Caterers, event organizers, DJs, and other party entertainment workers get a front row view of the parties they work on. They see everything that goes on: the good, the bad, and the downright sad. For every party of the century, there's another, sadder party going on somewhere and there was probably a caterer there, taking notes.
Her Party Ended With Her Crying At The Bar
“My bar got hired for an eighteenth birthday a couple of years ago. This is England, bear in mind, so that’s the drinking age. We don’t usually let the bar be rented for them because of the hassle involving underage friends and sneaking in bottles, but this girl offered way over the asking price, so screw it, we’ll cope.
The capacity for the bar is 140. Two hours later, the girl’s family were still the only ones there. She was crying in the corner with mom whilst dad did shots of tequila and visibly cringed at the bar. It was truly and epically painful to witness. They gave me permission to open the to the public at about 11.
The kicker? Pretty much everyone the girl knew were out celebrating the end of school and wandered in once we’d opened up, not one of them even pretending to be there for her.
Yeah, we’ve still not done another 18th yet.”
The Whole Family Was There For The Tragedy
“I catered a Quinceañera for a girl and during the party, her ten year old cousin fell out of the limo window and died when she hit the road. The entire family was there, and then everyone started crying hysterically and some left for the scene of the accident about ten blocks away. Never seen such emotion, and us being the workers, couldn’t figure out what had happened for ten minutes. Awful day at work.”
One Last Luau
“I work for a BBQ restaurant and we had an order for Comcast. When we got there, it looked like a summer party, with beach towels, a DJ, etc. As we were almost done setting up, my coworker asked what the party was for. Our client, without hesitation, said, ‘Oh it’s for the people we are laying off!’
I am sure we had the most dumbfounded look on our faces. Comcast was laying off several employees and had spent well over $1,000 on a party to try and make them happy about it. The kicker for all of it was that I am not 100% sure the employees knew they were being laid off yet.
Ever since that, I will refuse to do business with Comcast, because that was truly screwed up.”
She Almost Got Away With It
“My friend was a server so he called me to tell me about his crappy day after he got off work. He said that it was a great wedding and reception but there was always some sort of tension among the head table. After the dinner was served and music/dancing was going on, the bride got up to use the bathroom. My friend said that the bride and groomsmen would have gotten away with it but decided to use an employee bathroom in the back. The kitchen manager caught them, thinking it was two employees going at it (there was a couple that worked there that would do this). It all immediately hit the fan. There was yelling going on (from the groomsmen) about things like, ‘How dare you barge in on us,’ and people from the hall could hear this going on so a few of them stumbled back to see why the bride and groomsmen were yelling. They were not fully clothed at this point. Eventually, the groom made the bride and that groomsmen leave the reception, saying he wanted to spend his wedding day with people he cared about. My friend never heard what ended up happening to that couple.”
The Loneliest Kid At The Party
“A lifetime ago, I worked for a restaurant that did catering for small to mid-sized events. We had a graduation party to deliver food and set up for. It was one of those with a tent in the driveway and a dozen or so long tables set up. The graduate was a rich girl, the family had money out the wazoo, everyone was having a great time.
Except for one kid who was sitting by himself at a table. For the full three hours. In the brief time I interacted with him when he came to the buffet table to get chicken and ziti, I quickly understood he was mentally underdeveloped. And pretty sad. Everyone was having a great time except him. He took his food to the table and sat there. For three hours. By himself.
We packed up and were leaving. It was only then I found out that young man was the graduate’s brother. For hours, the family left him sitting there by himself while his sister was celebrated for graduating. Almost twenty years later and I still remember seeing the disappointment and sadness on his face.”
There Wasn’t A Dry Eye In The Place
“Literally, the saddest was one where I catered a party/memorial service/life celebration of a couple I knew for their mentally disabled son (whom I had served previously) who had passed away at around 40. It was this elderly couple, their other children, and grandchildren all sharing stories about his life and choking back tears, remembering what his life was like and how he brightened up their lives even though he was completely dependent on the family. Imagine how hard it is to awkwardly clear away dishes and bring out dessert while everyone, including yourself, is in tears.”
The Party Was Going Well, Except For One Sad, Little Girl
“Sister’s work catered a party at a swanky manor house. Lots of people showed up. There was good conversation and plenty of smiles, it seemed like it was going well. So my sister goes to get something out of one of the trucks and she sees a girl sitting near the back, hidden away where no one can see her from the house. She’s maybe five, the only kid there, and is dressed to the nines. Being a natural kid magnet and overall compassionate person, my sister strikes up a bit of conversation. Turns out, it was the little girl’s birthday. Her parents had invited all of THEIR friends and coworkers. They’d ordered all that fancy food to throw a party for ‘her,’ when all she wanted was to try macaroni and cheese from a box and celebrate with her parents. The kid had been outside for an hour on top of that, and her parents hadn’t even noticed she was there. The thing that tore my heart out though? When my sister told me the little girl started crying and asked my sister if she could go home with her.”
She Overestimated The Guest List
“Wedding where the bride was convinced she was friends with all the ‘society’ people she’d ever met. She spent an obscene amount of money on the food for her ‘simple’ reception. Instead of the usual pre-made heat-and-eat finger foods, she had each one special made by an executive chef. She could have easily done a sit down dinner for half of what she spent. We prepared the reception hall and food for 300 people, everything was timed to come out of the kitchen minutes before the wedding ended so it would be at its peak when guests walked down from the church. The wedding was set for 2:00 so at 2:15, I slipped around there to see what kind of crowd we had and wondered where all the cars were. I panicked, thinking somehow we’d screwed up the time for the wedding, I walked up to the church, peeked in and realized they were in the middle of the ceremony. The bride invited 300 people, there were less than 40 there and most of them were family. The reception was horrible…a giant space with tons of food and we had more tables than people. The bride was noticeably embarrassed. The wedding planner made everyone crowd around four tables in one corner and literally coached people into posing so they could take pictures that didn’t look like the place was empty. Same thing with the dance floor. Everyone was on the floor whether they were dancing or not just so it would look good in the pictures. The planned 2-hour reception was over in 30 minutes.
Took $1000 worth of bacon wrapped shrimp and ribeye kabobs with me that night.”
“He Didn’t Take Any More Requests After That”
“My father used to DJ weddings, parties, etc. Well, I used to help him out with the equipment load-in and out, and there was this one party that took place in a nursing home. One of the workers there was insisting he go around with his wireless mic and take song requests from some of the residents. He starts going around the circle of old folks and when he gets to this one woman, she grabs the mic from him and yells: ‘GET ME OUT OF HERE.’
He didn’t take any more requests.”
It Was Too Late To Cancel, So The Show Went On Anyway
“I was DJing an event for a small charity that helps mothers of stillborn children and sudden infant mortality victims. Already a great, happy start. Having worked with them a few times though, they are an excellent charity that does good work. It’s just a fairly uncomfortable subject matter, and very sad to think about.
Anyway, I get there, and the banquet room has about 20 people in it, far less than previous years. I find out that, due to recent weather, one major family involved with the charity lost someone in a car accident. The other major family lost someone to a suicide. All within the week leading up to the event. At that point, the hall was paid for, vendors were paid, and there wasn’t any backing out.
My instructions were to play upbeat music, because we were supposed to celebrate life. I had to run this event, alone, for 4 hours. It was arduous. I felt so bad for the people who were trying to enjoy themselves, and support their friends/family, while hurting so much. I saw the pain on their faces, and heard it in their voices. I hope that I was able to brighten their day, at least for a few hours.”
This Is Why Weddings Are No Place For Exes
“I worked security at a college that rented out their facilities for weddings during the summer when students were gone. Got there to check on the shutdown proceedings and was informed by the DJ that the party ended early. Seems the bride’s ex was invited. He got drunk and tried to fight the groom. The best man hustled him out and drove him home.
Not the end of the story. Next morning, I found a cell phone in the grass. Took it back to the office and passed it to first shift to see if they could find the owner. They called a number and learned that the owner of the phone, last night’s drunken ex, was dead. When the best man got him home, the ex told the guy, ‘Wait here. I want to show you something.’ Went in the next room and shot himself in the head.”
A Little Hurricane Won’t Stop This Party
“A couple years ago, I catered a wedding that happened during the biggest hurricane of the summer and ended up as one of the worst we had in years. The entire week we were all waiting for it to get canceled, but they never shut it down.
Fast forward to the wedding day. The ceremony was held in a church down the street. Things are starting to get bad outside. We need to pack up and leave before it’s too late, they won’t really carry through with the reception today, will they?
Well, by 4 pm, 150 people pour into the reception area right as the power goes out. Within half an hour the whole building is ~90 degrees, dark, and water is spilling in from the front door. Somehow, someone calls up a friend who drives a generator to the party. So we have electricity, but just in time for us to legally be required to throw out all the (probably 30 lb) of crab dip, lobster, etc. that couldn’t be refrigerated. Well, these crazy mother-truckers decide to carry on and dance to the music from someone’s boombox, in the light of halogen work lamps, while we attempt to serve dinner in the dark.
By the end of the night, I have managed to slip on the river streaming onto the linoleum entrance hallway with a giant tray of glasses. The storm knocked over a tree that blocked off the only road to get out, resulting in 150 people in formalwear (many of whom didn’t live in the city) trapped in what might as well have been a furnace. I got yelled at by several guests and the mother of the bride for not serving the crab dip. And she made my boss cry, which led to the rest of the crew crying and begging the gods for mercy as well. Needless to say, it was a great night for all of us, especially the part where we had to drive through someone’s front yard to get out of the darn place.”
Maybe The Birthday Candles Were A Touch Too Much
“Worked at an event hall, we had instructions to set up for a birthday. Colors were really dark and we had put pictures of one man on every table. Everyone shows up, but no one seemed too happy. No one was drinking (cash bar). They had purchased a cake from our kitchen and we had made an assumption that they wanted candles. Big mistake. We take out the cake, fully lit, and start singing. We keep singing, waiting for someone to blow them out. Everyone’s staring at us like we’re complete jerks. We finish and take the cake back to the kitchen. A woman comes through our kitchen and begins to scream at us. Find out it’s a birthday party for that woman’s dead husband. Think she would have told us something that important when she booked the event.”
“It Was Sad How Trashy This Entire Group Of People Were”
“I was the bartender for a post-reception party at a hotel I worked at. Coincidentally, my friend (who was one of our best regulars) also got married that night, so we gave her and her groom a suite for the night. They show up after the reception and are hanging out at the bar when the other wedding party shows up. The bride walks in, sees another girl in a wedding dress, slams her flowers on the ground and storms out. My friend, being the nice girl she is, makes a hasty exit, and, after some coaxing, the other bride comes back. The entire group proceeds to be complete douchebags for the rest of the night. Just as the bar was closing, the bride catches the groom making out with her maid of honor in the lobby (who I later found out was her sister). She then punches him in the face, launch the ring into the river behind our place, and get the groomsmen (mostly her friends/brothers) to kick the crap out of the groom. It was mostly sad how trashy this entire group of people were.“
Shotgun Weddings Are Always Interesting
“I was a banquet manager at a kind of run down country club while I was in college. We didn’t have the classiest clientele. One wedding I worked had a pregnant bride that didn’t even look 18. Her mom kept saying over and over that the rooms had to be cool because the bride was pregnant and would faint if she got too hot. So the entire staff is aware that this bride is pregnant. The bride then continues to drink wine for two hours before the ceremony (our bartender was going to try to not serve her by carding her, but the mom kept getting her drinks and it was very awkward. When it came time for the toasts, I gave her cider and refused her request for champagne). Then only 12 of the expected 25 guests show up. Some don’t even stay for the meal. None of the groom’s family was there. They played music from an iPod and it would have long stints of silence. The bride’s stepfather kept going outside and smoking pot. It was just sad how no one cared about this wedding and the bride was careless with her unborn child. The groom clearly was in college and the bride did not have higher education in her future. Shotgun weddings are just awkward.”
When The Curtain Fell, The Real Show Began
“My mother used to cater a lot. We owned a convenience store but we had fresh food in it that we made on site. One year, this lady my mom knew from her former employer came to her asking her to cater this event for single mothers. It was going to be a fashion show and it was to raise money. Their budget was almost non-existent, so my mom pretty much donated most of the food and asked some of her employees if they would help. I always helped cater, as well and ran the kitchen most times.
Well, midway through the ‘fashion show’ we hear some yelling. It stops, then 15 minutes later, it continues again. It was then that the whole backdrop comes falling down and five of the girls are revealed, all in the middle of trying to kill each other. These were your regular type teenage, single mothers that you would now see on Teen Mom. They wound up tearing up half the setup and most people got up and left.
They tried to continue but was difficult because half the ‘models’ were made to leave and they couldn’t change fast enough to keep up. So there were large pauses in between each model after a while. It was stopped early and everyone was thanked for coming. Was just… sad.”
The Greeks Really Know How To Throw A Wedding
“A friend of mine was part of a quartet hired for a reception. She said sometimes the Greek weddings got a little out of hand. One of them, she said, was a family who had obviously started drinking before they got there. The groom’s side was Irish/Greek, and the bride’s side was all Greek. There had been some kind of fight before the wedding, and during the ceremony, more scuffles. By the time the reception started, it was all out fighting. It seems there was a ‘who are the true Greeks’ kind of war, and the groom’s side accused the bride’s side of being gypsy thieves. At some point, the police got involved, but no arrests were made, and everyone calmed down. Then the father of the bride gave a speech about racial purity, and this started another brawl that pretty much was a free-for-all: chairs thrown, tables flipped, wedding cake destroyed, both bars robbed clean of liquor, and the entire quartet were in the kitchen, hiding with the catering staff. She said that the owner wouldn’t call the police again, because he feared losing his liquor license, but both parties were just tearing the pace apart to find things to throw at one another. Plaster details and wall mirrors were smashed, the carpet was being torn up, and it was chaos. At one point, the mother of the bride and the owner of the reception hall came back with them, and said, ‘We don’t think you’ll be needed tonight,’ paid in full, and the quartet left. Weeks later, they were asked to perform for another wedding, and she said, ‘as bad as that riot was, you couldn’t even tell when we returned.’ The entire place had been repainted, carpeting redone, plaster recast, the mirrors on the wall replaced.”
It Was Supposed To Be The Happiest Day Of Her Life
“The saddest thing I can remember was at a wedding. The wife and groom were a young couple – early 20s. They were the party type of crowd. The ceremony went off without a problem and the after party was just as fun. Near the end of the night, the music had turned off and the party was winding down. The caterers (me and some others) were cleaning up trash, stacking chairs, rolling away tables, etc., when we noticed an argument had broken out between the intoxicated groom and a VERY intoxicated man. They were in each other’s faces, flexing like crazy. The bride was screaming and crying at this point for them to just stop. The day that was supposed to be hers was about to be ruined by some schoolyard drama. A fight didn’t happen. We had to call security and have them escorted to their car/limo before they left the grounds.”
He Was Doing So Well…Until He Was Tripped
“So I was doing a wedding and got the lucky job of clearing the tables of plates and empty glasses. This is really awkward, by the way, because you’ll go to grab a plate that has one microscopic piece of food on it or grab a glass with only ice left, but the person will be like, ‘Sir, I’m not finished with that,’ even though I asked 5 seconds earlier and they just completely ignored me. Anyway, we would put these empty plates and glasses on one of those big trays that you see waiters bring your food on when you’re in a restaurant. After the plates and glasses would pile up, I’d take them to the back area to be cleaned.
Well I was working a wedding this one time and I had to walk a tray stacked with plates/glasses to the back, but the only way to get to the back was having me walking through the dance floor of the wedding. I made it about halfway through the dance floor dodging these drunk mofo’s like a champ when some drunk girl was dancing and kicked her leg out for some dance move. Her leg trips me, I go diving like Cristiano Ronaldo, and I spill this tray full of crap on…guess who…the freaking bride. Luckily, it was mostly ice that got on her dress. But then I had to go back and sweep up all the broken glass and crap in front of everybody like an idiot. It was so embarrassing and I couldn’t believe that it just happened. The chick who tripped me was long gone by then, too.”