappy perspective and there’s a reason why some vendors hate working at or don’t refer certain venues. 😉