Buffet Pig Versus The Hysterical Bride

by admin on July 30, 2012

Many years ago, I directed a friend’s wedding. The ceremony went without a hitch and was very beautiful. The trouble started at the reception. About half way through, the bride came to me in tears. It seems that one of the guests had gone through almost an entire steam tray of a specific food item, essentially leaving only one tray of that item for the rest of the guests. The bride was hysterical due to the fact that the reception had only been going on for approximately 30 minutes, and we knew that it would be stretching it to hope that there would be enough left for everyone. This was not an instance of not having enough to serve everyone. The bride had insisted that we double the amount of servings available to ensure that there would be enough for everyone.

After calming the bride down, I went to check on the situation, and sure enough, I spotted this woman finishing her fourth, yes fourth, trip to the buffet table in approximately 45 minutes. The 6-inch plate she held was absolutely stacked with a mountain of food that she had to carry in both hands using her wrists to help balance the mound, smearing sauce up and down her forearms. I went over to her and asked her to step aside with me so I could speak to her. I explained as diplomatically as I could that there was a problem with the amount of this food item remaining and asked her to refrain from serving herself anything else. She proceeded to tell me that she had gotten all that food to serve to her toddler son. Some of the friends present at the same table told me later that the child ate two bites of this item and that was all he wanted. They also explained that they had witnessed this woman shoveling in food as quickly as she could manage, all the while talking animatedly and spraying bits of food everywhere as she did so. I must have been diplomatic enough because the woman said she certainly understood, and as she was now “full,” she would not be returning for more food.

Fast forward to the cake cutting, pictures of bride and groom feeding each other, etc. After this was completed, I realized shortly that the bride and groom had disappeared. When I went in search of them, I caught up with them going to change clothes about an hour before the planned end of the reception. The bride was again in tears. She was so upset that she could not explain what had happened, she could only gasp out the same woman’s name and so I sent them on their way and went back to the reception to find out what had happened now. I pulled one of the people from the reception, and she told me that within the first 20 minutes after the cake was being served, the same woman had eaten no less than five pieces of cake and was still getting ready to go back because “this cake is just so good” she could not help herself! Luckily, there was more than enough to go around and no danger of running out of that at least. The bride had just reached her limit of tolerance and decided she best leave to avoid a scene. They returned changed out of their wedding finery, threw the bouquet and left for their honeymoon.

Fast forward to cleanup. Almost all the guests had departed except for a gracious handful that offered to help clean up. Who was sitting there at the table still eating? Yes, the same woman, who had gone back up to the buffet table to get some leftovers after going into the kitchen to get a bigger plate! She was happily shoving it in as fast as she could while the cleanup went on around her. When she finished that, she evidently went into the kitchen, got a large piece of tinfoil and was busy packing up 6 more pieces of cake to take with her. One of the brides relatives who was helping clean up finally snapped and asked her if she was planning on making a donation to help pay for the food she had consumed since she had eaten enough for 10 people. At this, the woman turned around with a look of amazement on her face and said, “Well, I don’t think I have ever met a ruder person than you. How dare you?” 0726-12

I have been a wedding coordinator for many years.  I have either catered or organized some very large and small wedding receptions as well over the years.    I have witnessed some buffet pigs in my time, such as the man who stood by the shrimp display and took mounds of them on his plate thus insuring that many other guests did not have any.   The catering company ran out of shrimp but I simply pointed to the contract clause in which they guaranteed they would not run out of any item.   In the case of a self catered event as this wedding reception appears to have been, the attitude one needs to have about one particular food item is, assuming there is plenty of food overall, “When it is gone, it is gone”, and not sweat the details.  The hot crab dip WILL run out before the vegetable crudite does.

To be honest, if I had been the director/coordinator for your friend’s wedding, I would have taken control of HER, not the piggy guest.   There was entirely too much drama and hysterics over one guest and I really have to wonder what the back story is between the bride and this guest.    The bride worked herself into an obsessed, emotional tizzy over one guest who she blames for destroying the reception.  One guest being a pig about one item on the menu is annoying but I find it stretching credibility that this guest singlehandedly deprived all guests of anything to eat.   And after 30 minutes, nearly all the guests should have been through the buffet line at least once already and if they were not, that was a failure of the buffet table design setup.   I catered a buffet reception for 400 wedding guests years ago and with two identical buffet tables that could be accessed on both sides thus creating four lines, had everyone through the buffet within 30 minutes.

Further, by standing in line and armed only with one or two six-inch plates, this female guest was limited in how much she could take at one pass through the buffet.  I know how large a chafing dish steam pan is and it stretches credibility that a single guest could consume the entire contents of a steam pan by herself within 30 minutes.   She can only fit so much on her plate, must go back to her seat to eat it, and then keep cycling through the buffet line to get more. And if she was able to stand in line FOUR times in 45 minutes, something tells me that the other guests had to have gone through the buffet at least once during that same time frame.

And OP, I am assuming this was an hors d’ouerves reception since I cannot imagine forcing guests to use a 6-inch plate for a meal.   Six-inch plates are fine for desserts, cake or appetizers but 8, 9 or 10-inch plates are needed for meals.   Why the bride was obsessing on this one guest seems quite odd to me and had I been in charge, I would have a firm word for her to calm down, get over it and stop letting this woman live in her head during the reception.   She needed someone to refocus her attention to the positive aspects of the reception and her many other guests and not cater to her hysteria.

So, tell me, OP, what the *real* issue was with this guest.   You admit there were leftovers from the buffet because you state that the woman was still eating from the buffet after the reception was over.  So, there was no real danger of there not being enough food for all the guests.   You admit there was plenty of cake leftover so the angst over the guest taking five slices was a bit dramatic.  What was really the problem?

{ 100 comments… read them below or add one }

Leslie July 30, 2012 at 9:19 am

With all due respect, wasn’t the issue that this woman was eating all of the specific item, not the entire menu? Why does she get to eat all of the crab dip or whatever? That’s not the bride being sensitive. That’s someone causing a scene. Maybe the backstory is that this woman ALWAYS does this, has a compulsive personality is a bad guest, and the bride had had enough. Whether or not they were handwringing over not having enough food when, realistically, there were leftovers, it doesn’t excuse this woman from being a bad guest. Four pieces of cake? Where’s the courtesy in that?

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admin July 30, 2012 at 9:38 am

The key point is there was plenty of food for all. Leftovers galore. If a guest eats four slices of cake, assuming she took one at a time, why is that anyone’s business but her own? Are hosts now expected to be food police and keep tabs on how many servings guests take and eat? If the concern is that there may not be enough food for everyone, you do not have a free-for-all buffet but rather serve plated food or have servers on the buffet line who place portion controlled servings on each plate. You slice the cake and serve it to guests at their tables using servers with trays.

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elizabeth July 30, 2012 at 10:47 am

If this woman ALWAYS does this and is known for being a guest who hordes food, then there should have simply been a friend or relative who knows her assigned to hang out near her during the buffet line and if she goes back for waaay to much kindly suggest that maybe she should let everyone else get their food (or 2nds) first.

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PM July 30, 2012 at 9:43 am

I will admit that the bride’s reaction was a bit over the top, but I can’t blame her for being upset by the buffet raider’s behavior. We don’t know the backstory or if/how this guest was related to the bride. We don’t know if the buffet raider has a history of causing scenes/making a spectacle of herself at other people’s occasions. It could be that the bride had been dreading this guest’s behavior at her wedding and the sight of her dripping with buffet sauce, shoveling food into her mouth and attacking the cake like it owed her money, was just too much for her.

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jena rogers July 30, 2012 at 10:15 am

Agree. My first reaction to this very sad story was how it can serve as a testament to our culture’s complacent acceptance of the “All-you-can-eat” buffet mentality. While, on the one hand, our own ethical and etiquette-driven sensibilities compel us to shift our focus away from this guest’s eating behavior, this forum in particular can allow us to reflect upon such behaviors, and perhaps look at the bigger picture. Were it my wedding, I would be taken aback and saddened by such a display, which has great potential for drawing our attention away from the beauty and meaning of a wedding celebration. And of equal importance would be my concern for the emotional and physical health of a guest who behaves this way. Something is clearly amiss with her; as with the guest who drinks too much or otherwise is not behaving in a manner aligned with the occasion, I would be both concerned and dismayed. Personally, I’m impressed that OP was able to discuss the situation with this guest in a way that mitigated further drama. I’d love to know what she said! I would be at a complete loss for words.

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Jennifer July 30, 2012 at 1:43 pm

I have to comment on your statement of if it were your wedding that this woman’s eating habits would have a great potential to drawing attention away from the couple’s wedding. I have to say that if I am invited to a wedding, I am not going to be looking around the room for someone doing something wrong so I can harp on it and get annoyed. I agree with the admin that it sounds like there is more going on between the bride and this particular guest. I think that getting yourself worked up into a hysterical, because she couldn’t breathe the second time, fit over what someone is or is not doing on your special day is just setting yourself up for having an unpleasant reception. Clearly there was enough food that there was leftovers, so what if she ate all of one particular food? Is it inconveniencing to have that happen? Absolutely, but to get so worked up over it that you have to leave your reception early to calm down? That hardly fits with what this woman was doing. Also I think that during a reception, or any special occasion really, is not the time to try and show a person their shortcomings. That is best done on a one on one basis and in a private setting.

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jena rogers July 31, 2012 at 8:21 am

Well, I wouldn’t be “looking around the room for someone doing something wrong so I can harp on it and get annoyed” either! I didn’t say that in my entry.
For goodness’ sake, the guest was spewing bits of food out at her table according to the OP’s account. I don’t think anyone needed to seek this guest out to find the behavior. It sounds like she was fairly obvious.

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Jennifer July 31, 2012 at 10:43 pm

I’m sorry that I wasn’t clear on my last statement, I can see why it would be miss taken, that I wouldn’t be looking around for someone doing something wrong so I can harp on it and get annoyed, what I meant was that if this woman was spitting food as she ate I would have moved to another table or just gotten up to socialize once my eating was done. I think that these days we let such small stuff annoy and frustrate us, sometimes a person just needs to let it roll off their back. What I was trying to say is that the bride got way too stressed out over this woman’s eating habits, to twice be reduced to tears over this woman going back and getting more food. I just think that on a day that is supposed to be one of the happiest days in a young couple’s life they should be focused on each other and not guests who are not behaving just so for them. By just so I mean getting more helpings of food at the buffet or having more than a piece of cake, that clearly there was enough to go around, because there was cake left over.

June July 30, 2012 at 9:57 am

While I agree that we may not be getting all/ the real story on this guest, I think that anyone basically “hogging” one food item and taking so much of it that other guests may not get to enjoy it, even if there is plenty of other food, is a bit much. The story also states that she claimed it was all for her toddler son yet other guests say the child had 2 bites and was done, so why take the food and lie about it? Eating 5 slices of cake and then packing another 6 to take home? That is too much.

This may have been a self-catered event, in keeping with the idea of having a wedding you can afford, so 1 guest over-indulging and making a pig of herself, IMHO, is rude.

A little off-topic- hot crab dip? Never heard of it but it sounds yummy.

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admin July 30, 2012 at 10:21 am

Hot Crab Dip

1 pkg. (3 oz) cream cheese, softened
½ cup mayonnaise
1 can (6 oz) crabmeat, drained
¼ cup minced onions
1 tbsp. Lemon juice
1/8 tsp. hot pepper sauce

Beat cream cheese until smooth. Stir in remain ingredients. Spoon into small ovenproof dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Makes 1 cup. I like to serve this with either Triscuit crackers, Melba Rounds, pita chips or toasted slices of Italian bread cut at an angle.

When increasing this recipe for larger groups, we make it the day ahead and refrigerate it in gallon ziplock bags. To heat, it is put into large foil pans (half chafer size) , put on an insulated cookie sheet in the oven. You may need to cover the top with foil if the top and sides are getting too browned before the middle of the pan has reached proper temperature.

For a 350-400 guest reception, I 16X the recipe and used 10 boxes of Melba rounds. None leftover but there was also meatballs, lunch meats on mini Kaiser rolls, Texas Caviar, vegetable crudite, fruit and cheese, and a chocolate fountain on the buffet.

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GroceryGirl July 30, 2012 at 10:45 am

What is Texas Caviar?

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admin July 30, 2012 at 10:49 am

This is Texas Caviar:

2 (16-ounce) cans black beans, drained
1 medium jalapeno, minced
¼ small white onion, chopped
1/3 cup Italian dressing
½ green bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/3 tsp. ground red pepper

Combine beans with ingredients. Chill and serve with either corn chips or Carr Water Crackers. Makes 5 cups. For 350-400 guest receptions, I times the recipe by 13.

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noph July 31, 2012 at 8:47 am

oooh…yay for a yummy sounding Veg dish! might this even be….vegan??? (I don’t see anything not vegan, but would have to read the dressing bottle as some sneak dairy in). THANK YOU!!

Acadianna July 31, 2012 at 8:26 pm

Texas Caviar is also good with black-eyed peas, and is fantastic as a salad topper. (I grew up eating black-eyed peas for luck on New Year’s day, so this is an easy way to keep up the tradition.) For a short-cut, I mix the beans with store-bought pico de gallo and the Italian dressing.

Eileen August 31, 2012 at 11:05 pm

There are a lot of other versions if you search Cowboy Caviar too. It’s good with corn in it, and tomatoes, and avocado. Lime juice and cilantro work if you don’t like the chili powder/cumin version too. I always use black beans, usually add another type and corn.

June July 30, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Thanks so much, Admin! I’m going to try this tonight!

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Harley Granny July 30, 2012 at 10:03 am

I can’t believe the Bride was practically called a Drama Queen.
If I wanted my wedding and reception to be perfect for EVERYONE, not just the buffet pig, I too would have been upset if one particular person was messing it up.

Think of this scenerio…Perfect day for the Bride…she hires a coordinator to take care of problems..Far as we can see she did everything in her power to make sure everyone was fed equally if not more than enough.
One guest decides to pig out on the buffet table….numerous people went to the Bride herself to complain about it…..(terrible thing to do on the part of the other guests btw) So she does the right thing by going to the coordinator to handle it….Only to have the buffet pig attempt to hog all of the cake.
So now the Bride (who is full of emotions on this day as it is) feels like a bad hostess. So not to cause a scene, she removes herself from the situation.

Too much info on the plate sizes admin sorry it doesn’t excuse anything. With all due respect I feel you dropped the ball on this one.
The buffet pig was in the wrong by being greedy, and the other guests or caterers were wrong by bothering the bride on the matter. It’s just too bad that someone didn’t get to the buffet pig before it got this far.

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admin July 30, 2012 at 10:16 am

It is not the job of the wedding coordinator, the director, the bride, the caterer, the attendants or anyone else to give a guest an etiquette lesson on how to go through a buffet during the actual event. Perhaps afterwards a friend can have a word with the buffet pig but singling her out for a rebuke during the actual reception was ungracious. As I have mentioned, I’ve been involved in the food aspect of many, many weddings and this situation is not that uncommon when guests are invited to indulge in a buffet. If you do not want buffet pigs hogging food, YOU have the obligation to limit their opportunities to do so by serving portion controlled servings. But reprimanding a guest to stop eating from the buffet is about as rude as it gets, imo.

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The Elf July 30, 2012 at 2:20 pm

You really can’t ask for perfection – not for the bride, not for “everyone”. A bride who is dead-set on having a perfect wedding will usually be disappointed. There’s always glitches, even if you don’t have guests who practically pull up a chair to the buffet.

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clairedelune August 4, 2012 at 9:21 am

The Elf is right–the drama-queen-ness stems directly from a desire to stage-manage other people’s behavior in an effort to reach some arbitrary standard of “perfection for everyone.” We cannot control other people’s behavior, and the fact of a wedding does not negate that fact. It’s a terrible shame that this guest evidently behaved so badly, but the bride isn’t to be held responsible for that, and as such, she needn’t take on all this unnecessary anguish.

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GroceryGirl July 30, 2012 at 10:45 am

While I agree with Admin here, I will say I think it was rude of the woman to take home slices of cake. The food was there for her to eat while she was at the reception, not to take it home (unless it was offered and I really doubt that it was)

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admin July 30, 2012 at 10:48 am

Oh, totally agreed. The food was there to be eaten at the reception. Assuming one is entitled to leftovers without asking is not particular gracious of the guest.

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Carrie July 31, 2012 at 8:48 am

It’s possible it could have been offered. At the end of my reception, we had quite a bit of leftover cake, and I did not want to have to take it home. We offered slices to the guests and staff to take home and enjoy.

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Cherry July 30, 2012 at 10:56 am

The Buffet Pig should have asked permission before taking any of the leftover cake, and it was bad manners to be sitting down making more mess while eating as the clean up went on all around. Also, attempting (twice!) to plead ignorance on the matter does her no favours.

This does remind me a little of a story my mum likes to tell from my childhood. We were at a friend’s wedding when I was about 4 and the buffet had just opened, so my mum sent me to get some food while she watched from a distance. I’ve always been a big eater, and so my plate was quite heavily laden with food when I returned (but not to the point where no one else could eat!). A woman we didn’t know saw me return and grabbed my mother’s elbow and began lecturing her loudly about how wasteful it was to have let me put so much food on my plate, and how my mum should have supervised me, etc. My mum gave her an icy smile and invited her to sit at our table and watch me eat. She did, and proceeded to watch in fascination as I, a tiny-even-for-my-age 4 year old, ate every scrap of food on my plate. The woman was stunned and didn’t say another word to us for the rest of the night.

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--Lia July 30, 2012 at 10:58 am

When else in our society to we entertain large groups of people we hardly know? If the woman who loved shrimp (or whatever it was) was a friend, someone in the family knew her. They could have gone up to her and said in the friendliest voice “hey, Aunt Minnie, those shrimp are great, aren’t they? But leave some. I’m afraid of running out.” That’s rude coming from a stranger, but coming from the bride with a big kiss, it’s charming.

The same goes for the cake. There was enough so the real problem was in Aunt Minnie’s (I’m not comfortable calling her a pig so I made up a name) thinking she could take the leftovers home. I’d let a caterer tell her, nicely, that they’re only authorized to allow the family to take leftovers. Or someone in the family could tell her that they loved seeing her but they’re saving the cake for themselves. No need to insult or snap at her. Just smile, give her another kiss, and tell her no.

And now, dare I broach the question of eating disorders? I don’t know Aunt Minnie so I’m in no position to make a diagnosis from here, but it sure seems like she has some food anxiety, something that makes her think that she has to eat all there is because she won’t have the chance later. For most of us, if the food is especially good, and if the food is free, we’ll overeat a bit, but we won’t see a need to stuff ourselves because we know we can get more when we want it. We don’t run around acting like famine is around the corner so we have to hoard all we see. But Aunt Minnie sounds like she’s afflicted with a problem. Perhaps someone close to her could guide her to the help she needs.

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Bint July 30, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Oh, please, do we have to have an ‘eating disorder’ speculation? Must there always be something wrong with someone rather than their just being greedy? I get so sick of all these lazy armchair diagnoses about people having Aspergers, bulimia and everything else from people who do not know them, never will and have the audacity to say yes, there’s definitely something wrong with them based on one story that could equally be explained away by greed.

Go to any all you can eat buffet and you will see this behaviour from so many people. Go to any buffet. They bring out the worst in quite a lot of folk there who do not have an eating disorder. No, you are in no position to make a diagnosis nor even to speculate. None of us is.

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Kendo_Bunny July 30, 2012 at 6:54 pm

Pardon me, but how is assuming the best so much worse than assuming the worst? Assuming there is some sort of pathological problem is generally more gracious than assuming that someone is just nasty and greedy.

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Bint July 31, 2012 at 7:01 am

It’s not ‘assuming the best’ to presume this woman has an eating disorder (for the best that she should have something so awful!). It’s stigmatising people who do, it’s lazy, and here it is laughably unfounded. She ate a huge amount – whatever, that’s up to her – and was very rude about it afterwards. This is not the normal behaviour of a compulsive overeater (have a look at OA or Something Fishy).

Jumping to a ‘pathological problem’ off such pitiful information every time isn’t polite. It’s massively presumptuous. Would you want people assuming there’s something wrong with you every time you do something etiquette-lacking? Really? Do you think people who do have that affliction would appreciate it?

Also, we aren’t meeting this woman so grace doesn’t come into it. Had I been the bride, graciousness means acting as Admin suggested. Speculating about her health from one buffet encounter would be ridiculous.

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Kendo_Bunny August 1, 2012 at 1:07 am

As someone who has struggled with bulimia for the last 13 years…. I would tend to assume someone eating a massive portion of food like that was struggling with food issues rather than just being massively greedy. I don’t like the immediate assumption that everyone eating a large quantity of food is a pig – it’s a very loaded and extremely hurtful term.

Maybe it’s my projection because of my own history of the disorder, but whenever I hear ‘Oh, look at how she eats, what a pig!’, every diseased fiber left in my brain starts screaming that every single person who sees me eat a single bite of anything is doing just that.

Just Laura July 31, 2012 at 11:49 am

I get so sick of all these lazy armchair diagnoses about people having Aspergers, bulimia and everything else from people who do not know them

As a person who works in the counseling department of a university, I completely agree. Hearing only one story does not give even a licensed psychologist enough information to properly diagnose. Not every awkward moment can be related to autism spectrum, and not all consistently-late people have been formally diagnosed with ADHD, inattentive.

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Jenn50 July 31, 2012 at 1:00 pm

I didn’t see this as an “armchair diagnosis”, more like a “benefit of the doubt” suggestion. I do think that rather than simply passing judgement on someone as rude, greedy, (lazy, piggish, whatever unflattering adjective has been assigned) it behooves us to consider that a person may have conditions or circumstances that influence their conduct. You are quite right, that none of us have enough information to diagnose, but I think it is more charitable to allow that someone may not mean to be rude, but have an issue that makes it difficult for them to control themselves. It doesn’t mean you allow bad behaviour, just that you don’t write someone off as a “pig” without knowing. People often make nasty comments about my autistic daughter being a brat and that I am just an indulgent parent, and then feel very foolish when they find out that she is working very hard to overcome serious challenges, and that I am working within a very carefully prescribed program. When someone says “Maybe he has Aspergers” (or Prader-Willi, or whatever), I simply see that as a reminder that we shouldn’t judge too harshly because we don’t know the whole story.

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Kendra August 1, 2012 at 1:16 pm

I agree with others that jumping to some sort of “mental/emotional deficiency” isn’t giving the benefit of the doubt, but kind of insulting, especially to those that are struggling with these issues.

The fact is, that we really don’t know this woman’s story. Yes, it is possible that as a child she was starved and now when faced with excess, she goes overboard, or it could be that she follows a strict diet usually, but allows herself to “indulge” at special occasions and ends up going overboard. I’ve known people that are always on a diet, the kind where they eat carrots and lettuce for most meals on most days, so when they “allow” themselves to indulge, they eat like they aren’t expecting to see food again ever.

While I agree with you that just pronouncing “that person is a rude piggy” is harsh, you can still give the benefit of the doubt without jumping to the “armchair diagnoses” by actually giving them the benefit of the doubt in that “this is a special occasion and sometimes people overindulge a bit without realizing how other people percieve them.”

clairedelune August 4, 2012 at 9:30 am

No one was making a diagnosis. In fact, the poster went out of her way to state that she WASN’T attempting to do so. She was simply introducing the possibility, and of course it’s a legitimate possibility. Eating copious amounts of food completely out of proportion to the people around you, getting food all up and down your arms in an effort to amass more and more of it, lying about where the food is going, and stealing leftovers, are not normal behaviors. As long as we’re speculating on other possible reasons for this abnormal behavior–general rudeness, belief in one’s right to overindulge on special occasions, whatever–it’s not unreasonable to speculate on whether or not this relates to a health problem. I’ll grant that it might not be a good idea to speculate about anything at all, but then we should just drop this whole line of conversation.

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Jenny July 30, 2012 at 10:01 pm

Whatever that is, my cat has it. He was starved by whoever had him before we got him from the shelter, and when we try to give him too much food at once (say we need to feed him for three days) he’ll eat it all and be sick. He only does that if we give him a lot of food, he doesn’t eat all his food right away on a normal day.

I’m sure people can have that too. In the face of excess they feel the need to eat it all.

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Kendra August 1, 2012 at 1:09 pm

This is a little off topic, but my cat does that too. He is a rescue. We know nothing of his life before us. He was just dropped off at the animal shelter one day, as in the shelter staff came in to open for the day and there he was in a taped up box next to the door. We believe he was starved before because he will eat himself sick and go back for more if given the chance. We got one of those automatic portion controlled pet feeders and it has really helped.

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Athena August 1, 2012 at 11:37 pm

Mine sort of does the opposite. If the bowl is empty, and I fill it, he’ll eat himself sick, but most of the time, he’s fine.

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Enna August 2, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Maybe the woman hadn’t eaten all day? She might no have much food at home – as for eating disorders don’t people who have them try to hide them? Armchair diagnosis – can be bad but that doesn’t mean words like “ADHD”, “Autism” “Eating disorders” “Apsgerders” etc should become taboo. Personally I think the more this is spoken about in public the more myths can be be de-bunked and people with these conditions are not considered bad. The thing is with sights like this is we never know enough hisotry or the other side of the story to make a fair summary.

The lady was rude for taking so much food but t he birde was immature for letting it ruin her day. My Mum said she didn’t care if the cake fell down she took her vows and that is most important thing when it comes to a wedding.

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Enna August 2, 2012 at 1:23 pm

P.S if the woman liked the food so much, she should have asked if she could take some home if there was spare and maybe offer to help clean up?

Snowy August 5, 2012 at 10:33 pm

It’s a self-preservation instinct: eat as much as you can, as fast as you can, because someone (another cat, a predator) might try to take it away. And if a cat eats too fast, they wind up throwing some of it up. As long as it’s just a once in a while thing, it’s not unhealthy.

You said he was a stray–he probably had to scrape for whatever he could get, so he’s more likely to have that instinct kick in. I don’t know why excess food seems to trigger it more than a normal amount of food. Maybe because it registers as “extra” food and their kitty brain goes, “Oh, man, bonanza! MINE ALL MINE NOM NOM NOM MUST KEEP TO SELF.”

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Justcurious September 6, 2012 at 8:21 pm

My cat used to do that with everything we fed himwhen we had two of them and now he just eats little bits here and there.

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Dear! July 30, 2012 at 11:27 am

In my culture, we have what is known as a “toter” – a person who totes food aka steals/hoardes food wherever they go. They are extremely annoying. If this person is known for this behavior, and in the bride’s mind, she was depriving other guests, I can see how an already emotional bride can have a mini tizzy. Not right, but understandable.

And, from working in a hotel, it is possible for one person to take down a dish by themselves, depending on what it is, and how it is served. If her behavior was obvious enough for the bride to see, perhaps it was really over the top. Behavior like the food hog can be sickening sometimes, and little things you never expected to bother you, on a normal day, can send you over the endge if you’re already worked up.

The lady was rude. Etiquette exists to make sure we don’t overstep our boundaries, and put others in uncomforatable situations. That lady knew it was wrong to act like a piglet, but she didn’t care. To blame the bride is a bit much. If I planned a nice party, and a guest took it upon themselves to act crass and indulge to the extreme, with no regard for my other guests, I would be miffed. I’ve never been a bride, nor do I know the backstory, but I can understand why she got mad…….albeit not to the point of leaving the reception early…..

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admin July 30, 2012 at 11:38 am

We can neither change other’s behavior nor have any responsibility for their actions. We can, however, be responsible for our own actions. I find it astonishing that the bride let this guest overwhelm the probably many positive, happy aspects of the day, and dissolved into an emotional puddle. *ONE* guest made this bride flee her own reception. That is giving far too much power away to a mere guest and the bride had it within her to not let that happen. It’s as if she was letting this guest have complete, utter control over the bride’s happiness and frankly, her mental state.

Bride needed to grow a polite, gracious spine, ignore the guest, concentrate on her many kind and gracious guests, not worry everyone with needless displays of drama and tears and depriving them of her presence prematurely.

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Caros August 4, 2012 at 8:09 am

Think you’re being a bit harsh on the bride, there is no way of knowing whether the behaviour of this guest was simply the last straw in a long line of stressful things. Alone it is something to brush off, after 20 other stressful elements, not so easy to do.

An example – I was having trouble with a university assignment and ended up in tears in my tutors office because of the stress. You might wonder why I was such a wimp until you add the fact that I’d recently (within the previous 8 weeks) both lost two close family members and nearly lost a third close relative and a very close relative to separate, serious car accidents. Having trouble with an assignment is a relatively small thing but after these other events it became a far greater deal.

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Jay July 30, 2012 at 11:47 am

I agree with the Admin on this general point: Don’t give other people such power over you.

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BB/VA July 30, 2012 at 11:53 am

Weddings are stressful, and maybe this lady was just the last in a series of stressors. Or, maybe this guest was one she was forced to invite – “Oh, we just CAN’T leave Ms. CakeLover out – she will be SO unhappy with me” – said by the MIL or MOB (or FIL or FOB), even though the bride can barely tolerate Ms. CakeLover’s existence. Also, it appears that Ms. CakeLover’s tablemates weren’t terribly fond of her either.

I tend to agree with Admin – there may be more to the situation than meets the eye. The presence of the toddler son may be an indicator of part of the issue – was Baby CakeLover even invited? If it was supposed to be a child-free reception, that may have been enough to send the bride over the top.

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Hellbound Alleee July 30, 2012 at 12:05 pm

I have to wonder why so much attention was focused on this woman and not the rest of the wedding? I can’t help but wonder and have a little skepticism about the way this woman was described. It sounds a bit exaggerated. Isn’t the most important part of etiquette and manners focus on one’s own behavior and not on others’?

It seems everyone was fed. She didn’t ruin the dancing, or the announcements, the toasts, the music, or even the cake. Was the reception so boring that this woman was the main source of entertainment? As a bride myself, I was so happy about just getting married and celebrating, that I can’t imagine focusing on faux pas or errors. Heck, my cake was burned on the bottom, and it was the happiest day of my life.

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Lola July 30, 2012 at 12:31 pm

I guess I’m puzzled as to what the issue is. If you love and respect someone, you overlook the shrimp incident and don’t sic your coordinator on that guest because you want them to enjoy being part of your wedding. If you don’t love and respect them, you don’t invite them to be part of your wedding and then you don’t have to deal with the shrimp incident. What am I missining here?

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Susan July 30, 2012 at 8:22 pm

I had people at my wedding that I couldn’t stand. Ill-mannered and offensive people that I would never normally associate with. Why were they at my wedding, you ask? Because they are married to or children of relatives that I do love. Unfortunately at weddings, it’s not always possible to have only the exact people you want at your wedding, as family units have to be included

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Joan July 30, 2012 at 12:34 pm

I love how the bride needs to change who she is and to put it indelicately ‘grow a pair’. Yet this other person who is eating all the food should apparently not be asked to change. Kinda double standard, especially since I frequently see stories similar where this person would have been roasted in the pit of whatever it was they were consuming in vast quantities.

Obviously we can only guess based on the description, but it does seem in excess and I think the OP handled it fairly well. 5-6 plates of food plus 11 pieces of cake does sound a trifle excessive in my books. I also love how it is the coordinators/brides fault for not footing extra money to police food because one person doesn’t have the decency to know that food is not unlimited and weddings are catered based on head counts.

If someone were to have written in saying there were some children at say Sizzler doing the same (taking excessive amounts of food to the detriment of other paying customers) and the customers complained to management it would have been fine.

I honestly don’t see why the bride is called out for doing very little wrong except to be slightly over emotional on an emotional day. Not the person who so obviously was causing issues that many people mentioned it.

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TylerBelle July 30, 2012 at 12:56 pm

With, “shoveling in food as quickly as she could manage..” I get she ate the food she had taken? I would have a bigger problem had she took it and then let it go to waste, only for her to go back for yet another plate. The woman’s actions could be viewed as annoying, but the bride did let it get to her more than she should have. Apparently there was enough food for all, may not have been of a specific kind of it, but enough otherwise, and of course plenty of cake. The focus should have been on those positives.

Kinda feel a bit sorry for the food-hoarding woman, too. If she ate that much and as fast as possible, I cringe imagining the tummy-ache she more than likely experienced afterward.

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girl_with_all_the_yarn July 30, 2012 at 1:32 pm

What I saw in my mind when I read the story was not that the woman was waiting in line every time, but that she was cutting in line to get to yet another plate of food. And yes, I have witnessed fully grown adults do this, and then decimate whole tables before everyone gets some.

As someone who works for a catering company, I can assure you that it is completely terrifying when you have a guest who does this. You go in thinking you’ll have plenty of food, and when you have one of those guests who just “pops back in” (as the rationalization seems to be every time) over and over, you start becoming wary that they might eat everything. Eventually other guests notice and start getting angry… with the catering staff. Or worse, the bride. If guests were coming up to the bride and complaining, then it’s understandable she might be freaking out a little.

If the catering company specializes in buffets and works with groups that statistically have a lot of these types of people (those who work with colleges seem to have the most), they learn how to prevent them from going any further by quietly removing the dish to another table and filling the empty spot with napkins or bread. When the “Popper” (as my company calls them) returns, they find that the food they were looking for is no longer there, and either assumes they’ve run out or asks one of the catering staff who replies with “I’m sorry I really don’t know anything about that, excuse me,” and then quietly and unobtrusively walks away. This happens at literally every major event I work.

Of course, if someone is camping out at the spot there’s nothing we can do except wait for the camper to eat through all of whatever they’re eating and then remove the empty dish. When they don’t come back for a bit, we bring out the extra tray.

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Sallyann July 30, 2012 at 1:38 pm

I agree that the bride overreacted, getting so ‘hysterical’ you have to leave your own wedding and can’t speak in sentences over the buffet being short on one type of food item is just not worth it, even if she did feel the guest was rude.

Also, I am not a fan of the general tendency to call people ‘pigs’ or disgusting, just because they have larger appetites. Different bodies have different food needs, and it not something you should be judging people on. The story makes it clear that the woman was actually eating the food she took from the buffet, so I struggle to have much of a problem with it. (Taking food in tinfoil away at the end was rude if she didn’t have permission, and I can’t see why she wasn’t confronted over this rather than for the amount she ate during the reception?).

Taking a lot of one particular item of the buffet could be rude, but it depends a bit on what it was (perhaps the guest could only eat that one item), or when it was taken (I tend to feel that after everyone has had a fair chance to get to the food, whatever is left is fair game for people who are still hungry – its silly to have food go to waste because everyone is too polite to eat it!). I also don’t expect guests to know exactly what an even share of the food should be (they don’t necessarily know how many people want a particular food item, or how much of it there is).

And I think the woman at the end who told her off for ‘eating enough for ten people’ was rude.

More generally, as a hostess I want to provide enough food so my guests go away happy, and I do that by making sure there is plenty to start with, and that things are arranged so everyone has a chance to get some (the admin had good suggestions). I don’t do it by restricting my guests to only eating a certain amount.

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Tanz July 30, 2012 at 7:44 pm

I agree. I also think there is most likely a history of bad blood between the guest, bride and the OP; in the first paragraph the OP admits that there was more than enough food for everyone, plus, there seems to be a lot of exaggeration in the tale as told here (mainly to do with amounts of food).

I wonder if the guest in question was fat. I say that as a fat person myself; I’ve found that people very often overestimate both the amount of food I eat and are much stricter with *my* food choices than they are with other people’s (for example, thinner friends and family members can get away with eating much more than I before someone steps in to question whether I’ve had ‘enough’). I’d also like to point out that this doesn’t sound like a binge eating disorder (as someone who’d had some experience with that too… it’s much more likely to be a ‘hidden’ thing than overt).

I also agree with Admin that, in the great scheme of things, the guests ‘rudeness’ (if the situation did play out strictly as related here) was minor, and the bride’s reaction was OTT. It might have been different if the guest had eaten so much others had to go without. But she didn’t – there were even leftovers. And it seems she ate all she took, therefore avoiding another big buffet sin. Taking more than one’s ‘share’ of a particular dish is impolite but not worth the angst displayed here.

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Rebecca July 30, 2012 at 1:42 pm

The nature of a buffet is that everybody can take exactly what he/she wants. Yes, it is absolutely rude to eat so much of one thing that you deprive others of it, but things like this happen. If you’re the type of host who is going to freak out about such things, perhaps a buffet-style dinner isn’t for you. Serve a sit-down meal if you want to control your guest’s portions.

When a guest does something boorish at an event, only the most unfair person would blame the host. If a guest wears a white dress, eats all the food, talks through the ceremony, etc., it makes that guest look bad, not the bride or groom. The fact that people would even begin to suggest that somebody should be trying to control another human being’s actions is rude in itself.

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Hal July 30, 2012 at 1:45 pm

I agree with many here who say the bride was over-reacting. Guests see bad behavior, too. They do not blame the bride. In general, people make far too much fuss over what is served at what is only one meal out of many in the week or even the one day. It is the event being celebrated not the food. No one will starve because something is in short supply. I also suspect the bride might be a judgmental type who has belittled others. So, she fears others like herself who will gossip behind her back. I may be wrong about this particular bride but it is sometimes true of others.

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mamamia July 30, 2012 at 4:42 pm

At whatever big event in our life, something has the tendency to go wrong.

We don’t want to live with the reminders of the bad, so it’s important to make the best of the situation in order to make memories you want to live with and remember.

When something bad happens at your event, brush it aside, be calm, be trusting and patient and ignore the other. In 50 years, you want to remember the good and not have the only thing you remember is a rude guest that turned you into a bridezilla (or birthdayzilla, or whatever). Things will NOT be perfect on your big day, and you can choose to ruin it with your reactions, or make it a wonderful memory with your actions and attitude.

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The Elf July 30, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Bride needs to chill. It was just one item on the buffet.

That said, I have been continually amazed at the amount of food some people will put away if that food is “free”. When I was an administrative assistant, one of my jobs was to arrange events for our work group. After the first event, a pizza party, in which I ordered enough pizza for each person to have three slices but found that it was all gone before I was able to even get in line, I started assuming triple portions for everyone. I also pulled my portion out before putting it on the table, because otherwise I never got any at all.

This lady was rude. It is well established that if you want seconds (or thirds or sevenths) that you wait until everyone has had opportunity to get something. After that it’s fair game. If she didn’t wait, then she was being rude and selfish. If she did, then she was just being greedy and possibly had very bad table manners. But it was also rude to call it out and rude to ask her to pay for it (even if the comment on paying was made tongue-in-cheek).

Honestly, the best policy in situations like this is to let the greedy guest be seen for what she is and not sweat the small stuff. If it was that bad, I guarantee it’ll reflect worse on the guest than on the bride for not having “enough food”.

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The Elf July 30, 2012 at 2:18 pm

One more thing: It was wrong for her to be eating as others were cleaning up, or to take food home without permission. Typically, starting the clean-up is a sign that eating time is over.

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Sallyann July 31, 2012 at 1:36 pm

” I have been continually amazed at the amount of food some people will put away if that food is “free”. ”

How do you know people are eating more because it’s free? Do you know what they eat at home? Couldn’t it be the case that they just eat more than you do generally?

To look at your example I wouldn’t find 3 slices of pizza very much at all. At home I’d order a whole pizza for myself and usually only have a piece or two leftover, and I’m a short skinny girl, so I’ve got to assume that some other people’s appetites and calorie needs are higher than mine! (I know my energetic 20-something younger brother could easily need more than me.) If its a party where people are drinking, you should also consider that alcohol makes you feel hungrier than normal.

I’m not trying to pick on you particularly, but there seem to be several posts repeating the ‘there was enough food but people are greedy’ thing, which makes me wonder who’s standard of ‘enough food’ are we going with here?

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The Elf August 1, 2012 at 9:57 am

There are big appetites, for sure. I’ve got one myself. Three peices of pizza for per person is a normal serving size, given the age grouping (30s-70s, not like feeding teenagers) and the hour (lunch, not dinner). It was actually more than 3 due to the math of slices per pizza and the need to buy whole pizzas. I figured for every one that ate 4 or 5 slices, there’d be someone who ate 1 or 2. I was wrong. It is possible that a given person who took 5 slices eats that way at home all the time. But everyone who took 5 slices? There’s something else going on there. I would also expect those with more hefty appetities to take a couple of slices right off (filling the plate) and then come back for more later. That’s what I do. Well, it was a hard-learned lesson since I went home hungry that day (couldn’t afford lunch on my admin salary, didn’t bring it in since I was expecting to eat pizza).

Yes, people do tend to eat more when they see a “value”, and I count myself among them. This theory is buttressed by studies, which is why groups like Weight Watchers warn about diet pitfalls like buffets and office snacks. Who hasn’t indulged in the office donuts after they’ve already eaten breakfast? Who hasn’t made round 2 at the buffet when at home normally one plateful will suffice? I sure have. On a cruise, I saw many people ordering two appetizers. Why not – it’s built into the price of the cruise and the food was delicious. I opted not to because I didn’t want to gain weight, but the option was there and it was tempting. Our server even asked if I wanted to order two when I was wavering between choices. If they had to pay for each item individually, they likely would not have gone for two appetizers and I would not have been tempted to. It’s human nature.

For most, “free” or high value prompts a little extra indulging. For this lady, it was probably a lot extra. It’s possible that she eats this way at home. But…. unlikely.

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alex July 30, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Okay so maybe the bride did get so upset over this one guest and there probably was backstory to their relationship. But I still think the lady had no right to be an absolute pig and if it was my wedding I would have wanted someone to speak to her. Going up that many times and eating that much cake is just ridiculous even if there is plenty. And to just assume you can wrap up 5 pieces?? That is so incredibly rude!

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Snowy August 5, 2012 at 10:35 pm

I agree that there was more than enough food for her to have sixths, but a gracious person does not make a pig of themselves in public, especially on someone else’s dime.

One thing I thought of is that maybe this woman lives hand to mouth, and is rarely able to eat a real meal. It could be that she started out by indulging in her first big, hot meal in ages and just couldn’t stop. Either bad manners or an eating disorder (or combination thereof) is more likely, however.

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Ann July 30, 2012 at 2:52 pm

As Admin says, there has to be more to this situation than meets the eye.

When I got married, I was too darn busy talking to my guests to notice this level of detail about someone’s indulgence in the food… that was there for them to eat.

There was plenty of behind the scenes drama, don’t get me wrong, but none of it was the fault or doing of any guest. It was all about getting married for the wrong reasons. Gory details kept to self.

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Spuck July 30, 2012 at 2:57 pm

I’m siding with the bride’s hysterics on this one. It sounds like she was heavily involved with preparations for the wedding (her friend is the coordinator and she made sure herself there was twice as much food as needed available) so it sounds like she may have done some of the cooking on this one. I would be angry to if I personally cooked for a wedding, and food that was supposed to go for everyone was only enjoyed by one person. The difference between catering and cooking yourself is that the caterer is not emotionally invested.

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admin July 30, 2012 at 3:54 pm

You are making a lot of assumptions that are not indicated in the original story.

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Stacey Frith-Smith July 30, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Admin has the right of it- we aren’t to monitor the intake of others who are guests. However, if someone’s behavior is so pronounced that they have made an utter spectacle of themselves, it is ludicrous to expect others to maintain oblivion. Perhaps extreme angst is the wrong reaction, but I can see how a guest who passes through a line with the swiftness of a humming bird, polishes off plates as if in a timed contest for eating hot dogs or pies, and loads her sweet little six inch plate with enough food that the manufacturer’s product testing lab is taking note of results for R&D based tensile strength claims could alter the ambiance of any meal enough to cause disequilibrium if not astonished surprise. Ah, well. Best wishes to OP’s friend and many congratulations on her marriage!

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Calypso July 30, 2012 at 4:30 pm

I agree (with there being a lot of assumptions being made) and I dearly wish the OP would come back and satisfy our nosy curiosity! 🙂
For example, I keep wondering: where’s the groom during all this? (has he tried to comfort his bride, or is he too busy doing something that contributes to her unhappy state of mind?) Is the bride a normally stressed-out person? Was she heavily invested in everything being “perfect”? Was there some history with mass-consumption guest?

I’ll bet this is hard for some posters to believe, but in “traditional” etiquette (which, I agree, isn’t always our model anymore), it would be the height of bad manners to even *notice* what or how much another guest was or wasn’t eating.

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confused July 31, 2012 at 3:26 am

I would love to know all of that as well! As a bride to be I hope to goodness I won’t be like this on the day – surely the fact that you’ve just married the man of your dreams should have you in such a state of happiness that you don’t notice what people are eating? It sounds to me as though there was a back story, the bride for some reason did not want this woman there, and she was looking for some reason, any reason to complain about her.

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boohaha July 30, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Went to a reception just a week ago. Each table was announced to go to the buffet. Some sort of something had run out before I got there–didn’t think a thing about it except “wonder what that was? oh well….” 🙂 I really don’t think people get “angry” about things running out–maybe a bit perturbed, but come on, angry, over a free meal?( I know some people equal wedding gift=costly meal and drinks at reception, but I never have). And who sits and gawks over someone eating too much? If anyone does, it can only be the few unlucky people at the same table–I would never notice what someone was eating at another table–how could the bride have even known? And if one person–no matter how large they were–could wipe out one steam tray in one try, we got to be talking some little dishes of food here.

Some time ago I hosted a group at my job. Never catered before, but needed to save some money, so nixed the idea of a caterer. I put out platters of cold cuts and cheese and was mortified when I turned back around and found the platter empty and I had no more. I learned a very valuable lesson about running out of food and one I never forgot. Seems like either the catering company here or the wedding coordinator learned a valuable lesson they should not forget in the future.

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catherine August 1, 2012 at 12:05 am

My husband and I attended an out of town wedding a few years ago. The dinner didn’t start until after 7 and we were starving. There wasn’t a seating chart, and while I was chatting with the bride, almost all the seats were taken and the only table with two seats together was at the back of the hall. It was a catered cold plate buffet (salads, cold meats, devilled eggs, etc.) Anyway, we were the last table called up to the buffet, (us and 2 other couples) and there was literally no food left! Barely scrapings of the salads and no meats at all. I asked the caterer if that was it? Apparently, people from the first tables had eaten quickly and got back in line before the last tables were called. My DH was P.O.d! we ended up leaving to go to the drive thru at burger king.

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sv July 30, 2012 at 6:12 pm

I was once at a reception where the dessert was a strawberry shortcake – kind of deal. On Uncle went back for seconds, thirds and when he approached the servers for fourths they told him they had run out. So he had them dish up a big plate of whipped cream, which he proceeded to eat. My friend, the bride, found it both horrifying and hilarious.
The bride in this story is justified in being so upset, although she would have done better to simply put it out of her mind as one of those things you can’t control and continued to enjoy her big day. The woman in this scenario was incredibly inconsiderate and rude, but undoubtedly either did not realize it or simply didn’t care. Regardless, short of making a scene ( which would be inexcusably rude) there is nothing to be done about it. Let her eat her way into E-hell and let this story pass into family lore. Future generations will find it funny 🙂

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lkb July 30, 2012 at 7:22 pm

I wonder if the bride requested the particular item to please a particular relative, say for a restrictive diet or who had a special fondness for that dish. It would have been dismaying to find that Aunt Minnie’s scarfed it all down, leaving Grandma with nothing else on the buffet she could eat or without the treat her loving grandaughter thought to provide on her special day.

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RedDevil July 30, 2012 at 7:48 pm

I wouldn’t have known how to react to that woman in the moment… I see the “she should have’s” and “why didn’t someone’s” as the beauty of Hindsight, which we all know is 20/20.

In regards to the buffet woman:
The story says all of “one food item” was being eaten by this woman – I don’t understandy why nobody seems to think this is an issue, just because everyone else at the reception still got fed. What if this “one food item” was the figurative Turkey at Thanksgiving Dinner and all everybody else got was vegetables? What if the “one food item” was a meat curry & sauce, and all everybody else got was rice? Just because there was enough food for other guests, does not reduce this woman’s selfishness.

In regards to the Bride:
As far as I’m aware, a Bride typically does not notice the minor events of the evening, she’s too wrapped up in her new husband and the events of the day to notice a few guests feeling slightly put-off by a fellow guest. To me, that means that either this woman was brought to the Bride’s attention by an upset guest (and she as a host was stuck between a rock and a hard place, to appease the upset guest(s) as well as not offend her other guest who was causing the problem), OR, this woman really was causing a scene enough for the Bride to have noticed a problem at all. Either way, that’s pretty upsetting for a Bride, who is most likely hosting her first ever large-scale event. Perhaps this woman is known for making a scene when confronted about her eating habits? Perhaps she was the Bride’s Boss!
(Ok, some will say there’s nothing that says the Bride is “hosting”, but lets face it, most people turn to the Bride as the host).

There’s more to this story, that much is clear, but I think we need to keep an open mind when plugging those gaps with our own assumptions about the situation and the behaviour from that.

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The Elf July 31, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Well, since I don’t like turkey……

Okay, in all seriousness, I think it if was the “main course” tray and that was the only dish of that type, OP would have said it.

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RedDevil July 31, 2012 at 5:15 pm

True, I just meant to express that it could have been an important dish, or particularly pricey or something. I doubt anybody would be upset if all of one particular boring vegetable was being eaten – it’s more likely a prominent menu item.

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The Elf August 1, 2012 at 10:02 am

Yeah, likely no one would shed tears if the green beans almondine up and disappeared. But there’s a difference between an important dish among many and THE centerpeice of the meal. Let’s say the buffet included both chicken and beef. They took all the beef. Well, there’s still chicken. Given everything else the OP said, I think it likely she would have mentioned if it was THE centerpeice of the meal that disappeared.

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Jenny July 30, 2012 at 9:56 pm

I agree you can’t stress over one food item. For instance, we had Bruschetta at our reception. It was pretty much all gone within 15 minutes. My response was “Well, people liked the food!” As the bride myself I couldn’t eat much anyway (nerves + dress + having to go around and meet everyone). No one complained about the food as there were plenty of other good options other than the Bruschetta.

For instance, the bride got upset because the woman ate 5 pieces of cake. But there was enough left over she could have six leftover pieces? Then why care? Look, it’s her digestive/coronary system that’s going to suffer. How utterly silly of the bride.

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Lerah99 July 31, 2012 at 12:08 am

Am I the only one who wonders if this woman may be having money problems and was actually sincerely hungry? So she over ate, and tried to take extras home with her for herself and her toddler?

Without being there, this does seem to be an awful lot of fuss over someone overeating. There was left over food & left over cake so no one was left out. I agree with the admin, there must be much more to this story.

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Jenny July 31, 2012 at 1:56 pm

I dunno – having gone through a period where I was on a restricted diet following a surgery, I found that when you are hungry consistently you physically cannot eat that much. Your stomach shrinks in response to not eating as much. When you’re coming off a diet like that you aren’t supposed to eat much quickly as it can make you very sick.

So hunger doesn’t really explain it.

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NostalgicGal July 31, 2012 at 1:38 am

People who can eat… there are those that are totally oblivious. A former roomie, she regularly could and did put away incredible amounts at a sitting; and it didn’t matter the setting or the circumstances.

We had both gone to a gathering of friends, ten of us, and I had brought food and set it out to share. Ten reasonable sized platefuls worth of meat on kebabs, rice, and steamed veggies. She went first and she just LOADED her plate and took about four servings worth (more of the meat and a little less of the others, but) and would have taken more of the kebabs if she could have gotten away with it. Then sat there and munched her way through her loaded plate oblivious that everyone else had to sort of scrimp off on half a portion and I skipped eating to leave more for the others. Shaking of heads in the kitchen and the rest of us trying to be polite about it. Then she went back to the kitchen to see if there was anything left….

I did work part time at a restaurant; I’d brought the food from there (purchased and packed up and brought with me). And had brought what was considered there, enough to feed ten. Next time I brought what we usually sold for serving TWENTY FIVE for the ten of us… and the exodus for the kitchen, she ended up at the end of the line. (yes we did have enough, the first 9 took about 13 servings as some figured there wouldn’t be seconds, and she got almost all the rest… two servings of steamed veggies and one of rice left after her)

My point? She was totally oblivious to anything but how much she wanted, and if she was first and took half the food available, it just didn’t register. Maybe the woman listed by the OP was like this… but.

Complaining to the bride on her day wasn’t the thing to do either. If there was a planner, that was the one that should have gently defused the situation; delaying her, politely suggesting letting everyone else get a pass, etc. And a few of the other posters that worked the buffet line at other events and did things like delaying bringing out a pan of something to break the scarf-cycle and that, all valid too.

As for the person I mentioned; her turn to bring food, she’d bring one cakepan of some hot dish or something that she liked and most of us didn’t, that was it; we’d swear we had already made the plans and have someone use the cellphone and sneak-call the pizza place….

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AMC July 31, 2012 at 9:12 am

The bride overreacted by leaving her own wedding early, and Admin is probably right that there’s more to this story. But the buffet lady’s behavior, as it’s described here, is undeniably selfish and over-the-top. Eating an entire steam tray of one item by herself, four trips to the buffet, five pieces of cake, and then taking it upon herself to pack up leftovers during clean up? Look, I’m an eater myself and as tempted by the hot crab dip as the next guy, but I’m mature enough to exercise self-control and remember that there are other hungry guests who would like to try the crab dip too. This wasn’t an all-you-can-eat restaurant; this was a meal that was being shared by a large group of people.

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Miss Raven July 31, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Precisely. I am an unabashed lover of food. I may have gone up for seconds or thirds if there was plenty leftover. But not to the extent of demolishing an entire item at the buffet, and CERTAINLY not if someone commented on it.

It’s a matter of self-control and maturity, like you said. The food is there for everyone. I agree that previous posters said, just because there were leftovers doesn’t mean this guest wasn’t being immensely greedy. You just have to know when to stop.

And for the armchair shrinks, as someone who has struggled with compulsive overeating most of my life, and who has been close with bulemics, absolutely nothing about this story reads as an eating disorder to me. People who binge do so in private. Everything done in public is done to take the attention off how you’re eating. People with binge-eating disorders are completely obsessed with how their eating habits appear to the people around them. ESPECIALLY to strangers.

There is no way someone with a binge eating disorder would put away six plates of food and five slices of cake in front of a room full of strangers who were commenting on it, and then try to take home leftovers. This woman had other sorts of problems.

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Jones August 1, 2012 at 10:29 am

Exactly! When I am in a binge, you will find me on a stool in the kitchen scooping tiny bits off a serving platter to put on my saucer-sized dish…No one needs to know that I’m the one who ate half the platter. In fact, if all they ever see is a regular-sized portion in my hand, why should I even believe that I just ate half the apple crisp? Obviously half the apple crisp wouldn’t fit on my plate, and no one else saw me eat more than a regular portion, sooo I must not have eaten it. No, I don’t really believe it, but it’s what I do.

Even on a binge, though, I would have a hard time putting away the amount of food described in this story, alone or observed.

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Jenny August 1, 2012 at 4:26 pm

That is true. A relative of mine struggled with a similar eating disorder (thanks to a wonderful therapist she’s doing much better now) and you never, ever saw her eat, things just disappeared.

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catwoman2965 August 2, 2012 at 12:54 pm

I’m the same way. I love to eat, and while I might like to devour an entire pan of something, and could, I don’t. I will take my fair share, if there is more, I’ll have seconds, if not, oh well.

I was recently at a birthday party at a restaurant, where the meal was served family style. I know most of the guests, and also know how much they can eat. There was enough food for everyone, but not enough say that you could take half the tray of penne vodka. I did hear (as I expected to) some grumbling about the amount of food served, which was normal for the amount of guests, but not for that particular group.

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Cat July 31, 2012 at 11:11 am

This convinces me that I am weird. I would have been fascinated by the amount of food this lady was consuming and would have had to be prevented from pulling up a chair to watch.
She might have a lightning fast metabolism or she must be obese in the extreme. I am over-weight, but could not do what she did if I had three days to do it in.
In fairness to the bride, I do recall being somewhat annoyed by a co-worker who took several pieces of fried chicken at a staff luncheon and several of us had to do without. I was more irate at a co-worker who was seated next to me at a dinner party, reached over to pat my roll on my bread plate, and asked, “Is this mine?” I said, “It is now.” She would do things like reach onto other people’s plates and break off pieces of their food or volunteer to cut a cake, licking her fingers and then putting them into the frosting, and so it didn’t surprise me when she did these things.

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Hilary July 31, 2012 at 3:52 pm

This reminds me of a funny story from my wedding reception. We live in a state where all alcohol sales are through a state-run liquor store. My husband and I had ordered several different wines and beers in cases ahead of time and had my father-in-law pick them up. He threw in one case of Corona beer as an afterthought.

Fast forward to the reception: the Corona turned out to be a big hit. I witnessed this exchange: one guest, a close family friend on my side, whispered to the bartender in Spanish to please set aside all the rest of the bottles of Corona for him. The bartender laughed awkwardly, but clearly didn’t know exactly what he should do. Another guest, my husband’s aunt, overheard the exchange and was also a fluent Spanish speaker. She piped up in Spanish too, telling the bartender to do no such thing. They both laughed about it and shared the remaining beers.

My point is, other guests should be the ones to speak up and stop greedy guests at the buffet. If someone is taking all the rest of the shrimp, chances are someone behind them in line will joke, “Leave some for the rest of us!” I agree with the admin, it’s not the wedding coordinator’s or the bride’s job to police the guests’ buffet behavior.

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OP July 31, 2012 at 4:50 pm

Okay, I’ll try to give a little more backstory here. However, a lot of the details have to be left out because none of the people involved would want to hurt this woman’s feelings. Really. I promise.

1. Yes, there was a LOT of history involved not only between the bride and the woman, but literally everyone who attended. There were absolutely no strangers here with the exception of a few of the bride’s more distantly related family. Everyone knew her, had seen this behavior before at similar events and were watching closely, not because the reception was boring but because you just couldn’t look away. As Cat said, it was fascinating to watch (in a really horrible way). She also had to be included because she was married to a very dear friend that everyone loved. No one has ever cared much for her. It is very hard to convey exactly how over the top this was. Actually, it was pretty amazing due to the fact that the food was stacked like a Jenga game. No exaggeration, she managed to get at least a 10-inch stack of food on the plate at each trip. Yes, they were small plates which were entirely appropriate to what was being served. The point is, it was an astounding amount of food on the plate. you could NOT miss what was going on.
2. The other issue is the fact that, yep, she ate what she got. Loudly, with a disgusting display of masticated food because she never closed her mouth while she was eating, literally causing people sitting near her to move out of the way of the spray of saliva and food when she talked while eating.
3. I did NOT speak to her about this in front of anyone. I asked her to come outside with me. I was used to dealing with her and did it in a nice way. She was not offended by what I said to her at all.
4. I also want to reiterate that there should have been plenty of everything as the bride chose to double what I suggested. It should have been a gracious plenty. Just because it was one item does not change the fact that it was an absolutely incredible display of echhhh.
5. The person that spoke to her may have been rude to mention it, but at that point there were only a few people left inside and, once again, the person who spoke was incredibly angry because she was indeed sitting and eating while other friends helped clean up. I never said there were that many leftovers, just that she went back 2 more times AFTER the cake and THEN went back to pack away some cake to take away. Oh, and she went into the kitchen and got a clean plate after they had been washed and put away.

I’m sorry I can’t put in any more detail. It really is an incredible story that goes so much further than just the wedding, but it would be a novella.

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admin July 31, 2012 at 11:12 pm

OP, Your explanation does nothing to change my opinion that the bride allowed a guest, apparently one she knew would behave this way, to utterly destroy her wedding. I cannot fathom giving anyone that much power over my happiness or life. Good heavens, why didn’t this guest get assigned to a table way back in the farthest corner from the buffet table with the DJ and photographer?

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jena rogers August 1, 2012 at 10:28 am

RE: “Good heavens, why didn’t this guest get assigned to a table way back in the farthest corner from the buffet table with the DJ and photographer?”

This assumes a great deal — that seat placement would have mitigated the guests’ behavior (this is not a forgone conclusion), that the seating was such that this would have mattered, (all tables could conceivably be equally accessible to the buffet), that the guest and/or her husband were not close enough to the bride/groom to warrant “better” seats. And do we really seat a guest with the DJ and photographer based on a presumption of how they might behave? Not the mention that whether it’s the DJ or the FOB, should anyone have to endure sitting near this guest? If the bride/groom knew this person’s history of behaving this way in the past, I believe the only solution, and the more charitable one for all involved, would be to not invite her and her husband.

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Mary August 1, 2012 at 10:08 pm

Or they didn’t assign seats. I have only been to about 10 weddings out of 100 (most likely that I have attended) that had assigned seats.

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jena rogers August 1, 2012 at 10:31 am

Thanks for sharing. What an incredible story… sounds like something out of Monty Python. As a bride-to-be (who is hosting a buffet reception for a relatively small number of guests), I can easily imagine how something like this can create a disturbance.

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Angel July 31, 2012 at 8:02 pm

I don’t like buffets for this reason. I have no problem with a cocktail hour buffet, but the main course should be portioned out and served. IMO wedding receptions should be fun, but also dignified affairs. There is nothing more stomach-turning than a guest emptying out an entire chafing dish for themselves. I understand this is also possible at a cocktail hour, however, most guests are not depending on food at a cocktail hour to fill them up. The most fair way to ensure that guests get a reasonable portion is with the sit down dinner. If you have an idea that one or more guests may behave the same way as “Aunt Minnie” then a sit-down dinner is the way to go.

However, if your only option is a buffet, the bride should not be concerning herself with a single guest’s over indulgence. She needs to look at it from the perspective that behaving like a pig reflects poorly on the guest, not her,

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Katie August 1, 2012 at 6:12 am

OP, what was the food item that she ate the whole tray of? I’m dying to know!

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The Elf August 1, 2012 at 10:05 am

I’m curious too! From the “sauce” description, I’m guessing some sort of BBQ.

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MrsK August 1, 2012 at 11:51 am

This was pure and simple GLUTTONY and its disgusting. I don’t care about peoples caloric needs, I am pretty sure they can reign it in for one stinking night! I think the bride had a right to be upset.

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jena rogers August 1, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Ditto.

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2browneyes4 August 2, 2012 at 12:31 pm

For my vote, I would have been upset too if it were my wedding and one guest was hogging practically all of one dish (probably a popular or main dish, I doubt the bride would have cared if she had hogged half of the white rice or scalloped potatoes) so that half the guests didn’t have the opportunity to taste the dish. Also, it’s pretty clear that her behavior and disgusting table manners were obvious to the bride and the other guests, besides the fact that she was already notorious for this type of thing.

It reminds me of my now-deceased grandparents’ 55th Anniversary celebration. My Grandma had been diagnosed with cancer and we were so happy to throw my grandparents a reception-style celebration including the renewal of their vows at a catered banquet hall. It was the size of a wedding reception and nearly 200 people attended. At the reception, Grandma’s neighbor, “Miss Ilene,” made no fewer than 9 trips to the cookie table!! It was so obvious that, although she was seated across the room, everyone at my table was roaring with laughter everytime she walked by to make another trip!! The funniest part was that while we saw her pick up at least 4 or 5 cookies each time, we only saw her walk away with one cookie in a napkin each time!! We could only guess that she hid the others under her pillbox hat!! (no lie, honestly). (Okay, maybe she put them in her pockets). Anyway, she was the true entertainment for the evening.

The next day, my grandparents hosted family and the out-of-town guests at their home so that we could say goodbye before the guests got on the road and provide them with (buffet) dinner, including 2 huge pans of a peach cobbler that a relative had made for the occasion. Miss Ilene helped herself to 4 HUGE helpings of the first pan and before half of the guests had even arrived, I heard Grandma quietly telling my aunt to please put out the second pan so that the newly arriving guests could have cobbler since “Ilene finished half the first pan herself.” The new pan hit the table, and before my aunt made it back to the kitchen, Miss Ilene was on it, another huge serving. My grandmother was always very kind and loving toward everyone, but when Miss Ilene was walking away with her 6th serving, Grandma’s nerves collapsed and she said “Ilene!! Is all of that for yourself!! We have family coming and want them to have dessert too!!” Miss Ilene just laughed sheepishly and said “Oh, I’m sorry. I just thought I’d have a little bit more.” Then, later when Grandma was in another room, I saw Miss Ilene go back for a 7th serving (though not nearly as large as the previous ones). My poor Grandma, she would not have normally said anything, but she was truly worried that the other guests would not have had any dessert at all.

Not to be an armchair physician, but while reading the OP’s story, I too thought maybe the wedding guest had an eating disorder but then I thought perhaps an impulse disorder after reading other comments. Oh well, I’d rather be thought of as having a disorder than be thought of as being a crass pig (not that I’m calling the wedding guest a pig), so I can understand while someone thought it is more charitable to assume a disorder than to assume that one is clueless without the manners of a pig. If she had sprayed food from her mouth in my direction or on me, I definitely would have looked for another place to sit.

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crella August 2, 2012 at 6:31 pm

I have two people binge eating disorders in my family, and you never see them eat anything. A binge eater will not eat a plateful of food in front of others, they will eat as little as possible.

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Kae September 4, 2012 at 2:54 pm

I think after that, I would not invite that guest to anymore events and parties if I were in the bride’s shoes.

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