Weddings are expensive, that’s a given. Wedding budgets are very subjective. One couple’s epic lavish budget might be seen by another couple as modest and thrifty. You might think you’ve trimmed all the fat from your wedding spending that you can, but there’s probably a couple somewhere that’s agog at how much cash you’re going to splash. The point is that there is no right or wrong when it comes to the financial planning aspect of your big day. You spend the amount you feel is appropriate, even if it’s inevitably slightly more than you intended to spend.
But there’s one thing you’ve paid for that you might not get. No matter how swept up the events of your special day you’ll still be able to spot, or at least be aware of the things you’ve paid for. There’s simply no way you can miss out on noticing riding in the car you’ve hired. You’ll see the flowers at the church or wedding venue. Your ears will revel in the sounds the band or DJ at the wedding reception will be entertaining your guests with. It goes without saying that you won’t miss out on enjoying the dress / suits / outfits that you have paid for at your wedding.
So what is this thing you probably won’t get? What is it that you’ve paid for but probably won’t know hasn’t been provided? Surely there’s nothing anyone who you’ve hired could fail to provide without you knowing? I’m sorry to tell you, but there is. Food. You’ll quite rightly enjoy being served your meal before any of your guests. It’s entirely correct to say that every one of your guests will receive a lovely meal. They’ll get exactly what they asked for. Almost all wedding caterers are brilliantly attentive when it comes to making sure the meal the happy couple receives is perfect.
The people in charge of making sure the catering runs smoothly have a great track record when it comes to remembering Auntie Silvia’s nut allergy, Albert’s wheat intolerance and which of your guests require vegan dishes. But in my experience there’s one aspect of the great work that caterers do that let’s them down time after time. In my considerable experience there are a whole lot of wedding caterers who appear to have a real issue with feeding photographers.
I lost count years ago of the number of times myself and my assistants have had to go to caterers and beg for something to eat. Like a sickly orphan begging for food in a Dickensian poorhouse. We are often left until last, when our choice of dish is no longer available. But that’s not the worst thing about being left until last. Because of the understandable gulf of time between the top table receiving their meal and the last of the guests getting their grub it’s normal for a few people still to be eating when the speeches start. This isn’t too much of a problem if you’re a wedding guest. You can sit back, relax and cheerfully masticate while the nervous best man stumbles over his speech. But if you’re working at the wedding, as of course I am, then getting food just as the speeches start means I can’t eat it. I need to be taking photos!
For some weddings myself and my team leave the house as early as 5am. The wedding breakfast is not only our only chance to sit down for a few minutes, it’s also our only chance to eat. We pride ourselves in covering your entire wedding. This means an exceptionally long day for us. We’re yet to work with a couple who refused to provide a meal for us at the wedding breakfast. I know that these meals can cost anything up to £200 per head, so if you have paid for a meal for myself and maybe one assistant, and the caterer laughs off actually providing us with the meal you have paid for then you’ve just chucked £400 down the shitter.
At every wedding we attend I make a point of saying a cheerful hello to the caterer. I always explain why I’m not just being a prissy bitch for requesting an early meal. Most caterers nod politely and agree, but when it comes to the time for them to put their commitment to feed me into play the food is either so late I can’t eat it, or worse; entirely absent.
You have enough to be focussing on during your wedding day, and by hiring me I’m going to help make your day as stressless and blissful as possible. But when you meet your caterers for the planning meeting I would really appreciate it if you could point out to them that photographers are people too.