Working in catering is obviously a tough job. What's harder than that is working catering at a wedding and what's even harder than that is working catering at a wedding where some of the family members (and sometimes entire wedding parties) do everything they can to ruin the big day.
That's exactly what happened at a recent wedding when the father of the bride (Gregory) and the mother of the groom (Marsha) teamed up (you read that correctly) against the bride's mother (Lily) with some of the pettiest behavior outside of high school social circles.
It's not hard to feel sympathetic for the bride, her mother, or the poor banquet coordinator who were all subjected to abuse by the parents over the course of several events before the wedding came to its tumultuous conclusion.
It all began innocently but soon spiraled out of control. The families contacted the catering company and contracted them to work three different parties in connection with the upcoming nuptials: a small, private dinner that turned into the engagement announcement, a mixed bachelor/bachelorette party, and finally the actual wedding. The engaged couple, Hannah and Chet, had their marriage arranged, so it wasn't exactly a love match, which should have meant that passions weren't too high.
Simple enough, right? Wrong!
Casey, the banquet coordinator, explained that the first contract signing should have been the first sign of what was to come down the road. What was that, you ask? A disaster. A disaster of epic proportions.
"[Marsha] and [Gregory] did everything to freeze out [Lily] and anytime she'd speak, they'd speak over her; any time she'd ask a question, they would answer it for her," Casey remembered. "It got to the point where she pulled her ex-husband aside and told him either he shows some respect or she'll pull her financial support."
See, even though Gregory and Marsha acted like they were the ones running the show, it was actually bride's MOTHER who was footing the bill and whose name was on the contract. While she had a high-paying job, her ex-husband, a retired attorney, had lost most of his savings in bad investments and relied upon his elderly mother for support. He would throw around his family's name to threaten Lily into giving in to what he wanted. Apparently, that's exactly what he'd done during the divorce, which is why Lily had ended up with minimal custody of their daughter. By the time the dinner party rolled around, the families were practically at each other's throats, with Gregory and Marsha leading the way.
On the night of the engagement party, Casey and her friend, who owned the catering company, overheard a heated discussion between the former husband and wife as they discussed their daughter's wedding plans.
They heard the father say, "You know our daughter has some expensive tastes,"
Lily simply replied, "Good luck" before she returned to the party.
What the mom had in financial and professional success, she lacked in a family name. Both Marsha and Gregory were from the same culture while Lily was an American. Since she didn't come from their culture, both sides of the family didn't think all that highly of her. In fact, they thought of her as nothing.
Lily could have said something or could have pulled her financial support, but unlike her ex-husband, she knew how to put her daughter's happiness before hers. After having a miserable time trying to mingle with the guests and other members of the wedding party, Lily beat a hasty retreat into the kitchen, where Casey and her friend quickly took her under their wing.
After enjoying a glass of vino with the caterers, Lily confessed that she wasn't so sure that her daughter was making the best decision. "She mentioned that she thinks this whole wedding was a horrible idea but it seems her daughter is happy so she's trying to be supportive," Casey recalled. "My friend and I shared a look and told her no matter what, we'll do our best to make this whole affair enjoyable and memorable." Little did they know just how memorable this event would be.
As soon as Lily left the engagement party, the rest of the wedding party all teamed up and gossiped about the obviously over-stressed Lily.
"[Hannah] got upset and asked [Chet] to remember that she's still family," Casey said. "His response was, 'She isn't family,' and this earned a smirk from [Gregory] and [Marsha]."
That night, Hannah and Chet got into a heated argument about the treatment of her mother that night as well as his persistence on her mother not being a part of the wedding, despite the small, insignificant fact that she was the one footing the bill. This wouldn't be the last fight that would happen within the wedding party, though it was a great deal less violent than the fight to come.
Things didn't necessarily get better as the planning of the actual wedding got underway. In fact, they started to get worse.
During the first consultation for the wedding, Casey and her friend decided to divide and conquer. She agreed to speak with Gregory and Marsha and make plans with them. Meanwhile, her friend would be discussing the actual wedding planning with the soon-to-be-married couple. Gregory and Marsha, of course, didn't like the idea of being sidelined.
"They argued at first, but we stood our ground and they relented," she said. Though they wouldn't be paying a dime for the wedding, they still wanted the final say in everything. "[Gregory] and [Marsha] gave me an extravagant menu and banquet plan that was going to cost well over $25,000 and they gave me an estimation of up to 700 guests."
While Casey was scratching her head at the parents' demands, her friend was dealing with just as much drama in the next room.
"She was trying to get [Hannah's] opinion on anything but [Chet] was constantly interrupting," she remarked.
At one point in Casey's meeting, Chet appeared in her office and said that her friend recommended he hear what the parents had discussed so far before making her rewrite all of the plans. Casey recognized this as her friend's ploy to get Hannah on her own, where she'd hopefully loosen up.
After a while, Casey's friend was finally able to get Hannah's opinion on the wedding plans. During this conversation, it was revealed that the Lily would need to sign off on any plans before they could be finalized since she was the one funding all of this and signing the contracts.
Upon comparing notes after the conclusion of the consultation, Casey and her friend agreed that Lily's presence would be required for future meetings in order to cut down on the nonsensical request being made by the other parents. How wrong they were...
The next consultation could be described as "just as nightmarish as the first," only this time Lily was in attendance. Throughout the meeting, Lily shot down all of her ex-husband's expensive and unnecessary ideas before telling him that he either shut up and let the bride and groom make their own decisions or she would stop writing checks.
After Gregory and Marsha made their explosive exit, things finally settled down and Hannah and Chet were able to plan out their wedding. Plans were set for 200 guests and the paperwork was filled out.
Everything was ready to go. Or was it?
With the wedding only a few days away, it finally came time to hold the bachelor and bachelorette combination party, which like everything else, became a disaster.
As soon as the event planners arrived, they were greeted by Gregory and Marsha, who cornered them and demanded that they make changes to the wedding plans.
"They demanded we change plans and increase our menu to support up to 800 guests now," Casey explained. "We told her that we would need to run this by the signer of the contract before we make any changes. They didn't like this at all and only a few minutes after that we were approached by a very friendly girl who abruptly served us papers."
They were being sued for false representation and breach of contract, even though they never signed a contract, never paid a dime towards services, and never set anything in stone.
"We remained unmoved and didn't change a thing," Casey said. "We contacted Lily and she was furious."
The drama didn't end there. Nope. It only got worse.
As the party went into full swing, Hannah could not locate her fiancé; no one could. She spent a good portion of her party - when she should be having fun with friends and family - searching for her future husband. She looked all over the venue until she had the misfortune of finding him.
He was in a closet, making out with one of Hannah's bridesmaids. Upon discovering the scene, Hannah started yelling, then throwing punches at her unfaithful fiancé. The confrontation began to intensify and finally, the bride shoved the groom into a cart of high-end drinks, sending several very expensive bottle crashing to the ground.
Luckily (for Chet), there was a bouncer on hand who was able to pull Hannah off of her victim before clearing the scene. As he registered what was transpiring, the bouncer looked up at Chet and said, "Son, if I wasn't an officer of the law I'd let that little lady tear your eyes out, get out," and shoved him towards the exit.
Instead of tending to his daughter, Gregory told Hannah that she needed to quit being such a "spoiled rotten" brat, as Marsha further instigated the tense situation. Having enough of her fiancé, his mother, and most of all, her own father, Hannah took off her ring, threw it at her father, and said, "If you think so highly of him, maybe you should marry him," as she ran out of the party crying.
As the scene unfolded in front of her, Lily stood there shaking and stared down her ex-husband, the former groom, and his mom. Once she finally composed herself, she slapped both Gregory and Marsha across the face, and told both of them, in no uncertain terms, to get out of her life. The bouncer from earlier was more than happy to help her out in this regard and quickly threw out the trio into the night.
Things finally got better once the saboteurs were forcefully removed from the party. There was even a touching mother-daughter moment when Hannah and her mom hugged each other and apologized for letting things go so far.
Casey explained that Lily paid for everything, including the smashed bottles from when her daughter put a beating on her former fiancé.
"She was saying it was well worth the cost and laughed as she said, 'Her father was right, she does have expensive tastes,'" Casey said.
It doesn't take a genius to deduce that Hannah and Chet never got married and the wedding was quickly called off shortly after the ill-fated party. Casey and her friend were granted one last laugh on the wedding party's behalf when they were taken to court by Gregory and Marsha over the disaster that was their children's engagement.
"They were laughed out by the judge," Casey explained. "And the bride's mother not only paid for the broken bottles but also offered to pay double the cancellation fee for our professionalism throughout the whole ordeal. We tried to refuse the payment for the broken bottles but she insisted."
Casey said her company accepted payment for the bottles, but couldn't live with themselves if they would have taken the mother up on her offer of doubling the cancellation fee and only accepted the agreed upon fee in the end.
So, that concludes the story of how a bride's father and her (former) soon-to-be husband's mother inadvertently helped her make the best decision of her life... not marrying her fiance. Along the way, she learned to appreciate how much her mom loves her.
Let this be a lesson to all the cruel mothers and fathers out there: just because your kids are getting married, it doesn't mean it's supposed to be all about you and what you want. There's even a lesson for potential grooms: maybe don't make out with a bridesmaid while at the same party as your future bride. Or maybe just don't cheat on people.
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