This isn't a "classic" per-say, but more of something I wanted to bring up as a discussion. Mods, if you feel it should be moved to a more appropriate category, please do so. EHellDame's comment is in red.
I've been reading about wedding related fundraising attempts, and I have a little local custom to share. I live in the Province of Manitoba, and around here it is customary for engaged couples to have a “social” prior to their wedding. Essentially, you pay ten bucks to go to a big party in a rec hall on a Saturday night. It's not by invitation—the wedding party sells tickets. There is a bar, usually selling booze at a very small mark-up above cost (i.e. $2.25 for a drink that cost the couple $2.00 to purchase at cost). There is a silent auction (more of a draw really), the prizes for which the wedding party and possibly the couple’s family have canvassed from local merchants. There are dances between the couple and sometimes the wedding party, and usually a late lunch is served consisting of at least cold cuts, cheese, pickles, rye bread and butter—but these are the basics, I have been to showers for couples of different ethnic backgrounds that have had everything from perogies to spring rolls to dainties, etc.
This is a local custom and if a couple doesn’t have a social, it is considered a little odd. Furthermore, although socials are quite plainly fundraising efforts, I don’t think most couples make that much money off of them. Really they are big parties and in some smaller communities, a social might be THE event of the month. Everyone might go, grandmas (early in the evening the music is decidedly polkas-oriented), kids, middle agers, and the young drinking crowd (around 10:00 p.m. the newer dance-type music comes on)—you may not even know the couple who is getting married!
Now, this is all well and good, I don’t think we’re talking any major etiquette problems for the most part, because they are a part of the local etiquette; they are not exclusive parties to which you must come or be deemed a poor excuse for a friend, and; although they are billed as fundraisers, it’s really more of a community celebration. What does get to me is when a couple gets married and then has a social as a reception (and usually expects their friends, even those not invited to the actual wedding, to go)—it’s one of my pet peeves and drives me bonkers! If you expect me to pay and entrance fee for your reception, don’t bother inviting me!
Aww, that's too bad that this has become a required social custom. It seems the entire community has been invaded by bloodsucking aliens and are no longer capable of discerning how decent humans act.
My personal take on this one is it's more of a "Jack & Jill" party. This is something hadn't heard of until I met my now DF. His sister had one for her wedding, and I've noticed a lot of their family friends have been having them too. I do not agree that this should be something that is a community social event, or called a "fundraiser", I've noticed it is common practice (in this particular circle of people)that these events have a door charge, drinks, potluck style food and dancing. Also there is a drawing of some sort. You buy tickets for a dollar (you get 5 tickets for you cover charge, additional tickets are a dollar) then they auction off fun stuff that has been provided by family members. There is no "canvasing the community" for items to auction. In the particular case of his sisters wedding, it was only a year or two after the movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" came out. The auction items were jokes from the movie. I don't remember all of them, but a bottle of Windex (the cure all), a Bunt pan, and the movie itself were all items that were auctioned off. They're a Greek family who the parents of the Bride are first generation American immigrants, so it was truly a joke and great fun to see the auction items.
I thought at first when I heard about it "oh great, ANOTHER party for the BTB!" but I found the event very fun and a great way to meet family members and socialize as a group in a less formal setting than the wedding reception. I do believe the money collected went towards the hall rental, and extra was cash raised for the couple to put towards their wedding or new house. I didn't see the event as a money grab or anything like that (possibly at first), I didn't know the family well and most of the couples friends were in the same boat. I got to learn a little bit of Greek dancing from the family (so did other friends) and it helped at the wedding so we didn't feel quite so lost when we were dragged to the dance floor to participate. She had the music part right on in this story, the party started out with Polka's and Waltz' for the older family members, then later in the evening turned into music more of the younger crowd could get into. It made me feel so much more comfortable at the wedding to at least have met most of the guests and had a chance before hand to get to know some people. Since I was at the "significant others" table, I wouldn't have known anyone really unless I'd gone to that party and had a chance to at least learn their names!