Post # 1
I’m looking for some input related to etiquette with my vendors. I’m having a very small/non-traditional wedding – we’re inviting 26 people. We are only inviting our closest friends and family. We both come from large families and wanted something very intimate. That being said, we basically massacred our family lists. Our wedding day will consist of both the ceremony and reception at the same location. 30 minute ceremony then dinner in a private dining room. That’s it. Short & sweet.
Everyone will be sitting at the same table to maintain the intimacy of the special day. I’m very concerned as to how we include our photographer & her assistant, our videographer & his assistant –an audio engineer may be thrown into this mix as well, and finally our officiant. We really don’t know any of these individuals beyond business transactions and we don’t want anyone to feel awkward during dinner. I can’t imagine my grandpa chatting it up with some camera guy or my sister’s date being distracted by some photo assistant who chews his food funny.
How do we include the vendors in dinner? Or do we have to just because that what’s expected? The room isn’t large enough to seat them at a different table. We’re figuring that dinner will be running us about $110/head so it makes me sick to think we’ll be spending that on top of the services these people will be providing. Things are starting to add up and I’m currently in the “financial freak out stage” of wedding planning. And how do you go about inviting them? Do you send them one of your wedding invitations? I apologize for my lack of wedding knowledge, but I’m new to all of this stuff. Any advice or input would be much appreciated
Post # 3
Does your location have an area for their staff to eat that your vendors can use? Or a small room in the back? This would probably be your best option and to check with your venue if they offer "vendor meals" so your vendors will still get something to eat but at a lower price.
You dont need to invite them since they will already be there. Check your contracts too though because some companies or people have it contracted that you have to provide them with a meal. Others might just be pleasently surprised.
Post # 4
Do you have after dinner plans that you want photographed? It’s true that you can get good photos of people eating but you really wouldn’t want too many of them! (Or to be photographed while eating for that matter!) What about releasing your vendors before the dinner? If you want some shots of people mingling maybe have a cocktail hour where the photographers could get their shots in and then head out once people went to sit down?
Post # 5
My understanding is that they would appreciate it if you arranged for the caterers to have a meal of some sort prepared for them (does not need to be what the guests are getting) so they can eat back in the kitchen or where ever although this does not always happen. They are not expecting to sit with your guests or at a separate table to eat and are not expecting a three course meal (nor do they want it; they’re working after all).
I know our wedding planner actually makes sure there is a set time on the schedule for everyone during the day to grab lunch and our caterers will definitely make sure everyone gets dinner, but we’re not having a vendor table.
It’s really nice of you to even think of them, and they might appreciate it if you just ask what they usually do for dinner and if your budget (and the caterer) allow for it, offer to have the caterers make them something to eat.
Post # 6
Thanks for all the advice! Since our wedding is different from the classic affair, I’ve been coming across little roadblocks that I’m not sure how to handle.
naangel55: The place where we are having the whole wedding is actually an old mansion turned restaurant. I will have ask the events manager as to what my options would be. Since they are accomodating my 12 year old jbm with dinner selections that aren’t even on their regular menus, such as chicken fingers, bugers, etc. I’m hoping she will be able to help me with our vendors. Good call.
caitlanc: The fiance, myself, photog, & videographer have been working on coming up with our schedule for the day. We will have a cocktail hour in between the ceremony & dinner so we can do the bulk of our shooting/filming. And we have decided to also see each other before the ceremony for the best time management. Your questions have me leaning towards cutting those guys lose right after we cut the cake. Taking pics/video of my family eating isn’t all that appetizing to me.
The wheels are churnning and you guys have me a lot less overwhelmed and led down the right path. Thanks again.
Post # 7
I am including the minister and the photographer because they are there. I absolutely will not be including any of the staff from the conference center, nor will I be offering any additional money as tips. I am already being charged an 18% service fee so I feel they are being paid enough!
Post # 8
I’m going to answer this from a photographers standpoint. A meal is appreciated , but this is usually during shoots 5-8 hours long ( when I really could use a break ). When a couple provides a meal for me, I always stay an extra 20 min. or so ( to make sure they get their full shoot time ). If they arrange this in advance ( by telling me they have planned for me to eat ), that’s even better.
For a wedding that is small like this one ( I’m imagining your photographer won’t be there more than a few hours ) , a meal isn’t neccessary ( to me ) . Other vendors might feel differently , but I have worked small weddings where I’ve done a few pictures during the dinner at the end and then a shot of the couple POSING a cake cutting instead of waiting for it and that’s worked fine.
So ….. rough rule of thumb ….. a few hours of shooting and no meal is needed .
Post # 9
Have a small table in the same room for them to eat at. It doesn’t need the same decoration. Your dj will probably at his station. The photographer needs to be in the same room to catch any after-dinner toasts or cutting the cake or whatever that may happen while your guests are still eating. They can’t catch any of those things if they are made to eat in a back closet or a hallway which is where some people think they be set up.
Most vendors have it listed in their contract that you need to feed them. Your photographer will be with you the entire day from the time you start getting ready for the day and won’t have time or opportunity to slip out to go to McDonalds.
Post # 10
As others have said, a vendor meal served away from your main reception area is acceptable. We’re not there to eat $110/plate meals and be treated like a guest-we’re there to work! By dinner, we’re usually so tired and hungry, we’d probably eat cardboard anyway. Personally, I prefer to eat away from the reception-I always feel so conspicuous!
Alternatively, we always always always pack a snack in our bags just in case we don’t have dinner, or just don’t have time to eat. So if there’s no room in your budget or the physical room, just let your vendors know ahead of time that they should plan to arrange for their own meal. But be sure to check out your contracts-some will require a meal.
Post # 11
my understanding is that the caterer takes care of finding a spot for the vendors. you just have to tell them how many meals you need. our place is also charging less for the vendor meals since they’re not going to drink, etc. i think they serve the same meal as for our guests though but i’m not sure.
Post # 12
As others have said, check your contract but I personally don’t require it when the shooting is less than 6 hrs. I would say include the officiant unless he’s a “yellow pages” person… but if he’s the minister of your church, go ahead, he’s used to being at tables full of strangers 😉 But, just be aware, aside from a few shots, once people start eating (especially a smaller wedding where there’s less guests to try and find) there’s not a whole lot to take a picture of!