I attended the wedding of a good friend this evening. I’ve just gotten home and absolutely HAD to send this story in.
My friend Mel works and her husband Grant work in IT and design fields. They are incredibly talented, producing some gorgeous work between them and because of this they decided to do a bit of a DIY wedding. It was an absolutely magical event and I could not imagine a wedding being more beautiful than theirs was. They had delicious buffet style food ranging from vegan meals, fish, chicken, beef and there was so much of it that no one went hungry, most people could fit in dessert which abundant and once again completely delicious. Their wedding had live music and they made sure to personally thank everyone in person for attending. I’m only outlining these things to say that the wedding was wonderful and no one could complain about anything, they truly went above and beyond to ensure their wedding was enjoyable for everyone.
Now, here lies the problem. Mel and Grant tend to not drink alcohol, it’s not a secret and most people are well aware of it. Even leading up to the event Mel made sure to call every person invited and explain to them that while her and grant don’t drink that there would be a cash bar available for people who wished to drink. Everyone was happy with this level of transparency, and brought cash for the bar if they wanted to drink alcohol. Soda, alcohol free wine, juice, coffee and tea were all available for free.
Skipping forward to the reception one rather obnoxious guest (who I later find out is Mel’s brother’s girlfriend.) is NOT amused by the idea of having to pay to get “wasted” and was heard more than once during the reception complaining loudly that the only reason she came to this crap was to get drunk on someone else’s money. She was constantly trying to get the bartender to give her free drinks or that the bride requested the bartender set up a tab that the bride will pay later. Fortunately they bartender was not foolish enough to believe it.
Then about halfway through the evening I witness this woman telling the bride it was a pathetic evening and “who ever heard of a wedding without alcohol, that’s the only reason people go to weddings.” Then she says, “I’ll be taking my wedding gift back too considering I had to buy my own alcohol”.
The bride just shrugs and walks off to enjoy her evening.
About 10 minutes later I saw the rude guest leaving, with her wedding gift in hand.
As I logged into social media upon returning home, I noticed Mel’s brother updated his relationship status to “single”. 0903-16
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Hah! I like the coda. There’s the silver lining to this story: Mel’s brother got to learn his girlfriend’s true colors before making a more serious commitment, and Mel is now spared a truly odious sister-in-law.
Hosting a wedding is like hosting any party – you choose a level of hospitality to provide for your guests and ensure that they all get it (more on that at the end). There may be cultural or social norms here that go beyond simple reasoning – i.e. if a wedding reception is held in the evening after 5pm, then dinner will be served.
My aunt was the head cook at a banquet hall which catered to many ethnicities, but she and the rest of my family are all 100% Polish from both sides of our families. Almost all the weddings she cooked for had Christian hosts – Catholic or Orthodox – where there was no prohibition on consuming alcohol from a religious point of view. At least not by the hosts. Dinners even through the early 2000’s were served “family style” where each table would receive plates of each dish to pass around and share, and the portions were generous to say the least. And an open bar was obligatory. Not all weddings had hundreds of guests, but budgets would determine the number of guests for this level of service.
When there were weddings with a cash bar, people were surprised by this. Offended perhaps because they weren’t expecting it, and perhaps only brought enough money to tip the band or the coat-check or the bartender. In my opinion, I’d be offended too if I wasn’t told what to expect at the reception. If my friend invites me to his house for dinner, I am not expecting to have to chip in for the pizza that he is ordering, or order my own.
There’s nothing wrong with having your wedding exactly as you like, and I admire that the OP made this all known to everyone. No offense here intended, nor should any be taken.
And going back to my opening, the absolute worst examples on this site are of wedding receptions where there were two “classes” of guests and not all experienced the same hospitality. This is never an accident, and it’s very rude indeed.
In the UK it’s the norm for a glass of champagne on arrival at the reception plus red and white wine on the table for the meal. After that you buy your own drinks. The only reception I’ve been to with a free bar was my cousin’s wedding last year, but my uncle is very wealthy.
The young man made a wise choice! I can’t believe anyone would actually complain to the bride and groom about the drinks! We attended a terrible “second reception” where no food was served besides what the guests had brought along (thinking it was adding to a buffet), a table of elderly people ate all the food that was there, and there was a cash bar but no one was told beforehand. We all went for quite a long walk to the nearest ATM, as the venue was not really near anything else. People also got burgers while they were there! We left at around 10pm, hungry and bored. However, we did not say anything to the couple, just “thank you for inviting us”. And now we don’t really talk to them much.
“who ever heard of a wedding without alcohol, that’s the only reason people go to weddings.”
She has GOT to be kidding! People go to weddings to celebrate a new step in a loved one’s life! I have been a guest at three wedding receptions in my entire life. My mother’s cousin when I was seven or eight, the daughter of a very good family friend when I was 15 or 16 (the daughter also often baby-sat for me and my sister when we were little, and she was my sister’s Confirmation sponsor), and one of my cousins when I was 18 (none of these weddings have any reason to appear on this site, though, as there was nothing about them, or the bride and groom, or anyone in attendance that warrant a place in E-Hell). Notice a pattern here? At all the weddings I attended, I was too young to drink. And even if I hadn’t been under the legal drinking age, I wouldn’t have gone to these weddings just to get myself plastered on “somebody else’s money!” (truthfully, though, I don’t drink at all, mainly because I don’t like the taste of alcohol). I can’t believe there are people out there who only go to weddings just to get smashed. Sheesh!