I've worked with more vendors that I can count and it always amazes me when I tell them that I negotiated with the client to have a hot meal on their behalf. They are so excited and happy!
It also amazes me, when I have clients that don't understand the importance of a vendor meal, period!
I once had a client that refused to pay for any vendor meals because they felt they were paying premium for each vendor to service their wedding. Regardless of what I told them ie; "your vendors can't leave to get something to eat", "they'll be working eight hours or more", etc, they didn't care, they weren't budging. In this situation I was lucky because the venue fed them on their dime.
This is one discussion I have up front with my clients when I start looking at venues or caterers for their event. I always present the options of a hot meal or a cold meal for the vendors so they have an understanding of what the costs are. I stress the importance that while a hot meal may be more expensive it goes a long way in keeping the vendors happy. And if you have happy vendors, no matter how much they are getting paid, you get much more out of them!
In most cases you don't have to worry because vendors like entertainment or photographer already have it in their contracts, but if they don't you'll want to find out how many people they will need to feed the night of your wedding. And don't forget any tech people that may need to stay and run the sound and lighting boards. They need to be fed too!
While we are the topic of feeding vendors, let's discuss a few of my pet peeves.
Don't give them "hot" leftover food from the cocktail hour. A) that's demeaning, saying they aren't worth their work and B) often the vendors (photographers and band) are just getting started. By the time they get to the food, it's cold or just scraps. So don't allow your venue to talk you into this!
Don't allow your venue to set up a table in an area where guests can see them. This goes for a table in the dining room with your guests, the entrance to the venue, etc. Anywhere a guest can see your vendors sitting and eating, is a bad location. Choose an area that's well lighted and private. This allows you to keep a sense of elegance to your event and your vendors have an area where they let down their hair and be themselves.
Discuss the timing of the vendor meals with your Captain before your wedding. Many like to wait until all guests are served to feed the vendors. This can backfire especially if you need the photographer and band / DJ present for any special songs / dances. A well thought out timeline should have the vendors eating at the same time nothing is going on. Like when the guests are eating.
I hope find these little tid bits helpful and stay tuned for my next blog...tipping vendors.
Until next time…