Today we introduce a new segment -- the "Sparkliatti Lesson" These lessons are geared mainly for brides but hopefully other vendors will gleen a little bit out of it as well.
One reason why I selected Feeding Your Vendors as the first "Lesson" is that it's something that you can easily put into production when you're figuring out your budget.
The first lesson is on feeding your vendors. It's unfortunate, but my contract spells out the kind of meals that we are fed at weddings -- even if I'm the one organizing the menu and calling in your final counts. I cannot stress to you enough that if you do not think about your vendor meals, the vendors will be in a hurry to go home and stop & McDonald's on the way. In other words, a well fed vendor is a happy vendor.
Some things to remember:
1. Vendors working four consecutive hours or more are served a HOT MEAL. Most vendor meals are 50% of the guest meal cost.
2. Vendors should always be seated within earshot of the wedding festivities or they could miss the toasts, cake cutting or anything else spontaneously happening that is either moved up or not on the timeline.
3. Vendors should NEVER sit at tables in the room with the guests. Why? Because it's just tacky. That's right, I said it.
4. Vendors should NEVER go through the buffet line with the guests. Once again...tacky. It's not that hard for the caterer to put some of the buffet into disposible containers and deliver it buffet style to the vendor area.
5. If you have a band that needs to be fed - serve them separately before the other vendors. for a few reasons: a) they notoriously eat all the food and leave a huge mess of nothing for all the other vendors & b) if you feed them first, their breaks will be shorter later.
Don't even get me started on the fact that I was once served a moldy sandwich at a very well known wedding venue in San Francisco.
Now, let me explain how this works. You've asked to add vendor meals to your banquet order or menu pricing and the caterer or site has given you a cost. What you need to know now is...is that a hot meal? Buffet? Or is it a box lunch with a soggy sandwich, chips and apple juice? Please ask and use this rule of thumb: Whether it's a buffet of lasagne, salad, bread and cookies or a seated meal of chicken, salad and potatoes. Does not matter, usuallly, to the vendors.
Also and MOST IMPORTANTLY the vendors need to eat at the same time or before the guests. Do you want your photographer noshing while you're supposed to do your first dance? Then why is it so difficult for caterers to understand that it's in the client's best interest to feed us all early? It all cooks at the same time, so what the heck? I don't understand it but Brides - stand up and make a point to tell the caterer that this is NECESSARY no matter how much they try to convince you that it's not necessary or it's "not how they normally do it". What.ever.
When seating your vendors, it's typical that there is a kitchen area or a room within earshot where teh vendors can toss their items down, plug in their battery packs for the photographer & video and have a meal. Not all vendors dine at the same time so it's a great idea to have a buffet for them and as stated above PLEASE feed the band separately. As much as we "love" the band -- nothing is more irritating to a vendor than a needy band who just showed up an hour ago and wants their food and we've been there for 10 hours doing hard labor and had a Diet Coke and some stale crackers from the trunk of our car.
Just remember, while it may cost you a few extra bucks, a happy, well fed vendor is more willing to work harder, longer and be less irritable. In the long run, it makes you the best bride ever!
Food for thought....when was the last time you worked 8 hours straight WITHOUT a break?