Dedicated November 2009

Vendor meals

kt, on April 23, 2009 at 8:17 PM Posted in Planning

Do you count your DJ and photographers as guests of the wedding for meals? My venue offers vendor box meals but I had a debate with someone at work that that was completely inappropriate and that you should be paying for your DJ to eat a meal with everyone else as they are there for 6 hours. I disagree with this as we are already paying him and why would I want him drinking at my wedding which is what most of the costs are for the meal? What do you think? We are also trying to get a small group of people to play strings during the ceremony..do you feed them as well? Thanks!



  • Laura
    Master May 2009
    Laura ·

    I think it's very important to provide a meal for any vendors that will be there the entire day, such as the DJ or photographer. but I do NOT think it must be the exact same meal that your guests are eating. You are right that a lot of the guest price is the open bar which obviously your vendors won't be using. I think the vendors on here can back it up for you that they do not expect the same meal as your guests, only a decent hot meal to do the best possible work for you that they can over the long hours. If your venue provides a "vendor meal" go with that! I am having live musicians for the ceremony and cocktail hour only and I am not providing a meal for them since they will only be there for 2 hours. So if you have people play strings I think you only need a meal for them if they will be there for the entire wedding.

  • Amy
    Dedicated December 2009
    Amy ·

    We are providing Meals for our photographer, & DJ ... I havent heard of the box meals but it doesnt sound inappropriate mostly i think they just care that they are fed and arent expected to work for many hours without being fed. One photographer had in their contract that you must feed them. But id watch the alcohol.. we decided against a photographer cause she was telling us about how much fun she had at a wedding where there was an open bar, YIKES dont want my photographer drunk.

  • MrsK530
    Just Said Yes May 2010
    MrsK530 ·

    Yes they are working for you, you should feed them and are included in your guest count. But find out if you caterer has special vendor pricing. When do you expect your photographer to eat when he's with you all day?

  • kt
    Dedicated November 2009
    kt ·

    Just to clarify, the debate was the vendor box meal vs. the full guest meal. He thought the vendor box meal was rude. I wouldn't think of making someone work all day with nothing to eat but didn't think the full meal was needed like my coworker thought. Thanks for the input!

  • Jessica Meiczinger
    Jessica Meiczinger ·

    You should feed your vendors, vendor meals, such as a boxed meal, or some venues even provide hot meals for vendors- it is less expensive than your guest meals- your vendors should not be drinking. It is not necessary to feed the musicians who will be playing at your ceremony if they are not staying for the reception. Hope this helps!

  • Arlene Benge
    Arlene Benge ·

    Something you might do for your vendors is to find out if anyone has special needs...like a snack or something in case they are diabetic. It sometimes doesn't take much for a diabetic's sugar to crash. For myself, if I was spending the day catering to the bride, a box lunch would be fine, but that's me, I'm not picky. Most of the time I go to the bride's home, or she comes to mine if in the area and we take care of our business that way...I design and make jewelry and there is no reason for me to be at a wedding, unless its a last minute drop-off for the wedding party.

  • Rhonda Allen
    Rhonda Allen ·

    While vendor meals do vary from venue to venue, in general, these meals are not the same offerings as the guest meals, and usually do cost less. As for seating and eating, vendors normally do not sit with the guests. Vendors should never be drinking while they are performing services. That is totally inappropriate.

    The people who are playing at the ceremony would not receive meals as they are usually leaving right after it. The only exception to this is if the performers at the ceremony were also "invited" guests who provided the service as a gift, and are friends who will be at the reception.

    Hope this helps.

  • Tammy & Mark Toung
    Tammy & Mark Toung ·

    We tell our clients that we need to be fed. They do not have to be the same meal as the rest of the guest, nor do you even have to sit us with the rest of the people. It can be fast food as far as we are concerned.

    Musicians are a bit different, since they are usually only there for a couple hours.

    But the photographers are there the whole day. By the time reception comes, we have already been working at least 4-5 hours and there is probably 4-5 more hours to go. The last thing you want is us to run out to buy something to eat and miss a critical moment during the wedding.

  • Mrs. Libragurl
    Master October 2010
    Mrs. Libragurl ·

    Here is your straight to the point answer. The DJ, videographer and photographer at the very least do get a meal. The meal is usually discounted by the venue because they do not eat with your guests. Example my vendor meals are $35. They wouldn't go toward my food and beverage minimums because they are not included in the head count for my guests. I agree with you and your co-worker doesn't know what they are talking about. Most vendors don't want to sit with your guests anyway because they don't know them. Hope that helps.

  • Matt Potvin
    Matt Potvin ·

    Absolutely, and every party we've worked with felt it would be selfish of themselves to not offer us food. As others have mentioned, we've already been working for ~5 hours when it comes time that everyone else is being fed, and we have a few more hours still to go. You really don't want us keeling over from not eating! Besides, I get grumpy as do most others when they don't eat. I do however always have a couple Powerbars with me because I have such a high metabolism.

    We try and scarf down a few bites while the bride and groom are eating as eating pictures aren't flattering. And we don't drink even when offered while working. I do put down lots of water though! If you tell me my job is done after the cake cutting or have a line drawn in the sand, I'll hang around and have a beer with you if you ask me to (and most people do).

    Have never been offered a vendor meal to be honest with you. It has always been the same meal that everyone else is eating, but standing while eating!

  • Michelle Powell
    Michelle Powell ·

    I don't think a vendor box meal is rude at all! Any kind of food is a nice gesture, and if somebody complains about it, then to me, that is rude! We have been to weddings where we've worked for 8+ hours and have NOT been included in the food! By the time we left we were STARVING! If you are NOT providing a meal, it's your choice, but make sure to let your vendor know ahead of time to bring snacks!

    Many weddings we've done have been buffets, so it's no extra charge to the couple to feed us. If it's a sit-down dinner with an exact plate count, then I actually feel bad eating the same thing as the guests because I know it's costing the couple extra. In that case, a box meal is just fine and not rude AT ALL! Of course everybody has their own view of it, but that's mine!

  • Suzanne Smith
    Suzanne Smith ·

    I have been offered Boxed meals. and also at resorts given a "Pass" to a complimentary vendors lounge area with coffee, water and light snacks or sandwiches (at larger venue events).

    It is appreciated,Especially coffee!! LOL but not expected.

    As to drinking its a NO NO for any vendor on duty!! I'd fire any member of my crew caught doing this!

    I would feel VERY uncomfortable sitting with guests! LOL

    So go with a Light Boxed meal or snack for those putting in long hours on site.

  • Richard McClure
    Richard McClure ·

    I am a DJ and have worked weddings for over 18 years professionally.

    The thoughtfulness of a box lunch is fine. We are glad to get fed, but it isn't necessary. A professional DJ will eat before hand, most of the time. Since he will be working almost the entire time, as he should have an assistant. I do think that DJ's should not drink alcohol at all during their work. Do actors drink before a play? It would change their performance. A Good DJ should be alert of his surroundings, the body language people are portraying on the dance floor as well as off.

    As for Strings, they mainly take off to go play at another function and rearly do I see them stick around. If they are friends of yours doing it as a favor, then by all means feed them! Richard McClure. A Very Special Day. DJ's Video and Lighting. Dallas, Texas.

  • Danie Roberts
    Danie Roberts ·

    If someone is going to be at your location for an extended amount of time, you should provide meal service. However, it does not have to be the meal that everyone else is having. Also, you may want to specify a time for vendors to eat; i.e. ensure that the photographer is fed during a time that he/she is not suppose to be taking photos and that the DJ can still play dinner music (if contracted) as well.

    Most professional vendors would like to be away from the general crowd - we often have a room at the hotel/venue where they can eat; and then pick right back up - fresh and ready to go - when the time comes. I would say NO to alcohol; I agree, this would get sticky and again, most professionals should probably graciously decline this offer.

    Good Luck!!

  • Jessica
    Expert June 2010
    Jessica ·

    I would just make sure that the vendor box meal just comes with a table to sit. With all that the DJ and photographer are doing, they should at least be able to sit and eat. I guess I just think of a boxed meal as something you eat "on the run".

  • Tisha Kemp
    Tisha Kemp ·

    Honest truth - please feed us, but I would rather NOT sit down and eat a full meal with your guests. One - I don't know them, and they don't know me. Two - the nature of our work means we eat "on the run" - so something that doesn't require a knife and fork is great! BTW - you should never expect to serve alcohol to any of your vendors while they're "on duty". I think I speak for all of us vendors when I say we don't drink on the job.

  • robert norman
    robert norman ·

    You may want to read my blog post about this very topic--


  • Dee
    Savvy January 2011
    Dee ·

    I just had a debate about this same issue with one of my friends that is planning her wedding. She has hired her photographer (the same one I used) for 10 hours and is now upset because she realized that in the contract vendor meals are required if the photographer is there more than 5 hours or through the entire reception. I made a point to her that the photography team will be there from the time she is getting ready, through the ceremony, portraits and the entire reception, it would be rude not to serve them some sort of meal even if it is a sandwhich they eat in the lobby while the rest of their guests early the other meals.

    We originally ordered the boxed meals for our vendors, but because we had 9 no shows I had the venue serve our vendors those meals since they were paid for. Your photographer and DJ are there all day, you want them happy and not needing to take a break to get something to eat in the middle of a long work day.

  • P
    Just Said Yes March 2016
    Private User ·

    I fully intended to feed my photographer who is with me for at least 8 hours. But should I feed the photobooth attendant who is only working 4 hours? well 5 hrs including set up time?

  • J
    Just Said Yes April 2016
    jennifer ·

    HELP PLEASE....I have a makeup artist coming in the morning and will leave before the reception. Do I need to supply her a vendor meal?


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