DIY Reception That Really Wasn’t… or “How To Exploit Your Clients To Cater Your Reception”

by admin on August 7, 2013

I want to begin by saying that my polite spine was nowhere to be found when this all occurred. I know I will be hammered on for that by the community and I have to say I well deserve it.

I met the bride, Carla, when I joined the gym and she was assigned to be my personal trainer. We became friendly, going to Bunco together, lunch etc. I was very excited for her when she became engaged after a crummy divorce. Right before the New Year, she and her fiance eloped to Mexico unbeknownst to most. When they returned she eagerly shared pictures of their beach wedding, complete with beautiful gown, newly purchased suit for the groom and an exciting swim with the dolphins! How fun!

Given that they had eloped, the reception was several months after the actual wedding. I get a call one afternoon and Carla is wanting my mailing address for the reception invitation. No problem! Love to come! Now THIS is when the etiquette starts heading south…..she then asks, by the way, could I bring a dish to the reception? Being caught off guard I say sure. I ask what she would like for me to bring since I don’t want to bring salad if there are already salads being made. She then tells me that she wants me to bring dessert and oh, she’ll go ahead and email the recipe of said dessert to me. (This always elicits gasps when I tell the story but it never overly offended me because I am not the world’s best cook). Anyway!

Fast forward to a week before the reception….Carla calls and tells me she finally was able to get the recipe and email it to me. I tell her when I get home I will check the email etc. As I am about to hang up, she springs this on me: “By the way, I need you to QUADRUPLE the recipe.”  OK..

I get home and find the recipe in my inbox as promised. The recipe is for strawberry pretzel salad dessert but with a change to the crust-use graham crackers and not crushed pretzels. Basically this recipe contains strawberries, cool whip, cream cheese and now apparently graham crackers. The ingredients are NOT cheap and by the time I quadrupled the recipe the stuff came to $45! I was unemployed at the time waiting on disability and/or payment from workers’ comp so money was a HUGE issue. Goodness knows that $45 was way more than I would have spent on a gift.

So two days before the reception I get a call from Carla telling me that it was OK if I just used disposable pans for the dessert (Which I had already purchased from the dollar store-2 of the 9×1 3 pans for a dollar! So add $2 the total spent.) Oh, and I have to provide serving utensils for my dessert too since they (she and her new husband) are only providing utensils for the stuff they are bringing. Back to the dollar store for two spatulas.

I had agreed to help decorate the reception venue the night before the actual reception as I love doing that kind of stuff. I help drag out all kinds of decorations for the beach-themed reception to reflect their beach wedding. Fun seashells, fake sand, beach nets and volleyballs, beach chairs and oh yeah-real sand to re-create the beach complete with volleyball net and chairs. I have to say that they sure went all out to spend on decorations!!

The day of the reception I get a text from Carla that was obviously sent to more than one person as it was addressed to “Girls”. The text went on to detail that during the reception if we “girls” could keep an eye on the veggie trays and that if they run low, there will be veggies in a cooler under the table and please replenish as needed. Oh, and by the way, the toast will be later on and when it’s time to go around and pour, the bottles will be in the kitchen area (!!!) I finally got mad at this point. (I warned you that I was without the polite spine!)

The reception was to begin at six that evening. At approximately 4:30 I get a text from Carla asking what time I was planning to be at the reception. I said around six since that’s when it was to begin. I was then informed (via text) that “food is supposed to be there at 5:30″. I replied that I would do my best to get there as soon as I could. As soon as I could was me leaving at 5:50 (the reception site is not far from my house). I bring in my FOUR 9×13 pans of strawberry salad and utensils and am instructed to put two of them on the end of the buffet tables. The other two are taken to be refrigerated.

The reception begins and I do NOT keep an eye on the veggie trays nor do I run around and pour any beverages for the toast. Carla says nothing to me. I did notice that that 100+ people that were supposed to be in attendance were not there-more like 45 or so. And those in attendance were all pretty much her clients from the gym! I didn’t meet a single person that was connected to the groom. Really kind of sad! Towards the end of the evening, I go to check on the status of my dessert thinking I am going to have a ton of it to take home. Two girls are chatting by the desserts and I hear one of them say that she really hopes that people start eating the strawberry stuff soon as she doesn’t want to be stuck with a ton of it to take home. (I am wondering at this point why she would think that she is going to take home any of MY leftovers, but anything is possible at this point!) I mention that I don’t want a ton of leftovers of MY dessert and the girl looks confused and says, “I made these strawberry desserts,”  and I say, “No, I did. These two pans are mine.”    She looks again and then asks where the heck are the ones that SHE made then? Turns out this poor girl was also suckered into making four pans of the strawberry desserts as well! She had arrived at 5:30 as food was supposed to and all four of her pans ended up in the refrigerator! I ended up leaving with two full pans and one pan ½ full, but I know that girl left with all four of her pans full to the brim!

Fast forward two weeks and I get an invitation to breakfast with Carla. I accept mostly out of curiosity since I have only had passing contact with Carla at the gym since the reception. We go to breakfast and we begin talking about the reception and how she now has so much time on her hands without all the planning, etc. She’s managed to write all her thank you notes though! Obviously I never received a TY note-those were clearly reserved for those people who brought an actual GIFT.

So needless to say we are not really friendly anymore, more just passing nods at the gym. I just love that they were able to afford to fly to Mexico for 10 days, get married on the beach with dress and suit and professional photography and swim with the dolphins but can’t afford to pay for catering for their reception! Grill away Ehellions!   0804-13

{ 67 comments… read them below or add one }

Kirsten August 7, 2013 at 11:07 am

Am I the only person who thought the pudding recipe sounded disgusting?

What a user!

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essie August 7, 2013 at 11:46 am

It’s not a pudding. Crushed nuts (or graham crackers) on the bottom layer, cream cheese/Cool Whip layer in the middle, topped with strawberry; it’s more like a cheesecake.

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Kirsten August 8, 2013 at 3:39 pm

I am confused because that commenter is Kirsten, and so am I, but I’m pretty sure she means pudding in the British sense – it’s a synonym for dessert.

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Kirsten (the first!) August 9, 2013 at 5:46 am

Yes, I do! A general pudding, rather than eg a suet pudding.

Each to their own. The pistachio one below I can’t even work out or picture!

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ferretrick August 7, 2013 at 11:50 am

No. Definitely not. The description of this dish appalled me more than the etiquette violations. Graham crackers do sound like they would go slightly better with the, er, “filling” than pretzels, but not by much.

“Salad dessert.” These words do not go together.

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Mary August 8, 2013 at 9:52 am

You wouldn’t believe what people try and and pass off for salads in the Midwest. Snicker salad, cookie salad… Usually there is one kind of chopped fruit involved along with pudding and Cool Whip. I’ve seen some “salads” that don’t contain any fruit or veggies at all. They are really desserts. Most of them I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole.

I have had the pretzel strawberry salad and its good. But it really is a dessert.

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Heather August 8, 2013 at 5:06 pm

My DH (who is from the Midwest) believes that fruit is not a dessert, it’s a salad item. If you bake it into a pie or a cobbler, *then* it’s a dessert, otherwise it’s, I dunno, too healthy or something. I suppose it’s because of this kind of thing.

The weird thing is, we don’t even eat dessert at most meals and we are both OK with that. But if I bring out fruit after supper and try to “pass it off” as dessert, he might eat it but he will inform me that it is not a dessert.

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Michelle M. August 9, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Okay, Midwest girl here who *does* actually know the difference between a salad, and a dessert (fruit counts, by the way)!

Please don’t tar us all with the same brush! ;)

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Mary August 10, 2013 at 2:09 am

Maybe it’s just Minnesota!

AMC August 8, 2013 at 1:23 pm

I’ve made pretzel salad before many times. Got the recipe from my grandmother. It’s actually one of my favorite desserts. The saltiness of the pretzels goes well with the sweetness of the other ingredients. I make it with a crust of crushed pretzels, a layer of strawberry Jell-O, a layer of cool whip and topped with sliced strawberries.

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Michelle M. August 12, 2013 at 10:56 am

Mary, LOL! I AM from Minnesota ;)

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girl_with_all_the_yarn August 7, 2013 at 1:40 pm

That would probably explain why there was so much left over…

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Mae August 7, 2013 at 2:03 pm

Some of the people I work with make that strawberry pretzel dessert for every get together. I tried it and thought it was disgusting and I also noticed a few others who avoided it. However, quite a few rave about it.

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AIP August 7, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Nope. The world’s nastiest cheesecake ‘smather’, as they’d say in Irish.

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JSchoolJunkette August 7, 2013 at 2:37 pm

Actually, it’s a pretty traditional Midwestern dish. We just call it Pretzel Salad in Cincinnati. It’s not my favorite, since I’ve never been a fan of fruit suspended in Jell-O. But it is always a big hit. I think it’s just something you grow up with to adore. Like I absolutely adore Pistachio Salad (pistachio pudding mix, whipped topping, a can of pineapple and marshmallows) but my husband just looks at the light green globs like they’re toxic (They may well be,).

But as for the OP – No grilling here. You learned your lesson about the importance of a polite spine. I doubt the Carla’s of the world will walk over you any time soon. But Carla’s actions literally made me harrumph multiple times.

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Allison August 7, 2013 at 5:16 pm

I’ve had that desert before (potluck) and it’s not my thing, but I think it’s a childhood favorite for some.

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Sarah Jane August 8, 2013 at 9:17 am

Oh my goodness…I’ve never heard so many negative reviews of this dish! Strawberry Pretzel Salad is a huge hit over here! It’s a blend of sweet, salty, and fruity…I’ve seen it served at events at work, church, and family affairs. I have seen it done wrong, but when it’s done right, there’s never any left over.

Perhaps it’s a regional thing? I don’t know, and I hate to sound dramatic, but truly…these responses baffle me!

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Kirsten (the first!) August 9, 2013 at 9:50 am

It’s the fake cream that does it for me. Any super-processed, chemical food like that…shudder.

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EchoGirl August 10, 2013 at 5:51 pm

Actually, you can do it with real cream too. Just take a carton of heavy whipping cream and a few tablespoons of powdered sugar, and put it all under the electric mixer until it’s the consistency of Cool Whip. (obviously canned whipped cream is too airy and deflates, but this will hold as well as the fake stuff.)

Tracy August 8, 2013 at 9:25 am

It’s a very common potluck dish in my neck of the woods, and it’s actually pretty good (I don’t think I’d like it made with graham crackers, because the whole point is that the pretzel crust is a crunchy, salty counternote to the sweetness of the strawberry layer).

But yeah… user!

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EchoGirl August 9, 2013 at 5:00 pm

I’ve had this thing a few times and I love it. Everyone has their own preferences (I actually can’t stomach a lot of things the majority of other people like). I agree with the second part of the post about her being a user though.

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Wild Irish Rose August 7, 2013 at 11:24 am

I don’t blame you a bit for getting mad. I probably wouldn’t even have gone at that point, polite spine or no polite spine. People just irritate me sometimes! Or maybe I just have a bad attitude this morning–hard to tell.

Either way, Carla used you and I’m not surprised you’re no longer friendly with her.

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KJ August 7, 2013 at 11:49 am

Ah, don’t beat yourself up too badly OP! You got roped in little by little, so it was probably hard to see what was happening at the time. Live and learn as they say! I’m not convinced I would have done anything differently, but like you, would be beating myself up afterwards! Good to see you have moved on from this relationship.

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Jeanne August 7, 2013 at 11:59 am

Yeah, I don’t think I’m going to pick on you. You learned your lesson that this woman is not your friend. You did not announce that you were not going to work at the reception; you just enjoyed the party. I don’t think taking your own leftovers home was rude. You should have grown your spine before the day of the party but it happens. Some people are users and some people fall for it. You’ll recognize the signs earlier next time.

I thought the graham cracker crust was an improvement to the recipe but I wouldn’t have wanted to eat tons of it.

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Allie August 7, 2013 at 12:53 pm

Wow. I’m pretty much just speechless. I guess the time to back out was the second she aked if you could bring a dish to the reception… “whoops, I completely forgot I have a previous engagement that day and can’t make it after all” : )

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Lisa August 7, 2013 at 1:04 pm

I hope for her sake she gets paid by the gym and not by the client because I’m sure she’s ticked off a good many of them. What a total user!

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Hanna August 7, 2013 at 1:04 pm

I have to say, I’ve kind of noticed this with 2nd weddings. The bride and groom don’t go all out, and they often expect family and friends to pitch in with bringing food, decorating, serving etc, maybe because they’re trying not to make a big to-do by hiring caterers, servers etc.

If I was OP, I would have brought whatever dessert I wanted, in whatever quantity I saw fit. If you’re going to ask me to bring something, please don’t also dictate what, and how much to bring (unless it was a nice suggestion: “Mary and Bobby are already bringing salads, could you bring a dessert?”).

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Shannon August 7, 2013 at 1:19 pm

Wow I can’t believe the nerve of this bride! This sounds truly horrible. What a gimme pig!

Although the situation definitely required a polite spine, I can see how it would have been tough to decide where to draw the line. At the point where the bride requested the OP to quadruple the recipe, clearly that was unreasonable and the OP could have said, “sorry, I cannot accommodate your request.” But what about earlier, when the bride simply requested that the OP bring a dish to the reception? Clearly it is not polite to ask your guests to cater your event, but should the OP still have said, “sorry I cannot accommodate your request” at this point? What if the OP had already budgeted $20 for a gift? She could have just deducted the cost of the plate from her gift budget. Is there still a polite way to decline?

I had a similar dilemma at one point when I was a bridesmaid in my friend’s wedding. The bride was a very sweet girl, and I was fully prepared and willing to buy her a generous gift, contribute to her shower, and help in any other way I could. However, the Maid of Honor made requests (or demands) that left me feeling like my generosity had been sucked out of me. She requested X amount of money for the shower, X amount towards a group gift, X amount towards a mandatory “bridesmaid t-shirt,” etc. The amount of money she requested was still within the budget I had originally set, but the way she demanded it made me feel exploited.

I feel like it’s similar to the “push / pull” of information that Admin often mentions in regards to gift registries. Just as registry info should be “pull” information that is only given if guests request it, I feel like bridesmaid and guest contributions of time/money/effort should also be in the “pull” category. If someone offers to help and asks how they can contribute, it would be ok to give suggestions. But I think it’s rude to demand that someone contribute THIS much money, make THIS exact recipe, buy THIS exact item, etc.

Any suggestions for how to handle such demands, when it’s not WHAT is being requested, but rather HOW it is being demanded that is the issue?

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Mae August 8, 2013 at 9:10 am

I think the line “I’m sorry, I cannot accommodate your request” would be just fine. Or simply ” I cannot accommodate your request”.

I’m amazed at how as soon as the word “wedding” is uttered, many people loose their common sense, manners, humility and go crazy.

The third wedding I was invited to be a bridesmaid in fell into the nutso category. The bride had made an itemized list of “required” bridesmaid expenses- including $150.00 for a bachelorette party, $560.00 for the dress, $230.00 for the shoes, $75.00 for the fresh flower hair decoration, $100.00 for the professional hair and makeup- grand total of $1,115! Just for the outfit and bachelorette party! The list also contained “required” activities, duties and how much time you were to spend on each such as putting together favors, spending time with the bride driving her places and keeping her company, giving her massages (or paying for a professional massage if you “do not know how to give a proper massage”) because she she would be under so much stress.

I looked at that list and said, “Thank you for wanting to include me to be a bridesmaid on your special day, but I simply do not have the time and money required to attend to the duties. I would be thrilled to be just be a guest”. She ordered me out of the house, I did not get invited to the wedding and she has never spoken to me again.

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LeeLee88 August 8, 2013 at 9:58 am

And I’m sure you just weep into your pillow every night for being excluded from it ;-P

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Shannon August 8, 2013 at 10:36 am

Wow… just WOW at those prices!!! Haha I can’t even imagine! It sounds like you sure dodged a bullet there… good for you for having a polite spine!!

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Angel August 8, 2013 at 10:49 am

Mae, oh my gosh!! If it wasn’t a real story I would have been inclined to laugh hysterically!! I think that if anyone is looking for a definition of a bridezilla that would definitely be it!!

I have been in several weddings in my time and NEVER has it cost a grand. Never. Almost $600 just for the dress??? $150 for a bachelorette party?? Plus all the time she wanted. I am floored. You say no and she never talks to you again?? That is just beyond weird. I remember as a bride sweating it out thinking my bridesmaids were not going to pay $200 for the gown I picked out. I still think $200 is a little high btw, but it was pretty much their only expense besides shoes. I paid for hair, accessories, flowers of course, and for the bachelorette party we all chipped in. I guess I don’t understand why some people treat their bridesmaids like slaves. They are supposedly your friends. You need to treat them well. Personally I have never spent more than $500 to be in someone’s bridal party, that includes gift and accommodations. To me it’s just unreasonable to expect more than that. And any “must haves” the bride should pay for.

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Mae August 8, 2013 at 4:38 pm

I think she ended up with only 3 bridesmaids- 1 MOH and 2 other ladies.

I had only know her for a fairly short period of time, maybe about a year and a half. The 2 previous weddings I was in, everything, including a gift, came in around $300-400. Those brides were great and knew that most young women our age were on tight budgets.

I blame shows like “Bridezilla” and “Platinum Weddings”. SOME brides see these shows and think that behavior is ok because it’s on TV or some other silly reason. This girl really thought that those prices and the demands on time were reasonable! She had picked out all the things she wanted before even talking to any of the bridesmaids.

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Angel August 9, 2013 at 10:19 am

Mae, didn’t you think it was odd that she was asking you to be a bridesmaid and you had only known her a year and a half? That alone would have made me wonder. I had 6 BM, 2 were family members, and the rest I had known for 10 years or more. The only exception was a groomsman’s wife who had known my husband far longer than she had me, but her main connection was to my husband. Still longer than a year and a half.

My guess is that your friend probably alienated her long time friends years ago with her behavior. I think that most bridezillas were bitches long before the wedding and will continue their ways after the wedding. The shows offer “permission” for the behavior to get even worse and make even more over the top demands!

Good for you for standing up for yourself and saying that you couldn’t do it. The fact that she never talked to you again just shows that she only wanted friendship on her terms. Of course that can’t be the way friendship works :-)

Jazzgirl205 August 9, 2013 at 9:33 am

I paid for my bridesmaids’ dresses and the flowers for their hair and their bouquets. I suggested beige shoes and pulling their hair back in some fashion so the flowers could be attached to something. Perhaps these brides do not have mothers who know how these things are properly done. Perhaps they want a more expensive wedding than they can afford so have decided to spread the expenses. My bridesmaids were young and saving their money. I wanted no impediment to them standing up with me.

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Kimstu August 8, 2013 at 11:21 am

Wow @Mae, you dodged a bullet on that one. Some “friend”! But thank goodness she at least gave you an invoice in advance so you could see what you were letting yourself in for and decline the “honor”.

Can’t imagine how she managed to rope in any bridesmaids at all on that deal! Who in the world would voluntarily submit to that kind of serfdom, unless the bridezilla knew where you had buried the body or something equally damaging?

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lizza August 8, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Oh my goodness, she was actively planning to be a bridezilla! I understand asking/wanting bridesmaids to help with favors and things, but it shouldn’t be a requirement. And the massage thing is so over the top! You definitely dodged a bullet here.

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Teapot August 8, 2013 at 3:16 pm

I was agast at the $230 pricetag for the shoes, but massages? Massages!!??!! That is just plain laugh out loud funny. Good for you for getting out of this wedding. I can’t imagine who in their right mind would have stayed in after this list of demands.

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Kate August 8, 2013 at 10:35 pm

Giving her massages? Good Lord. I think some brides forget that wedding planning is only as stressful as you make it. If you plan a multi-thousand dollar extravaganza with entertainment and live animals and what have you, yes, you might experience a bit of stress. If you want to avoid stress, just scale it down. You’ll still be just as married by the end of it.

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Lacey August 9, 2013 at 11:09 am

WOW I actually laughed out loud because of how outrageous that is. Who are these people?? Seriously, what goes through someone’s mind to think they’re entitled to have their friends act as doting servants? Your response was perfect and her reaction was unbelievable.

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June First August 7, 2013 at 1:42 pm

I hope her real name is Carla so you can call her Classy Carla. ;)

How ridiculous.

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girl_with_all_the_yarn August 7, 2013 at 1:50 pm

I have no problem with potluck receptions, provided it isn’t the bride throwing it. In my church, it is a tradition that an older lady (often a grandmother, an aunt or a church leader) close to the bride organizes a potluck “reception” for everyone in church. Gifts are not expected (Doesn’t mean we don’t give any. We seem to like giving gifts about as much as having potlucks).

Really, it’s just an excuse to have a potluck. We seem to like those, and we also seem to have made up several occasions to host them (I had never heard of “Fall Picnic Day” until the invitations for a church potluck went around).

This was not a potluck. This was someone getting her wedding catered for free. Tacky tacky tacky…

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manybellsdown August 9, 2013 at 1:42 pm

Yes, Mormons do this often as well. Since very few people can be at the actual wedding ceremony (if it’s in the Temple), there’s often a big potluck reception for everyone the next day.

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The Elf August 12, 2013 at 8:35 am

Agreed – a potluck party to honor the wedding couple (especially when gifts are not expected) is a bit different than what most people think of as a wedding reception.

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Mae August 7, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Wow. I hope you grew a polite spine.

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The Elf August 7, 2013 at 2:23 pm

You already called it on the polite spine, but I’m still astounded that she thought this was all okay. If nothing else, the poor logistics would have made me angry. You get a phone call DAY OF that your stuff needs to be there early?

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Lo August 7, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Lucky for me I’ve never needed a polite spine to refuse bringing a large amount of food to a party. I can’t cook for large numbers; I can barely cook for two. I could have immediately shot that down with, “Oh I can’t do that, I’m sorry, but you really don’t want me to do that.”

I don’t think you deserve any scorn for going above and beyond. At least you did get angry at some point and refused to be unhired help. And I can totally understand why you’d agree to bring dessert in the first place.

One thing does stick out to me though, and maybe I’m totally wrong about this. I’ve always understood that once you bring food or drink to a party; whether it’s offered or requested, you give up any leftovers to the host to decide how she wants to divvy them up or keep them for herself. The host in turn should feel obliged to offer some back to the bringer but shouldn’t be asked for them. Does anyone know the rules for this?

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Kimstu August 8, 2013 at 11:45 am

@Lo: AFAIK, when a guest brings along food or wine or what-have-you to a hosted event as some kind of hostess gift or voluntary contribution, they are giving it to the event’s hosts. You, the guest, aren’t entitled to kvetch if the hosts put aside your carefully-chosen bottle of wine to drink at another time, or if they leave the dessert you made in the kitchen instead of putting it on the buffet table. They are the hosts offering hospitality to their guests, and they get to decide what to offer and what to do with any gifts the guests bring. (You are right, though, that it’s gracious for the hosts to suggest sharing any uneaten contributions with the original contributors, especially if they remained in the contributors’ own serving dishes. Scraping the remnants of the chocolate mousse from your guest’s serving bowl into your own tupperware and then handing back the bowl, without even suggesting that the guest should take home what’s left of their scrumptious mousse to enjoy later, is not exactly charming.)

However, a cooperative potluck is a different story. It’s understood that the hospitality is being jointly provided by all the guests, and the person who organized it and/or provided the venue for it is not automatically entitled to dictate what should be served or what should be done with any leftovers there may be. The individual participants retrieve their own serving containers and utensils when they leave the event, along with any leftover food they happen to contain, and take them home to be used as they see fit.

The event described by the OP was a rude mashup of a hosted event and a cooperative potluck, where the “hostess” assumed the right to dictate about the food but the “guests” bore the burden of providing it. I think the OP and the other unpaid “caterers” were in the right to assume that they could take back the leftovers of what they brought. Certainly, this bride was in no position to call them out on the etiquette of the situation!

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Heather August 8, 2013 at 5:17 pm

Yeah, I second this analysis of the difference between hosted events and potlucks. I attend a lot of potlucks and that has always been how they work. Occasionally there’s a little awkwardness when people are not sure what category the event fits into (Eg. “Come watch the Superbowl at my house, bring snacks to share”–really still a potluck but some folks might be unsure.)

And good point on why it didn’t apply in this situation as well!

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Cat August 7, 2013 at 2:36 pm

This reminds me of a “friend” who invited me to a party. When I said I was sorry, but that I had already accepted another invitation for that time and date, she replied, “Well, then, can you make the pies?” I am supposed to make pies for a party I won’t be attending? Nope, sorry, better buy them.
So, you were under no obligation to make any thing for her reception and, being unemployed, you certainly should not have made several pans of an expensive dessert. The answer is, “Sorry, no. I’ll bring a dozen cookies if that will help out.”
Acting as a server? Answer, ” I am a little confused. Do you want to hire me to serve or are you inviting me to be a guest at your reception?”
There’s a line between being a friend and being a patsy for someone who knows no boundaries.

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Amber August 7, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Yeah, okay, polite spine yadda yadda.

But when faced with this much ridiculous, I can see how you’d get into a spiral.

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Lisa Marie August 7, 2013 at 2:49 pm

I guess all I can say is lesson learned sweetie. I think when it got the quadruple I would
have said excuse me?

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just4kicks August 7, 2013 at 3:10 pm

Chalk it up to a good (and expensive!) deed you’ve done for someone’s special day. I certainly wouldn’t be accepting anymore invitations from her in the future though! I had that happen to me once for a baby shower. “Would you be able to bring chips and salsa for thirty?” turned into “Remember that taco pie you made for my Christmas party??? Could you?!? For 30 people, thanks, you’re the BEST!!!” Uh huh. “Don’t forget plenty of chips to go with it, napkins, some people like hot sauce, and etc…..” Good grief.

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JD August 7, 2013 at 3:13 pm

I’m not going to kick the OP…. she has learned, and how! Listening to the way this bride handled her “reception”, I can see why she had no friends at the reception — she probably has no friends!

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LeeLee88 August 7, 2013 at 4:18 pm

That recipe (but with pretzels) is popular ’round these parts, and it is quite nummers. At any rate, OP, you learned a life lesson that all of us learn at some point, and the epiphany that this person’s a jerk comes after we’re neck-deep in whatever crap they’ve shoveled on to us. Don’t beat yourself up. You know better now, you’re not pal-ing around with Carla the Sea Witch anymore, and you’re in a better place for it. We’ve all been there.

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Marozia August 7, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Carla needs to be roasted in E-Hell forever! How unbelievably crass to ask your guests to bring food and THEN to become unpaid waitstaff at her wedding! And no thank-you for the work. Vulgar, vulgar, VULGAR!!

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kingsrings August 7, 2013 at 7:37 pm

I recently attended a casual, backyard wedding reception where the guests were requested on the invite to bring a food or drink. The MOH even posted a note (it was an online invitation) a couple days before saying along the lines of, “And remember, bring a food or drink!!”. And here the couple are just the nicest, sweetest people in the world. I guess etiquette-inappropriate potlucks are all the rage now, and aren’t looked at by many as rude anymore. I’ve even gotten potluck birthday invitations!

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Lakey August 7, 2013 at 9:00 pm

Go easier on yourself, OP. The next time someone tries to take advantage of you, you’ll be better prepared. It helps to have a couple of replies ready. “I’m sorry, I’m just so busy with family, work, whatever. ”
“I’m sorry, I really am not in a position to loan money.”

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Lakey August 7, 2013 at 9:03 pm

“Fast forward two weeks and I get an invitation to breakfast with Carla.”
I would have been afraid that she would stick me with the breakfast bill.
Also, maybe half of the 100 invited people didn’t show up because they didn’t feel inclined to be used as caterers and servers.

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Lex August 8, 2013 at 4:54 am

Wow, and people wonder why I’m so withdrawn and mistrustful. I honestly admire people that always see the good in others and offer an open countenance that people feel they can ask anything of – I’ve been on the receiving end of requests like this a couple of times and I never commit to anything – If I’m asked to a party I always buy myself some time to respond to the invite by saying ‘I’ll have to check with my partner as he might be working’. That way if they follow it up with ‘Also can you do XYZ’ I have an opportunity to gracefully back out of attending ‘Oh, I’m sorry, LeBoyfriend is working, we’ll not be able to attend on this occasion.’ Thankfully the concept of the potluck style reception is not big in the UK – usually if we host a buffet people bring sausage rolls and crisps and rice salads and stuff and usually the people providing food are only close family of the host – parents, siblings, etc. It is very rare to be asked by a non family member to bring food to a party. Then again we’re British, the standard response to any invite is ‘Do you need me to bring anything’.

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Wendy B. August 8, 2013 at 10:29 am

The strawberry dessert is one of my favorites. It’s crushed pretzels with butter and sugar, baked to form a crust, then the strawberries and gelatin on top of that and then the cream cheese or whipped topping on top, refrigerate everything and serve. It’s the whole sweet/salty contrast.

But onto the real issue: under the circumstances I think the OP did okay. Yes, she could have used a polite spine, but I think not losing her temper was the victory here, and cooling the friendship with a user was also a victory. Lessons were learned.

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Shoegal August 8, 2013 at 5:26 pm

I surprised the OP wanted to take all that dessert home. I would have left it. I can’t ever imagine throwing a pot luck wedding reception. The entire thing sounded way beyond tacky. I’m not sure I would have had the spine to refuse in the first place. I would have been quite happy to help in some small way – if asked to bring a dessert I would have said yes immediately thinking I’d bring one dish of my own choosing. I would have been taken aback if I was then told what to make and how much but I would have done it. Asking me to serve would have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. I wouldn’t have helped – there would have been no way I’d walk around pouring a beverage.

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Puzzled August 8, 2013 at 10:22 pm

Let me state for the record that the food at my reception was indeed made by several relatives and friends. Let me also state that I asked NO ONE to do this. They all very kindly volunteered to do this for me. I cannot imagine the kind of gall that it takes to ask people to do this. No fault on your part this time. You were indeed roped in gradually, as has been mentioned.

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minmom3 August 8, 2013 at 11:09 pm

It sounds like one of those events meant to illustrate “Live and Learn!”. It may happen to you once. It’s highly unlikely it will happen twice!!!

Wowzers…..

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mamabulldog August 11, 2013 at 12:13 pm

kingsrings – I feel your pain. I just don’t understand how normally well-mannered people could think it’s perfectly fine to ask others to bring food for their reception. They don’t want guests – they want cheap caterers with gifts in tow.
I was absolutely floored – I think my mouth was hanging wide open and everything when my otherwise sane and lovely best friend chirped excitedly that they were providing the meat and buns for their reception picnic (for those who weren’t invited to the “real” reception – trust me, I was already horrified enough at that part) and that the guests were being asked to bring side dishes, chips etc… I’m still trying to figure out how a sane, generally well-mannered person turned so ill-mannered. She really did it too – the R.S.V.P. cards (to my complete and utter horror) actually had a line asking people what they would be bringing. It still kills me to think about – I’m embarrassed for her.

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CaffeineKatie August 11, 2013 at 9:52 pm

As long as the OP learned from this, and it sounds like she did, I’d never scold her. It’s the people who never ever seem to grow a polite spine that I want to grab by the ears and say “WHAT are you thinking?”

And BTW I grew up in the Midwest attending potlucks full of things like pretzel salad and I still said “Yuck” lol

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PurpleZebra August 12, 2013 at 2:44 pm

I hope this isn’t becoming a trend. I was very taken aback just last week. I had RSVP’d to a friend’s wedding a few weeks ago (wedding is this Friday). Last week I got a Facebook message sent to me and about 20 other people saying that with the wedding less than two weeks away they were finalizing the reception food plans. They are providing ham and rolls, and then listed recipes for 4 different salads and need each of us to pick one and bring 20 servings. Since you can see all of the replies in the message, you could see most people (including myself) immediately declining. It was so awkward – who waits until people have already RSVPd and then asks you to bring large quantities of perishable food? Had this been included in the invite, I would have declined. In fact, I had two weddings on the same day at the same time and chose hers…ugh

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