Here is my take on the often asked "Do We Feed our Vendors?" question.
The simple answer is...You Should.
If your vendors are attending your reception they will need to eat. They will be away from their homes for 6, 8, sometimes 10 or more hours. Trust me on this one, nobody can perform at their best with a growling stomach.
Inquire with your venue about vendor meals and ask plenty of questions. Many venues simply serve the same meal as guests receive while others may provide a reduced rate "vendor meal". As your guests are enjoying their Surf & Turf, your vendors will do just fine with a chicken/pasta/vegetarian type option. Without a doubt, the most common meal I have received as a vendor is chicken which suits me just fine. Some venues even offer "boxed meal" options consisting of a sandwich, fruit or vegetable, cookie and a water.
Where Do Vendors Eat?:
Another great detail to be asked of the venue. In a perfect world, your vendors should be served in the same area as your reception. For the photographers and videographers, this means they could spring into action within seconds if needed. Typically we are more often served away from the main area. The risk here is that nobody wants to miss an important shot and this has, can and will happen. Most of the time we are served after all the guests receive their meals which has trained us to eat quickly since the cake cutting or parents dances will be happening any minute.
Vendor Contracts & Meals:
Meals are a great discussion topic with all of your vendors and should be clearly stated in their contracts for everyone's benefit. Many vendors stipulate a provided meal, some make it optional, and some do not include any verbiage at all. We provide an option on our contracts so we are all clear on the eating arrangements.
Make sure you and your vendors agree on eating arrangements. vendors typically work a full day and they will need to eat if they are to do their best work. Try to arrange a hot meal and that they eat in the same room as the guests so they can keep an eye on all the happenings. If meal costs begin to skyrocket, it's appropriate to decide that the vendors should provide their own meal as long as everyone understands in advance. Remember, it's your wedding, and you're paying your vendors, whatever you decide will be fine, as long as your vendors know in advance what to expect.