It wasn’t until recently that I even thought this would be a subject to write about but there certainly seem to be many brides and grooms who want to know where their wedding photographer should sit during dinner.  Although there are about a bajillion blogs out there addresses the issue of whether or not a photographer is to be fed at a wedding (hint: if you want a happy photographer, at least give them a nibble or two!) but there are few, if any, asking questions about where does the wedding photographer sit during dinner.  Guess it’s my turn to open up a big ol’ can of worms on the world wide web…

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Although there are no posed photos taken during dinner, it’s an amazing time for candid photos.  Although it’s common for people to wonder what a wedding photographer does during dinner, the answer is actually quite simple: we watch.  We are there, watching the day unfold and following all the stories going on in that room.  Candid photos are a great addition to your reportoire of wedding day memories because they really help personalize the day and create a uniqueness to your story.  Most brides and grooms often split their courses with speeches, some have their guests playing “kissing games” throughout dinner and, best of all, there’s so many fun and unpredictable moments that can arise, too!  All of these are instances where perfect candid moments can be captured… that is, if your photographer is around to do so.

What’s a vendor table?

While I understand that not all brides and groom want to sit their vendors at the same table as their guests, it was once common for vendors to simply have a “vendor table” located somewhere in the reception room.  The vendor table is typically in the farmost corner, leaving the “prime spots” for the guests.  This was great – the vendors could keep an eye on what they were doing, hop up at a moments notice and race into action to capture the spontinaity of a reception and then turn around and scarf down a few more bites of food before getting back to work again.  It was a great system.

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A new trend?

Now; however, the game seems to be changing.  I have noticed that it’s becoming a trend for venues to suggest to their brides that the photographer/videographer/DJ, etc. can eat at a vendor table that is located in a separate room from the rest of the wedding.  While I can’t speak for how this affects videographers and DJs, I can certainly say that it has a huge impact on photography!  Having to remove myself from the action just to grab a few bites to eat all while hoping that I race back in on time and haven’t missed anything is more stressful than you can possibly imagine.  (Also, working 10 to 14+ hours straight without eating anything is also stressful so ‘avoiding eating’ is totally not an option!)  I don’t know where this trend started but it has to stop!

Here’s the scoop…

If you have vendors who need to be performing duties throughout the course of the reception, they should not be removed and put into a separate room for dinner.  A vendor table should be arranged for and placed in the same room where all the action is.  Removing your photographer from the action and putting them in another room over dinner means you won’t be getting photos of a lot of the awesome and random moments of a huge portion of your reception.

If you absolutely have to put your photographer in another room during the course of dinner (for example, if the main room is already at max capacity) then please ensure that your caterer/venue knows to serve the photographer (whose quietly hidden away in another room) at the same time as they are serving the bride and groom.  Vendors are typically the last to be served which means that when the bride and groom are finished eating and walking around, the photographer is just sitting down for a quick bite.  Although having your photographer in a separate room is not ideal, keeping the photographer on the same schedule as the bride and groom will help your photographer be around for more of those special moments.