I went to a wedding and the food was not served. Was I right to be upset?

I went to a wedding and the food was not served. Was I right to be upset?

Dear Mr. Courtesy: I was shocked by the recent story of the couple, who spent their entire wedding budget attending Mickey and Minnie Mouse at their reception, leaving no money to provide food for the guests. If I had been present, I would have been angry. is it just me?

(Mealtime with Mr. Manners is a weekly column about food-etiquette dilemmas. Please submit your questions at the bottom of this page.)

In 1954, less than a year before its first theme park opened and a family of five would need a second mortgage to move there, Walt Disney politely reflected, “It all started with a mouse.”

And yet, for a pair of now-internet-famous lovebirds, no bank loan was needed to start their union with a mouse (or two mice, to be exact). Instead, in order to afford the $2,750 required for advance photos with Mickey and Minnie and the characters later turn on the dance floor, the couple alerted their guests that no food would be provided. Good News? The food will be available for purchase in the area if the stomach starts to rumble.

The details of this anonymous wedding ceremony are sketchy, but that didn’t stop the now-deleted original Reddit post from receiving 2,400 comments. The incident also attracted massive media attention.

Without a full set of facts, I can’t attest to exactly whether this particular couple’s decision was wrong.

This is not to say that the excitement that broke out as soon as the news of this marriage spread was zero. In fact, it opened up a valuable topic for debate: Is it worth it for a happy couple to splurge on the gluttons to the exclusion of roast beef? And more broadly, are couples always obligated to feed their wedding guests?

Characters and custom experiences

Michael Sarnoff, 12, a booking agent at Characters for Hire, said that 45% of the company’s business is wedding bookings. With access to a talent database of nearly 5,000 actors and entertainers, Characters for Hire receives requests from everyone from Frankenstein and His Bride to the Knights in Shining Armor. “One of our recent clients was a couple who wanted a dinosaur at their wedding,” recalled Sarnoff. The company came up with a 13-foot, puppet-powered creature that followed the couple right down the aisle.

Matthew and Alexandra Fuhrken wed in May 2022 at the Sam Noble Museum in Norman, Oklahoma, dinosaur courtesy of Characters for Hire.bethley photography

Why in the world, Jurassic or otherwise, would anyone include an extinct animal in their marriage? “Many couples want their guests to say ‘Wow’ to talk about the wedding for years to come. ‘Did you see that dinosaur?’ They want their wedding to be memorable,” Sarnoff said.

With or without reptiles, “couples are hosting more personal and exclusive weddings than ever before,” said Emily Forrest, communications director for wedding resource website Zola. From the decor to the entertainment inviting for the registry period.”

As for his thoughts on the couple, who could not imagine their day without marquee names from the House of Mouse, Forrest offers diplomatically: “These two have a great time to host a day. There was a distinctive and thoughtful vision that felt like his.”

to announce

Although none of the experts I consulted went so far as to ridicule the couple’s cartoony choice, they emphasized the importance of communicating intentions beforehand.

Tracy Taylor Ward, creative director and owner of eponymous Tracy Taylor Ward Design, suggests that any couple who are planning a contrasting reception indicate as much on an insert with their wedding invitation. For added transparency, the couple’s wedding website should also include this quote (and not as a footnote).

Once the information is out there, it is up to each individual to weigh the attendance. “While not all guests will agree to the decision to limit food and beverages or forsake them altogether – invitees should respect the couple’s wishes and can RSVP accordingly,” Ward said.

In other words, forewarned is forearmed.

food matters

As Disney fans found out, bringing worthy entertainment to a wedding doesn’t come cheap. By comparison, four zombies from the cast of characters will set the newlyweds back $3,500. Prices go up from there, with more lavish presentations on the budget going up to $75,000 and up. Their clients are spread across the globe and also a range of personalities.

Sarnoff recalls a bride who was so inclined to entertain that she thought aloud: “‘I guess I’ll have to cut down on the food.'” She apparently urged him to reconsider: “When I attend a wedding, so I’m hoping to be fed,” he related. “If I’d come in and just saw finger food, I wouldn’t be happy.” Ultimately, the customer agreed and gave his Was able to get the cake and the characters too, thanks to the help of the family.

Given Zola’s research indicating food is one of the top five reasons guests want to attend a wedding, Forrest urges anyone considering a meal-free celebration so that guests can attend the occasion on an empty stomach. Don’t be

deliberately breaking tradition

One real-life bride and groom who gained internet fame this year — albeit with a more positive variety — were Kiara and Joel Brokenbrough. Before gathering about 40 guests, the couple planned their wedding so meticulously that the budget was less than $500. Like the Mickey and Minnie-loving newlyweds, Brokenbrough does not provide dinner for the montage. Instead, after exchanging vows at a beautifully landscaped view point north of Los Angeles, they traveled to a nearby restaurant and lounge, where close friends and family had the time to order their own meals and visit. There was an option to pay as per your wish.

Kiara and Joel Brokenbrough at their $500 wedding.
Kiara and Joel Brokenbrough at their $500 wedding.@KiaraBrk via Instagram

Brokenbrew said, the venue had a live band and good, affordable food, and the party secured its own section in the lounge, available on a first-come, first-served basis. Despite the small size of the wedding, the media attention was different.

“Our guests were very helpful,” explained the bride, a social media manager and content creator, who wore a $47 dress and served a cake provided by family members. Though she admits that her dream wedding would have taken place in a private home high above the Hollywood Hills, she has no regrets about her choice or budget.

Challenging the accepted practice of spending a princely sum to marry their prince, the newlyweds point out that the reception – no matter how grand – is but “a day for a few hours”. Conversely, even those few hours of invoicing can leave the couple with debt and interest payments for years to come.

in view of rising costs

In this busiest year for weddings since 1984, “prices have skyrocketed industry-wide as a result of supply-chain issues, staff shortages, and more,” explained Ward. All of which means “money is no object” may prove to be a dangerous proclamation for all but the most well-heeled of lovebirds.

“Guests should understand and focus on the reason they are attending a wedding for the first time,” advised Ward. It should not be for bells and whistles, but to “celebrate and begin the journey of your loved ones towards a happy and healthy marriage”.

food for thought

I loathe the idea that the time-honored tradition of serving food and drink at a wedding will ever go sideways—let alone Pikachu, Baby Shark, and Dora the Explorer conga fall prey to the couple’s desire to lead the line.

At the same time, I also believe that a couple should have the celebration they want – and that they can afford properly. Which in turn means that for any guest eagerly imagining a top-shelf open bar, lobster rolls and a Viennese hour, it may be time to adjust expectations.

Just as the pandemic has prompted many of us to rethink the way we were operating before 2020, perhaps weddings should be no different.

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