Brides-to-be… I know, one more thing to have to think about, but we need to talk about this.
Your vendors are your teammates, working together to pull off your big day, and you are the quarterback. You’re calling the plays and taking the snap, and they are collaborating, planning, and powering through to reach the end zone.
Enough football references? This is about taking care of your vendors during your wedding day. We know you’re paying us, and we know you’re busy, but many of us are spending 10+ hours with you and your family/friends. It’s a long day, where we’re on our feet nearly the whole time, we’re carrying stuff, we’re sweating. Breaks are few and far between, and if we get one, it’s not for long. It’s not that it isn’t fun – because it is! But we need water, food, and a break here and there. Oftentimes, this is overlooked by the bride and groom either unintentionally, or sometimes even intentionally.
Dinner time is usually the only down time that many of your vendors will get the whole day. This is where you need to make sure that your Photographer, Videographer, DJ, Photobooth Attendant, Wedding Planner, (etc…) get to sit down and finally eat something! Plus, you probably don’t want photos of guests (or yourself) eating. The vendor meal is really important to keep your vendors going, but also to give them at least 15 minutes to have a seat while the rest of your guests are busy.
There is always cost involved with food, so yes, these meals will add to your total cost. Some venues will charge more than others and that just plain SUCKS! It does. Because here is the reality: Even if you are the most empathetic couple, and are lovingly taking care of your vendors, we really won’t get much time to eat. Personally, I’ll go for whatever is the easiest to eat quickly and is the most filling first, in case I need to end dinner abruptly and get back to work (which is almost always). That means I’ll forgo the salad and the meat (too hard to eat fast), and probably not any cake and instead opt for the pasta and the bread, along with any other finger food. Not exactly a well-rounded meal, and not even close to the amount that your venue is charging you. I recently visited a venue that charges $75.00 for vendor meals. RIDICULOUS! There’s no way we can eat $75.00 worth of food while working. That’s total crap, and I wouldn’t recommend that venue just for that reason alone – because you know then that food cost is a money grab and you are getting overcharged.
If you are having a sit-down/ plated dinner, make sure there’s a spot at the table for your vendors. If you’re pushing the limits of seating available, work with the venue on this issue. They could have another spot or a bar area where vendors could be seated for dinner. Many times I’ve had to stand in a corner and eat food with my fingers because there was no place setting provided for me (and no silverware). And because it’s the only food I’m going to get for the next 8 hours, I’m going for whatever I can get in.
Avoiding Unexpected Delays and Problems
Believe me when I tell you that it is worth the extra effort to ensure that your big day goes super smooth. If you are using a wedding planner, then this is where they’ll get to show their work. Have a conversation with your venue representative to go over available installation/setup times for your vendors, as well as loading/ unloading areas. If you don’t do this, you could be setting yourself up for disaster when your florist is unable to access a loading dock to bring in your centerpieces. Most venues are well-versed on the procedure, but just in case, get clear instructions from them to provide to your vendors to avoid delays and confusion. If your vendors will be arriving quite early in the day and be with you all day long, there’s no reason that they should have to pay for parking, but many venues will charge this regardless. What if your DJ arrives to load in equipment, but a parking attendant is harassing them to pony up some cash? What if the DJ forgot to bring cash because this charge wasn’t expected? Work with the venues on this as well. If you are paying for all of the guests’ parking, be sure to add each vendor to the list. This can get tricky if you have a particular vendor that is arriving at peak reception time, but at least advise your vendor on the parking situation so that they can be prepared. Completely eliminating any potential delays or issues on the ‘day-of’ by making sure these details are covered will be setting yourself up for success.
Many of these items above are mentioned in your vendor’s contracts, but when things are moving fast on the day-of the wedding, sometimes they are forgotten about. Plan and prepare (or make sure your wedding planner is on top of it).
Taking care of your vendors can seem like tiniest, most annoying thing to add to your long ‘to-do’ list in preparation for the wedding day, but the satisfaction in knowing that you’ve got every scenario covered and can expect a flawless day is priceless!