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What Do You Think About "Average" Wedding Prices?

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My parents gave me $5k for my wedding (almost 21 years ago) and we had enough left over to buy a used car . 😜

 

Dress was the big expense at $400 but was hand made- we had light refreshments after ceremony, cheap rental decorations, low key cake and flowers at Sams club and mostly- VOLUNTEERS who were so thrilled to be a part of it. Total attendance around 200. Volunteers made a frugal ceremony possible!

 

I don't regret the frugal choices at all- it aptly represented our 20 year old collage age selves.

 

If you have cash to burn, spend it on travel-not a one day event. JMHO

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I guess I disagree. We just go out to eat after the ceremony. I've done that at several of my cousin's weddings. Not a big deal. My wedding was in Texas. I had people come from California and Ohio. No meal. They still love me.

 

Also, the wedding was at 2, so punch and cake made sense. It was too early for a full meal when the ceremony was over at 2:30.

This would be viewed as very gauche by most people I know. (NOTE: not if it is clear as a bell that it is cake and punch only.) With the wedding I mentioned where there was not enough food, there were only two "hints" that the food was not intended to be a meal. The first was time of day (maybe 3:00? I don't recall exactly.) and the bigger hint was the plate sizes. They were small plates, dessert-plate sized. There were stations about the room where you could take your tiny plate and get a few eggplant raviolis or grapes and cheese, but people piled up the tiny plates and returned repeated times. They were hungry. They didn't know to expect light fare.

 

Oh, also, there were tables to sit down, but not placecards, so I think that was also a "hint" that they didn't mean for people to sit at a table and eat a meal.

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I think I read every last wedding planning book that the large city public library had.   There was one that was particularly annoying.   It was about elegant small weddings, and the cost of the engagement ring was included in the budget.   That just seemed dumb.

 

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Part of the ridiculousness is looooong ceremonies.  I get that Catholic and probably other groups have longer weddings due to religious tradition/practice, but some of these other brides seem to think, "Well, we've dumped all this money and production into it and everyone I ever met is under pressure to attend, even from abroad, so I better make this show as long as possible."

 

My wedding ceremony was 15 minutes.  Mothers lit the candelabras, wedding party came in to nice music, Scripture was read, vows exchanged, unity candle lit, Grandad entered our names in the wedding registry of the family Bible (printed in 1820,) and gave a blessing and prayer.  Very meaningful but short and to the point.  No filler songs, poems, speeches, etc. Then we had cake and punch for an hour while people visited. No trapping people for 3 hours for us.  Most men don't enjoy weddings and not every woman does either, so need to drag it out.

Yes, if you live far from any restaurants and had a long ceremony something more substantial than cake and punch might be in order.  I agree that in that situation, it's best to scale things down to immediate family and the closest friends.  Second cousin Mildred will just have get over the fact she wasn't invited or she can offer to donate generous funds to pay for a nice meal for lots of people.

Edited by Homeschool Mom in AZ
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This would be viewed as very gauche by most people I know. (NOTE: not if it is clear as a bell that it is cake and punch only.) With the wedding I mentioned where there was not enough food, there were only two "hints" that the food was not intended to be a meal. The first was time of day (maybe 3:00? I don't recall exactly.) and the bigger hint was the plate sizes. They were small plates, dessert-plate sized. There were stations about the room where you could take your tiny plate and get a few eggplant raviolis or grapes and cheese, but people piled up the tiny plates and returned repeated times. They were hungry. They didn't know to expect light fare.

 

Oh, also, there were tables to sit down, but not placecards, so I think that was also a "hint" that they didn't mean for people to sit at a table and eat a meal.

I think the invitation should be clear....if you are invited to the reception it needs to clearly state cake and punch or dinner will be served.

 

As far as things being considered gauche...meh. I am so over people being judgy mcjudgers and making other people feel forced into spending money or other resources to please the masses.

 

Resist it people.

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 The first was time of day (maybe 3:00? I don't recall exactly.)

 

I wouldn't consider a 3:00 wedding a hint that there won't be a meal.  I would consider it completely obvious that a meal won't be served at 4:00-4:30.  Sorry, but anyone who didn't pick up on that seems pretty clueless to me.  No one eats a meal at 4:00 unless they're ill or just got back from an intense, calorie burning hike.

 

Anyone judging things as gouche because it didn't meet some traditional template isn't someone who would do well in most of the SW.  Maybe we're just more individualistic and diverse around here because we've seen just about every kind of wedding there is.

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I suspect that within a generation we'll see weddings more like those of the war generation - often home receptions with few people travelling, dresses that are more like regular dresses and not gowns, and so on.  Or really community supported events where they have large guest lists.

 

My oldest is engaged and planned to get married this fall.  Economic challenges have them moving the date to next fall because they're not financially stable enough yet.  I think that's going to be far more common among Millennials than it was for Baby Boomers and Gen X.  

 

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My baby sister recently got married.  My parents paid for the wedding (in another town in our state so destination for everyone including the bride/groom).  Roughly $40k for 150ppl.  90% attendance.  Price included hotel for about 30ppl, wedding party clothes, rehearsal dinner for 60ppl, and all other usual wedding expenses.  Groom's family were not able to contribute monetarily which was no big deal.  Sis had the wedding of her dreams.  My mom gave her the wedding she always wanted to throw.  Myself and two brothers did not have a wedding so my mom felt like she took $10k from each and threw it all in one pot for the last kiddo.  They could afford it.  My parents and bride/groom wanted it.  Now bride/groom are taking the money they had originally saved for their wedding and traveling around the world for a year or more.  And my mom, sister, and I did NOT want to DIY this wedding in any way IF we could avoid it.  We all had other major time consuming things going on in our lives at the same time.  In general, all three of us would have agreed that 40K for a wedding was insane, out of reach, not realistic, etc etc etc.  But it was just one of those points in life where everything came together to make a massive exception.

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I'd given thought to having an engagement party/surprise wedding for that reason.   Basically, you throw an engagement party, invite everyone you'd invite to the wedding, then at some point bride and groom leave and come back dressed differently, and then they get married.  

 

On Netflix.  Parks and Recreation S3, E9: Andy and April's Fancy Party

 

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I wouldn't consider a 3:00 wedding a hint that there won't be a meal. I would consider it completely obvious that a meal won't be served at 4:00-4:30. Sorry, but anyone who didn't pick up on that seems pretty clueless to me. No one eats a meal at 4:00 unless they're ill or just got back from an intense, calorie burning hike.

 

Anyone judging things as gouche because it didn't meet some traditional template isn't someone who would do well in most of the SW. Maybe we're just more individualistic and diverse around here because we've seen just about every kind of wedding there is.

Yeah...it should be obvious a meal is not in the works; I'm just observing that for many people, it wasn't. I think the full meal wedding reception is so standard in the Mid-Atlantic, it doesn't occur to some people that there won't be a full meal. Incidentally, I saw this happen at a Christmas party two different times as well. The parties were late, like 7:30pm start, and the hosts had lots of appetizers and sweets available, but the more significant appetizers (meatballs, for instance) were gobbled up in about 15 minutes.

 

Anyway, the take-away for me with that wedding was that I would not do light fare with tiny plates and hope people exercise restraint. I would rather have five church ladies serving up chicken salad sandwiches and Costco green beans than elegantly-dressed catering staff dishing out tiny raviolis onto six-inch plates. People (around here, at least) expect to eat at a wedding and it does not seem to matter what time of day the etiquette books say you don't need to serve a full meal. Therefore, it seems better to me to either serve the full meal you can afford or make it crystal-clear that the reception is cake and punch. Throw in some tiny raviolis if you wish, but let that be a happy surprise to the guests who thought it was cake and punch only. 😊

 

Tangent: At another wedding, I also saw people partaking of the food differently from the intention. It was set up like: "On the left side of the room are serving stations for roast beef, potatoes and green beans. On the right side of the room, steamed halibit, rice pilaf and broccoli." People were supposed to CHOOSE ONE. But the buffet line devolved into a snaking line that moved first to the roast beef station and then hooked around for the fish. I was sitting next to my nephew, who was one of the event coordinators and he said just what I was thinking, "People are not doing it 'right.' That wasn't how the food was meant to be chosen. It was supposed to cut down on the size of the line."

 

Maybe I just know a lot of gluttons. ðŸ˜

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Tangent: At another wedding, I also saw people partaking of the food differently from the intention. It was set up like: "On the left side of the room are serving stations for roast beef, potatoes and green beans. On the right side of the room, steamed halibit, rice pilaf and broccoli." People were supposed to CHOOSE ONE. But the buffet line devolved into a snaking line that moved first to the roast beef station and then hooked around for the fish. I was sitting next to my nephew, who was one of the event coordinators and he said just what I was thinking, "People are not doing it 'right.' That wasn't how the food was meant to be chosen. It was supposed to cut down on the size of the line."

 

 

This is why buffets cost more than plated meals.  People take more food at buffets.  A lot of it ends up going to waste, like at a potluck, but it's not available for the next folks.  Plus not everyone teaches their kids how to be polite if they are early in the line.  I'm thinking of the second in line teen boy who loads up his hands with 4 doughnuts, ensuring that some toward the end of the line don't get any.  'Uh, no, you take a reasonable serving, and go back for seconds if there are any left,' is something that parents need to teach but often don't.

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My sis's caterer's plated meal was more expensive than buffet. So she chose buffet, BUT portions were controlled by servers to prevent people piling up plates.  The caterer told us that inevitably guests pile up their plates at the buffet.  Same with open bar hard liquor.  He said invariably hard liquor open bars end up with many don't-usually-drink-like-that people going nuts with free liquor. 

Edited by aggie96
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My sis's caterer's plated meal was more expensive than buffet. So she chose buffet, BUT portions were controlled by servers to prevent people piling up plates. The caterer told us that inevitably guests pile up their plates at the buffet. Same with open bar hard liquor. He said invariably hard liquor open bars end up with many don't-usually-drink-like-that people going nuts with free liquor.

I saw another tip that mentioned that if you have an earlier wedding, you will curb a lot of boozing. Even people who are not shy drinkers generally use more restraint earlier in the day. Plus it would work better if you had wine/beer only, no open bar.

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In this case, cocktails were served in the beer garden while pictures were taken.  Light hor devours with 4 beers served in sample flights from 4 of their favorite places they had visited during their 4yr engagement.  Then during the meal/reception, 2 types of beer via keg/bar tender and 2 types of wine were served along with tea/water/coffee. They were given a complimentary margarita machine-type choice also, but the mix was very weak.  It all worked out nicely.  Main concern was people driving through the winding hills from the venue back to hotels, so buses were provided (early and late bus) from hotel to venue and back.  Very fancy-pants but just lovely and a ton of fun and luxurious.   :)

 

 

ETA:  I got married at the JP, went to dinner at our favorite restaurant, and stayed one night in a historic hotel in town.  No one attended, just DH and me.  And hotel sucked.  Hind sight being what it is, I think it was completely worth saving "my portion" of wedding funds for my sister's wedding because it was crazy, super, insanely luxurious, and I still got to attend without all the pressure!  And I had 3 beautiful kiddos that got to participate, too!  It really felt like a perfect plan 12 years in the making.   :)  We are so blessed. 

Edited by aggie96
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I saw another tip that mentioned that if you have an earlier wedding, you will curb a lot of boozing. Even people who are not shy drinkers generally use more restraint earlier in the day. Plus it would work better if you had wine/beer only, no open bar.

 

 

I like the idea of a mid morning wedding and a simple brunch reception.  Wedding days are so stressful....it is nice for the bride and groom to get to go off to their honeymoon before midnight!

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I saw another tip that mentioned that if you have an earlier wedding, you will curb a lot of boozing. Even people who are not shy drinkers generally use more restraint earlier in the day. Plus it would work better if you had wine/beer only, no open bar.

Agreeing

 

My wedding was early afternoon with wine, beer, champagne only. No open bar. If some wants alcohol at their reception, but is trying to limit costs, they should think about avoiding the open bar.

Edited by Diana P.
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I think that like many economic statistics in this ginormous country of ours......"average" cost is seriously skewed but the East and West coast HCOL areas.

Agreed, I used a quick calculator that indicated that for my cousins (Louisiana, Mississippi) the cost of the venue, catering, and rentals was less than HALF what it is on average where I am in the Northeast. Everything costs more in some areas. However, some of that is really cultural. I typically haven't had a full course meal at weddings in the South, for instance. 

Edited by tm919

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This is why buffets cost more than plated meals.  People take more food at buffets.  A lot of it ends up going to waste, like at a potluck, but it's not available for the next folks.  Plus not everyone teaches their kids how to be polite if they are early in the line.  I'm thinking of the second in line teen boy who loads up his hands with 4 doughnuts, ensuring that some toward the end of the line don't get any.  'Uh, no, you take a reasonable serving, and go back for seconds if there are any left,' is something that parents need to teach but often don't.

Agreed. This is one reason that the meal has become so expensive. Too many people do not think about others. I watch adults pile their plates sky high at receptions, then let their kids take five brownies and three pieces of cake.

 

It's not  a free for all, but there are definitely enough folks who think it is to force those doing the cooking to have to purchase and serve unreasonably large amounts of food for the number of people in attendance.

 

Okay, off topic but one of the worst things I've witnessed was a catering group that didn't double check the kitchen before they left. The wedding was at a church with a large facility. They left several trays of leftover chicken in the ovens. No one knew. It was there for DAYS, if memory serves, something like two weeks before the kitchen was used again by the church. The stench was OVERWHELMING once they opened those oven doors, and so bad that when it wafted into the sanctuary - which was not far away - the pastor dismissed church early, and the trustees and kitchen committee headed out to dispose and disinfect.  :eek:  :ack2:  :svengo:

 

So word of warning, do a quick check of the the kitchen before you leave you m.o.b.'s and m.o.g.'s. Open the fridge, the ovens, and the cupboards to make sure nothing that can turn into a biology experiment gone wrong is about to be left behind.

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Expectations are so different in various parts of the country, too. I am from a medium sized southern town. As a child, all weddings were punch and cake. These days, there are plenty of full meal deals, but if someone did punch and cake, everyone would think it was a sweet throwback, not gauche in any way.

 

The weddings of my childhood did not have alcohol or dancing, either. Short wedding, one special song, cake, punch, maybe some chicken fingers, and bam, done.

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Echoing the previous post that weddings were (in the main) much simpler in my day.  I'm from a solid middle-class background, FWIW.

 

I don't recall *ever* attending a wedding with a sit-down lunch OR dinner afterward...but from what I read in this discussion and others, people now expect a meal.  In my day (and even right this minute at my parish) we pitched in to provide for either a simple reception (punch, the cake, cookies and desserts, sandwiches), or the sit-down meal (the family will pay for ingredients, but we cook it all up), music, photography, flower arrangements, and even honeymoon sites for everyone else's wedding, so there weren't big expenses beyond the dresses/tuxes, rings, the reception site, and whatever people did for the honeymoon, which *rarely* involved a jet.  More like a week away in the mountains.  (I'm from Colorado.)   The service was pretty much by the book (Presbyterian in my case back in the day), Methodist for most of my friends) so there wasn't a lot to buy or to plan to make it "unique and special."  The big decision for us was "you" or "thee"--haha.  

 

I was about 45 years old before I even *heard* of a "lingerie shower" or the bridesmaids parties.  The bridal shower really *was* about setting up a house, so I got things like 3 wooden spoons and a set of dishtowels and so on.  (I still use several of the items I got that day, 36 years ago.)

 

And the thing is, my mom was astounded at how complicated it all was, compared to her 1953 wedding.  :0).  A church, a suit, a ring, a corsage and a cake.

 

My point is NOT to shake my cane and say how much better it was in the old days.  Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't.  

 

But I *will* say that simpler saves a lot of money and even more important to me,  it saves stress and arguing, and it tends to keep one focused on what the whole thing is about.  Because it was simpler, we were able to be hospitable to people who we forgot to invite, who invited themselves and we were SO HAPPY they could come.  It took about 3 months to pull the whole thing together, and it certainly wasn't a frenzy in any way.  We started out debt-free.  

 

And as a little fun side note:  one of the bridesmaids wore her dress to the inaugural balls for President Reagan's second term, and I wore MY bridesmaid dress from my sister's wedding to four proms.  (I taught high school and ended up chaperoning.).  There's $500 saved right there.  :0)

 

 

 

 

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I guess I disagree.  We just go out to eat after the ceremony.  I've done that at several of my cousin's weddings.  Not a big deal.   My wedding was in Texas.  I had people come from California and Ohio.  No meal.  They still love me. 

 

Also, the wedding was at 2, so punch and cake made sense. It was too early for a full meal when the ceremony was over at 2:30. 

 

Every family culture is different. Yours doesn't have to do it the way mine does. They are both right for our particular families. I would certainly not stop loving someone because they didn't give me a meal. I would find it odd for it to not be part of the festivities simply because it's not the norm on my side or my husband's side of the family. Nor among our friends. Every out of town wedding we've ever been to, which are many, have included a meal. The type of meal has varied greatly but there has always been a meal.

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Yeah, I'm not sure I believe this.

 

People aren't obligated to come from away for weddings.  It can be nice to plan a meal for them, but if you can't, that doesn't mean they wouldn't want to be invited.

 

My good friends in university had a nice wedding in the college, with a punch type reception afterwards.  The groom's family was from out of province and many of them came, and I assume they wanted to be there with them.  They did have to largely account for their own meals along with a hotel bill.

 

I suppose they could have decided to invite only the local people or have a private wedding, but I'm not sure that is better in any objective way. 

 

You don't believe that people do it this way? I didn't say it was necessary, just the personal norm I've experienced. No, no one is obligated to come. And no, if you don't want to provide a meal, you don't have to but it's not the norm in my personal experience. Again, I've seen everything from simple, inexpensive meals to luxurious but there has always been a meal when there is a large number of out of town guests.

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I don't know whether a meal at a reception is 'the norm' all over, but one thing that I do think is pretty much the norm is the idea that if a celebration straddles a standard meal time, you feed those present.

 

So, for instance, a 9AM wedding with a reception that is over by 11 would not make me expect a meal.  OTOH, our wedding was at 11AM, so I assumed that guests would need to be fed a substantial meal for lunch.  And in fact, IIRC the reception went until 6 and only finished then because the DJ had to leave.  A 1PM wedding signals 'no meal', because you could be at the reception by 2 and gone by, say, 4.  But a 4PM wedding signals a dinner meal of some sort.  Etc.

 

One of the reasons that we had the wedding at such an unusual time was so that the elderly and out of towners could come and go comfortably.  Some of them had to leave by 8AM to make it on time, and most were coming from about an hour away.  Everyone could get home during daylight hours, which is important to some drivers.  We really wanted our loved ones to be comfortable and to have fun. 

Edited by Carol in Cal.
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This would be viewed as very gauche by most people I know. (NOTE: not if it is clear as a bell that it is cake and punch only.) With the wedding I mentioned where there was not enough food, there were only two "hints" that the food was not intended to be a meal. The first was time of day (maybe 3:00? I don't recall exactly.) and the bigger hint was the plate sizes. They were small plates, dessert-plate sized. There were stations about the room where you could take your tiny plate and get a few eggplant raviolis or grapes and cheese, but people piled up the tiny plates and returned repeated times. They were hungry. They didn't know to expect light fare.

 

Oh, also, there were tables to sit down, but not placecards, so I think that was also a "hint" that they didn't mean for people to sit at a table and eat a meal.

 

My experience would lead me to think ceremony at 3, ends around 3:45, travel to reception, get there around 4-4:15. Cocktails and appetizers while waiting for wedding party. Wedding party gets there around 5. Then dinner, dancing, etc.

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this is certainly regional. I have never been to a wedding that did not include a meal. I'm 51 and started attending weddings as a small child. So, to me having a meal is not a new expectation. Throughout my life attending weddings and receptions have typically taken 3-4 hours or more time. I've never gone to events that would be super, over the top affairs for my area (I don't hang in those circles). Looking back on two wedding I attended during my college years, I know they were done very inexpensively, with family and friends making all the food and decorations and dresses. Another wedding involved two military families and the reception was very elaborate. I've attended a range of weddings and they've all had meals. I've also found them all to be quite nice, but maybe I like being at joyous affairs no matter how much money is spent. 

 

Again a meal does not need to be elaborate. It does not need to be an elegant plated gourmet whatever. It does not need to be a huge buffet. It can be sandwiches or quiches or chicken strips and salad. Time of day may also suggest when a smaller/lighter food might fit best. 

 

I'd consider not having food if I had no out of town guests, the ceremony was short (less than 30 minutes) with reception short and immediately following at the same location and scheduled not near a meal time (like 2 pm). Basically, an event with only local people lasting an hour. I think there is a segment of people starting to do events like this. 

 

A lot of people are not having ceremonies associated with religious communities, as was common in the past. I think this is changing what the "typical" wedding looks like in many places. 

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I don't know whether a meal at a reception is 'the norm' all over, but one thing that I do think is pretty much the norm is the idea that if a celebration straddles a standard meal time, you feed those present.

 

So, for instance, a 9AM wedding with a reception that is over by 11 would not make me expect a meal. OTOH, our wedding was at 11AM, so I assumed that guests would need to be fed a substantial meal for lunch. And in fact, IIRC the reception went until 6 and only finished then because the DJ had to leave. A 1PM wedding signals 'no meal', because you could be at the reception by 2 and gone by, say, 4. But a 4PM wedding signals a dinner meal of some sort. Etc.

 

One of the reasons that we had the wedding at such an unusual time was so that the elderly and out of towners could come and go comfortably. Some of them had to leave by 8AM to make it on time, and most were coming from about an hour away. Everyone could get home during daylight hours, which is important to some drivers. We really wanted our loved ones to be comfortable and to have fun.

The one thing I remember thinking would be stressful about having a morning wedding was there's fewer hours to prepare. If one is DIYing a lot of things, I do remember thinking I didn't want a small window of time before I had to get dressed and do my hair and makeup. So, ironically, someone who is wanting a morning wedding to lower costs will also have the problem of needing to manage a bunch of things, to save money, which is harder, because there's not a lot of time.

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I don't know whether a meal at a reception is 'the norm' all over, but one thing that I do think is pretty much the norm is the idea that if a celebration straddles a standard meal time, you feed those present.

 

So, for instance, a 9AM wedding with a reception that is over by 11 would not make me expect a meal.  OTOH, our wedding was at 11AM, so I assumed that guests would need to be fed a substantial meal for lunch.  And in fact, IIRC the reception went until 6 and only finished then because the DJ had to leave.  A 1PM wedding signals 'no meal', because you could be at the reception by 2 and gone by, say, 4.  But a 4PM wedding signals a dinner meal of some sort.  Etc.

This might be a regional thing, but tends to hold true in terms of "expectation" here. So I do think it is something to take into consideration. 

 

It is interesting that we have had threads on this board where family members were angry that food wasn't being provided, or child care wasn't being provided, or children friendly food wasn't provided, or there was no cry room available for babes in arms, or the hotel wasn't paid for by the bride and groom so the OP could not afford to attend, or....

 

This is why I say that for a bride and groom, weddings don't make sense anymore. Too many people really do expect a wide variety of accommodations, and they will wreck havoc within the extended family when they don't get them. Even at dd's wedding, we got verbally dressed down, harshly and loudly, for not instinctively knowing that certain little nephews from the groom's side of the family should have been provided with McDonald's Happy Meals or some such similar jazz and chocolate milk at the reception because they don't like grown up foods. Sigh.....

 

We have a kind of narcissistic society, and frankly something about weddings and funerals brings that out in families. I am not fan! LOL

 

I suppose it isn't some sudden thing though, like this generation is the only one who went nuts about big family gatherings. I mean there was plenty of drama way back in the day, we just didn't have the HIVE, Facebook, Twitter, and Blogs to share it with so people are informed. I think those of us that experienced it just assumed it was some rare, unfortunate anomaly that others do not have. Now we know that the crazy is everywhere and quite plentiful!

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I think it's all relative. You know how Debeers wants you to spend two months salary on your engagement ring? That's going to be a wildly different number for different people. My wedding cost about three months of our combined salaries. A huge once in a lifetime expenditure? Yes. Above the national average? Yes. More than we could afford? No.

 

The average US household annual income is approximately $50,000. Three months salary is about $12,500. That's pretty close to the $10,000 average wedding.

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This might be a regional thing, but tends to hold true in terms of "expectation" here. So I do think it is something to take into consideration.

 

It is interesting that we have had threads on this board where family members were angry that food wasn't being provided, or child care wasn't being provided, or children friendly food wasn't provided, or there was no cry room available for babes in arms, or the hotel wasn't paid for by the bride and groom so the OP could not afford to attend, or....

 

This is why I say that for a bride and groom, weddings don't make sense anymore. Too many people really do expect a wide variety of accommodations, and they will wreck havoc within the extended family when they don't get them. Even at dd's wedding, we got verbally dressed down, harshly and loudly, for not instinctively knowing that certain little nephews from the groom's side of the family should have been provided with McDonald's Happy Meals or some such similar jazz and chocolate milk at the reception because they don't like grown up foods. Sigh.....

 

We have a kind of narcissistic society, and frankly something about weddings and funerals brings that out in families. I am not fan! LOL

 

I suppose it isn't some sudden thing though, like this generation is the only one who went nuts about big family gatherings. I mean there was plenty of drama way back in the day, we just didn't have the HIVE, Facebook, Twitter, and Blogs to share it with so people are informed. I think those of us that experienced it just assumed it was some rare, unfortunate anomaly that others do not have. Now we know that the crazy is everywhere and quite plentiful!

I am all for being polite, but no way would I tolerate being dressed down for not providing Happy meals.

 

People need to get rid of their expectations of what should happen at an event.

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I am all for being polite, but no way would I tolerate being dressed down fir not proving Happy meals.

 

People need to get rid of their expectations if what should happen at an event.

 

if that happened to me, I think it would be the last time those people were invited to anything whether or not they were family. 

 

When my dc were in the throws of heavy elimination diets, I never demanded a host provide anything. I packed food they could eat and brought it with me to events. If there was actually food at events they could eat, then they ate that, otherwise they ate whatever I packed. 

 

A host may not provide what you think they should, but you don't dress them down. Ever. 

 

(Plus, I don't think there's an etiquette book, blog, website out there that says a host must cater to the whims of random guests including children)

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I don't think I've ever been to a wedding where a sit-down meal was part of the experience. I'm finding this discussion rather intriguing.

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I am all for being polite, but no way would I tolerate being dressed down fir not proving Happy meals.

 

People need to get rid of their expectations if what should happen at an event.

LOL I was hanging on by a thread. My uncle brought my mentally ill aunt which was very unwise because she can not handle crowds, noise,significant activity. She had a melt down a few minutes before which necessitated me helping him get her out of there. I think I was in a daze when the snowflakes came after me for the non kid friendly food.

 

Of course, again family culture. I raised my kids on grilled chicken breasts, baked seafood, green veggies, and due to finances, we did not do McD's much. So it never occurred to me that children would refuse to eat the food provided, or if they did, that parents would blame me for not knowing this intuitively and providing other fare.

 

I have coordinated a ridiculously high number of events both as a former amateur, and as a recent pro, and that was a new one to me at the time.

 

Humans are so inventive with their drama!

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I don't think I've ever been to a wedding where a sit-down meal was part of the experience. I'm finding this discussion rather intriguing.

Me neither. And I come from a solidly middle class (possibly upper middle class) southern family. Maybe Texans have different expectations. I don't know. I've been to plenty of nice weddings too. Oh, well.

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...snip...

 

We have a kind of narcissistic society, and frankly something about weddings and funerals brings that out in families. I am not fan! LOL

 

I suppose it isn't some sudden thing though, like this generation is the only one who went nuts about big family gatherings. I mean there was plenty of drama way back in the day, we just didn't have the HIVE, Facebook, Twitter, and Blogs to share it with so people are informed. I think those of us that experienced it just assumed it was some rare, unfortunate anomaly that others do not have. Now we know that the crazy is everywhere and quite plentiful!

 

One thing that *has* changed is that there is a lot less "standard practice."  When I was a kid (I'll be 60 in about a month), ya kinda knew what to expect because the weddings were generally "out of the book" as were the funerals, and people had been there before.  It is still that way to a large degree in some subsets of the population, especially where either sacrament or tradition is highly respected.  

 

As events have become more individual and personal expressions, two things have happened.  It makes a lot more work for the planners and makes it harder for other people to know how to chip in, what to do.  The planners have to pull everything together from scratch, make all kinds of decisions about what they want (or what the departed would have wanted) and get it all together.  This probably opens the door to a lot of tension that may not be well expressed at times.  

 

In our parish, we have had 7 weddings in 7 years and 5 funerals in 5 years.  Everyone knows what to expect, what to do, how to contribute, where to be, what to wear, how much time to set aside, what to sing, how to act.  The family doesn't have to make an enormous number of decisions or do a lot of the preparation work because there are people all around them to step in and do All the Things.  Not ALL but you know what I mean.  We know what the services will be, we know the music, we know where the receiving line will be.  We have all the symbolic elements at the church.  Get the flowers, call people to let them know (funeral) or get the announcement in the bulletin (everyone is assumed invited to a sacramental church service) and invite those outside the parish.  Go.

 

However, when Dad died, I could not believe the exhaustive amount of work my sister and mom had to do.  I did the calling for funeral director as we saw he was dying, and got all done that I could from a distance, but OMGOODNESS, the service itself was really nice, and very Dad, but my sister and mom were completely worn out.  Every last thing had to be thought about, nothing could be assumed, every little speech written, all the music decided on and  collated and rehearsed and farmed out, the slide show developed and so on.  Because nothing was standard, it all had to be created, and that just brings up a lot of discussion and opinions and not knowing quite what to do or how to help.  All this, at pretty generally stressful inflection points.

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I don't think I've ever been to a wedding where a sit-down meal was part of the experience. I'm finding this discussion rather intriguing.

 

I'd say, in my 44 years of living here, it's been half and half for me.  Boy are some people in for a shock if they expect it every time. I was an adult before I ever attended a wedding that included drinking and dancing at a reception.  Those are both more common now.

 

I think our society is far more mobile these days and the internet spreads ideas and that means moving away from rigid templates, folks. Accept it and act accordingly, it will save you needless angst.  I live in an area where most people didn't grow up here, so when people from elsewhere expect what Sissy, Mamma and Nana did back home to be the norm, it doesn't reflect well on them. Um, why would someone expect that?  Add to that how cosmopolitan we are with people from all over the country and foreign countries, and expectations are actually foolish in this kind of setting.  Instead, people should be grateful and appreciative for what the hosts and couple are providing for them.

 

I agree clear communication about what is provided in the way of food should be included in the invitation so people can plan to eat or not before or after if a wedding is around a meal time. Planning should also consider meal times in the process and plan accordingly.  If it's in a physical environment where certain clothing or shoe options would cause problems, it should be mentioned.  But beyond that kind of thing, you get what you get and you don't get upset.

 

I'm going to an LDS wedding of a friend's daughter next month.  I'm not LDS.  That means I'm only invited to the reception, and not allowed to enter their temple at all where their ceremony will be. Shrug.  Half my in-laws are LDS and half aren't.  Most of the half that aren't choose to take great personal offense that because of religious practice, they are not allowed to attend the wedding ceremonies of LDS family members, only the receptions.  I, on the other hand, choose to appreciate how nice it was to be invited to the parts that their religious practices allow and I'll be there happily.

 

I think being upset about someone else's wedding, church music style, church attire, and funerals has been a part of grievance culture for a long time among the older generations.  I also notice the older generations are usually the ones I hear complaining about modern grievance culture.

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Patty Joanna, I agree completely. There just is n it a standard or usual, and that does make for a lot of complication.

 

My mother's church has about 19 funerals per year, and 11 weddings. That sheer number has caused them to do dictate some things, and resulted in rental fees because they cannot afford to absorb the custodial and utilities cost of so many events. It is the go to place in the county because it can seat a large number of people both for services and for food since most of the area churches are small both in facility and in attendance.

 

Individualism can be really special and meaningful, but the opposite side of that coin is that it can also be a big pain in the rear.

 

Next up? I have my niece's Celtic handfasting. Thank goodness I am not on the hook to coordinate a thing became I have zero idea what should happen at one of these.

 

Funerals are simply the worst. Ever. I was exhausted to the bone, but felt it was necessary to do every possible thing I could so the funeral director or one of his staff would not do it because they would have tacked on a fee for every little detail. I even transported the flowers on the casket from the church to the grave because I am pretty certain he would have charged her fifty bucks for hanging them if I had not gotten to those flowers first! I spent the whole day running around like an insane woman. Worse than any wedding, including my own daughter's wedding.

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 It must be the culture.  I've been to 10 weddings in the last few years and only one had a dinner.  The rest were just cake and punch.  It was assumed, not spelled out. 

 

Yeah...it should be obvious a meal is not in the works; I'm just observing that for many people, it wasn't. I think the full meal wedding reception is so standard in the Mid-Atlantic, it doesn't occur to some people that there won't be a full meal. Incidentally, I saw this happen at a Christmas party two different times as well. The parties were late, like 7:30pm start, and the hosts had lots of appetizers and sweets available, but the more significant appetizers (meatballs, for instance) were gobbled up in about 15 minutes.

Anyway, the take-away for me with that wedding was that I would not do light fare with tiny plates and hope people exercise restraint. I would rather have five church ladies serving up chicken salad sandwiches and Costco green beans than elegantly-dressed catering staff dishing out tiny raviolis onto six-inch plates. People (around here, at least) expect to eat at a wedding and it does not seem to matter what time of day the etiquette books say you don't need to serve a full meal. Therefore, it seems better to me to either serve the full meal you can afford or make it crystal-clear that the reception is cake and punch. Throw in some tiny raviolis if you wish, but let that be a happy surprise to the guests who thought it was cake and punch only. 😊

Tangent: At another wedding, I also saw people partaking of the food differently from the intention. It was set up like: "On the left side of the room are serving stations for roast beef, potatoes and green beans. On the right side of the room, steamed halibit, rice pilaf and broccoli." People were supposed to CHOOSE ONE. But the buffet line devolved into a snaking line that moved first to the roast beef station and then hooked around for the fish. I was sitting next to my nephew, who was one of the event coordinators and he said just what I was thinking, "People are not doing it 'right.' That wasn't how the food was meant to be chosen. It was supposed to cut down on the size of the line."

Maybe I just know a lot of gluttons. ðŸ˜

 

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I don't think I've ever been to a wedding where a sit-down meal was part of the experience. I'm finding this discussion rather intriguing.

 

 

YES!!!  I only went to my first one a few months ago.  Now it happens to be one of my husband's partners.  I have no feeling like we HAVE to do something similar.  They will be invited for cake and punch.  I don't think we will be judged.  I just think maybe Texas or at least rural Texas is different maybe???  I don't know. 

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I saw another tip that mentioned that if you have an earlier wedding, you will curb a lot of boozing. Even people who are not shy drinkers generally use more restraint earlier in the day. Plus it would work better if you had wine/beer only, no open bar.

 

Since we do not drink.  There will be no booze at the reception.

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You don't believe that people do it this way? I didn't say it was necessary, just the personal norm I've experienced. No, no one is obligated to come. And no, if you don't want to provide a meal, you don't have to but it's not the norm in my personal experience. Again, I've seen everything from simple, inexpensive meals to luxurious but there has always been a meal when there is a large number of out of town guests.

 

I believe people do it that way, of course.  However, what you said was that,

 

With our extended family all over the place, meals really do need to be a part of the event. Whether it's a less expensive bbq buffet or a sit down meal....... you can't ask people to fly or drive for a day or two, and then not feed them.

 

Which does suggest not just a personal experience, or what your family prefers, but a general principle when people come from afar.

 

Presumably if one could not stretch to a meal for all guests, but had close family that lived far away, you would still invite the family members if they wanted to come.

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Patty Joanna, I agree completely. There just is n it a standard or usual, and that does make for a lot of complication.

 

My mother's church has about 19 funerals per year, and 11 weddings. That sheer number has caused them to do dictate some things, and resulted in rental fees because they cannot afford to absorb the custodial and utilities cost of so many events. It is the go to place in the county because it can seat a large number of people both for services and for food since most of the area churches are small both in facility and in attendance.

 

Individualism can be really special and meaningful, but the opposite side of that coin is that it can also be a big pain in the rear.

 

Next up? I have my niece's Celtic handfasting. Thank goodness I am not on the hook to coordinate a thing became I have zero idea what should happen at one of these.

 

Funerals are simply the worst. Ever. I was exhausted to the bone, but felt it was necessary to do every possible thing I could so the funeral director or one of his staff would not do it because they would have tacked on a fee for every little detail. I even transported the flowers on the casket from the church to the grave because I am pretty certain he would have charged her fifty bucks for hanging them if I had not gotten to those flowers first! I spent the whole day running around like an insane woman. Worse than any wedding, including my own daughter's wedding.

Not liking but LIKING.  You know what I mean.

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I believe people do it that way, of course.  However, what you said was that,

 

With our extended family all over the place, meals really do need to be a part of the event. Whether it's a less expensive bbq buffet or a sit down meal....... you can't ask people to fly or drive for a day or two, and then not feed them.

 

Which does suggest not just a personal experience, or what your family prefers, but a general principle when people come from afar.

 

Presumably if one could not stretch to a meal for all guests, but had close family that lived far away, you would still invite the family members if they wanted to come.

 

"Need" may have not been the right word to use....... It is just what is done, on both sides of our family. I've never seen it done another way. Would I still fly out to New Mexico or Texas for a wedding that didn't include a meal? Or drive 10-12 hours to a few other places... Of course.

 

As far as a "general principle", most people I know do have similar experiences with their families.

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We have a kind of narcissistic society, and frankly something about weddings and funerals brings that out in families. I am not fan! LOL

 

Bingo

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I don't think I've ever been to a wedding where a sit-down meal was part of the experience. I'm finding this discussion rather intriguing.

I have never been to a wedding without a sit-down (plated or buffet) as part of the experience! I've attended weddings from 1984 to the present, in northern rural PA, all over California, in Kentucky, and from Long Island to Maryland. Friends and family, Catholic and Protestant and Jewish, big shindigs and intimate gatherings.

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YES!!!  I only went to my first one a few months ago.  Now it happens to be one of my husband's partners.  I have no feeling like we HAVE to do something similar.  They will be invited for cake and punch.  I don't think we will be judged.  I just think maybe Texas or at least rural Texas is different maybe???  I don't know. 

 

About a third of the weddings we go to are in rural TX (or almost rural). These are the ones we travel quite a distance to get to, as do many others. The weddings are more casual but there is always food.

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The one thing I remember thinking would be stressful about having a morning wedding was there's fewer hours to prepare. If one is DIYing a lot of things, I do remember thinking I didn't want a small window of time before I had to get dressed and do my hair and makeup. So, ironically, someone who is wanting a morning wedding to lower costs will also have the problem of needing to manage a bunch of things, to save money, which is harder, because there's not a lot of time.

 

Yes, this was a distinct problem, plus I had an insane photographer.  He insisted that he do a photo shoot with DH and I lasting for 4 hours before the wedding.  That would have meant that he and I and all the wedding party would have had to be photo ready at my grandparents' house by 6:30 AM.  I said no.

 

He argued that we would not actually enjoy our wedding.  That these quiet moments with him telling us to smile were going to be the highlight of the day, what we would remember always as the best part.  (YES HE SERIOUSLY DID.)

 

I said no.

 

We compromised on a brief photo shoot with just me and the bridesmaids as well as my grandparents and parents at the GPs' house around 9 or so, and a separate photo shoot with Rod later on. 

 

Cra cra.

 

Also I couldn't wash my hair with my first and only ever manicure/false nails, so my sister climbed into the shower to help.  Greater love hath no one than this...

 

I once attended a wedding that was at 9.  I don't know how in the world they stood it.

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Oh my Carol!! I have met a couple of whackadoodle photographers in my day, but YOWZA!!!

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About a third of the weddings we go to are in rural TX (or almost rural). These are the ones we travel quite a distance to get to, as do many others. The weddings are more casual but there is always food.

Oh, I wasn't implying there isn't food. There is generally some sort of food. Just not a sit down meal.

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Oh, I wasn't implying there isn't food. There is generally some sort of food. Just not a sit down meal.

Same. There's always some sort of food. But for a formal, sit-down meal, I've never experienced it.

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