Post # 1
I just got married on Friday and everything was going great, the ceremony was beautiful, the weather was perfect and the way our wedding planner decorated was so amazing and whimsical better than what I could have imagined. But when we arrived at the reception site (around 5:30) one thing was off, we noticed there were no appetizers out yet as we had planned for the coctail hour and the caterer was no where to be found.
He arrived when dinner was supposed to be first served at 6pm. I don’t know exactly when we first got appetizers but I am pretty sure they came out around 7:30 when we were already supposed to be done with dinner, toasts and first dances. People were standing around hungry for hours and some people left before getting the first round of salads ( hearty salads at least) which finally came out at probably 8 or 8.30pm. My playlist was looping and the DJ was waiting to start dances til after dinner, my DJ came up to stop the toasts at 9:30 because we had not even started dancing yet and there was only half an hour left til we had to leave (I planned for 3 hrs of dancing) We ended up skipping the father-daughter dance and the mother son dance because we wanted the guests to be able to at least dance for a bit. He started serving the main course as everyone was getting up to go dance so most people didn’t even get to eat the main dish.
I was so bummed out by this. I feel like he ruined everything. My now husband was also starving and had not eaten all day and the photographer had to give him a granola bar. And sadly the food was one of the things my hubby was most excited about. I just feel like everything else was so perfect and beautiful but the food is such a central part and now the guests are going to all talk about how everyone was standing around starving for hours.
The caterer was a friend of ours who has his own catering business and has catered other friends weddings. He offered to cook for our wedding for just the cost of food so he was doing us a favor but we also paid for his gas to travel to us and also paid for an air bnb for him to stay in for 3 days. probably total we were paying 1500 for him for food travel and lodging and we were going to tip him 300. He brought the food to us the next day to serve at the brunch and it was delicious but just 12 hrs late.
Sad thing is, he had pre-prepped all the salads (which were filling salads) but for some reason he didn’t think to put those out while people were standing around starving.
I am just so bummed out that everything got messed up and I don’t know how to feel better about it. I keep thinking I should have asked him to put the salads out and we could have been on time and the guests could have at least had something but I didn’t even know he had them ready. 🙁
Post # 2
Did you ever talk to him the night of the wedding to find out what was going on?
Post # 3
That’s a crazy story. It’s a drawback of using a frendor because you try harder to accept these things. Did he give reasons for lateness? Have you paid yet?
Post # 4
Did you have some kind of contract? Have you spoken to him about the incident.
A similar situation happened with my friends wedding. Another catering friend was doing the food and messed up for them. I don’t know what the agreement/payment situation was but it was friendship ending.
On the plus side we all look back on it now years on with one of the best, most memorable weddings ever. I know the bride and groom still feel upset about it though as it’s a special day after all.
My heart goes out to you. I do hope you get some compensation and can do something fun with the money – maybe a backyard BBQ for your friends? Lots of drinks and turn it into a fun thing to put a positive spin on it?
Post # 5
Yes, I talked to him that night to see what I could do to speed things up and I rounded up helpers for him and I also had the dj talk to him.
Post # 6
- Wedding: April 2017 - City, State
What was his reason for being so unprofessional?
Post # 7
He gave me several excuses for why he was late, first he said he couldn’t find chicken at the store, then he said the power kept shorting on his cooking equipment and he said that he didn’t have running water to boil the pasta in and they were bringing it to him in small increments (but my fiance made sure there was running water available). Then he also said tha tthe wedding planner told him to show up at 6 (which she denies) (even though I told him to have dinner served by 6) So far we have paid only part of what we agreed on and I believe we still owe him $300.
Post # 8
We did not have a contract. I did speak with him about it and said thank you for coming all the way up here to cook and we appreciate his help but I asked what happened and told him I was really disappointed because it ruined the timeline of the night and we missed some of the dances and dancing.
Post # 9
- Wedding: September 2017 - Poppy Ridge Golf Course
I don’t think you should pay him the rest to be honest. I understand things happen but food is such an important part of the day and as you pointed out this incident understandably threw your timeline way off. As far as how your guests feel…truthfully I would have had to leave. But I’m nondiabetic hypoglycemic so for me three hours without food can be the difference between having a nice time and passing out at your wedding. I keep snacks in my purse and the car but after a certain point snacks won’t cut it. However, I’m sure for the hefty majority of your guests most people weren’t at all bothered and had a lovely time so don’t worry about them speaking ill of your wedding. 😊 Congratulations
Post # 10
Ok this is brutal. I’m so sorry! I don’t think your friend was very organized. What’s done is done. All you can do is express your dissapointment to your friend which you have done already. He made a huge mistake here, if you forgive him that’s totally up to you guys.
Post # 11
I’m so sorry bee. He acted very unprofessionally and his excuses are unacceptable.
Was there any written communication between him and the planner, so at least you could find out if he’s really telling lies or is just disorganised. I know it doesn’t help you feel better but may help you get the money back and you could then host something with the money like pp said.
I wish I had more advice for you.
Post # 12
Sorry this happened. You put so much effort in planning it’s upsetting when it doesn’t happen as you envisioned.
Unfortunately, it sounds like it may have been a difficult catering situation (no running water) and he either hadn’t thought through the logistics or wasn’t experienced enough to overcome the venue challenges. Perhaps a downside to using a frendor vs someone who had worked that location in the past.
Not much to be done at this point except decide if you want to let this mar your friendship. If continued friendship is important to you then you somehow have to let it go, and hope that in years to come you’ll have a fond(ish) memory of your first challenge you faced as newlyweds.
Post # 13
Was there something unusual about the venue? If the cooking equipment kept shorting out and they (whoever “they” are) couldn’t bring him enough water to get the pasta cooked, I’d want to know why that was.
Post # 14
I’m sorry. I actually went to wedding like this a couple of years ago and it was awful. It was a very similar situation (friend who had been in the restaurant business doing it for cost only – elaborately planned stations). I don’t know about him being late, but it was clearly a kitchen he wasn’t used to working in and he didn’t bring enough people to help him get the job done. My guess is because he was doing it for the cost of the food, he knew he couldn’t ask/convince his staff to donate their time to help him do a favor for his friend. So I’m not sure if the two people I saw by the time I showed up were planned from the beginning with him paying out of his own pocket since my friend was only paying for the cost of food or if he called in and convinced the two people to come in and help as a favor as the last minute once he realized for f’ed he was. But he only had two people with him which is absolutely not enough.
Food was over an hour late and when it did come out none of the stations had all the food items at the same time (so the carving station only had (very rare still cold) beef, but didn’t have the ham or turkey until much later. The Asian station only had noodles about a half hour later and then an hour later had the dumplings. The food truck could only get one of the five items out at a time. Basically, you spent a half hour in line to get one food item periodically throughout the night. It even took an hour and a half to get a full thing of coffee on the table. They finally ordered in pizzas and most of us left to hit the drive-thru. And because I’m part of that friend group most of us ended up trying to help out back there instead of enjoying anything else.
So, you’re not the only one. That sucks.
For lurkers, I hope they take both your story and the one from my friend as a cautionary tale against self-catering and/or hiring friendors. Contracts are important and catering is f’ing hard.
Post # 15
I’m sorry. That really sucks, and would have totally ruined my wedding. at this point, there’s just not much you can do – he wasn’t a pro, you don’t have a contract, etc. Just have to accept the day for what it was. The best thing you can do now is to take it as a lesson learned that if it’s important to you, then hire a professional for the job.