Wedding Wednesday Discussions: Feeding the wedding suppliers at your wedding

Today I want to open up the blog to you and discuss the topic of feeding your wedding suppliers. I am writing this with my wedding planner hat on and as a wedding supplier myself it is something that I hear time and time again from my colleagues the issue of getting fed while working at a wedding.

Now some of you may be thinking why on earth do I need to feed my wedding suppliers, why is that my responsibility? while others will think it was an obvious thing to think about, but it is always a subject that I bring up with my couples in the last few weeks of their wedding planning as I do feel it is something they need to be made aware of.

wedding food

Now before I start I want to make it clear I am not talking about feeding everyone, and I am not expecting you to feed them the full 3 course wedding breakfast BUT a lot of your suppliers will be with you for the majority of the day, the likes of the Photographer will normally do an average of a 10 hour day, the videographer the same, the wedding planner, personally I work a 12 hour day, the band can be there setting up through the day and stay till 12/1am hair and makeup often arrive at the crack 7am and don’t leave till 2pm, it is only fair that they get a decent hot meal and drinks throughout the day, Why? Well here are a few reasons.

wedding food

1)  People like the photographer and planner will have left their house at 7am/8am/9am to get to you in time, they will work for 10-12 hours on their feet all day and often not get a break, this is long hard work, imagine how you would feel if you did all that with no food?

2)   Yes we can bring a packed lunch but that isn’t going to do us for the whole day? And it isn’t enough nutrients to keep us going for a full 12 hours a warm cheese sandwich does not give off the same amount of energy as a hot meal.

3)  Often wedding venues are in the middle of nowhere so it isn’t like we can just nip off and get a bite to eat, and if we did we would be in fear of missing a vital part of the wedding and not doing our job properly.

4)  You may think surly they can survive on sandwiches or a cold meal? Well think about the fact that these suppliers often work 2 or 3 weddings a week, so that is a third of their week just eating sandwiches or cold snacks, that isn’t good for anyone!

5)  If a workman came into your home you wouldn’t think twice about offering them a cup of tea and maybe a biscuit, so why should your wedding be any different? Refreshments for a 12 hour day isn’t to much to ask I’m sure.

wedding food


There are also a few things to consider

When the supplier gets fed. Especially with Photographers the ideal time they should eat is at the beginning of the wedding breakfast, this gives them time to back up their work (you don’t want them losing your wedding pictures after all) and sit and take a few minutes to relax and get themselves ready for the second part of the wedding. It is also best they eat first so they can get back into the wedding and start snapping. I have often heard stories of them being fed last and missing the speeches or having to leave the food so they can carry on working

Where they eat: ideally away from the wedding party but not tucked away too far that they don’t know that is going on. This isn’t always possible but it is better if they can have some space to themselves again to back up work and to get give themselves some breathing space before the evening reception, if they are far away they run the risk of missing any important aspects of the wedding

Tell the venue: Often the venue is the main problem; I have heard umpteen stories and been in the situation myself when the bride and groom have paid for a full meal but the venue just won’t give it to the supplier. Colleagues of mine are often found trying to get the paid meal out of the kitchen only to be told to wait until service is over and then end up with the fatal cheese sandwich because ‘that is all that is left’ so make sure you tell your venue your wishes that you want the food served the same time as the wedding breakfast and make sure that the catering manage has clear instructions.

Drinks: It is always a good idea to set up some sort of tab for soft drinks just to make sure that the suppliers don’t dehydrate, they are not expecting a free bar, just the odd glass of coke or water to keep them going.

wedding food

As a planner I often find that as well as making sure I am fed, I spend good amount of my time, making sure the suppliers are happy and that they have a constant supply of drinks. Remember a happy supplier makes for a happy wedding, the more comfortable the supplier is the better job they are going to be able to do for you.

wedding food


So what are your thoughts? Have you made arrangement for your wedding suppliers to be fed during your wedding? And if so was it written into their contract?
Do you maybe think it’s a big ask and cheeky of them to expect it in the first place? Have you not considered it until now?
Are you a wedding supplier? do you have any good or bad stories about being fed at a wedding? Have you worked a wedding with no food? Or have you worked a wedding and been really looked after?

I’d love to hear from you……………..


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    Belinda McCarthy

    As a photographer, I’m going to go against the grain here and say that I actually prefer not to be offered a hot meal at weddings.

    Yes, I work a long, hard day of ten hours plus, and all the other points raised above. Yes, I need a break, and the best time for that break is at the start of the wedding breakfast. However, I need to keep light on my feet and alert, and a hot meal can send me sleepy! That’s why I bring a cool bag with sandwiches and high energy snacks, which I much prefer.

    I’m also of the opinion that as wedding photography can make up a significant part of the wedding budget, I don’t expect the bride and groom to incur any more expense on my behalf. I do appreciate some cold drinks throughout the day, but otherwise I’ll look after myself. The most important thing to me is that the bride and groom do appreciate that I need to take one decent length break and ideally a couple of other shorter breaks throughout the day, in order to work at my best.

    Finally, I do think that us wedding suppliers aren’t alone in working long hard days, often without the option of a hot meal – and people working hard in other industries wouldn’t expect their dinners to be provided for them for free!

    Simon (Simon Biffen Photography)

    Great post. As a photographer I actually have it in my contract that I require a meal and this normally ends up being what the guests are eating. During the morning there’s often times for snacks, I’ve often been handed croissants and bacon rolls! I do keep a few cereal bars on me as well but agree with Alison that if the suppliers are looked after they will be able to perform better. Nothing worse than a grumbling tum during the speeches!

    Jonny Draper Photography

    Eeeek….can of worms…!!! I hear so many of my photographer peers and contemporaries talking about this but to be completely honest…I don’t care if I don’t get fed…

    If I’m working at places like Mitton Hall (Big Dave – top man!) who ALWAYS feed ALL the suppliers, then that’s awesome, I love it. Full three courses. Boom. But if I’m going to somewhere like The Inn at Whitewell who close the kitchen in the day to concentrate on the wedding service and I don’t get fed…I make sure I’ve got a butty with me. I always have plenty of water with me for those weddings where only bottled water is available and they charge you for it and I’ll survive if I have to have just a sandwich.

    And to be honest, if I haven’t had a full meal in the day, it makes that post-wedding chinese and bottle of wine taste even better!!! :)

    Horses for courses and all that. I know plenty of suppliers who have it in their contract and that’s entirely up to them. The main thing I care about during the wedding breakfast is that very good point you made – finding somewhere to sit down, back up images and prepare for the next part of the wedding.

    I also reckon it’d just wind me up having to spend that time chasing after venue staff for my food and then being disappointed that it was only a cheese sandwich and not the hot meal my bride and groom had paid for if I had it in my contract!

    I do get fed a lot and lots of my brides and grooms hook me up, but as I said, I wouldn’t put it in my contract and if I leave the house on a morning on my way to a wedding not sure whether I’m being fed or not, then I go prepared.

    Shoot first, eat and sleep second for me! :) (that sounds wrong but I think you’ll get what I’m saying!)


    Jay Cresswell

    As an entertainment provider, we are normally at the venue before most other wedding suppliers in order to set up equipment and get sound checks out of the way before anyone else is around.
    Also we are normally the last ones at the venue breaking down equipment long after everyone else has left.

    We try to stipulate that we are fed and watered during the day and this is normally part of our contract or we discuss with the wedding organisers who are mostly accommodating to our needs.

    It’s interesting to see how high some venue’s rate on our ‘Lasagne scale’ ;o)

    PH Weddings

    Great post. We used to ask to be fed as part of our contract but after lots of bad experiences with being fed last and nearly missing the speeches and getting crispy cheese sandwiches when the couple had paid for us to have a hot meal we decided it was much easier bringing our own food.

    Cool box in the car plus lots of energy drinks/snacks etc is fine with us. We get a break away from the action and arrive back refreshed.

    Plus like Jonny says it makes the post wedding pizza for us that much sweeter – thus fueling the hours of backup back at the office!


    I don’t need a big fat three course meal.. I wouldn’t expect it.. I am after all, being paid for my services. But a 14 hour day (which is my usual kinda day) is a long time to go on a solitary cheese butty. More often than not, brides and grooms are happy to feed me, but I find it is the venues that consider photographers as a distinct pain in the ass. We just need a bit of sustenance… I dont think that’s too much to ask and neither do my brides and grooms. I if was round your house for 14 hours, you’d offer me dinner… and a drink…. possibly more than once. C’mon people, why is it that photographers get the rum deal?

    mark tattersall

    hmm, I would never expect to be fed, but sometimes venues are in the middle of nowhere and I wouldn’t dream of leaving during the meal just to reduce risk so it can be difficult if the venue don’t have a separate bar area etc. I will be on my feet for at least 10 hours working really really hard, wedding professionals develop an ability to survive this without drinking/eating enough! If you are willing to feed your suppliers then that is a really nice and considerate thing to do and we really appreciate it, if you don’t thats fine too. You are paying for a service and we are not guests (as much as we would like think so!)

    Kelly Boyd

    I totally agree with Kelly on this one!

    As photographers whose ethos is to tell the whole story of the wedding day we are often out of the house at 6 in the morning and not back until 12.00 at night (no exaggeration). Therefore, I don’t think one hot meal during the day is too much to ask. We make sure we keep going with breakfast bars until that but definitely NEED (not want) to be fed. Also, people have to think about health and safety. My husband (Peter of Peter Boyd Photography) gets migraines if he doesn’t eat properly and regularly. It is not healthy for anyone to be up and doing so much work for so long without a full, hot meal.

    So, it’s in our contract to get a hot meal. We speak to the venues about it on the pre-wed shoot and to our couples and no one has complained about it. In fact, most of our couples have asked if we want starters and pudding which we kindly refuse.

    Also, the timings are very important like Kelly says. We’ve got to back up all the images, pick some for a slide-show and work on the slideshow in the time it takes the guests to eat. So we absolutely love it when the venue produces our food straight away – it makes everything flow so much smoother and we don’t have to panic about shovelling food down before the speeches etc.

    For other suppliers I think it should be based on whether they are able to get a meal before they start or after they’ve finished. So if someone is working from 18.00 – 23.00 then they could get dinner before then but if they are working from 16.00 – 23.00 then they are working over tea-time. Seems easy to me.

    Also, I used to be an extra on TV a lot and, if you were working a full day, you had to be fed – it’s not just wedding suppliers that have this rule.

    I think I’ve said my piece :)

    Bex Bennett

    Thanks for this post, Kelly – I think it’s a great thing to make couples aware of before the last minute run up to the day. As we like to arrive to set up in good time and then won’t usually be back on the road until 1am we do ask for a hot meal to be provided. We’ve tend to be travelling to the wedding for a couple of hours each way, meaning we’re away from home for an average of 12 hours. Service station food week after week is not much fun!

    I often find that couples ask the caterers or venue to provide us with a hot meal and pay for this but that on the day we’re given sandwiches. We’d never interupt the couple on their big day but do let them know after the wedding to make sure they get their money back! Others are fantastic and leave us a big pot of something to dole out and get on with ourselves. We’d never expect to eat the same meal as the guests – lasagna or shepherds pie suits us fine. If your venue or caterer is trying to overcharge you for a crew meal, do speak to your suppliers – we’re always happy to add £30 to our bill and pick up a carpet picnic on the way if needs be.

    When thinking about your timings, it’s usually best to put the musicians / DJ food on once they’ve set up but before they play the first set – that way if your timings go a bit over we can have shorter breaks (or no breaks!) between sets to make sure you get as much music as possible.

    Laura C

    I always wondered whether I should accomodate suppliers into the seating plan but you’ve answered that for me (not necessarily – yes?)! So thank you :) x


    Thanks everyone for your imput, it’s very interesting to hear your points of view. Good point about not relyin on teh venues and bringing your own food. personally I take a cool bag with snacks in ti which keeps me going for half of the wedding but a hot meal keeps me going for the rest of the wedding. Alwasy good to take something just in case! BUT as for eating when I get home, normally this is midnight and the last thing i want to do is get a takeaway so eating at a normal time of the day si alwasy preferable.

    Laura as to where to sit the suppliers, personally I would rather be way from the guests thsi way i can eat my food and get on with my job it also gives us time to relax and take stock of what needs to be done next. i think most suppliers would feel the same. xxx

    Yvonne [White Gold Images]

    Definitely a point I have seen argued many times amongst photographers, but of course it applies to other suppliers who do an equally long day too.
    I have it written into the contract that a meal must be provided at the same time as the wedding breakfast, although I don’t stipulate hot or cold, I am quite happy for a decent plate of good sandwiches to be honest, though usually it is a hot meal. However, it is also discussed with the couple too and on the occasions when a full 3 courses has been offered, it has been politely refused – the idea of getting back up and doing another 3 or 4 hours work after a huge meal like that…. just no! I am not sure I could *laughing* – most meals have been whatever the guests are having as a main course, as this is usually easiest for the kitchen staff and no more expensive for the couple than something else off the menu.
    Every couple I have worked with has been very accepting of this, the majority ‘expecting’ of it, so it has never been an issue. I do not expect to be fed for the half day packages, though in many instances I have been, which is always appreciated but no expectation is there.

    Drinks are also usually not a problem, as you say Kelly, several glasses of water and the odd coke/coffee are normally willingly provided by the couple/venue.


    This is a great topic and one that I have thought about on many an occasion. One of the weddings that sticks out for me was arriving at the venue at 4pm after driving for 3 hours to get there and working until 11am the following day and having to stay up all night with a sick child and I never got as much as a cup of coffee. The bride said I would be included in a meal when the children were getting fed but the venue said I wasn’t. In my job I can’t leave the venue to go get anything to eat so if I haven’t come prepared I go hungry.
    We are often there (in the bedrooms) until 3, 4 or 5am without a tv, a kettle or anything.

    Fiona Pickles

    I know it’s a slightly different thing but as a florist the on the day set up is usually massive, I usually get up at approximately 4am to finish off last minute touches, arrive very early at the venue to make sure everything is set up in plenty of time and its full on, hard work for hours and hours and we NEVER get offered even a cup of tea. Of course i don’t expect a full meal or anything, but a drink would be lovely . I’m afraid no-one even thinks about the florist though, so I’m totally self sufficient on the drinks /cereal bar front and more often than not hit McDonalds as soon as I get out totally exhausted. Fiona x


    Great article and completely agree with everything. Good that you also mentioned about timings of being fed and why that’s important. I couldn’t function as well without a good meal. It’s so tiring shooting a wedding and refuelling is essential.


    Brilliant post Kelly. We have it in our contract to be supplied with food. It’s a long slog at a wedding and it’s nice to be topped up ready for the evening celebrations. I have shared this with our fan page and got some great discussions going on :)

    Jaye Cole | Tux and Tales Photography

    We have stipulated in our contract that we are to be fed (anything is actually fine by me!). About 50% of our weddings are far enough away to require an overnight stay in a hotel. So, unfortunately I don’t regularly have the facility to make myself a sandwich to bring with me. I would say that more often than not, the problem is not with the bride and groom (we have fab couples! – last week’s feast of fish and ships was superb!) but rather having to chase up staff to get a meal served with about 5 minutes to bolt it down. I think wedding vendors should work hard to treat each other with mutual respect and I am not always sure that has been the case with 100% of the venues I have worked in – so that is always disappointing.


    At my son’s wedding, we had both hot and cold foods. As the reception decorator as well as the groom’s mom, all forms of food were welcome…I was one tired but happy mom decorator.


    I’ve been quite lucky so far as most of my couples did take care of the feeding for me without me asking.

    Apart from one single time in which not only there wasn’t any food (not a sandwich…nothing) for me to quickly bite but the venue had used all the chairs and as silly as it sounds THERE WERE NO CHAIRS TO BE FOUND ANYWHERE.

    Now I’m more concerned to actually have a corner for myself to sit 10 minutes than getting actual food :P

    Karen Julia

    I find venues are so sneaky! I have had customers pay for both meal & drinks but countless times I have been charged for drinks and have had no meal. I now advise the couple to save their money & instead I have a car boot full of protein bars, protein cookies, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, a selection of drinks etc. it’s not ideal but venues unfortunately will try it on & 10 hours without food is pretty horrid. I love my job but wish basics like eating and drinking were not a problem. :-(

    Catherine Kerr of eyecapture wedding photography

    As a wedding photographer on the go/on the constant ‘lookout’ for extra/special shots being offered any kind of soft drinks, especially water plus food is very welcome and appreciated. As soon as any workman/woman and any clients come to me, I offer hot and cold drinks plus savoury and sweet biscuits on the basis that it’s just good manners. If a client is with me for more than 3 hours, I make sure that I have more substantial food available to offer them. This is usually cold as I don’t have any caterers to hand! Again, to me it’s just good manners. We all work and feel better when watered and fed and we all appreciate being considered, so it works for everyone. I’m more likely to do an extra favour without even thinking about it for someone who’s shown me basic respect and courtesy. Simple as that to me!

    Paul Dishman

    I stipulate in my contract that when I am there 6 hours plus please supply refreshments. I`m not bothered if it is a full meal – would prefer a sandwich really and a drink but I need something to keep going. I`ve been at venues like last week where my car is too far away to get a sandwich and I`m not carrying food and drink in my camera gear bags. What really annoys me is when the bride and groom go out of their way to tell me they have ordered a full meal despite me saying I don`t need one and the venue leave me until last and I get what`s left – even though they have probably charged a full meal. Happened last week with a 2nd shooter there when if I had not known they had been told to supply we would have got nothin and were brought one starter between 2 and one dessert. Told the bride and thanked her to ensure she was not charged full whack!

    David Perris - Lucky Dog Photography

    Good post Kelly.

    I’ve actually just taken the food clause out of my contract. I really appreciate a meal if offered but have had so many problems with venues not providing food that has been paid for by the couple, or having it served up at impossible times (i.e. just when the guests are finishing up) that I prefer not to rely on it.

    I now take a very large box of sandwiches and a thermos of hot tea. Anything else is a bonus!

    Allyson Montague

    As a caterer, I always offer meals to those that have services provided for the special day. I did have a photographer that attempted to be serve first before everyone. Not even behind the scenes.

    Florence Hirst

    Well, in my opinion, suppliers should be fed because a full stomach will work happily rather than an empty stomach. So, if you want your wedding to be a perfect one don’t behave like a miser and just be happy for what god has given you.


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