My fellow waitpeople: It’s wedding season! That means catering gigs are everywhere, and while it’s a low-commitment, relatively stress-free way to earn extra cash, keep in mind that it’s a different animal than waiting tables in a restaurant.
If you’re going to do it, following are some Dos and Don’ts:
DO identify the mother of the bride as soon as you can. Avoid her at all costs. If she’s heading your way, you’ll wind up being asked to perform any number of ridiculous, nitpicky, potentially hazardous tasks that aren’t even remotely your responsibility. These may include (but are not limited to): holding an incontinent Pomeranian, relighting candles every time they go out despite being in the middle of a 25-mph gale, talking to the DJ about not playing so many songs with sexual connotations in them, or sweeping all the little “thingies” that are dropping out of the trees onto 250 place settings as if it’s an unexpected disaster of the sort no one would ever expect from an orchard wedding in the Spring.
DON’T think for one second that the bride wants to hear your name, how beautiful she looks, your congratulations, or any other thing you have to say. You are a worthless, sad piece of garbage. If she’s sober, she will merely curl her lip; if drunk, you could end up in the pool.
DON’T go out of your way to make sure the bride is eating something, unless your manager specifically sends you over there with a plate. Let her drink too much and vomit on her new in-laws. See above.
DO assume all guests are merely giant, helpless babies. Giant, helpless babies who can, by the way, get you fired. They will try to give you their glass while both of your hands are full. They will stare at you from across the printed buffet menu and ask what’s on the buffet. They will cry if you ask if they would prefer the lighter-bodied red, or the fuller-bodied one. If they see you someplace out of the context of the immediate party area, such as outside the bathroom, they will be stunned into either making choking noises or really uncomfortable small talk.
DON’T risk getting caught nibbling some of the cake. It will be the blandest, most cardboardy, embarrassing reason you ever get in trouble.
DON’T ever say anything to the drunk groomsman who is wearing his sunglasses even though it’s after dark. He will become so frustrated that he cannot date rape or hit you, that he will take the one thing you said to him and then taunt you with it for the rest of the night.
*: Almost verbatim, this is what a groomsman said to me after I made the mistake of telling him what was on the plate I set in front of him.
P.S. If he’d actually looked like James Spader, I’d have fallen over drooling and giggling like a roofied tween.
DO lift weights. You’ll be holding heavy trays at a 90-degree angle for five minutes at a time. You will pray for death. But instead of death, you are asked to lift a full glass rack from a stack higher than your head, making your back and neck form a hellish cat’s-cradle from which you will never recover. Also, stretch every chance you get.
DO be gellin’. Yes, like Magellan.