In a recent article on, wedding planner Sandy Malone raised the ire of wedding photographers everywhere when she posed the question, Which Wedding Vendors Do You Have To Feed At Your Wedding? Sandy suggests in her post that the wedding planning team (who will be there from sun up to sun down), should be fed. But she then states that, for the other vendors, unless it is contractually obligated, the answer is no. Sandy says,

My general rule is that, if you’re working just the wedding itself— five or six hours — feed yourself or pack a lunch to eat in the staff break area if you cannot survive the shift. A photographer, for example, should be taking pictures through the wedding dinner (with some breaks to let people unselfconsciously feed themselves without a camera in their faces).

The exception to the rule, Sandy states, is for destination weddings, where the vendor may be staying somewhere where there are not many late night dining options.

{cue outrage from photographers everywhere}



Not so fast. Apparently, not all photographers think that a bride is obligated to feed their wedding photographers (this was the opinion from one of our writers, a non-wedding photographer). So I can see where the thought comes from, but as a wedding photographer myself, I have some strong opinions on this matter having worked weddings that lasted up to 15+ hours. Of course, every studio is different, has different policies and procedures, and you do what works for you.

What Sandy’s article does, though, is remind wedding photographers who feel like they should be fed, to put it in your contract.


My Personal Opinion As a Wedding Photographer

My answer as to who should be fed at a wedding is everybody. But I’m Asian, and it’s in my culture to feed everyone, at all times. As a wedding photographer though, I still believe it should be everyone. There have been weddings where I leave an hour or so early from my house to budget for traffic and then drive an hour or two to get a wedding with plenty of time to scope out the venue. This is before my contractual time begins. I’ve left the house as early as 5 am for a 12 pm start time – this is for a 5-6 hour wedding as the article mentioned. I pack a protein bar or two for midday; that’s all I have room for. This puts me of not having a full meal from 5 am to my end time of 6-7 pm (if I end the minute my contract states I end – and honestly, how many of you wedding photographers leave the minute your contract says stop?)


The article suggests that for a 5-6 hour wedding, vendors should pack their own lunch. In this scenario, I would need to either bring a cooler and leave it in my car – which means I need to leave and go to my car and get my food, then come back and scarf it down because, I “should be taking pictures through the wedding dinner,” or carry around a meal with me the entire day (if you’ve ever shot a wedding in Southern California in August, that is not only disgusting, but probably unsafe. Salmonella, anyone?)

I’m not asking or even suggesting that I be fed the $80 a plate filet minion that the guests are eating; I’ve been to plenty of weddings where I’ve gotten a vendor meal with a sandwich, chips, and apple. And that’s okay with me; I don’t expect to be treated as a guest, because I’m not. I’ve been served $1000-a-plate lamb chop at a charity event and I ate that with the same amount of speed and gratitude as a boxed vendor meal.



Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking for a free fancy dinner at the expense of my client. For me personally, I work better when I’m fed. You may be able to fast all day and still be productive, but not I, which is why it is clearly stated in my contract that a meal be provided for my second shooter and myself (it also gives them the option to choose that we leave the wedding to get our own food – like a 30-minute dinner break – no one ever chooses that option). This is the part where I also try to educate my brides when we go over the contract. I let them know that when we eat, we will do so quickly and hopefully when the other guests are eating so that their guest can “unselfconsciously feed themselves without a camera in their faces.” I’ve never had a bride not be okay with that.

So all this to say, that if you want to be fed, you should put it in your contract. Don’t assume that you will be fed, especially when wedding planners like Sandy are out there educating brides not to feed their vendors – herself excluded.

What do you think? Is Sandy the wedding planner out of her mind, or should wedding photographers be fed on a wedding day? I’m sure some of you have horror stories to share. Feel free in the comments below.