An article written by Anthony Winyard, published on 5 Star Weddings Directory
(This is the unabridged version. The abridged version features on the following link)
This is a tricky question and the answer isn’t black and white. Let’s start with food.
How long will they be at the venue for? If it’s just for a few hours in the evening, such as most DJs who will perform from 7pm to midnight then food is maybe unnecessary, however if they are there for over 10 hours such as a DJ who also acts as an MC or is supplying background music and/or mood lighting then it makes sense to provide them a meal.
When they will entertain your guests in the evening, it won’t enhance their performance if they are starving. You want their minds on your guest’s enjoyment not on their stomach.
At most of the events I’m booked for I play the music for the wedding ceremony and then don’t leave the venue until well after all the guests and so it’s not unusual to have left my house by 10 or 11am and won’t get home again until 2 or 3am. 15+ hours can be a very long day with no food. Yes of course I could bring sandwiches, packed lunch etc., but likewise, eating sandwiches doesn’t really sustain someone for that length of time.
The number of people deciding to go vegetarian is increasing every year, and this is very much reflected in the guest’s decisions on what to have for their meal at the wedding breakfast. At least 70% of the weddings I work at there are more guests requesting vegetarian meals on the day than had showed themselves to the bride and groom on the RVSP. Being vegetarian myself I know this because at almost every event the catering staff serve my food after the guests have been served and I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been told “the bride said they required 8 vegetarian meals, but there are 12 people today requesting veggie meals!” Resulting in a few guests being disappointed and also that invariably the caterers putting together what’s left on a plate for me. Fifteen hours is a long time to go with just eating a few scraps.
On hot days the increased requests for veggie meals is even more prevalent, with a much higher number of people not wanting to eat meat than on a cold or wet day. It baffles me that this comes as a surprise to some caterers and venues and they are so often unprepared for this. I also wonder why they rarely seem to advise the bride and groom of this information before the wedding day!
Most entertainers will drive so won’t want alcohol, but water and soft drinks would be necessary. Rarely is alcohol necessary although some band members might disagree! On the rare occasion we have a hot day in the UK! it is very important to supply at least water to the entertainment, and in the evening once the fun and dancing starts they are sometimes forgotten about because people are having such a good time. When there are a lot of guests and/or the bar is in a different room, it can be difficult for the DJ to get to the bar, so if an usher or preferably one of the venue staff can be assigned to ask the entertainment during the evening if they would like a drink that can be a great help.
The Evening Buffet
Many DJs will not help themselves to the buffet even when invited, and this is for several reasons.
- Usually the buffet is served around 8.30/9pm and at most weddings this is when the dancefloor is already very busy or the DJ is building the atmosphere to create that busy floor, and so does not want to walk over to the buffet and lose the momentum they’ve worked so hard to create
- Many DJs just do not feel right walking over to the buffet at a point in the evening when they are working and so would feel uncomfortable.
- Often the DJ is too busy at that point to eat the food, anyway.
There are exceptions though and some DJs have no qualms about walking over and helping themselves. Another exception is when there is both a band and a DJ, then it is different and the DJ will often help themselves during the bands stage time.
Most bands perform two 45-minute sets with a break in between and so usually can partake in the buffet.
Speaking of exceptions. At the top of this article I stated that maybe it wouldn’t be necessary to provide a meal for a DJ only working for a 5-hour period. One thing to remember with this though; Most DJs take an average of one hour to set up the equipment at the start and another hour at the end to dismantle it (with some taking even longer). It may well be the case that they’ve also had to travel for at least an hour to reach the venue and again to return home, which then means 9+ hours, which is coincidentally the length of most people’s working day, and the vast majority of people will have a meal during their working day, so no, a meal is not always necessary, but if you would like your entertainment to perform to the maximum of their ability then maybe it is a good idea?