As vendors we truly appreciate sitting down to a hot meal while the guests are dancing the night away especially after a long and busy wedding day. As a Wedding Planner it is your job to make sure this is handled and the team does not end up with a dreaded boxed lunch.
Include it in your proposal
For example: “X number of hot vendor meals are required”. This is the easiest way to set the expectation for clients up front. It’s a requirement and they need to put it in their budget and meal count. If it comes up as an issue down the road, you have it in writing to fall back on.
Your clients may not even consider or be aware they need to feed their vendors without some education from a planner or catering manager. They may not know that we eat when they eat (and don’t run out and grab food when they’re not looking between pictures). This helps you avoid the awkward conversation of bringing it up when you’re starving at the reception.
Work with their budget
Typically the hot vendor meals are offered at a discounted rate which is a bonus. Another option is to offer a hot meal but something that is more affordable entree options then the guests. The vendors who typically require a hot vendor meal include; photographer, videographer, planner, band or entertainment or any other vendor staying through dinner. You don't need to get a vendor meal for the florist team for example because once the florals are set they depart and return at the end of the evening.
Educate the clients about your meal confidently but respectfully. You require this, but it’s not a time to demand specifics. This is not the time to expect the best cut of meat, served to your specifications, with your desired side dish and sauce on the side. The only real request that you should be making is if you have a dietary restriction such as a food allergy.
The caterer’s main goal is to serve the guests and exceed their expectations. Often times vendor meals aren’t served until all of the guests have been served. Another option to consider is a vendor buffet (set up in a side room) that is open from cocktail hour through dinner service. This allows vendors to eat when it makes most sense for them to take a break and the catering team to focus on guests.