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Why?

When did wedding receptions stop being true receptions with hors d'oeuvres, light refreshment and perhaps wine, and start being formal, full course sit down dinners? For $15,000-50,000 or more couples are expected to provide a full course cocktail hour, free alcohol, a sitdown multiple-choice dinner and entertainment. In exchange for the money you spend on each guest you will, in return get, perhaps, a set of towels, a blender or a toaster.   You will never recoup a fraction of what you spent . You will also get complaints about the lack of choices at cocktail hour, the type of alcohol served, the lack of choices at dinner for vegetarians, or the meat was too done or the meat wasn't done enough,  the seating area and the entertainment. How did we get to the point where we basically have to bribe our family and friends with free alcohol, free food and free entertainment to have them share the most intimate moment of our life?   Think how far that money would go towards your home, your retirement or a college fund for your kids and you wouldn't have to put up with the complaining.   With the money you saved you could buy your own towels, blender and toaster.   Of course in the end it's the couple's choice but I would like to hear how we got to this point and why we feel we need to spend these exorbitant funds to bribe our friends and family to join us on our wedding day.   I have officiated many weddings and have seen that special moment between the couple lost in the drama of the criticisms and complaints about the reception.

Posts

  • SammykateSammykate Posts: 4,014 New bride

    Wow. Have you just totally missed the point of getting married and having a wedding?

    I can't even be bothered to dignify this with a response, but I'll just say I'm not inviting my guests with the aim of recouping my costs in towels. My friends and family would also never be so rude to complain about things like food and alcohol.

  • Didn't miss the point at all after having been married myself for 47 years.  Had a true reception and cake-cutting and have owned 3 homes free and clear for over 25 years and paid college tuition for two kids.  I just feel that many times these exorbitant extravaganzas have missed the whole point of a "wedding" which is the uniting of two people-two hearts and the beginning of a journey together.  

  • SammykateSammykate Posts: 4,014 New bride

    According to your post you think the sole point of a wedding is how much in gifts you can get from your guests.

    "In exchange for the money you spend on each guest you will, in return get, perhaps, a set of towels, a blender or a toaster.   You will never recoup a fraction of what you spent ."

    Where does that talk about the uniting of two people and joining lives together?

    If you are married with kids I'm not really sure what you're doing on this forum which is for those getting married and maybe trying for kids afterwards? Trolling?

  • SammykateSammykate Posts: 4,014 New bride

    Also your post suggests you are American. This is a UK forum. Sit down formal dinners have always been a part of UK weddings, it's not something new. A lot of brides now also do alternatives such as buffets, food vans or BBQs. We don't have cocktail hours or college funds.

  • Personally I see our wedding reception as a big thank you to my friends and family for supporting me and my partner over the years... Its also a celebration of the beginning of our married life, something to be enjoyed by all, ourselves included. 

  • Jenni8Jenni8 Posts: 3,201
    Elizabeth124 wrote (see post):

    How did we get to the point where we basically have to bribe our family and friends with free alcohol, free food and free entertainment to have them share the most intimate moment of our life?   

    This may be the case for yourself or people that you know, but it certainly isn't the case for most people. I am not bribing anyone. I am not inviting anyone to my wedding who has these expectations which you consider so common and I am certainly not inviting anyone who would complain about it!  

    I know that all of my invited guests are, and if I were a wedding guest I would be, more then happy to share in the joy of two people declaring their love and commitment. I genuinely have no expectation of being showered with gifts. And I am certainly not expecting to recuperate my costs - anyone who does should seriously reconsider their reasons for having a wedding.

    I think you need to re-post your post on an american site as things here work much differently (for example multiple-choice menu and free alcohol are not standard as you suggest they are), or even better, stay off forums altogether as there is no need for judgement, rudeness and arrogance. What the heck does the fact you own 3 homes mortgage free and have seen two children through college have anything to do with the choices people make with regards to their wedding day?? Answer: nothing, this is completely irrelevant. 

  • Kate186Kate186 Posts: 92
    Jenni8 wrote (see post):
    What the heck does the fact you own 3 homes mortgage free and have seen two children through college have anything to do with the choices people make with regards to their wedding day?? Answer: nothing, this is completely irrelevant. 

     

     

     

    This!!! Personally object to people owning three houses when I live in a "holiday town" which because of people owning multiple houses people raised here cannot afford to live here. This is not a good way of making your point.

     

    Benefit of the doubt, if your point is that too much money is spent on weddings (and there are other important things to spend on) I agree with you. I read somewhere that an average wedding is 20k?? I think this must have some large out liers because as far as I can tell people are trying to get within the 10k (maybe 15k) mark.

     

    Also to echo what cherry cola said - my reception is about celebrating the amazing people that make our family and friends. It's also about combining our two families and introducing people that wouldn't otherwise meet.

  • Mrs..C..2beMrs..C..2be Posts: 318 New bride

    I'm not sure your original post meant to cause offense but it certainly makes a lot of assumptions and appears to be a dig at those who have big costly weddings. I personally think its one of those things that is personal to each couple. Yes its about signifying your love and commitment to one another but for many they wish to share this with their loved ones. As has happened with many events and celebrations, weddings have become big business. There are lots more options and opportunities for couples to have the wedding of their dreams.. but at a cost! Given this is hopefully a once in a lifetime event many couples choose to take advantage of this special time and go all out. So long as this doesn't cause them financial hardship then I dont think its anyone elses business.

    I want to get married and have a lovely wedding but we also want to move house again so we have determined our budget accordingly. Neither myself, my friends or family who have married do so expecting anything more from their guests than to turn up on time, join in and be happy for them. 

    I'm getting married abroad and have explicitly said to guests we don't want gifts- their presence is our present. As a quick aside weddings can be very costly for guests too- hen/stag parties, outfits, hotels, gifts, drinks etc.. We are having a champagne reception and sit down meal and shock horror free bar ;-) Not a bribe but we want our guests to know we appreciate their effort to attend and want them to have fun without having to worry about costs of drinks etc on the day. 

    Ps. Even with costs of the weeks holiday for us, our children and parents, our wedding is way below the national average. Having cocktails etc doesn't necessarily have to mean blowing the bank :-)

  • Kim90Kim90 Posts: 183

    Hey...it's your choice!   I have been to so many weddings! From a quickie in a registry office and a bring your own meat barbeque... To a huge church do with a 10 course meal, free champagne and a well known band to entertain

     Neither guarantees a happy life! But the choice is there to take! I am getting married for the 2nd time in 8 weeks...I refuse to pay out a fortune, but there are things I will still pay for...a lovely venue,food and ceremony..I wasn't going to have a hen night but my friends have got together and we will have a few drinks before!

    take it easy! Spend what you like and remember it's your day!

  • HereitgoesHereitgoes Posts: 206 New bride
    Kim90 wrote (see post):

    Hey...it's your choice!   I have been to so many weddings! From a quickie in a registry office and a bring your own meat barbeque... To a huge church do with a 10 course meal, free champagne and a well known band to entertain

     Neither guarantees a happy life! But the choice is there to take! I am getting married for the 2nd time in 8 weeks...I refuse to pay out a fortune, but there are things I will still pay for...a lovely venue,food and ceremony..I wasn't going to have a hen night but my friends have got together and we will have a few drinks before!

    take it easy! Spend what you like and remember it's your day!

    I agree 😊

  • Marija2Marija2 Posts: 362

    I believe this has been worded wrong, and probably written on the wrong forum. Wrong country. I come from the country where the tradition was to have 3 day wedding celebration, and you cover all the expenses- food, alcohol and accomodation. It's not like it anymore ( thanks god for that), so from my point of view we actually simplified it, so this statement would be wrong straight away...

    Although I have mentioned it before on another thread, that where is a set vision of the 'proper' wedding and the amount of money you are expected to spend on it. I know some ladies who have been dreaming about their wedding day since they were little girls, and by all means I hope and think they should get all of it and money is sort of irrelevant in this situation. But reacently a friend of mine started planning the wedding, and both of them were always very vocal that weddings are nonsense, waste of money and they don't care about it. Next thing I know they are spending the money they have been saving for their house (around £12000) to have a 'proper' wedding. And they are expecting that their friends will give them cash and sort of pay for themselves.. This makes my blood boil!

    I have never dreamt about the wedding, so and I do not feel presured into bribing my friends and family with the fancy wedding, so I just do whatever I think is right.. I spend whatever I think is right.

    Also if you got married 47 years ago, you simply couldn't get access to certain things that nowadays brides can. and certains things that in your days were cheap and norm actually costs a fortune now... Times change. 

  • To Jenni8:  don't currently own 3 homes.  Started small, 2 bedroom 1 bath.  First child, better job, paid off first and bought a 2 bath house.  Husband got better job, 3rd child came along, paid off second house, bought one large enough for 3 children, paid it off. 

    I am not suggesting that any of you not spend every dime you have in any way you want.  I merely asked the question of why we take the most intimate moment between two people and it suddenly becomes more about the party than the moment.  I believe you all adequately answered the question with two consistent answers:  (1) it's more about the party, and (2) it has become a business.  But, it still begs the question: would all those "friends, family and supporters" show up without the alcohol, food and entertainment?

  • sam79sam79 Posts: 160 New bride

    I can hand on heart say that, yes everyone on our guest list would turn up irrespective of what food and drink and entertainment we provide as they are there to celebrate our day with us. Much like I have turned up to many different versions of weddings, all across the country and the world as I was honoured to be invited to share an important day in the life of one of my friends. I think it's pretty sad that you think people only turn up for free food and drink! The people who will come to our wedding are those that care about us, as it's not cost free for them to attend either. Having a wedding is not about the money and it's sad to think that there are people out there who feel this way, weddings do of course cost money but how much people spend is an individual choice. For me the wedding and marriage is about us, the love we have for each other and the love and care our friends have for us. 

  • Jenni8Jenni8 Posts: 3,201
    Elizabeth124 wrote (see post):

    To Jenni8:  don't currently own 3 homes.  Started small, 2 bedroom 1 bath.  First child, better job, paid off first and bought a 2 bath house.  Husband got better job, 3rd child came along, paid off second house, bought one large enough for 3 children, paid it off. 

    I am not suggesting that any of you not spend every dime you have in any way you want.  I merely asked the question of why we take the most intimate moment between two people and it suddenly becomes more about the party than the moment.  I believe you all adequately answered the question with two consistent answers:  (1) it's more about the party, and (2) it has become a business.  But, it still begs the question: would all those "friends, family and supporters" show up without the alcohol, food and entertainment?

    Stop showing off. I couldn't care less.

    I think that you need to open your mind to the fact that everyone sees things differently and have different opinions. You have come to the conclusion that all the people who have commented non here view their wedding as more of a party. This couldn't be further from the truth for me. 

    To answer your question.... yes, without a doubt. I am only inviting people who I know are coming to share in the joy of my marriage, not people who want food alcohol and entertainment. For this reason, I am having a comparatively small wedding at 60 people and wouldn't have it any other way. 

  • Mrs..C..2beMrs..C..2be Posts: 318 New bride

    I had written out a lengthy reply basically challenging the notion our replies somehow indicated our marriages were more about the party than the moment. I also made reference to the fact that many couples see the moment more in the ceremony and the personal touches and significance attached. The party (reception) being a time to celebrate that moment. In my case my guests are paying a significant amount to come share the moment and the party... It would be a lot cheaper for them to stay at home regardless of how much free food and drink they consume on the day. Thankfully my guests want to share our special day and are willing to pay for a holiday to do so. I genuinely feel very sad for anyone who has to bribe guests to attend and I would certainly be questioning my friendships and relationships if that was the case.

  • Kate186Kate186 Posts: 92

    I think you need to cut your losses and get out Elizabeth, you're not going to find any supporters here and I don't think inspiring flaming is a good idea!

    There is a wedding business but the people that buy into that aren't the people you find on here - the people that spend hours each day making sure their loved ones will feel happy, treasured and comfortable on their day; and the sort of people that live for those personal touches a wedding can have.

    I have pretty crap self esteem and even I don't think that my friends and family enjoy spending time with me because of the food and drink I provide them.

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