I’ve found that I’ve been asked this question in one form or another several times. Here is one version that I think accurately reflects the worries that some folks have about entertaining.
Dear Lady Hooper-Brackett
My son is being married at the church of his fiancee, which happens to be in New York City. We live in Boston as do many of our friends and family who are invited to the wedding and reception. We will all be carpooling or taking the train to NYC (which you can imagine is costing the group of 48 both time and money) The bride and her family have decided to serve only “light refreshments” at the reception. And by light she means tea-time finger sandwiches, champagne, and small dainty desserts in addition to the wedding cake. Am I wrong to feel that they should serve something a little more substantial? Especially with the groom’s family numbering so many and traveling such a distance. I’ve offered to contribute and they politely refuse.
Starving Mother of The Groom
Dear Starving Mother of The Groom
First I will say what you want me to say: HOW AWFUL! They should be ashamed at serving such meager cuisine.
Now I will say this:
Traditionally, the bride’s family hosts the reception and provides the apres-nuptial bounty. In our modern times, there seems to be more cost-splitting going on, but this is the traditional role that the bride and her family play. Basically, what they are serving is perfectly acceptable. Even if they would choose to serve only the wedding cake and punch or champagne, that is entirely correct.
NOW, with that being said…as you have been rebuffed in your efforts to contribute to the food kitty, I advise this:
Since all of the starving Bostonians are traveling together anyway, after the wedding reception, find a restaurant in the city where you can play hostess, pay for the cornucopia of vittles, and eat as much as you like. Your relatives will have full tummies and can travel home in comfort.
Best Wedding Wishes
The Lady Hooper-Brackett