Decorate Photographer Table?

Online Users: 1,334 guest(s), 0 user(s). Replies: 14

BostonBrideJuly... Posts : 7 Registered: 5/21/09
Decorate Photographer Table?
Posted: Jun 11, 2009 10:42 AM

What is the etiquette on decorating the vendor table? We are having 100 people at our daytime wedding brunch, and a separate table for the band and photographers. I was planning on doing 5 candles at their table, but I'm not sure if I am doing a big centerpiece as well. I'm was thinking of doing this to cut costs, but I don't want to be tacky.

I was also thinking of doing their table card in a similar design to the others, but with the words "Musicians" and "Photographers" somewhere on it as well. Cute? Tacky?

What is the etiquette on this?

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Decorate Photographer Table?
Posted: Jun 11, 2009 11:49 AM Go to message in response to: BostonBrideJuly...

Dear BB,

The etiquette on this is to treat people with courtesy and respect. If you create a "second class" table for your vendors, then that tells the world that these people are less deserving of your respect.

The vendors won't care; they've seen everything by now. The impression of second class citizenship will be left on your other guests.

Beside, visually it will look weird if all tables, but one, are fully decorated.

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MagicalMomentsP... Posts : 742 Registered: 3/6/06
Re: Decorate Photographer Table?
Posted: Jun 11, 2009 12:15 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

The vendors won't care; they've seen everything by now. The impression
of second class citizenship will be left on your other guests.

As a photographer who develops a close relationship with my clients, it does hurt a little bit to be treated like a second class citizen. Does it affect how I perform my duties? No. But how I'm treated by a family can certainly affect my future dealings with them. How much of a bonus will I give the family for the next wedding, bar/bat mitzvah, etc....? There is one family I am meeting with in the next week to book their fourth event. I've always been treated well and you can rest assured that I've given them a lot of bonus products in appreciation for their business and consideration.

The funniest thing is that it seems the higher class the venue, the less respect the vendors are given. I don't think I'm any different than any other human on the face of the planet. I like to be treated with respect and notice those who don't treat me that way.

Howard Kier, Certified Professional Wedding Photographer

Magical Moments Photography

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BostonBrideJuly... Posts : 7 Registered: 5/21/09
Re: Decorate Photographer Table?
Posted: Jun 11, 2009 12:33 PM Go to message in response to: BostonBrideJuly...

Auntof theBride and MagicalMoments, I appreciate your responses but have to say I'm a little suprised at the severity of your comments. There was no ill will in my question- and Auntofthebride, you could have said your response in a less snarky way.

I never would intend to treat anyone as a second class citizen. Now I see that not decorating the table fully would be a misstep on my part.



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myra Posts : 5,550 Registered: 3/28/06
Re: Decorate Photographer Table?
Posted: Jun 11, 2009 1:42 PM Go to message in response to: MagicalMomentsP...

Howard, I understand your point of view, but at these events, you are not a "guest;" you are working. Certainly, staff does not expect decorated tables and the same meal as the guests. It is quite standard to provide vendor meals and also a place for photographer, musicians, etc. to take their meals. I do not consider that to be treating you or any other vendor like a "second class citizen." If you have formed a personal relationship with a client and that client decides to include you (and perhaps your spouse or date) on the guest list, then that's wonderful and I'm sure that you appreciate it. But, if your employer chooses not to do this, it's not a discourtesy to you.
myra at www.classysassyweddings.com

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MagicalMomentsP... Posts : 742 Registered: 3/6/06
Re: Decorate Photographer Table?
Posted: Jun 11, 2009 1:50 PM Go to message in response to: BostonBrideJuly...

I appreciate your responses but have to say I'm a little suprised at the severity of your comments.

Hello Boston,

I'm sorry but I thought I had put my comments down in a very factual, inoffensive manner. Part of the reason for my feelings on this matter is the manner in which I market myself -- "By the time your wedding day arrives, I'm like a friend with an expensive camera who knows how to use it" In most cases, this is true, I've had an initial consultation, an engagement session, countless phone calls, a planning session and then I spend the day of the wedding with my clients. After the wedding is over, I'm the one who edits the photos and then designs the album. I know the lady in the corner is your dear aunt or just your neighbor from the old neighborhood. I really do get to know my clients, their famlies and guests. So when I am treated like "just the hired help" it does hurt me just a little bit. I don't think my comments were severe or over the top, but rather just an explaination of how one person views this subject. I can tell you that if you talk to another photographer, they might want to be at at table by themselves so they can relax. I'm sorry if my comments were miscommunicated to you.

Howard Kier, Certified Professional Wedding Photographer

Magical Moments Photography


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SteffMay2009 Posts : 383 Registered: 10/22/08
Re: Decorate Photographer Table?
Posted: Jun 11, 2009 2:04 PM Go to message in response to: MagicalMomentsP...

We didn't have a table planned for our vendors. Our venue had an area off to the side where they could take break and eat their food. We didn't do anything special. As Myra said, they are there working. If you are planning on having them eat in the main area, then I do agree that one table with different decorations might look a little weird to guests. I would check with your venue and see what people typically do.


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cyndi33 Posts : 2,585 Registered: 1/3/07
Re: Decorate Photographer Table?
Posted: Jun 11, 2009 2:06 PM Go to message in response to: myra

Well said, Myra.

We provided food/refreshments for the photographer and her assistant; didn't have a DJ or musicians. She didn't expect to be treated as a guest, and she also didn't eat at the same time cause she was taking some pictures. (her idea) and, they also ate one at a time, so one was still working while the other ate.

Honestly, if I were working (and it was not a close personal friend/relative of mine who I had a close relationship to anyway and would likely have been a guest in which case I'd probably prefer not to work the event, but that's an aside) I would feel odd having to "act" like a guest and would prefer to be the "employee" I was hired to be.

OP I don't think your proposal was rude in any way.

 Proud Member of P.O.O.P.,  People Offended by Offended People

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Decorate Photographer Table?
Posted: Jun 11, 2009 2:12 PM Go to message in response to: BostonBrideJuly...

Dear BB,

Would you rather hear the unvarnished truth from an anonymous message board or would you prefer to leave a bad impression in the minds of your guests, who will be too polite to say anything to your face?

You come to an anonymous message board to get peoples' honest opnions. Then, you make an informed final decision. This place is not populated by "Yes Men".

Howard said it perfectly.

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MagicalMomentsP... Posts : 742 Registered: 3/6/06
Re: Decorate Photographer Table?
Posted: Jun 11, 2009 2:13 PM Go to message in response to: myra

Howard, I understand your point of view, but at these events, you are
not a "guest;" you are working. Certainly, staff does not expect
decorated tables and the same meal as the guests. It is quite standard
to provide vendor meals and also a place for photographer, musicians,
etc. to take their meals.

Myra,

The days of long ago when the wedding reception followed a standard script are long gone. Long gone are the days when the photographer could disappear after taking the table shots only to reappear right after desert to capture the first dance. Gone are the traditional wedding albums. Today's photography style, Photojournalism, and the cake cutting happening anywhere from the entrance to right before the first dance, no longer allow the photographer to leave the room for any length of time.

Long gone are the days of the professional DJ or bandleader who worked with the photographer. They made sure the photographer was aware of everything that was happening before it happened. But today, there are DJs who don't care. Despite all of my efforts to keep on top of the schedule, they'll still throw a surprise at me. But if I'm in the room, I can still capture the moment.

Forcing a photographer to eat a vendor meal in another room, means the photographer is taking a chance that something important is going to be missed. If that happens, the bride does not fault the venue, the dj, or the band. No, they blame the photographer. It is the photographer that can be sued for failing to capture the groom's mother's improptu speach. It is the photographer who has to deal with the upset client who does not have a photo of the cherries jublilee as they enter the dining room.

Unfortunately, the rules of the game have changed. The photographer can no longer be asked to eat their vendor meal in another room. It has simply become impractical. After working a long day (starting as early as 9:00), lucky to get a potty break and eating lunch and snack on the run, I'd like a hot meal not a soggy BLT and chips (I was served that "dinner" at one pretigious Chicago area country club). Personally, I would be perfectly happy with a hot meal of chicken fingers and fries as long as I was in the main room.

In the end, it is all about making sure I'm available to capture the images that I've been paid to capture. Eating a vendor meal in another room on the other side of the venue out sight and sound of the party does not permit this.

Howard Kier, Certified Professional Wedding Photographer

Magical Moments Photography

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cyndi33 Posts : 2,585 Registered: 1/3/07
Re: Decorate Photographer Table?
Posted: Jun 11, 2009 2:27 PM Go to message in response to: MagicalMomentsP...

huh. Well I'm very happy that I hired who I did, then. wow is all I have to say I guess.

Oh, and we didn't have a DJ to run down things for the photographer, she did that on her own.

BB, there are plenty of people out there who do not share the views you have encountered on this particular thread, nor are those opinions (and that is what all our replies are, "opinions") the end all be all of any possible "right" answer, although they are worded as the final authority. Quite simply, we are sharing our opinions with you, not posting ultimate "facts".

I still see nothing wrong, rude or untoward about your question at all. You were going to provide much more than many people do, and no guest at our wedding, and no vendor, felt mistreated or like a second class citizen. Sometimes, guests don't tell you you're rude because hey, you aren't!! good grief.

And, the tone of some of the replies are unfortunate but not unexpected, which you will probably find repeatedly on certain topics if you stick around and I hope you do! What the replies are not, however, is the final authority on all matters of etiquette. The claim that they are is just silly.

 Proud Member of P.O.O.P.,  People Offended by Offended People

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kelleyiskelley Posts : 11,590 Registered: 7/2/06
Re: Decorate Photographer Table?
Posted: Jun 11, 2009 3:03 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

Hello Boston.:)

Let me start off by saying Im a former bride (married almost 3years now) and a current Wedding Coordinator. As both a bride and Coordinator, I can tell you that "most" if not all venues will take care of this issue for you. The reception venue normally has a specific place where they put a "vendor table"; where the vendors can congregate, put their thing down during the reception, and eat some sort of provided meal when they get the chance to (most times for me I either wolf it down somewhere toward the end of the reception, or I barely get the chance to eat at all because Im too busy running around. To me, its just all part of the job. I prepare for it by bringing a bag of light snacks for the day just in case I dont get a chance to sit down and eat the meal.) A good, reputable venue will treat your vendors with respect; give them a decent meal, make sure they are fed, have drinks, etc. Never once have I been forced to eat in another room (not sure where that came from Howard; because Myra didnt actually put anywhere in her post that vendor tables were in another room.) The vendor table, at least in all my experiences working weddings, is normally placed somewhere inside the actual reception room; usually over by the DJ table/setup. Now; as a professional planner and someone, who, like Howard, considers my clients more than clients but lots of times friends (especially the brides I work with throughout their entire engagement, we do become closer than just employer/employee), I agree that I do not want to be treated like a second class citizen. However; to me ; the decor or lack thereof that is placed on a vendor table does NOT in any way equate to "being treated like second class citizens." Every wedding I have worked so far; teh vendor table is very simple. It has linens on it, and maybe a few candles, and again, is placed a bit off to the side so it doesnt really look all that strange. People know its the vendor table and I highly doubt any guests are off in the corner whispering in a cattylike manner about how rude the bride is for not having a 6ft tall floral vase on the vendor table. Sorry, but to me, that seems a little ridiculous. Like Myra said, you are there to work. You are there for the bride and groom. I dont see why the decor of the table should matter at all. How my clients treat me shows in the actions they take and the words they say; not what centerpiece they chose to be on my table.

Just make sure your vendors are fed a proper meal; and that they have a table inside the room; because I agree that is important. Once the reception starts, I dont leave that room for a second since a large part of my job is to keep and maintain the general flow and timeline of the event. Most vendors will just use this table to have a place to sit from time to time, and to grab a bite of their dinner whenever they can. At least, thats what I have experienced at all the weddings I have worked so far. There was never a fancy centerpiece at my table, but every one of my clients has treated me with loads of respect.

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myra Posts : 5,550 Registered: 3/28/06
Re: Decorate Photographer Table?
Posted: Jun 11, 2009 7:43 PM Go to message in response to: MagicalMomentsP...

Howard, Kelley certainly has explained my position well. Your implication that my comments come from the 'days of yore" is kind of insulting. When I plan a wedding, I plan the schedule, and that includes when I want the photographer, musicians, and any other vendors who are present to take their meal breaks. Usually, that happens when everyone else is eating--in most cases, nothing too fascinating is happening when people are chomping on their chicken. And, if the photographer misses the shot of Aunt Helen falling on her ass on the dance floor because the photog. is taking his/her pre-arranged meal break--oh, well. Stuff happens.
myra at www.classysassyweddings.com

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CatStandish Posts : 2,766 Registered: 6/20/08
Re: Decorate Photographer Table?
Posted: Jun 11, 2009 8:09 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

AOTB:

While not insinuating that you should ever tell a bride "Do whatever the hell you want. It's your wedding and the rest of society be damned. If they say anything about it, THEY are the rude ones," I also feel that there are ways you may phrase things that show a little more class and decorum.

I'm not saying your position is incorrect (or correct); however, you could have been a bit more courteous to this poster to begin with. She came here asking a question, not saying "Everyone is telling me I am rude because I don't think I should have to decorate the VENDORs table...ech! Tell me that they are wrong!" She came in with a question about whether she should cut costs or should decorate the table like she does the other guests.

You could easily have said something that said that she should consider decorating that table the same, and if she needed to cut costs, consider cutting back a little on all of the decorations.

There are ways to express yourself where you can make a statement, but not come off as a harridan, as you often do.

Now, I'm glad the poster asked because I had not even thought abuot having a vendors' table. To be honest, my photographer is also an invited guest, so I"m putting her at a table with guests. My musicians will be playing while everyone else is eating. I do not intend a 'vendor meal'. Everyone gets the same fare -- but I will be having some of it set aside for the musicians...it's buffet style, and I don't want the buffet wiped out before they get a chance to have at. The TABLE though... I had not considered that they should have a separate table. I was just figuring on putting them at one of the guest tables. I'm planning on sticking them at a table where people who are most likely to have really appreciated them will be.

Misty

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FutureSaunders Posts : 95 Registered: 9/18/08
Re: Decorate Photographer Table?
Posted: Jun 11, 2009 8:57 PM Go to message in response to: CatStandish

It amazes me how all of this back and forth came from one simple question. Like Cindi said, this is a chat room of opinions, at the end of the day you decide what you want to do. However, some poeple feel that there word is the final one, NOT! It is your wedding and you do what you feel is right, guest or vender everyone will be treated with respect! I agree with Myra and Kelly on this one!

Be Blessed!

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