I had dinner with two of my clients, the bride’s mom and their caterer last week. It was a lovely meal at a fantastic little French place on the Upper East, the purpose of which was to talk about food so we could get to work designing their menu. When we really got to brass tacks (the style of food at the cocktail hour, family style first courses, etc.), we hit a touchy subject: Food Stations. The caterer, who really tries to be as innovative as possible, doesn’t really like to do them. The bride’s mother however summed up her need for stations with simple, honest brevity.
“We simply must have stations. If we don’t have stations, people will talk about us.”
I choked on my wine. It is totally true, I was sure, I just had never had anyone verbalize it so simply.
“You know, I really appreciate you acknowledging that concern,” I said. “If you know that that is what your guests are expecting, then you’re probably right. They probably WILL talk about you.”
The truth is, often when I see parents want one thing that the couple doesn’t care about, or the bride care about something that the groom might not care about, etc, etc, etc, it is often (not always, but often) somewhere related to a silent, but unspoken expectation that they feel their guests will have. And that if the event doesn’t meet that expectation, well then, there will be gossip. The choice then becomes to care or not to care.
The truth is though, even if you did everything to your guests “standards”, someone will always be talking smack about your wedding. It doesn’t matter how perfect, how lavish, or how thoughtful. Maybe it’s a curmudgeonly Uncle, or a jealous college friend or a hater from your husbands’ office. Someone will have something to say. I know this because I so often hear it: “It’s too cold in here.” ” It’s too hot in here.” “This would have been great if the band was louder.” “This would have been better if the band was less loud.” “My five course meal with wine pairings was lovely, but I thought that the 3rd course choice of Sauvignon Blanc was off… who can I speak to about this?”
The point of all of this? It’s totally normal, and logical to think about how your guests will receive the celebration that you’ve planned. After all, if you didn’t want them to enjoy themselves and eat and drink and dance, you probably wouldn’t be having the wedding in the first place. And, I think it’s totally sensical to avoid doing things that you know everyone will receive poorly… i.e. if you know that your family makes a huge deal about food and always wants to be sure that there is enough food at every party, it might not be a good idea to just have a dessert reception.
But, at a certain point know that you are also doing this for you, and no matter what you do, some cranky guest, for whatever their reasons will have something to say. So, keep this in mind as you fret over whether the centerpieces are nice enough or the exact play list that you are giving the DJ. Luckily, if you hire someone like me, they’ll get to hear it instead of you.