Ask Martha: Food Trucks, Invitations, Registry and More

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Q: We want to hire a food truck to serve dinner at our reception, but we’re concerned that our older rel- atives won’t be game. How can we make the idea work for everyone?

– Hannah, via email

As the offerings – and variety – of food trucks explode, they’ve become a fun way to serve up delicious, and often gourmet, fare at a casual soirée. “But asking hungry guests to wait in line, often by standing outside, can be a pain for those in heels and a real problem for a less mobile person,” says senior editor Julie Vadnal.

Consider a compromise that lets you have your truck while still catering to guests’ comfort. “Hire waiters from an inde- pendent company to support the event,” says contributing editor David Stark, of David Stark Design and Production in Brooklyn, New York. “They’ll not only help serve drinks and keep the room and tables tidy, but they can bring dinner from the trucks to your older guests so they don’t have to get up or wait on a queue.”

Hiring multiple mobile food vendors with different spe- cialties (think gyros, barbecue and tacos) will also prevent long lines forming at one truck – and appeal to diverse taste buds in the process. If you’re still apprehensive, limit the meals-on-wheels to late-night snacks, suggests Vadnal. “I can’t see anyone complaining when a truck pulls up with midnight macaroni and cheese!”

Q: Whose return address should we use for our invi- tations – ours or my parents’? They’re paying for the wedding.

– Christa, via email

Typically, those hosting an event are the ones responsible for collecting the RSVPs. However, more and more brides are handling that duty themselves, even if their folks are footing the bill.

Here’s one reason why that’s a smart idea: Guests sending money or something off your registry tend to default to the address listed on the outer envelope. Using your own means presents end up in the right place, saving Mom and Dad from playing middleman. They already get pride of place on the invitation itself if you’re going with the tradi- tional wording of “Mr. and Mrs. John Doe request the honor of your presence at the marriage of their daughter.” Unless your parents particularly want to be the RSVP recipients

(whether out of custom or because they don’t want Aunt Ida to know you two have already moved in together), hav- ing all mail come to you ensures their role as host is an hon- or, not a burden.

Q: Forty-five people are attending our ceremony, af- ter which we’ll go out for a nice dinner. A week lat- er, we’re hosting a reception for 150. Is it taboo to set up a registry for reception guests?

– Courtney, via email

While only ceremony attendees are expected to give pre- sents, chances are that those invited to the reception will want to bestow gifts, too. It’s a good idea to beef up your registry with enough items, in a variety of price points, to accommodate everyone. Your bridal party and family can discreetly share where you’re registered with anyone who asks (whether they’re reception-only or not), and you can include the info on your website, if you have one.

Q: I’ve seen invitations specify black-tie attire. Our wedding will be semiformal. Should we include that info somewhere in our suite?

– Debbie, via email

It’s fine to add the phrase “semiformal dress”to your station- ery, either in the lower corner of the invite or on an enclo- sure card. However, in most cases, doing so isn’t necessary. Unless guests see the words “black tie,” they’re likely to de- fault to semiformal dress anyway, meaning suits and ties for men, and cocktail dresses for ladies. If you’re worried about people over- or underdressing, or you want a specific look, like sundresses and shirtsleeves, you could put a light- hearted apparel suggestion on your website, perhaps with whimsical pictures or illustrations.

One exception: Traditionally, parties starting at 6 p.m. or later are black tie, so guests might assume any evening affair is an ultrafancy fête. If your celebration starts after 6 but you would prefer that guests don’t don tuxedos and floor-length gowns, it would be wise to include a request for semiformal dress.