Wedding Wednesdays Q&A: Feeding Your Wedding Vendors

Wedding Wednesdays Q&A by Jamie Chang Destination Wedding Planner of Mango Muse Events

Can you believe that Wednesday is upon us already?  It’s a short week and time is just flying right on by.  So, let’s not miss our favorite part of Wednesdays, our Q&A.  Today we’re discussing vendor meals:  I’ve come to learn through this wedding planning process, that I will need to feed our wedding vendors that are going to be with us for a good majority of the day.  I didn’t realize that I needed to feed them, but I get it and have no problem feeding them.  However, one of my vendors is requesting to have the same meal as my guests as per their contract.  But, I’m spending $150/head on my guests and I just cannot fathom spending that much on the vendors too.  Once again, I have no problem feeding them, but I think this is asking too much.  My other wedding vendors are totally reasonable and not requiring that they get the same meal as the guests.  Why would this one vendor require this?  What can I do about this?

Ah, the vendor meal.  Sometimes this can be quite the controversy on both sides.  But, let me explain a bit and hopefully, you’ll have a better understanding.  So, first off it’s important to feed your wedding vendors. I know that you agree with that, but it needs to be said that we (your wedding vendors) work really hard on your wedding day, especially those of us who are there for 8+ hours.  We’re running around making sure everything is in place, or capturing that spontaneous moment or anticipating the song you want to hear.  The meal not only sustains us so that we can continue to work at a high level, but it’s also a nice gesture to your vendors telling them that you appreciate what they are doing and want to make sure they don’t go hungry.  Happy wedding vendors will only make your experience happy too.

Now, the reason a vendor might have a clause in their contract like having the same meal as your guests or specifically a hot meal is because many times a “vendor meal” provided by a venue or a catering company is something cold, pre-packaged and not very nourishing.  Or it’s a hot meal, but it’s tiny.  Those of us who have been in the business a while know of these dreaded vendor meals which aren’t filling or satisfying.   The reason this particular vendor you are speaking about added it in is probably because they’ve experienced many events where the meal just wasn’t enough and they’ve found that they don’t function at the level they want.  So, to prevent this situation, they’ve added specifics in their contract to make sure they are well fed.

So, what can you do about it?  Talk to your vendor and see if they would be willing to have a separate meal which is just as hot and large enough to feed them well, but doesn’t cost $150.  Their concern is to be well fed, so as long as you address that concern, they shouldn’t care what the cost associated is.   I think most wedding vendors are pretty reasonable and will be willing to work with you on this if you can provide a suitable alternative that they are comfortable with.  Remember that what they are trying to prevent is the sad, small, cold meal, so offering them a good meal is all that you really need to do.  In conjunction, you’ll also want to talk to your venue or caterer to make sure that a vendor meal is agreed upon beforehand so that there are no surprises and everyone is happy.

Wedding reception table setting designed by destination wedding planner Jamie Chang of Mango Muse Events.

(Photo credit: Bethany Carlson Photography)

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