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relatives wedding

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
gotta vent......you guys are going to love this.....for you thinking of starting to cater this is what NOT TO DO.

my brother and I are sole siblings, he's a chiropractor who has taken care of us for years.....any meds at cost, ditto massages, etc
his first born daughter (5 kids, 3 girls) is getting married here. /Dec 27. um ok....I've always said my gift is my labor. Alittle background, my brother is Mormon which apparently has different wedding receptions than everyone else. um ok.....

My brother has essentially let his powerhouse wife plan this wedding reception freehanded.

there will be 2 receptions, they became engaged 6 weeks ago.....so3-4 mo. engagement. 750 invitations went out. 400 for here, 350 salt lake. no rsvp

400 invitations.....800+ people?!!!!!, wtf?
deep breath supposedly the guesstimate is 300ish will show.....ok.....clubhouse in suburbia.

7-9pm 2 days after christmas, all MY (our) family.....aunts, grandma, grandpa are coming into town.......I do not want to spend Christmas at the kitchen prepping.
the week prior I'm catering a 2-4pm sweets for 300.....punch, coffee, cookies, candies, cupcakes.....so talked niece independently into the same gig so it can be premade/prepped.

I love my family. we have very different versions of what's ok. I'm flexible, really pretty bendable..........with strangers I've got no problem guiding them with their vision melding their vison to mine (logistics) SIL and mother have now thrown their spoons into the pot....oh boy....I've held back from telling them that they can make the tortilla rollups that they so much desire, or the loaves of bread with pesto to dip into......or the chocolate fountain......ARRRRRRRRRRRGH........came down with a bad cold and backed away just to clear my head prior to regretting the foot/shoe extraction that'll be necessary if I talk too soon.

400 invitations and no rsvps, no budget,"if we run out of food, too bad", "parking is not my problem" are comments I'm hearring. Family.....gotta love um.....

Hi my name's Julie, I actually have cooked and catered for a long time....I'm your (daughter, sil, aunt, pick one)....I've catered for boards of NPR, celebrity events, etc....
I may not understand how Mormon receptions are so different than anyone else's on this planet but your explainations don't make sense.

Nope not ready to talk just yet, I'm going for another cup of tea.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #2 of 11
WANNA DO A SMART THING, !!!! Bow out of this Dinner Dance, yes dinner dance while you can. Let them use your facility but dont get involved, Get Sick, Go for an Operation do anything to get out of there. I made it a point all of my life I do not do relatives parties. I guide them but will not do them. Regardless if you do a good job or bad they will always talk about you. :beer:
CHEFED
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post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Good Advice. But alas, my family is coming into town....people I've not seen in a long time, so operations, last minute improvasations of aliments just aren't valid options.

Still, waiting until my people skills improve enough to talk sanely with relations.

lesson, no more open ended statements of help, who knew 400 invitations is WAY out there......no RSVPs? hello? anyone home? really how much does a postcard cost?

back to my warm lemon water
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #4 of 11
Well, as a Mormon, I can tell you that my reception was just like any other reception, just without the booze. I think that calling it a dinner dance is a bit rude.

The thing about many LDS weddings is that they send out announcements to their entire congregation, and I would say that many do actually attend. Many people have a seperate "reception" with just close friends and family, and then a very large reception that often only involves lots of finger food and dessert. But, some people do just go for the large reception (like your neice, I think). Guests attending this kind of reception are not expecting anything over the top, as they know how much it can cost to feed that many people a full meal.

I know it can be a hard thing to grasp. I didn't want anything that big and instead had a beautiful, formal reception with a full dinner, dancing, ect., and had about 100 people in attendance. And yes, I did send rsvp cards with the invites. Don't blame the problems on the fact that your SIL/mother/aunt are Mormon, but instead that they are not professionals, and are basing a lot of this on what they have seen.

Good luck. And seriously, in my religion, the reception is on the bottom of the list when it comes to getting married. The most importiant thing is the actual ceremony. Just take a deep breath and remember how much you love your niece...... Hopefully.....

:)
Jessica
post #5 of 11
Over the years I have catered over 2000 weddings of all faiths and denominations. Most averaged from 25 to 250 guest. Any function over 500 regardless of what was refered to as a dinner dance. Lets face it in most geographical locations 500 to 750 for a wedding is not normal or average. I didnt make up the termonology dinner dance , this is what they are refered to.. EJB :chef:
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post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
My niece sent out 750 invitations, 400 in St. Louis and 350 for a reception in Salt Lake.

There's something about not knowing how many people will show up,when pressed the count possibly 200-350. Renting a site that may hold 100 for 2 hour reception. Buying a cake that will serve 175. When asked where people would park, my SIL said, "it's not my problem"....and not sending out RSVP was an economic decision...."it would cost too much to have postage for so many".....but when SIL came back and gutted the bride/grooms food decisions that's when I backed out.
Just not cool. If there was a tight budget they should have held it in their ward's gym, with punch and cake. Instead they invited the world to a place to small and justify not having enough food/beverages/parking....because typical "church" weddings people don't stay. UMMM.....2 hour reception?

I love my niece, I don't want to touch this nightmare with a ten foot pole.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #7 of 11
You did the right thing, you are the caterer not her, you have the experience and exprtise not her. Anyone can just invite people, and say its not my problem, but to do it ahhh!!! another story. :p
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post #8 of 11

You don't tell the Chiropractor how to massage

Don't let them tell you how to Cater!! As Caterers we are all well versed on the multitude of things that can and will go wrong without adequate information or orginization. Let you Brother know you have looked forward to this day for a long time and in order for you to exceed their expectations you need to be allowed to perform your job properly. Performing your job properly means, adequate head count, pre-determined budget and pre-determined menu. Let them know that if he were to prescribe 2 medications that have an adverse effect on a patient it would be detrimental as it would be if you were not able to perform your duties within your guidelines. If he is unable to bend tell him of some of the horror stories you've heard and how badly things can go. You have my empathy! GOOD LUCK!
Joan
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
the joys of family......this will take a while to work through. Rescending a gift is horrible.....two vastly different visions of one event and where the priorities lay.

So prior to offering any more openended catering offers my requirements will be:

1) firm guest count

2) menu will reflect the chosen site

3) budget from the git go

4) the recipient of the gift is the ONLY one I talk to.....

If any of you can think of other unmentioned options please chime in......
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #10 of 11

Things to add...

Here are a few other things for your list:

1. You must have say over how many wait staff and kitchen helpers you need.
How many times have you had a client planning a 100+ person event say: "it's a buffet, can't we just have two servers?"

2. They have to live within the budget...no fillet on a hamburger budget.

3. No last-minute changes.

4. You should make some money on the event, even if it's a gift.

Chef Andrea
Chef Andrea
Catering by Dinner is Served
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Chef Andrea
Catering by Dinner is Served
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post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Good advice Andrea.

AS to compensation, my only brother has taken care of the majority of our medical needs for years **free**, or at his cost for any meds. I've always told them that I would cater their children's wedding receptions.....the learning curve got very steep then plumitted. That is why it took me so long to respond to what transpired......and threw out this thread to the cheftalk community. Basically as a "don't do as I did"....have what you require listed so that they know what your gift entails.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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