Everything You Need to Know about Wedding Vendor Meals

By now, you’ve probably noticed that planning a wedding and sticking to your budget isn’t as simple as it seems. Almost all of the wedding planning websites will tell you to pad your budget on every vendor so unexpected expenses like taxes, tips and travel fees don’t put you over the limit each time you sign a contract.

One added cost that we’ve noticed the planning sites aren’t talking about are vendor meals.

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A vendor meal is food that is paid for by the couple so the professionals who are working with you throughout the whole day are fed.

The vendors you would typically consider ordering meals for include your wedding planner, photographers, videographers, DJ, band members and anyone else who will be working six or more hours during your wedding day.

There are two types of vendor meals:

  1. You can add your vendors to your headcount and they will get the same meal as everyone else. This is always a pleasant surprise for vendors.
  2. You can ask your venue or caterer if they offer vendor meals. This generally has a cheaper price-per-head than what your guests will be eating. What is served varies by venue but think along the lines of a boxed lunch with a sandwich, chips, cookie and a drink as an example.

You might be thinking,

“I’m already paying my wedding videographers for their service. Do I really have to provide them a meal?”

The general school of thought on this topic is if you wouldn’t go your whole wedding day without eating, so the vendors who are by your side all day long shouldn’t be expected to either. As Christie of Hindsight Bride puts it, “Remove the wedding part and you have the question: should I feed my employees when they’re working a 8-10 hour shift and cannot leave the premises to get their own food? It becomes much clearer then, no?”

However, it depends on whom you hire. Some vendors require it and have it listed in their contract. Check your contract for more details.

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NST Pictures does not require you to provide a meal for your wedding cinematographers but we do recommend it.

Our cinematographers shoot consecutively to make sure we don’t miss anything from your important day. We only take time to quickly eat if the couple, wedding planner or maître d’ tells us that all vendors have a scheduled meal break. This usually happens when you sit down to eat since you probably won’t want footage of people chewing.

A good way to think about it is to put yourself in the shoes of a wedding videographer.

Shooting a wedding is a physically and mentally draining job that requires you to run around for ten hours, carrying heavy equipment in the heat, cold or rain. It requires you to be focused and quickly make the best decision for any given moment since each minute of the day is important and only happens once.

Don’t get us wrong—we love, love, LOVE what we do and it gives us great joy to be there for you on your big day but imagine the kind of appetite you work up over eight hours of hard work!

Yes, we can and do bring granola bars but quickly taking a moment to eat a fresh sandwich and slug down an iced tea is a much appreciated courtesy that you might want to consider providing to the people who are giving you their all on your wedding day and creating this for you after:

For more wedding frequently asked questions about hiring us to make your wedding video, check out our FAQ and glossary of industry terms.

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