Do you provide food for your wedding photographer or do they make their own arrangements? That is a common question that I see asked in wedding groups. For some reason this is often a controversial subject within the Facebook groups. With lots of passion on both sides of the camp.
In this post I will try to explain both perspectives and let you make your own minds up. So without further ado. Here we go!
Why you should feed your wedding photographer at a wedding
Your wedding photographer(s) are going to be with you for most of the day. Of all your suppliers. They are likely to be with you the most. It’s a long day and of course they are only human.
Sitting down and being able to enjoy a nice meal will help them get their energy back which in turn means they are better refreshed to carry on taking the best wedding photos they can. After all, nobody works well with a rumbling tummy!
Many venues are exclusive use. Meaning there is no place on site for your photographer to get their own meal. Even if they wanted to. Meaning if you do not provide them with food. They will have to leave your wedding for a period of time. And if something happens during the time they’re off site. No-one will be around to photograph it.
This has happened. More than once, I have been sat in the bar area and hear a HUGE cheer with ensuing laughter. Experience has taught me that I should grab my camera and see what’s going on. Sometimes a guest has arranged a surprise for the bride and groom.
The photo below for example was taken because the guests were messing around during the wedding breakfast. Luckily, at Hazel Gap Barn we’re always well looked after so we were nearby to grab our cameras and capture them having fun. Had I have been in a sandwich shop getting some food then I would have missed it.
Some places even refuse to allow vendors to bring their own food. So your photographer might not even be able to tuck into a home made sandwich!
Quite often, during the wedding breakfast when everyone is eating. Your photographer isn’t really taking a break. It’s a great time for us to change batteries, backup the images. Review what we have and check if we’ve missed any shots you wanted.
Naturally, you will be excited to share your images on social media. So most weddings, I will start editing a few preview photos so you can get them the very next day! You don’t want to wait weeks for your photos. Trust me. Those weeks will seem like months!
If I am away from the venue, I cannot edit or back up your precious photos.
Don’t worry if you can’t feed them though!
Wedding photography is an expensive part of your wedding budget. Chances are you’ve gone over your original wedding budget by a large amount. And now to feed your photographer(s) and possibly videographer(s) will add even more cost on top of a runaway budget!
Let me say I totally understand that. At the end of the day, your wedding photographer is a supplier. And above all an adult. Very few of us get free lunches at work. If I hire a builder, I am not expected to pay for his lunch.
Secondly, what if your venue doesn’t do a supplier meal? If the wedding breakfast is costing you £50 a head then two photographers and two videographers would push the budget up another £200! That’s a lot of money.
The counter argument to whether or not you provide food at your wedding for your photographer is that as a supplier and an adult, they should make their own arrangements.
As a wedding photographer in Nottingham who has photographed hundreds of weddings all over the UK, I’ve yet to find a venue which either couldn’t provide me with food or find a local Mcdonalds/supermarket within a 5-10 minute drive.
So don’t worry too much if you’ve gone way over budget with your wedding plans. Or if your venue doesn’t do supplier meals. Meaning the cost racks up.
In which case, just make sure your wedding photographer is aware that he/she needs to make their own arrangements.
Where should the wedding photographer sit during the meal?
This is also a common dilemma. Where should your wedding photographer sit during the wedding breakfast? Do you put them with the guests? Since they may not know anyone else. Or should you arrange a seat for them in the bar? But you don’t want them to feel unappreciated.
I think it’s safe to say that in general, wedding photographers prefer to sit in a separate place and not with the guests. Of course it is very kind for you to offer them a place. However, as mentioned above. We’re often not truly taking a break but doing other activities. I’ve usually got my laptop open editing previews for you. Something I can’t do if I am sat with guests.
Plus being honest, there’s only so many times I can answer the question “So…how long have you been a wedding photographer?” And “I bet your camera was expensive….” ha ha!
Sitting on our own gives us a little time to truly unwind if we want to and spread out if we need to. It also means we can have a good walk around and plan the photos for the next part of the day.
That said. If your wedding speeches are planned to happen after the food is served. Then I would always recommend making sure you do not start the speeches until you see your wedding photographer is ready. I know that seems obvious and whilst it’s never happened to me personally. I have heard horror stories where the speeches started and the photographer totally missed it since they were in another part of the building.
Do you pay for photographer’s meal at a wedding?
If you are arranging food then yes. However, be sure to ask your venue if they do a ‘supplier’s meal’. Usually this is a discounted rate for the main course. Sometimes dessert too!
If your wedding venue has a seperate bar area (eg. a hotel) then another good idea is to ask your coordinator if you can leave some money for the photographer to buy their meal (ie. a tab). That way you don’t need to worry about if they have particular dietary requirements.
“It’s in my contract that I need to provide a hot meal”
This is something I hear quite a lot from people online discussing this topic. Especially from wedding photographer’s who say “Oh. I have it in my contract that my couples have to feed me 🙂 ” I admit it has become a subject that really annoys me. Let me explain why.
Contracts are legal documents that set out what is expected on both sides. If terms are not fulfilled then you are in breach of contract.
Let’s say you’re a busy bride or groom. You signed the contract 18 months ago and totally forgot about the section in your contract where you agreed to provide a hot meal to your photographer. He/she is sat down waiting for their meal and it doesn’t arrive. Are you expecting to be sued? After all you’ve breached your contract. Technically your photographer could do so.
Of course in reality it is ridiculous and they never would sue you. At worst, they’d just have a good moan about it on Facebook.
So why make this a contractual obligation? It makes no sense!?! The only conclusion I can make is that they are too afraid to ask you if arrangements have been made or not.
Plus, I am usually fiercely nodding my head when I read the replies from couples. Which is they would have organised food as a matter of course anyway. But they just don’t want to feel like they HAVE to. Does that make sense? It’s the sense of obligation that they object to more than the meal itself.
If in doubt, discuss it with your photographer
If you aren’t sure what your photographer wants then my advice is to simply ask them. Or tell them you can’t feed them and they will have to make their own arrangements. Sometimes your photographer might prefer to go elsewhere or have dietary requirements that mean they will need their own food anyway.
Personally I always ask during the pre-wedding meeting if food has been arranged or not. After all, eating is a normal part of everybody’s day! Why should it be an awkward subject? It’s just housekeeping in the same way I need to know what time the ceremony is.
Hey Martin….you’re our photographer. What should we do!?!?!
Three course meal with champagne please! Just kidding! In all seriousness, if you are one of my couples reading this. Then don’t worry. Whatever you decide is cool with me.
I wouldn’t say no to a nice hot meal but at the same time if you prefer for me to make my own arrangements then I will be happy to do that too. I just need to know before the date of your wedding so I can organise it.
Rest assured no matter what you decide. You will always get the same professional service regardless.
I hope this article has helped answer the question of if you should feed your wedding photographer or not. Everyone has to eat and your photographer will be around for ten hours perhaps more. So at some point they will need a rest and some food.
And whilst many feel it is a common courtesy to provide your photographer with a meal. At the same time you should not feel obliged to.
In short, it should be up to you.
If you’ve found this article useful then feel free to click on the links below to find more tips and advice for your wedding.
If you have a question that isn’t answered then feel free to drop me a message and I’d be happy to answer if I can.