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Bride Gets Chili's to Cater Wedding, Sparking Heated Debate

People are divided over a bride serving seven hour old food at wedding.

Budget savvy bride sparks fury online after revealing how she saved money on catering her wedding. Madison Mulkey, a photographer with over 28,000 TikTok followers, shared how she didn't want to splurge on food for her wedding, so she bought every guest a meal from Chili's and many people loved it at first. Then came the backlash. From the receipt shown, there didn't appear to be a tip, which started a heated debate. 

The Bride Fed 99 Guests for $1,950


Treating wedding guests to a nice dining experience isn't cheap. According to The Knot 2022 Real Weddings Study, the average price was $75 per person. But Mulkey was able to feed 99 guests for $1,950 and showed the receipt to prove it. "This also included five specialty meals that we did for people with a  "gluten or dairy free" diet, as well as trays of chicken tenders, sliders, egg rolls, chips and salsa, Cajun chicken pasta, and salad.

The Couple Have Always Loved Chili's


In another clip, Mulkey shared a screenshot of a previous text message chain between her and her now husband Greg chatting about the chain restaurant. "It's the greatest restaurant in all of the land,' she responded. 'It's the place with endless chips and salsa and the best two for $20 deal on earth. It's the place that should cater my wedding." Greg wrote back, "OK, we can get married. That is the only acceptable answer."

Bride Didn't Want to Pay a Delivery Fee to Cut Down on Costs


In the video, Mulkey explained that there would have been a $300.00 delivery fee, so to save money, they picked up the food hours before the wedding. She went on to share that they got married in Savannah, Georgia on St. Patrick's Day weekend and the restaurant was packed, and delivery really wasn't an option. So someone picked up the food seven hours beforehand and they learned how to keep the food safe and reheat it "appropriately so no one got sick," which she admitted was "a lot more work than she had anticipated." She added, "Thankfully my aunt works in food service or we would have been out of luck."

Hired Staff for the Day Took on Other Jobs to Help Out


The newlywed explained that the people they hired for the day to help out had to take on other responsibilities in order to make everything run smoothly. "We had to have our hired servers, who were really supposed to be cleaning and serving, do a lot of the cooking and preparing. My coordinator kind of had to show them what to do and take on a role that she really wasn't she wasn't supposed to do and they weren't really supposed to do. But everyone made it work thank goodness."

"I'm So Happy We Chose Chili's"


In spite of a few hiccups along the way, the couple was happy with having Chili's for their wedding meal and have no regrets. "We loved the price point. You really can't beat that price point, like you just can't," she gushed in her video. 'It's insane that we only spent that much for our wedding food." Others thought the idea was great. "I would be so hype to find out the wedding food was Chili's," one person wrote. Another added, "My sister got married in March and spent like $10,000 on the food and it sucked. Should've gotten chilis." Someone else wrote, "Normalize this. 'Weddings are so out of control. Such a great idea."

Some Viewers Were Horrified the Couple Reheated 7 Hour Old Food and Served It



You can't please everyone and many couldn't believe the bride served food in the manner she did. One person wrote, "Genius for her price wise. But do guests really want food that's been handled five times or more and eight hours after preparation? Nope. Bad idea." Another quipped, "Chili's at a wedding is crazy," while someone else said, "I just imagine everything being cold and mediocre." Someone else wrote, "No way this tasted good." Another wrote, "2k for reheated Chili's is crazy."

Bride Was Called Out for Not Tipping


In her first clip about the Chili's catering, the receipt didn't show a tip and there was no mention of one in her video. Some argued you don't need to tip on to-go orders, while others explained why customers should. "Many restaurants have servers (paid about $3/hr) working to-go orders. They must stop taking care of their tables 2 get it 2gether. It takes a lot of time." 

Mulkey Did a Follow Up Video Saying She Did Tip, But Viewers Didn't Believe Her


In a follow up video, Mulkey said she was sorry it came across like she didn't tip, but explained she did. "We tipped everyone," she emphasized. "We tipped the Chili's kitchen staff $300.00. We tipped the Chili's manager, who worked specifically with us to make sure this was even possible $100." She went on to say that in addition to paying a "hefty" hourly rate for the servers who worked her wedding, they were tipped as well, and the coordinator too. But people didn't believe her. "Girl why are you back tracking, you already said in the comments that you didn't tip lol." Someone responded to the user and asked, "Which comment i'm dying to know,." The person wrote back, "She probably deleted them but the previous post is where all the OG comments are. Someone asked if she tipped and she said "NO! It was all included." Another person wrote, "This explains it, she is about to get the manager fired for lying about giving a tip.. they're not supposed to accept them." Another wrote, "I'm a chilis to go person and the order would have gone through us either through the phone or in person there really isn't an option to tip the kitchen."


Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more
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