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Sep 20, 2007 12:47 PM

Wedding RSVP's choosing (or changing) your meal option? [moved from General Chowhounding Topics]

I am generally a very conscientious person when it comes to etiquette, but these are 2 questions that I can not really find answers on. I am going to an out of town wedding this weekend I was wondering everyone's opnions on these 2 questions.

1. How do you feel about choosing your meal options a month in advance and not knowing at all how they are prepared when doing so?

2. Is it in bad taste to change your mind the day of the event and ask the waiter/waitress if they could change what you chose?

Now, I know, the point of the event is not the food, it is the marriage of a two people and you are there to share in that, but then again, my family is Russian, it's always about the food! And the alcohol :-)

For my own 2 cents
I made sure when I got married that my guests could choose their meal at the wedding, and I happen to find those meal cards enclosd in the R.S.V.P tacky. (I'm sure I night be in the minority on this one)

Secondly, in regard to changing your mind, I ask because I honestly don't remember what I selected for the wedding reception and we also had to choose what we wanted for the rehearsal dinner the night before. Knowing myself I chose the seafood option for both events, and Mr. Sweetpea chose the fillet mignon/red meat, but honestly couldn't be certain since it was so long ago. My feeling is it can't hurt to ask to change your order, especially if you see the item you selected, was not what you had anticipated, or looks fatty/over cooked/swimming on oil etc.If they can't change it, no biggie, but is it rude to ask?

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  1. Me, I did it buffet style with options for meat, fish and veggie eaters. We had fabulous sausages, a great paoched salmon, grilled veggies, green salad, and whiskey and maple roasted sweet potatoes, with a good selection of breads. For cocktail hour, I had oodles of beer, cheese and mega german pretzels. People were thrilled! And stuffed!

    I hate it when you have to choose, buuuuttt:
    1> I hate being forced to choose, and often find out the food is not great. I generally find you can't go wrong with the veggie option, which is usually pasta.

    2. Really not a good idea. The bride will turn in all the choices and the caterer will cook based upon that. If you change your mind on the day of the event it could cause financial complications for the bride and trouble for the caterers. It's sort of rude and in bad taste, too.

    My solutuion for these conundrums. Bring a discreet snack, enjoy the appetizers at cocktail hour, and find a back up late night dinner place just in case you don't like your food and need to eat dinner after the reception.

    1. i wouldn't change. the invitee/caterer asked so as to confirm quantities to food to order. While i'm sure the kitchen will make some extras for un RSVP'd guests, I wouldn't want to make their hectic job anymore complicated or prompt others into changing their orders at the event. Even if you tell them it's ok if they can't accomodate you, they will probably change your order despite their inconvenience and think of you as rude/difficult.

      1. You are being asked to select your meal choice beforehand because they have to let the kitchen know the final numbers for each dish (usually about a week before the wedding). They usually ask in the card a month before because people are notoriously slow about RSVP's and planning a wedding takes a lot of time and energy and planning and it's helpful to be as organized as possible.
        Having a guest show up and changing their choice would be rude and inconvenient.
        It's a wedding and you are the guest. I suggest that you go, have whatever you originally selected, and expect the food to be mediocre (as is most food at a large wedding). If the food happens to be great, count yourself as lucky.

        1 Reply
        1. re: pescatarian

          I have been to sit-down dinner wedding receptions where the guests picked the items from a smaller menu. However, I know that these were *expensive* *expensive* events. I guess that if the host can afford it, they can have whatever they want.

          I think guests should be very sensitive to the host's budget and make the day as easy as possible for the happy couple and the families.

        2. sorry sweetpea, jfood on the side of let it go.

          do you really want to call the bride and ask her this, or the mother of the bride? Can you imagine her reaction?

          And the title of the next episode of Bridezilla is "Squished like a Pea over a Steak."

          8 Replies
          1. re: jfood

            LOl Jfood, I always love your replies.

            1st, I would NEVER ask the bride about this , or anyone else for that matter!
            2nd, I have no real intention of changing whatever I chose.

            I did however read a VERY negative review of the rehearsal dinner place where a couple even forfeited the deposit because they tasted the food after the deposit was submitted and it was just so bad. It just got me wondering of I really wanted to eat fish from such a place. If the food were to be terrible, I would be much more the type to simply not eat it, and when the family came around to ask how everything was I would of course gush at how beautiful the whole evening had been.

            I am just curious about the general consensus about picking your entree when you RSVP.

            Now Jfood, wwyd if you found out your steak came with onions on top?? :-)

            1. re: SweetPea914

              further follow up to my other post - it's almost like going to someone's house for dinner and then if you don't like what they serve, asking if they can make you something else. You are being served a free meal and are their guest and thus do not have the right to complain, change your choice, whatever. If you know in advance the place has a reputation for food that isn't very good, stick to the side dishes (these are tolerable even at the worst places usually) and eat something before you go so you won't be starving.

              1. re: SweetPea914

                picking your entree when you RSVP is standard these days

                You are not going to a restaurant. It's unfortunate if your meal is unsavoury, but if it is just pick around it. Since you have a pretty good idea that it will be, make sure you eat well that day.

                1. re: pescatarian

                  Unless I'm going to an Italian-American wedding where I can rest assured that there will be an obscene amount of food and most of it good, I never go to weddings hungry. There's always so much tasty stuff at the cocktail hour that I can barely eat dinner anyway.

                2. re: SweetPea914

                  if they were properly sauteed jfood would ask mrs jfood for hers. Ifthey came raw he would do as he always does and slide them off.

                  Another point to remember after jfood going to hundreds of weddings and bar/bat mitzvahs.

                  Appetizers are the best part. Load up on the apps because once you're seated 90% of the time the food goes down hill. 300 look-a-like salads (usually with walnuts which jfood is allergic to), then some over-cooked salmon or steak or chicken in that white sauce, some potatoes from a 24 gallon pot and some green veggies.

                  Muddle through that and hopefully they throw some good chocolates onthe table and some cake.

                  1. re: jfood

                    I'm with jfood on this. The appetizers are the best part of the wedding. I always try to make that my main meal. It's rare when the entrees at a wedding are really great, regardless of cost. And, it is very rude and bad manners to change your choice of entree once at the wedding.. Accept the fact that youwill be served a mediocre meal, enjoy the appetizers, drinks, and company. You are there to share a joyful time in another's life; not to be served a gourmet meal to your liking.

                    1. re: mschow

                      Just a note, part of the reason for this is dinners are all plated at the same time- it's really hard to plate 100 steaks at once and get them all to taste great. Apps are almost always extremely stable and can handle a warming tray, thus taste better when doled out to the crowd immediately following the ceremony.

                      1. re: jpschust

                        absolutely agree. no way a ding on the caterer but it's just one of those things.

              2. It's not tacky, unfortunately, it's standard. Asking in advance is basically for 2 reasons: to weed out if there are any "special" meal requests (allergies, vegetarians) and to get a reasonable idea of how much of each food to order so that you don't either over-order or run out. If you have 150 people coming and "guess" that half will want chicken and it turns out nearly all of them do, you're going to have several angry people who are out of luck and have to eat beef. If you order enough chicken and beef such that if everyone wanted chicken OR beef there would be enough, the rest of the food is wasted, not to mention this is doubly expensive.

                The only way to provide a variety and not get orders in advance is to do a buffet; there everyone can take what they want. But a buffet is less formal than a seated dinner no matter what's on it, so if you do seated, you have to ask.

                You cannot change your option on-site, it is not just rude but you could be taking food ordered for someone else. And if you change yours and they allow it, everyone else at the table may think they can do the same thing, and then you've possibly really changed the balance as that's 10 people who changed their original order.

                But, knowing that most wedding food really sucks, you CAN eat before you go and then only have a small amount of the meal to be polite.

                6 Replies
                1. re: rockandroller1

                  This honestly happened to me at a relatives wedding. My husband and I had both ordered the steak-the other offering was salmon. At the wedding dear cousin-mom of bride- came by and asked if husband and I would take the salmon since two guests had changed their mind. Not a big deal of course but doesn't seem like something to bother hosts about at the last minute. By the way, the salmon was good.

                  1. re: foodseek

                    "Mom-of-bride came by and asked if husband and I would take the salmon since two guests had changed their mind"

                    That is terrible! To bother the MOTB with such a thing is truly in poor form! And just so you all know that I'm not some high maintenance whiner. I don't eat cooked salmon, I hate it! However, if this happened and my cousin asked me to switch I would in an instant, just so she could be done with accomodating these other guests and could move onto more important things.

                    1. re: SweetPea914

                      SweetPea ,for an update - dear cousin-MOTB, got the last laugh since her
                      son's wedding was this past summer and even though it was a buffet the "menu switching" duo did not get an invite. Some things are hard to forget.

                  2. re: rockandroller1

                    Sorry, but I must disagree. The "order your food six weeks in advance" thing is not standard. Or, at least, perhaps it is in some parts of the country and not others. Here (NYC), I would think it is quite tacky. Basically the only kind of places here where that would occur are the wedding-factory type places.

                    That said, if you were asked to choose a dinner in advance and you did so, then you just gotta live with it. Unfortunately it seems that this thing occurs so that outside caterers have the proper amount of each dish on hand and should you ask to change your order you probably would put the caterer/host of wedding in a bad position. So just suck it up. And if it stinks (as a lot of wedding food main meals do), then I hope you ate what are usually the more interesting/better prepared appetizers.

                    Good luck and enjoy the wedding.

                    1. re: LNG212

                      It's standard based on the location- as more and more hotels and caterers head towards using sustainable and economic ways of putting together their menus this is the standard. I've been to plenty of weddings in NYC and had this be how it is. The only thing really tacky in a black tie wedding situation is a buffet.

                      1. re: LNG212

                        When I say "standard," I mean the rest of the country except New York. I believe with the previous poster who said that weddings in NYC are different than everywhere else. I happen to be pretty educated on what others do for their weddings in other states as I was a regular member of a national brides-chat board for 4 years, and have been invited to weddings in Colorado, Arizona and California as well as Ohio (I just didn't attend them). That's what I was basing my answer on when I said "standard."