I often get questions from wedding clients on the etiquette behind feeding your vendors and specifically your photographers. There are SO many intricate little details involved in planning your wedding, and if you don’t have a wedding planner, the only guidance you’re likely to get is from the catering manager at your venue. In this post, I thought I’d share some tips and a few of my thoughts on feeding your photographers.
Hours of Coverage/Which Meals?
Normally when we show up on your wedding day, its either late morning or very early afternoon and we usually cover about 10 hours in a wedding day ending late in the evening. Depending on how your timeline is set up, we’ll always pack a light lunch and eat it quickly in between moments but we do ask the client to provide an evening meal. It’s also always a good idea to ask your photographer how many people will be on the team for your wedding. For us, it’ll almost always be two. By the time dinner rolls around, we will usually have been working for 7 or 8 hours without a break and are pretty low on energy.
Guest or Vendor Meal?
What we see occasionally is that your venue or caterer will just make a few extra "guest" meals for your vendors while a few have a separate option for sandwiches or a different meal. Whatever you decide for your vendors is completely fine, because at this point of the reception, we are thankful for ANY food but sometimes a hot meal really hits the spot after being on our feet all day.
One of the first things we do when we get to the reception is check in with the catering manager about where and when we’ll be eating and the answer is sometimes something like “after all the guests are served and in a room down the hall”. The catering manager has it set up this way because the guests are more important than the vendors, and I couldn’t agree more! Logistically though, if we start eating after the guests are done being served, we won’t have time to eat. You and your bridal party will be finished eating, you’ll be mingling and getting ready to start up the events of your reception. When that happens, we’ll need to be up and ready to continue shooting, your DJ will need to commence the night's events, etc. If the meal is buffet style, sometimes we'll grab a plate, eat quickly and get back to shooting. It's much more complicated for us if dinner is plated or family style. Now I have to tell you, that if faced with a decision of eating or capturing all the events of your reception, I will choose the latter and go without food… I’ve done it before. I’ll certainly survive, but I won’t be able to perform to my best ability. Andrew will tell you how I get when I’m hungry!
Finally the last thing to consider is where your photographer will be placed during the reception. Again, your reception venue usually sets up a table in a completely separate room where we have no line of sight into your reception room. This becomes a problem for us because we definitely don’t want to miss capturing any important part of your evening and if we can’t see or hear what’s going on, we won’t know if anything important is happening. The best solution then is just to make sure we have a seat somewhere inside the reception room, usually at a vendor table. So one thing you can do to ensure that we don’t miss capturing any part of your reception is to ask the catering manager to serve us at the beginning of the meal at a location inside your reception room, so we can keep an eye on the events of the evening and be ready to jump up and start snapping if need be!