Are you supposed to feed your vendors?
As an Orlando based event planner, we are always readily available to answer proper etiquette questions for our clients and our vendors. To our amazement, this is one question we will typically address at least once per year: Should you feed your vendor team? Yes & No...
Typically a vendor that requires a vendor meal will include it in their contract. Be very mindful of that as you sign your contract with your vendors. Ask the question if you are uncertain.
Here are the Do's & Don'ts:
- DO provide a vendor meal for your vendors that will work four (4) hours or more. I will go one step further and say if possible, make it a hot meal or a meal that has substance. It should hopefully include items that will rehydrate and energize the vendor.
- DO realize that the vendor has been running around, they can't leave your venue for an hour vendor break, they are trying to make sure they capture key moments in your day or keep your guests entertained. They can't run up the street to McDonald's to grab a value meal.
- DON'T forget to take into consideration what is the best time for your vendors to take a break. Your photographer/videographer will typically take a dinner break once dinner has started. If you have a band, they will have band breaks and more than likely require a vendor meal. Your DJ will more than likely play your dinner music selections during that time and may be able to take a short break. Your guests will also appreciate not having pictures taken of them while they are eating.
- DO try to give your vendors at least 20 to 30 minutes to take a break.
- DO try to have your vendors dinner served in a room outside of but near your reception room. We typically try to have one of our coordinating staff remain in the room just in case we do need to move forward with the program.
- DO realize that this is an extra expense to your budget and should be a part of the budget. Most venues provide a vendor meal at 50% of the cost of your regular meal. Many venues will offer some other alternatives that are less costly. Take the time to speak with your caterer or venue about these options.
- DO understand if you are serving a buffet meal, having your vendors eat from the buffet is an option, but it is not the best option. Why? Well they would have to wait until all of your guests are served and typically by the end of dinner service, it is time to move forward with your reception itinerary. This is where you would definitely want to look at a boxed lunch or alternative meal for your vendors.
Vendors that typically get a vendor meal: DJ, Videography Team, Photography Team, Lighting Technician that will stay on site the entire time, Coordination Team and the band. The question to ask is will they work more than 4 hours during your ceremony and/or reception. Typically they are the vendors that can't leave once your event has begun.
Vendors that should not require a meal: Transportation/Limo drivers, Officiant (unless they are a guest), Florists, Ceremony musicians, musicians playing for cocktail hour only or any vendor that will not need to be on site during the actual event time for more than 4 hours.
Your event planner/coordinator can definitely give you some great suggestions into planning your vendor meals for your special event. I invite our vendors to share their thoughts and insight on vendor meals.
Until next time,