This is an open letter to both venues and to our couples. I’m going to be very blunt here because Steph and I have photographed a lot of weddings, and have been put in difficult situations due to food, so here goes, why vendors should eat first:
We often start photographing weddings six to seven hours prior to food being served, but we also are traveling sometimes an hour or more to weddings meaning we’re eating lunch before arriving to you. Our day typically looks like eating Wawa around 11am and then we’re served after all the guests during the reception around 7pm after running around for 7 hours photographing anything and everything on the wedding day. Believe me when I say that by 7pm, we are starving. But what happens at 7pm as we get our food? The parent dances happen, or the DJ announces the cake cutting, or opens up the dance floor. So now we just sat through everyone else being served food where absolutely nothing is happening, and then we miss eating our food to capture what is now happening during your reception after all of your guests were served and have eaten.
This is just flat out backwards. All of your vendors should be served immediately after the couple or after the parents so that we can eat while your guests are being served dinner. This will result in your vendors being much happier. It also means we won’t miss anything because we’re not eating dinner moments before the parent dances or another event happens. It’s seems like the most logical choice right? But here’s the kicker…
The venues fight back… and say that it might go against protocol, or it’s not something they do because they don’t want to disappoint their guests. This is where we as your vendors need you to fight for us. We rely on you to help us in this situation because venues have complete power of photographers, DJs, and all the other vendors when it comes to serving them food. But the customer, a.k.a. the bride or groom, is always right and have the power to veto them if you push hard enough.
We are all on the same team and if you’re actively working against the other vendors on your team then you’re ultimately not serving your couples the best way possible. So it’s time to rethink how you’re treating and serving your vendors because it’s going to affect how we feel about your venue, how we talk about you to our couples or other photographers in our network, how we recommend you to our friends and family, and how cooperative we might be with you on the day. This obviously goes beyond just food and is how we’re treated in general, but if you can recognize that serving the vendors first is beneficial and helps them serve their couples better because they’ve eaten when nothing else is happening then we’ll likely shout your name from the rooftops because we LOVE when we are prioritized with food. It’s the easiest way to make an ally with your vendor friends.
So couples and venues, hear me when I say we want to do the best work we can. We want to be as nice of people as possible, and we want to capture as many moments as we can, and to do that, we are relying on you to serve us food before the rest of your guests. I know it’s sounds ridiculous, but we’ve had to scarf down food so fast to avoid missing parents dances, or toasts, or cake cuttings all because we were served after 150 people. We were twiddling our thumbs doing nothing for 20 minutes as everyone was served and eating, and immediately as we got our food, the venue or DJ announces something happening with the bride and groom on the dance floor.
This is a common conversation we’ve had with other vendors and photographers in our network. I know it sounds trivial, but it goes a long way with us and it will ultimately allow us to capture more moments because we’re in an awesome mood since we’re re-energized and feel valued by the couple and the venue, and not eating while a new event suddenly happen.
That’s it. Rant over. Thanks for coming to my TEDTalk.
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