Your Wedding Is Mostly About You; Your Reception Is Mostly About Others

donut wedding cake

The lovely Jeannette sent me a link to The 7 Biggest Fattest Wedding Complaints, and I was looking forward to seeing what they were. Now having read them, I’m still not sure what’s fat about them, other than the complain that deals specifically with too much fried food, and I’m kind of disappointed. I was hoping to get some insight into the minds of guests – what are their wedding pet peeves, really? But for the most part, the essay dealt with menu choices and the always contentious cash bar.

All Fried Food
While haute comfort food is whimsical, trendy, and hard-to-resist (Gourmet fried chicken! Sustainably-farmed sliders! Duck fat fries!), try to avoid a menu that’s excessively fatty. Include a few healthful appetizers into the rotation to give your diet-conscious guests a break — and potentially more energy on the dance floor.

No Veggie Option
According to an April 2008 poll, 3.2 percent of Americans claim to be vegetarians, and 10 percent claim to follow a “vegetarian-inclined” diet. So, for the sake of 3-10 percent of your guests, try to incorporate a meat-free entree option or a few hearty veggie-friendly sides and appetizers.

Never-Ending Waits for Food Service
Wedding reception purgatory: We’ve all been there. Standing in a hotel courtyard or milling in front of a church, overdressed, underfed, sneaking a glance at your watch while making pained small talk. While logistics of event planning vary, the bride and groom should take care to ensure that guests are not left waiting for an hour or more with nothing to do, eat, or drink. Low blood sugar is not conducive to celebrating.

I can’t say I disagree with the three pet peeves able, but overall it’s not a particular stirring list. Sure, waiting to eat or worse, watching others eat while you’re still ages away from being served sucks. And while I’d have a field day at an all-fried wedding reception buffet, I know a ton of people whose disgust would equal my excitement.


And anecdote time: I’m happy to say I’ve never been to a wedding that didn’t have at least some vegetarian option, though I’ve been to at least one where the veggie option was pretty nasty, obviously just something thrown together in the kitchen with no forethought or presentation (which wouldn’t have been a problem if they hadn’t known any veggies would be there and the meaty option hadn’t been dressed to the nines). Conversely, I’ve been to at least one wedding where the veggie option happened to be the most delicious choice, and we ate our meals while all our carnivorous tablemates remarked on how they wish they’d chosen it instead. Make the veg option something yummy and I’ll love you forever. While you’re at it, make sure there’s something nice for the gluten free set or whoever, if you specifically know a loved one has issues.

As for the rest, who is this terrible caterer who didn’t anticipate that at least one or two guests, upon seeing that gorgeous piece of salmon, would swear up and down that they’d chosen it and not the less appealing beef wellington? And do guests really care one way or the other if the bride and groom (or bride and bride or groom and groom) want to smash cake up each other’s noses? Some couples would prefer that their faces remain frosting-free. Others are already planning their cake smashing strategies. Big enough deal to be a wedding reception pet peeve? I think not.

Now I am curious to know what really irritates you when you’re attending a friend or relative’s wedding… maybe you cannot stand when the bussers are so efficient that you can’t leave your table without posting a guard, lest you come back to find your plate, drink, or roll gone. Perhaps it’s the dj who is just a tad too pushy, badgering guests to wear sombreros and giant novelty glasses. It might even be reception venues that are just wayyy too far from the ceremony venues with which they’ve been paired. Or maybe you just really @#$%ing hate doughnut cakes and their ilk.

Go on, dish! Consider your comment a service to brides- and grooms-to-be everywhere!

(Image via)

10 Responses to “Your Wedding Is Mostly About You; Your Reception Is Mostly About Others”

  1. leeapeea May 28, 2010 at 8:02 am #

    I recently went to a wedding which, while *fine* was not what I would have done. Still, I love the couple, and they were happy. What irked me more than the 2 hour-long service, tasteless “prime” rib, or stammering DJ were the people who were complaining about the wedding AT the wedding! Agree with their opinions or not, it’s NOT about us, it’s about them. If they’re happy and having a good time, shut your trap and dance, fool.

  2. The gold digger May 28, 2010 at 9:45 am #

    The only time I was bothered was when I had driven seven hours to attend a wedding and was served punch and mints. Period. I would have at least liked to have a sandwich. Other than that, it’s just fun to be at a wedding and when there has been food, it has been good.

  3. Toni May 28, 2010 at 9:46 am #

    1. Making guests wait FOREVER for apps or even a snack. A few (well-stocked) platters of cheese/crackers, mixed nuts, fresh veggies, fruit, or something similar can go a long way towards keeping your guests happy. Just make sure that someone with authority (wedding planner, member of the wedding party) gives guests permission to snack, and assures them that there will be more substantial food later on.

    (Of course, if dinner is available in a timely manner, then feel free to skip this.)

    2. Not enough chairs for everyone. I know table/chair rentals are expensive, but a guest without a seat will pretty much automatically be upset. Also, even if you don’t have a seating chart (as I didn’t), make sure to reserve a few choice tables for the wedding party, as they’ll likely be arrive later at the reception than the rest of the guests. I went to one wedding where the bridesmaids, groomsmen, and even the couple’s parents had to hunt down chairs and squeeze into tables just to have a place to sit.

    3. On a purely personal and selfish note, I hate when the couple takes forever to have their first dance. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a dancer, and have therefore attended weddings with lots of other dancers. There was the one with the awesome swing band, but out of respect for the couple, we had to wait forever, impatiently tapping our toes over long-finished meals, mentally urging the couple to have their first dance, already, so we could get out on the dance floor.

  4. Victor May 28, 2010 at 10:51 am #

    That’s an interesting “cake,” tho Homer Simpson would approve. And an even more interesting topper.

  5. Melissa B. May 28, 2010 at 11:41 am #

    leeapeea, I completely agree! My main pet peeve as a guest is fellow guests who won’t stop complaining. Constant negativity from other guests means I spend the reception anxiously looking around for the bride and groom to make sure they’re not in earshot of the whining. If you must bitch about the way the bartender is mixing your Cosmo, or the color of the centerpieces, do it after you leave the reception. While you’re there, accept the couple’s hospitality graciously.

    My second main pet peeve as a guest is being asked to wait around with no food and no drinks while the wedding party takes photos. I don’t mind if the wedding party and families take a while for their photos after the ceremony, so long as the rest of the guests have a place to hang out and some refreshments to tide them over until the party really starts. Oh, and the “not enough chairs” thing. (Toni, I think I’m your brain twin today.)

  6. MET May 28, 2010 at 11:49 am #

    I was at a wedding Saturday where they had wine, cheese platters, and bread waiting for us as the wedding party and family took pictures. It was a nice way to give us “other” guests something to do and eat while pictures were taken.

    I am a bit irked by the article’s insistence that booze be free. While I always enjoy a free bar, I never expect one and certainly wouldn’t be upset if there wasn’t one. At a wedding I went to last month, the reception venue allowed them to bring in their own alcohol (it had to be served by staff) which was really nice. We had free drinks as long as it lasted, which was quite some time, and nobody complained when it was out.

  7. Omnibus Driver May 28, 2010 at 4:31 pm #

    I once attended a wedding where the bride had been making noises that she was having second, third and fourth thoughts about the whole mess for the entire six weeks before the wedding. Mom and Dad insisted that the wedding go through — that daughter was just having “cold feet,” that they’d lose a fortune in deposits, that the groom was such a wonderful guy.

    It was by far the most uncomfortable wedding I’ve ever been to, and the bride filed for divorce two weeks after they came back, miserable, from their honeymoon.

  8. susanc May 28, 2010 at 7:34 pm #

    While I would never voice my peeves to anyone other than an anonymous website, here are some groaners from an event I once attended:

    1) The wedding and reception over an hour and a half away from each other. Their wedding was in a beautiful redwood grove, the reception in a charmless rec center that had been rented out.

    2) There was over an hour wait at said charmless rec center while those of us not in the wedding party or otherwise getting photographed waited for everyone else to arrive. It seriously was tempting to slip out at that point.

    3) Oh and the kicker… Having guests help with the prep, serving and cleanup of the wedding feast. That’s what hired help is for!

    But hey, they are still happily married, while the couple with the best wedding party I ever went to divorced….

  9. blossom May 29, 2010 at 5:00 am #

    My peeve is others groaning about the wedding at the wedding. At our wedding my cousin had a moan about the food because it was not boring enough. But my uncle had a word with him and made him try it (basicly he was told off and forced to try it) which made me feel good mahaha. And i know that this has nothing to do with the reception, but another really big peeve was that some of my family thought because i did not wear white it would not be a “proper” wedding. That really got to me and almost told my aunt to stick it were the sun don’t shine. That and my nose piercing she reckoned it would ruin the photos if i wore it!!!

  10. Lindsay July 1, 2010 at 4:20 pm #

    i can understand about the complaints, but people should be happy just to be invited. i mean, how un-mundane is a wedding? when you’re there you shouldn’t be nitpicking over little details – that’s the bride’s job ;P
    also, that donut cake would be perfect for a simpsons themed wedding lol