This past weekend I attended a lovely wedding. The wedding (and the bride) was beautiful, the venue was charming and the food (honestly the most important part for so many guests – myself included!) was delicious. But there was a tiny issue that I came across… during the cocktail hour, the venue ran out of forks.
Before I get into why this was such a big deal to me, you have to remember that as a professional event planner and a former wedding planner, I notice everything. EVERYTHING. To the point where my husband hates going to weddings with me for fear that I might turn “judgy.” But in case any readers are fearful of inviting me to their nuptials, alas I’m not judgy at all when it comes to the decisions that a bride and groom and their families made. But…. I do have high expectations when it comes to the wedding vendors. After all, every event I attend is a chance for me to get ideas and find vendors to use for future events.
So let me set the scene: It’s the cocktail hour. It started off well, with waiters greeting guests with trays of champagne flutes and pre-poured glasses of the couple’s signature drinks. There was plenty of food: a charcuterie, a carving station, and a fresh ravioli station, plus plenty of passed hors d’oeuvres. My husband and I made the rounds, trying a little of this, a little of that, making the typical guest tradeoffs in our minds, “Do I grab another glass of champagne or do I grab more food?” The answer: “Both.”
We realized we hadn’t swung by the ravioli station, which was in another room, so naturally (for the sake of research – I swear!) we headed there so we could say we tried it all. We grabbed plates and the chef attendant ladled a large, fresh ravioli onto each of our plates. We were ready to enjoy this piping hot delicacy, only to realize, neither of us had grabbed a fork. I looked back at the beginning of the action station line (all action station lines should have a beginning and an end) and there was the stack of plates, but no forks. Hmm.
No matter, I thought. I’m sure the other station will have a fork or two. So we traipsed into the other room on a quest. We pushed aside children and aunts and uncles – no time for pleasantries, we needed our forks! But to our horror (seriously, I might have had a look of “horror” on my face) the other buffet line was likewise out of forks. By this point, my husband (the practical one) was eyeing his ravioli, trying to jerry-rig a way to eat the ravioli, dripping in sauce, with his hands in a way that was appropriate for a formal event.
Finally, I spotted a single fork next to the carving station. One fork to rule us all. Or at least for us to share as we ate our ravioli, finally. My husband actually hung on to the fork for a few more minutes, just in case there was another fork-required item we wanted to eat.
So… short story long: it was a pain that we couldn’t find a fork. My next step, had I not spotted the lone fork, would have been to ask a waiter, and judging by the service I witnessed the rest of the night I have no doubt that I would have been brought one right away. But that’s not really the point. The point is that they shouldn’t have run out of forks in the first place!
Forks might seem like a silly thing to worry about, but it seems like a pretty easy thing for the venue staff to manage. The event wasn’t understaffed by any means, so theoretically any of the waiters could have noticed that they were short on forks. Because no one was on top of this seemingly tiny detail, at least a few guests were momentarily inconvenienced.
Making sure that a buffet line is properly maintained is one of those little things that makes a big difference in an event: making sure there are enough plates, silverware and napkins, cleaning up spills and either refreshing or removing empty plates.
So now that I’ve gotten down off my soapbox, tell me: what are the little things that really bug you at an event? I know I’m not the only one!