Vendor Meals | What Couples Don’t Know

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Vendor Meals | What Couples Don’t Know

Vendor Etiquette

Vendor Etiquette, in general, is a topic that we, as planners, think couples don’t know enough about! This is where our team comes in – to educate and give our best tips!

It must be noted that if it was not for vendors, weddings would simply not happen – especially to the caliber you want/expect.  There are a few vendors (i.e. planners, videographers, photographers) that will be present for the full wedding day. Most of these vendors and all of your reception vendors will have a vendor meal in their contract. 

In addition, catering teams will typically have in their contracts a section for vendor meals. There may be different options for vendor meals. In advance, you will be asked to give a final count of vendor meals so the caterers can plan accordingly. 

In some cases, the couple getting married can pay up to $80 per vendor meal. This is where it gets complicated. With the couple spending as much as $80 per vendor meal, this could add up to $1,000 for just vendor meals alone. This sounds great in theory, but alas, sometimes the caterers don’t serve the vendors the agreed upon dishes (example: a cold sandwich per vendor). This is not to sound ungrateful. Food is food, but it is unfortunate that the couple paid $80 for a sandwich. 

Specifics on Vendor Meals

In general, you do not want to have low energy and hungry vendors – that have been working all day. If they are happy, you will be happy with the results of their work! Once you have your reception vendors finalized, get a final count of how many team members, assistants, etc. will be there and give the caterers a final count and any food allergies they may have. 

What about the timeline?

Exactly.The problem with vendor meals is so much more than a cold sandwich. It is the timeline. As planners, we account for vendor meals to take place when the guests are eating. This is particularly for the photographers and videographers. There is a 30min-40min span where they can realistically eat. Most people do not like to be photographed when they are eating, so this is the only time that makes sense before toasts begin. 

In most cases, caterers do not want to feed vendors until after all of the guests have been served. Makes sense; however, this can cause a problem in the timeline because vendors may not be able to eat until 20-30 minutes into dinner service. This can push back toasts, dancing, and more. However, if the vendors were given their food at the same time, it would keep everything on track. 

Caterers we recommend. 

In our linked video, you can see our frustration when we talk about this and hear a few stories where caterers have given us a hard time. However, not all caterers are bad! There are some amazing caterers we would 100% recommend. We are in Southern California, so a few that we recommend are:

  • Calamigos Ranch in Malibu – @calamigosranch
  • Sweet Pea Catering in Augora Hills (LA Area) – @eatsweetpeala 
  • Harvest Kitchen in San Diego – @harvest-kitchen

Our team hoped this blog was helpful and if you would like more info on Vendor Etiquette, please let us know in the comments of this blog, in the attached YouTube vieo or on our Instagram. 

Where you can find us!

Check out @sugarplumandco to get even more wedding inspo!

Personal Instagram: @hiabbylee_


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