An essential part of any successful wedding day are the people who make it happen: your wedding vendors. They arrive early in the morning (early afternoon, at the latest), and sometimes that means they only had time to eat a hearty breakfast before leaving their house for the day, not to return until the late night hours long after you and your guests have departed.
It is vital your on-location vendors are taken care of during your wedding. Not only are they working 10-15 hours consecutively, but they are constantly on their feet and mentally on-top-of their responsibilities to make sure your wedding goes as smoothly as possible. Your photographer is going from room to room capturing special moments; the catering team is making sure the reception is set up for dinner to start on time, and constantly clearing used tableware when guests are done dining; your planner/coordinator is communicating back-and-forth with all vendors, plus you and your guests, to make sure everyone is aware of what is coming next so all events stay on-schedule.
What they are doing behind-the-scenes requires mental precision and high-energy. Which brings us to the following questions:
DO WE HAVE TO FEED OUR WEDDING VENDORS?
Yes! Your wedding professionals will be working hard to make your wedding day the best it can be. In order for them to stay energized late into the evening, they need to eat a good meal. Providing your vendors with a hot meal to ensure they are properly fed is very important, and goes to show how grateful you are for their services. When confirming your final guest count with your caterer, be sure to let them know how many vendor meals you need, as well.
WHICH WEDDING VENDORS DO I PROVIDE MEALS FOR?
Though your wedding vendor list may consist of a dozen or more professionals, plan on providing meals solely for the vendors who are physically working your wedding (i.e. wedding planner, photographer, videographer, entertainment, and any of their additional team members).
DO I HAVE TO PROVIDE THE SAME MEAL TO VENDORS THAT I AM PROVIDING MY GUESTS?
It is courteous to provide your vendors with the same catered meal that you are providing your guests. However, if you are serving elaborate entrees at your reception, a simple hot meal of chicken and 1-2 sides will do just fine. Feel free to talk vendor meal options over with your caterer and see what your options are.
WHEN SHOULD OUR VENDORS EAT AND TAKE BREAKS?
Timing is important. If you hired a photographer or videographer, plan for them to eat while you and your guests are eating, but before toasts (if you are having toasts during your dinner reception). You probably don't want photos of you two eating, so that gap between important events is the best time for them to eat!
As for your wedding planner, it really depends on what you have planned for after dinner. If there is just dancing afterwards and they don't have anything else to set up or prep for, they can either eat while you are eating, or eat once dancing is underway.
The timing for feeding your hired entertainment can differ as well. If you have hired live musicians, have them eat during the agreed-upon break time. If you are having live music during your ceremony and cocktail hour, but planning to turn on a playlist during dinner and dancing, have them eat once all guests go sit down for dinner. If you hired a DJ/emcee, have them step away to eat during cocktail hour when no announcements are happening, or once open dancing begins. That way, they are present to announce events such as important toasts, cake cutting, your first dance, etc.