On the subject of wedding vendor meals, it’s often misunderstood and there’s really no reason why it should be. I know that catering is expensive for couples to feed their guests, and even the vendors who work the entire event. Thankfully, all of my couples have been extremely gracious feeding me (and my assistant) dinner while guests eat. In fact, most wedding photographers have a meal clause in their contract. That clause is not in my contract, because it’s never been needed.
The contract is a necessary evil to protect both parties, and any professional providing a service needs one. However, I feel that adding too many “rules” takes the fun out of the experience and isn’t necessary. Typically, the photographer, DJ, and videographer (if applicable) work the whole event, and are fed. If there’s a personal connection between the couple and officiant, sometimes they stay as well.
As a wedding photographer, I can tell you that meal at mid-event is valuable to my creative spirit and overall morale. I run off a lot of adrenaline throughout the day, and a meal is healing, and makes me look forward to getting back to work. I’ve seen very few brides and wedding planners (online of course) grumble about wedding vendor meals, but that’s pathetic. We don’t run on batteries. It only makes sense to provide a meal so we don’t have to leave site to get food. I’m also thankful that I’ve never been given a box lunch type meal either.
I typically grab a plate when guests have made their way through the lines, or if a plated dinner, get served at the same time so that I can finish and be ready in time. It’s never been a problem to find a quiet place and take a quick breather, and nourish myself, which empowers me to return better than ever. Thankfully, most see it as human decency and a professional courtesy, and I hope they all know how much it’s appreciated.