Author Topic: Pre-Wedding "social"  (Read 16998 times)

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pryncsskittyn

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Pre-Wedding "social"
« on: February 16, 2007, 10:07:44 AM »
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!

Gimme1215-05

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!

snowball's chance

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Re: Pre-Wedding "social"
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2007, 10:21:10 AM »
I have never heard of anything like this, or been invited to something like this, but an ex-BF told me he was once invited to a bachelor party like this, you paid to get in and there were drawings for prizes.  The groom-to-be was the friend of a friend of his.

twinkletoes

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Re: Pre-Wedding "social"
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2007, 10:22:49 AM »
If the purpose of the party is to really get people from both sides to know each other, why can't the b&g just rent out a hall and throw a party?  It sounds like they don't even make much money, anyway, so I'm not sure why money has to enter the equation at all.  I think that's why people think it's tacky.  

pryncsskittyn

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Re: Pre-Wedding "social"
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2007, 10:36:44 AM »
There was actually quite a bit of money made at the Jack & Jill I attended.  There were at least 150 people in attendance, all people who also attended the wedding (only the out of town guests, of which there were very few, were not there).  That's $1,500 bucks just in door charge!  Never mind what little the might have made off the bar (I don't think they made much as cans of soda were only $0.50 and I think a beer was $1.50), and the few extra tickets they sold (we bought a total of 10 extra, so we had 20 in all between the two of us). 

I know asking for money isn't appropriate.  But this was a PURELY optional party.  There were no formal invitations sent out, we got a call from my DF's mother about 2 weeks in advance and were told, "it's not a big deal if you can't come, it's just a way to get to know people".  We never felt pressured to go (that isn't his family's way anyhow) although my DF was in the bridal party.  We were well aware of the cover charge in advance also. 
AND kids were free, children weren't invited to the wedding or reception (there might be all of 10 kids in the entire family), so it was a way to include them as well.
I didn't feel this was intended to have the show of people that it did, so they money they made wasn't quite expected.  If I remember correcty (this was about 3 years ago), they did some kind of a 50/50 drawing too, so half of the money went to a guest.  Though I'm not sure how this worked, if it was just from the extra ticket money or if all the door money was included too (I don't remember the amount that was won). 
I did get the impression that the 50/50 hadn't been planned so it might have been thrown in there because they made more money than they had expected?  I know the family quite well now (as I'm marrying him now, I suppose I should) and I don't see them as a money grubbing kind of family in any way.  I also don't think she ever intended to make any faux pas, she is a very educated and sweet woman (the bride, but the mother as well), I can't picture her holding this a money making event.

twinkletoes

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Re: Pre-Wedding "social"
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2007, 10:44:16 AM »
"I also don't think she ever intended to make any faux pas, she is a very educated and sweet woman (the bride, but the mother as well), I can't picture her holding this a money making event."

And then they'd probably say "well, that's how it's always been done!" or "well, everyone I know does this party, and no one's complained!"

Honestly, I still think it's tacky, and I think one would have to be naive *not* to consider this as a money-making event.  I also think it's crass to have a fund-raiser for something like generating money for a wedding.  Of all the superfluous things one could raise money for, it really takes the cake to ask family and friends to help finance one's dream wedding.

Sterling

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Re: Pre-Wedding "social"
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2007, 11:40:42 AM »
Here in the US this is considered tacky but I have heard about this tradition a lot from Canadians (and I could be wrong but I am pretty sure its Canadians) and it is considered traditional.

Also how is this any different than any other pay party?  When I was in high school I hung out with a band that threw a party with a $10 cover.  It was all you can eat crawfish and beer.  All the profits went toward buying the band new amps.  No one was invited and we didn't even know hardly anyone who showed up.  I see these socials as a local custom that outsiders find rude.

There is also a tradition at some Asian weddings that the bride will not join the festivities until the guests have paid her enough money to come down.  In their culture this is not rude it is tradition.  Different cultures have different expectations. 

Edit because I really needed more coffee when I first posted this.  Grammer and spelling are not my friends today.

« Last Edit: February 16, 2007, 04:58:33 PM by Sterling »
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LissaR1

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Re: Pre-Wedding "social"
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2007, 04:19:17 PM »
Sterling, i was going to say the same thing about it being like any other party.  If it's a part of local tradition/etiquette, and no one is being pressured to go... there are far worse things.  It sounds like it's an event for the whole community, and that you might not even know the bride and groom (or not know them well). 

I can see where the idea of using the social as the reception is incredibly rude.  And I certainly wouldn't hold a social for my own purposes, because it's not the custom around here.  But I've certainly heard of far worse things.

Twik

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Re: Pre-Wedding "social"
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2007, 09:44:59 AM »
While it's "far from the worst thing", there are a few things that would make me prefer to have my wisdom teeth removed (again) rather than be associated with this:

(1) People have said it's all right "if no one is pressured to go". How many stories have we read on this site about people who feel pressured to go to weddings, showers, parties, dinners, etc. that they really don't want to attend? I'm pretty sure than anyone claiming to be a friend or close relative of the happy couple will feel "pressured" to attend the social.

(2) We've also seen an alarming number of stories recently about people who believe it's perfectly acceptable to ask for entrance fees from their guests for parties, to defray the cost of food, drink and entertainment, and people have been wondering where they could have gotten the idea that this is acceptable. Probably from parties like this.
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

pryncsskittyn

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Re: Pre-Wedding "social"
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2007, 11:05:43 AM »
Well, I've never been to a night club that didn't charge a cover price.  I've also attended a few frat parties in my day that there was always a cover charge for.  And I didn't pay these things to do a whole lot more than to have a good time with my friends... so maybe that's where I get the idea that it isn't as classless as others are thinking?  Maybe it's a generational thing?  I don't know, I think a lot of it is personal preferance and where you draw the line as far as class goes. 
I can totally understand why people find it tacky, and I see how doing it for a huge profit or feeling pressured to attend would be tacky too. 
At the same time though, is it tacky for my friends to call me up on a Saturday night and invite me out to a Night Club where the cover charge is $20 bucks?  I'd rather go to a Jack and Jill.  Drinks are cheaper and there's food, as well as not a lot of strangers like there would be in a Night Club, I'd feel more comfortable being able to be myself.  Just a different way to look at it... I'm not trying to insult anyone's thoughts on this.

LissaR1

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Re: Pre-Wedding "social"
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2007, 11:39:34 AM »
See, the thing is, it sounds like it's a party being specifically held- and advertised- as a fundraiser. 

If you want money for something, what's wrong with selling tickets for a party to raise money for it?  What IS the difference between a Girl Scout troop raising money for a camping trip by selling cookies or my youth group raising money for their activities (many of which aren't service activities) by throwing an all-church shindig and a couple throwing a party open to the public and using the funds on their wedding?  The girls don't need to go camping.  The kids don't need to get a new air hockey table or have a craft supply stash. 

I'm not saying it's a trend that I think should sweep the nation.  But if the intentions are clearly broadcast, and it's a common practice in that area, I'm not so willing to condemn the practitioners to a lifetime of flames.  I mean, the people paying are getting something out of it, and if it's genuinely as low-pressure as the poster makes it sound... if I lived in a small community, I'd actually probably enjoy something like this.  I mean, I enjoyed dances in high school, and I actually miss that sort of social interaction.  (A night club isn't even remotely like this.) 

Twik

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Re: Pre-Wedding "social"
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2007, 12:50:02 PM »
The difference are:

(1) We don't expect the nightclub to see us as anything more than business opportunities - we'd expect our friends to do so.

(2) If our friends ask us out to a nightclub, we all pay the cover charge, which goes to the house. However, in a paid social, the profit goes to the person issuing the invitation.

(3) If the more people, the more profit, it's unlikely that there won't be a subtle pressure on those who actually don't want/can't afford to go.
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

LissaR1

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Re: Pre-Wedding "social"
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2007, 02:39:40 PM »
Ah- but there's no invitations, from the sound of it.  It's an event- not a party.  If it was an invite, I'd agree with you.  But it sounds like the kind of thing you'd put fliers up for, not send out invitations.   

pryncsskittyn

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Re: Pre-Wedding "social"
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2007, 03:03:11 PM »
As an addition to my previous post.

If I'm going to spend money with my friends and family for a night out to enjoy one anothers compnay, I'd much rather be giving it to a close friend or family member towards their wedding than be giving it to an impartial night club.  We're only talking about 20 bucks here, not $100 wedding gift.

sparksals

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Re: Pre-Wedding "social"
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2007, 05:38:53 AM »
These socials are not common across Canada.  They are limited to Manitoba, parts of Saskatchewan and Jack/Jills in Ontario.  I personally think they're tacky, but they are common and accepted in the above named provinces.

Twik

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Re: Pre-Wedding "social"
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2007, 09:44:59 AM »
Ah- but there's no invitations, from the sound of it.  It's an event- not a party.  If it was an invite, I'd agree with you.  But it sounds like the kind of thing you'd put fliers up for, not send out invitations.   
You mean the hall/club would be full mostly of strangers? THis sounds like people finance their weddings by going temporarily into the entertainment business.

What would happen if not enough people showed up to break even?
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."