Should You Feed Your Wedding Vendors?

The verdict is out on vendor meals. Do you feed your vendors — the photographer, videographer, planner, band? And if so, do they eat the same meal as the guests, or do they get a special meal? Do they sit with guests, or in a private area? Should vendors require a meal in their contract or let their couples handle it on their own?

There’s so much to think about, and the vendor meal question has been sliced and diced in 100 different ways. If you Google “vendor meals” you will see that this is a super hot topic in the wedding world. Who even knew there was so much to consider?!

Two Camps on Vendor Meals

There are two camps on the vendor meal debacle that all boils down to: yes or no.  Some people think that because vendors often work 10-15 hours, couples should be required to feed them. Others think that the couple is paying their vendors to do a job and they should plan accordingly. I tend to fall into the second camp. I’m saying that as a vendor, I don’t think it’s necessary or should be required to feed your vendors.

I know this position might ruffle a few feathers, but I’ve tried to think about it and be honest with myself. If I were in any other position with any other job, I would never expect someone who is hiring me to feed me. That’s just not the way it works. I don’t consider myself a guest, because I’m not (unless, of course, I actually am a guest and not working), and I don’t think I should be treated the same as guests.

Now, pause for just a second, because that said — in over 100 weddings that I’ve been a part of, I can only recall two times where I wasn’t fed at all. The first time, I was yelled at by a caterer, who called me unprofessional and said they didn’t have enough food at the buffet for me. The second time, the couple just didn’t feed me. I did not see a problem with it.

I don’t require it in my contracts and I definitely don’t ask my clients before or during their wedding about food. It’s just not an issue for me, at all. I also think I have become a little complacent (read: spoiled) because I’m always fed.

Grateful for Clients

I love my clients and I especially love that “getting something to eat” isn’t something I have to think about at weddings. My clients are, more often than not, concerned about my well-being. They ask if I found my seat. They make sure I get something to eat, and it’s not just a sandwich or a granola bar, either. My couples offer me a drink and seat me among their friends and family. And I am so grateful.

I’ve been to weddings where I was treated 100 percent like a vendor. Hey, that’s ok! I am a vendor. But a majority of the time, I am treated like a guest. At $50 to $100 a plate, couples definitely don’t have to offer me a plate of food. My point is: they aren’t required to treat me so hospitably, but they do. In a way, it’s a really gracious gift. On their wedding day, when couples have so much to think about, they want to make sure I am taken care of. In what other profession does that happen?

I’m a creature of habit, like all humans, so sometimes I have to remind myself to be thankful. And I am so, so grateful for my amazing clients. I know that not every vendor is so lucky. So to my brides and grooms: thank you! I know you didn’t have to feed me, but I’m thankful that you did (and do!). You guys are the best!

STL Wedding Food

Stay Fierce!