Should you feed your wedding vendors?

The main reason I decided to write this blog post is because of a recent wedding we were the photographers and videographers for.  We have never been at a wedding and had an issue with our meal until this one.  Their catering director did not offer us a meal until almost right before the bouquet toss.  This was not at all the time when we could or should have our atttention anywhere else other than the celebration.  After checking out some wedding forums to see if this topic had been discussed I came across several online conversations.  The question was asked should we feed our photographer/videographer?   

Ultimately the question is answered in the contract that you sign with your vendor so read it over carefully.  But let 's talk about why you should or should not need  feed your vendors.

Understandably some of your concerns may be that you are already paying them why should you feed them?  Here are are few exerpts from conversations on this very topic.   "Feed your vendors you don't want them having low blood sugar during your wedding."   "If it's over a set amount of time (usually 4 hours) then you should feed your vendors."  " You should want to make sure that the person or persons taking your photos or video is fed especially after hours of working right along side you."

I have the unique perspective as a wedding planner as well as photographer and videographer.   As for the latter we have had couples come up to us at the wedding to make sure we were fed.  They even make it a point for us not to leave without having cake!  When couples are this kind and considerate it makes you want to do even more for them.  It shows they appreciate you and what you are doing for them.  There's a mutual respect.

Then there have been others that never even asked us whether we were taken care of.  The catering director never came up to us so we have had to go to them about the meal.   

So when do you feed your photographer/videographer?  The perfect time is while you are being fed.   We have never had a bride ask us to take photos of her while she was eating.  Let's face it people do not want a camera near them at this time.   This is the time people are relaxing and having conversations with each other and the last thing they want is to be interupted or disturbed.  

Let's discuss where to feed your photographers/videographers.   As a photographer, videographer and certified wedding planner I have a unique perspective on this as well.  These vendors should be in the same room as the bride and groom.  You want your photographer and videographer ready to capture any moments that might come up.  Since we work as a husband and wife team one of us grabs a bite to eat while the other scopes out the room for photo/video opportunities just in case.  This is one of the reasons I would never photograph a wedding by myself.  There are so many fun and exciting things going on that one person just can't capture it.  This is especially true when children are at a wedding.  They eat fast and want to  play around a little and we can get some really cute photographs of them enjoying themselves. 

Hopefully  you now realize more than before why you need to feed your photographers/videographers but what do you feed them?  It's not necessary for you to feed them the same dinner ( lobster, steak) that your guests are having but at least supply them with a meal that you yourself would want to enjoy. 

I will never forget one of  our weddings where we had the staff come to us several times during the evening to ask if we wanted water or soda.  They made sure that we were taken care of the way the guests were taken care of.  I can't tell you how much we appreciated that.

Finally don't think of it as having to spend extra money on your photographer/videographer.  Think of it as a courtesy to the people who are going to capture lasting memories for you.  These are the people who are going to capture moments you never even saw happen.  Moments you will treasure for years to come.  Moments you will share with your friends, family, children or even grandchildren. Moments that went by so quickly you wished you could "freeze" them but actually they did that for you!  These are your memory keepers.  

Toni Nelson - Nelson Photographers
Photogrpaher, Videographer, Certified Wedding Planner

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