It’s not something every bride and groom may think about but it’s an important one - keeping your wedding pros fed and watered on the day is a small detail that could make a real difference. It can seem like yet another expense but in the grand scheme of things, a few hot meals aren’t going to make a difference. Plus, the happier and more comfortable a supplier is, maybe the better they're going to do their job.
“But why do we need to feed them?” I hear you ask. “I have to buy my own food when I go to work, why can’t they?” It’s a good point but the reality is that when it comes to weddings, it’s a completely different kind of work. Suppliers need to be on it for every minute of the day - there’s not always a good ‘break time’ to pop to the shops and get a sandwich. And if your wedding is in a field in the middle of nowhere, you don’t want your key people stepping out for an hour to find the nearest fish and chip shop. And yes, we could all bring a packed lunch and sometimes we do to keep us going throughout a long day, but a hot meal and a quick sit down beats a rushed M&S sandwich any day.
So who do you feed? Look at your list of suppliers and your schedule and note down which ones are going to be with you over the meal time or for longer than 6 hours. These are going to be wedding professionals like your photographer, videographer, wedding planner, band and maybe other entertainment. Suppliers who are only with you to set up or for a very short time of the day don’t need or expect to be fed.
Of course, some suppliers make it easier for you and put it in their contract that they will need to have a hot meal provided. Some might prefer to bring their own - disillusioned with past experiences of cold cheese sandwiches and soggy salads!
And what should you feed them? Most caterers are used to sorting out supplier meals, sometimes called outmess meals or crew meals, and they don’t have to be the exact same (expensive) meal as you and your guests are enjoying, that’s totally your call. Caterers can do cheap, cheerful and delicious meals that are easy to cook for groups like lasagne and other pasta bakes. Served up in a side room with a salad to share is perfect for suppliers. Don’t forget to do your suppliers the same courtesy as your guests by finding out if there are any dietary restrictions - your caterer won’t be best pleased to find out last minute that she needs to whip up something out of nothing for your vegetarian photographer.
The question of when to feed your suppliers is always a big one. Some caterers are adamant that the supplier meals come out after the guests have been served, but sometimes this causes problems for those suppliers who only have time to eat when you are eating. Your photographer, for example, will need to have eaten before you finish your dessert and start your speeches, since that is such an important moment to capture. If their meal comes after the main service has finished, they will either miss those moments or not eat - which equals unhappy photographer. Check with your caterer that you can sort something out for those suppliers during the service, and give them plenty of notice to avoid any tension...
And don’t forget to keep a steady supply of water and soft drinks going for your suppliers - they work a long, hard day on their feet and they will need to keep hydrated. Speak to your bar about putting on a tab for soft drinks for your suppliers, problem solved.
The main thing to remember is to communicate with your suppliers about it - it’s the little things that can make the big differences when it comes to your wedding team!
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