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Last Call: Bridezilla, or brilliant?

Two place settings at a wedding
Photo: Victor Dyomin (Getty Images)
Last CallLast CallLast Call is The Takeout’s online watering hole where you can chat, share recipes, and use the comment section as an open thread. Here’s what we’ve been reading/watching/listening around the office today.

At this point in my life, I’ve been to enough weddings to aver that 99% of them are the exact same wedding with different couples. They’re still fun, and I enjoy any sort of shindig that involves fancy appetizers, but as the years pass they all amalgamate into one blurry picture full of white lace, reclaimed wood, and gourmet doughnuts. Weddings stop being distinct events and start being a micro-era in your life: a time when your weekends were not your own and all your money was spent on Target gift cards and Airbnbs. The reason for this is that weddings try so hard to be perfect, and when they go off without a hitch, there’s nothing all that exciting to remember. The things that end up sticking out in your memory are the weddings that go terribly wrong, even though the happy couple may not appreciate it at the time. I’m two weeks away from my 14th wedding anniversary, the food and the flowers long ago forgotten, yet people are still talking about the two (two!) fistfights that broke out in the bathroom on that magical October evening. Those are the sorts of memories that last forever, and if you’re getting married in the future, you should plan to sabotage as many things as possible. Sit your worst-behaved relatives next to the open bar. Invite all your exes. Release a herd of wild boars during the Cha Cha Slide. Or try out this dick move spotted on the most excellent wedding planning resource on the internet: Reddit. On the /weddingshaming subreddit, a user posted a wedding invitation that listed better entree options for guests who awarded the happy couple bigger cash gifts. Here’s what the RSVP card said, in part:

NAME: ___________

So that we may prepare your preferred dinner, please circle your gift level and indicate a meal choice for each person in your party.

Loving Gift: Up to $250. __Roast Chicken __Swordfish
Silver Gift: $251 to $500. Above choices or __Sliced Steak __Poached Salmon
Golden Gift: $501 to $1,000. Above choices or __Filet Mignon __Lobster Tails
Platinum Gift: $1,0001 to $2,500+. Above choices or __2-lb. Lobster Plus Souvenir Champagne Goblet.

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This invitation is so ballsy, it’s actually brilliant, and I would like to applaud the couple with the chutzpah to go through with it. Most Redditors are, as expected, dragging these people for being “greedy” and “superficial,” but I—a woman who has planned a wedding with a psychotic extended family before—can see exactly what’s going on here.

This is what I think might have happened: the couple gets a quote from their caterer, which no doubt is obscenely expensive because capitalism literally puts a price on love. The simpler a menu is, the more affordable it becomes, so the couple decides on two options: a lovely roast chicken, or a luxurious swordfish steak. But then someone’s grandmother says, “Well, you need to have steak on the menu, because your Uncle Vito will complain if you don’t,” so the couple calls the caterer, who bumps up the price. And then someone’s aunt says something about another wedding they went to that served lobster and “it was so nice,” so the mother starts demanding that the wedding dinner serve lobster because that’s the aunt that “likes to talk,” and there is no way in hell this mother is going to be embarrassed in front of everyone she knows. And then the couple starts getting Facebook messages from a third cousin about how they’re doing keto and their boyfriend “who may or may not come” is also strictly keto, and it JUST. DOESN’T. STOP. Finally, the “happy” couple breaks beneath the pressure from dozens of monsters they barely know yet were required to invite, at which point they said, “Fuck this—they want all this fancy shit? They can pay for all their fancy shit.” And here we are.

My guess is that the people who are outraged over this will not come to the wedding, which means fewer guests for the couple to pay for. If they’re lucky, some of these relatives will be so aghast by this whole situation, they’ll never speak to the couple again! In a true power move, they decided that guests need to lay out at least $1,001 to get a wedding favor, and since absolutely no one wants another piece of useless crap in their house, odds are this couple is going to be able to bypass the whole favor trap entirely. They can slyly tell the people they actually want at the wedding that the swordfish is the best thing on the menu, then sit back and wait for the regrets to pour in. Seriously, this whole scheme is so goddamn brilliant, I’m angry I didn’t think of this 14 years ago.

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But what are your theories? And which of these menu items would you choose, if price (and tact) were no object?

Allison Robicelli is The Takeout staff writer, a former professional chef, author of three books, and The People's Hot Pocket Princess. Questions about recipes/need cooking advice? Tweet @Robicellis.

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DISCUSSION

I have a longstanding personal rule that “I will never attend a wedding or a funeral unless I’m the dead guy in either instance.”

Considering I got married in an outfit that evokes “casual Friday” and the bride was in a Ramones T-shirt and jeans (Nevada is a wonderful state full of simple pleasures) and the reception was the best man (my buddy Mike) buying us sushi (total cost of the whole situation: $105 on my end for the license and ceremony and about 70 bucks on his for sushi for 4 including the “maid of honor” although in both cases “state-mandated witnesses” was closer to the truth), I don’t know how much truth there even is in my initial statement.

My wife was Canadian. It was, to all intents and purposes, nothing more than immigration-related (though not with the fraught “green card marriage” that implies; we were, after all, married for nearly five years before it fell apart.)

Weddings as an industry seem to me a spectacular waste of money, and I find the decor of even a “tasteful” wedding tacky beyond belief.