As we continue our solemn march through wedding season, rarely do we stop to consider everything that goes on behind the scenes. While we’re blacking out in photo booths, stuffing our faces with overcooked chicken and texting our exes “thinkin’ bout you,” caterers are quietly observing the drama—and causing some themselves.
For people who work weddings, the celebration can be a sloppy affair. Caterers and servers get a unique glimpse into the drama, mishaps and shenanigans that are bound to occur when a room full of emotional, well-dressed people are exposed to an open bar.
We spoke with current and former caterers to find out the craziest things they’ve witnessed while they were working a wedding.
1. Straight-up brawls
“A mother of the groom showed up—apparently, she didn't approve of the son’s choice, so she hadn’t been invited. The bride saw her walk in and told the DJ to stop the music. She grabbed the mic, and let everyone know why she wasn't invited. Then she walked over (with the groom begging her not to make a scene) and yelled at her to go. The mother yelled back, called her the c-word and said, ‘This is why you’re no good for my son!’ The bride slapped the mother, the mother went to shove the bride and the groom stepped in the middle to stop her. The mother turned around and left. A good forty seconds later, the DJ turned the music back on. ‘Cupid Shuffle’ started up.”
“When working weddings, we always padded the drinks. We were instructed by the bartender to add a ton of extra drinks to the tab. No one ever questioned us. It made us more money in tips.”
3. Drug use
“I found half-chewed fentanyl suckers (banana flavored?) around two tables in the back corner. I thought I had overserved the young man with long, curly hair. Wine made his speech slurred, and fentanyl pops made his pupils pinpoint. The bride and groom were disgusted by him the whole time.”
4. Hearing loss
“Once a child set off the cannon—there was a cannon thy fired ceremoniously at sundown every night—and had to be checked for hearing loss.”
5. Peculiar design choices
“The wedding cake was shaped like Elvis Presley’s head, and no one explained why.”
6. Complete silence
“I was working a dinosaur-themed wedding with no music. Literally, a silent dinosaur ceremony and dinner. After dinner, there was dark and confusing Irish folk music.”
7. Abandoned children
“There was a rehearsal dinner of eighty people on an island off Maine, and they got so insanely fucked up. (It was the night before the wedding.) After the dinner, someone left their 4-year-old kid alone on the island, so the bride had to wait there late until the early morning when his parents finally came to pick him up.”
8. Last-minute cakes
“The bride and groom let their friends in the bridal party make the cake, and they did it so late they were still working on it during the reception. Eventually they brought it out, and I had to slice this giant, falling-apart cake while like fifty people stood and watched me.”
9. Forbidden make-outs
“I remember at one wedding the bride got really drunk and ended up making out with someone who was not the groom. I don’t think anyone else noticed?”