I just got done doing a 3 day wedding with a bbq on Friday, the reception on Saturday, and Sunday brunch for 150 at a beautiful ranch in rural Idaho. People from all over the country and quite a few people flew in from Europe for the week to attend. When I was booking the event several months ago, I bid on all three nights, bbq, formal reception dinner, appetizers after the ceremony, brunch and the Mom was pleased with the arrangements. Then she calls a month later to tell me that the wife of a very old and dear friend who has just graduated from a cooking school wants to cook the reception dinner and the appetizers for her "wedding present" for the bride. And BTW- she has NEVER done anything like this before, but she insists the she be the "caterer" for the day..... Now to May- she calls me up frantic 3 weeks before the wedding to give me her menu! She lives out east in the Big City where availability is not a problem and half of the things on her menu would be difficult, if at all possible to special order in that time. I break down her menu and scale it up for her- 3.5 typed pages of special ingredients, most only used for only one appetizer or dish. She arrives a week before and is so unorganized that the grocery ordering and staging meeting she misses and me and the grocery guys are sitting there for an hour until we kind of figured out what she might want and then leave. For the entree she wanted to do a stuffed veal chop, till she figured out that they would run @ 10.00 for just the chop!!!! So 2 days before the event while I have put in several hours to different purveyors price comparing, checking for availability etc, then she decides to go for salmon instead.... Also, there are 31 kids, 1-18 years old. I told her we should have an alternate to the meal for the adults and her response was that the kids will eat whatever they are served. The Menu: Liver Pate, Smoked Salmon Maryland crabcakes Nutty chicken balls Peppered pork tenderloin Cold Pea soup Aspargus with roasted portabello mushrooms salmon with tarragon beurre blanc. She started prepping the Wednesday before. She had at least 10 people from the wedding party working from morning to night to help her prep. She didn't bother to check for supplies i.e., she forgot to buy salt for the saltshakers, and did'nt realize till 30 minutes before the salmon was to be plated that she forgot to order dinner plates!!! She fed the kids first, then the band before she fed the guests and ended up running out of food for the last table of 8. The kids were starving and would't touch the pea soup (imagine that!). One of my servers told one of the 8 year olds who burst out in tears when she thought she had to eat her dinner and the server (bless here heart) told the little girl just to play with it for a minute or two so as not to hurt the chefs' feelings and then she would clear it away)....She had 4 people plating and was still not happy with how they looked- it took 2 people 2 minutes just about to put the sprig on top of the salmon and half of the time she was screaming(really!) that the weren't "perfect".....And plating for "perfection, (yeah, right!) took so long that serving the entree took waaaaay too long....... Mom later in the evening after enough to drink confided in me that she had f**ked up- and this is not the kind of woman I'd expect to using expletives..... Feel free to use this story to talk someone out of repeating this mistake!!!!! Have you ever had "help" forced on you? What is your story?