Post # 1
It used to be that guests accepted a host’s gracious hospitality without complaint and didn’t say a word at any time if something was not included that they thought should be there as long as the basics were covered of food, beverages, entertainment. If all the host chooses to offer and/or can afford may be dessert and coffee at a non-meal time, then it is rude get up in arms that you are not able to enjoy yourself because they didn’t provide a full meal with a full open bar, even if the reception is at a non-meal-time.
People complain all the time about how expensive weddings have become and fail to grasp the concept that they can be inexpensive and simple with just the bare minimum. But due to expectations of guests that people say must be included or else the wedding will be a failure and the couple will be doomed for divorce before the ink on the marriage certificate dries, then it comes as no surprise that the costs skyrocket so much. Keeping up with the Joneses is basically what is going on, and just because everyone else does something does not in any way mean it is a requirement. The minimum requirements for a wedding are for the ceremony only and include a minister, a marriage license, and two witnesses. Everything at the reception is completely optional as long as you have one, and what is included is entirely up to the couple, so long as guests are not inconvenienced in any way. Not serving a full meal or alcohol is not an inconvenience or breach of etiquette as long as there is some type of food and drink available appropriate to the timeframe.
Why is it such a foreign concept to so many folks to walk into a wedding not expecting anything and just being pleasantly surprised at what is there, rather than being judgemental because something isn’t included or done exactly the way you would do if you were the bride?
Post # 3
Honestly, if I went to a wedding and there was good food, drink and entertainment I would be happy! I have gone to some crazy weddings in the past few years (of friends) where big things were wrong…like the food was awful, at one wedding they ran out of alcohol because they did not buy enough etc…
I think people notice little things that are wrong when big things are wrong and they are not having a good time.
For me, a wedding does not have to be fancy, but there should be good food, alcohol and entertainment. That’s where we spent the most money.
Post # 4
I think because certain things, like nice food, music, dancing, alcohol, etc. have become a standard at weddings. So, if that’s what you’re always treated to, then that’s what you’re going to expect. That’s just how it is.
Just think about how many weddings you’ve been to, I know at all the ones I’ve gone to, they’ve all had the standards of a wedding. Almost like a formula. And, it’s been fun and something I’ve always looked forward to. I think that most of us don’t think another way about it, or develop the opinion above, until we’re actually planning a wedding.
However, I think that we’re seeing a lot more weddings that step out of that box that usual weddings are in, so perhaps guests will eventually understand that they might not always get a 3-course meals, alcohol and so on . . .
Post # 5
i agree, people expect the world when it’s just a get together!
Post # 6
I haven’t received any pressure to have “more,” and I’ve been to plenty of simple weddings without the whole nine yards. It may have more to do with familial expectations, but no one is giving us any grief.
Post # 7
I think that it’s all about the expectation that is initially set. Meaning, if it is a cake, punch and coffee reception, letting people know that it is just that. Having it at a non-meal time so people aren’t hungry. A lovely morning wedding with finger sandwiches, cake, coffee and a cool beverage can be a beautiful thing. However, if I drove a distance on a Saturday evening, I would expect a bit of food. It’s all in the timing and the expectation set from the tone of the invitations. Let people know how it’s going to be.
Post # 8
I go to a wedding expecting nothing in return! I’m just happy that the couple asked me to be a part of their day! It’s about the celebration of love. Food, cake and drinks are just nice bonuses.
Post # 9
Well said! I’m committing the “faux pas” of cash bar and no transportation between hotel and reception. And guess what, I don’t feel guilty! Mwahahaha.
Post # 10
well…heres an example..
a cousin of mine got married, and the parents are big proponents of “cover your plate!!” with the gift…
we got a $100 gift. apparetly, that only covered one plate and we “offended” the family.. the food was cold. undercooked chicken. nasty cake. no appetizers. no open bar. plus, how on earth was i supposed to know how much they were paying considering i didnt live in that city.
with so many brides (not all, and not me) expecting guests to bring a gift to “cover their plates”, i can see why guests expect a decent (warm) meal, drinks, and some good entertainment.
i dont this is always the case, but certainly is the case sometimes..
Post # 11
Maybe I am just the biggest hungry grouch in the world, but I think that receptions without meals are totally okay, but guests must be warned clearly beforehand. I tend to be a pretty laid back person, but if I go hungry and expecting a meal, I will get very grouchy until I am fed.
As for open bars, I don’t think they’re required, but they’re a huge bonus. Most of the weddings I’ve been to have involved getting together with a lot of old friends and partying like we’re still in college. So open bar and transportation are REALLY nice.
As for all the other stuff, I pretty much don’t even notice it. I agree that there are rising expectations compared to a couple generations ago. BUT that also means better parties so I’m torn between my distaste for all the conspicuous comsumption and being grateful that my friends and I, who live all over the country, have an opportunity to get together and have a great time whenever one of us gets married.
Post # 12
I’m generally not offended with simple weddings. Open bars, while nice, aren’t necessary. They’re expected where I am though, and it’s generally only $2-3 more per person for the bar (seriously, that inexpensive). It’s offensive here because everyone expects an open bar, and when they don’t have money, they get grouchy. If word has been spread that it’s cash bar, it’s not a big deal.
The same goes with food. If I get an invitation that says “Dinner and Dancing to Follow,” I expect dinner. Not finger foods. I don’t expect a full meal unless it’s noted. But if it’s been noted, I’m generally hungry by the time I get there, and it’s very offputting to expect something and then not receive it. If I get an invitation that says “Dessert Reception” – it’s perfectly okay, because I’ve been forewarned and will have gone to eat something.
Post # 13
Unless they’re getting married at the courthouse and I get an invitation to a reception, I expect food, entertainment, and some beverages to be available (whether cash bar or not, but simply b/c nobody I know would exclude liquor). If i receive an invitation that says “appetizer reception,” that’s what i’d expect, and that’s what I’d be cool with.
For me, I wouldn’t invite people over to celebrate anything (a birthday party, a promotion, whatevz) without putting out some food and drink.
Post # 14
I agree with a lot of the above posters that letting guests know ahead of time is the most important thing when skipping a meal or alcohol for a reception.
Another scenario (that clearly does not apply to everyone) is when a bride shares lots of budget details…If you tell me that you spent $1000 on your dress, I’m expecting more than carrot sticks in a gymnasium for your reception. I’ve known a few brides who had modest budgets, but put all the money into items for themselves and then really skimped on the things that matter to guests (food, music, etc.)
Like others have mentioned, it definitely depends on the standard for your circle of friends/family and geographic location – I’ve never been to a wedding that provided transportation for the guests or even the wedding party, but not having an open bar (or at least partial bar) would be outrageous to my friends/family.
Post # 15
amen sista! we’re doing a very small wedding *large number of guests but only with dessert at 2pm* i’ll be darn if anyone says so much as one complaint about this bc they don’t know our financial issues and why we want to save money.
my Future Mother-In-Law has a great quote about this The Bigger the Wedding the Shorter the Marriage!
Post # 16
@ejs4y8:well at my reception there will be no liqour whatsoever…it’s at a church!!! Not having booze isn’t rude it’s a personal choice…