There was a blog post on Brides.com recently that lit a fire under the people in the wedding industry. I’d link back to it, except the article was deleted a week after it was posted. (Due to the crazy backlash, I can assume.) What I can do is link to the archived article because – duh – nothing on the internet is ever really gone.
To give you the rundown if you do not wish to read the blog post itself, it suggested that brides do not need to feed their wedding photographers on the day of the wedding because they need to be working the entire time. They also stated that the band or DJ should not be breaking as they should be playing the entire time. Basically the only person they referenced as deserving a meal on the wedding day is the wedding planner because they have probably been working from sun up to sun down.
I think what blows my mind the most about this is that this was written by a wedding planner. That’s right, a wedding planner! I believe that as a wedding planner who’s working closely with other vendors hired to work that day, she would know first and foremost that photographers are working anywhere from 8 to 10 to 12 hours or longer per day. Most of the time we don’t even take breaks unless it’s to use the loo or chug some water. For a wedding planner to suggest that a bride shouldn’t need to feed her photographers because they should be working – well, it’s just downright ridiculous. The most ideal time for a vendor to break for a meal is when everyone else is eating, because no bride in the history of brides will ever print a photo or share a photo of themselves or a guest shoving a fork full of food in their face. Just saying.
I’m in my eighth year of wedding photography now, and I just want to say that never once have I ever had a problem with getting a meal on the day of the wedding. My brides and grooms have all been amazing people who understand that I’ve been with them from morning hours to evening hours, and it doesn’t go unnoticed by them that I’m working right through a typical lunch period without a bite to eat. Even when the bride or bridal party may be snacking or eating a sandwich, I’m photographing details, or a groom getting dressed or something equally as important. By the time dinner rolls around, I’ve usually got a bride checking up on ME making sure I’ve gotten something to eat! (God love my sweet brides.) But when articles like this get published on national platforms I start to worry that maybe I need to rethink not having a meal clause in my contract. Because the next thing I know, I’ll have a bride who books me, then comes across this article and decides they don’t need to pay to feed me or my assistant shooter. And instead of having a contract that requires it, I’ll be going on 8-10 hours with no food in my belly and a very HANGRY
Now, for anyone who comes across this and believes it’s not the bride’s place to have to pay for her vendors to eat, that’s perfectly acceptable. It’s at the discretion of the couple to make that choice, and we understand that. But at your full time job, you’re awarded a lunch hour, am I right? So most likely you get up from your desk and find a break room where you might have food stored in a fridge, a microwave available to heat your food, and even a chair in a quiet corner to sit and enjoy your meal. Or maybe you leave your job site and find the nearest McDonald’s for a quick cheeseburger and french fries (And that utterly delish diet coke!). And that’s usually only around 3 to 4 hours into your work shift, right? So, isn’t it fair to assume that us photographers who’re working consecutive hours just like you do get a break to eat food? And yeah, we can bring food with us, sure. But we don’t have access to refrigerators and microwaves, so it’s not the ideal solution to bring a meal with us.
Since this article was released, I’ve learned that many photographers actually have clauses in their contract that state if there is no food provided to them at the reception, that they are granted up to one hour to leave the premises and find a place to purchase a meal. And that is one hour of the bride’s contracted time, so she’d lose the opportunity to have photos during that hour all because she never agreed to provide a vendor meal to her photographers. In my opinion, it’s cheaper for the bride to just pay for the meal.
So, if you’re a bride and your wedding planner suggests not feeding your vendors (Especially the ones that are working for you for at least 4 consecutive hours) my suggestion is to find a new wedding planner. Because an educated wedding planner would know that happy vendors equals happy service equals happy bride. Its just a big circle of love! And that’s what a wedding day’s all about, am I right or am I right?