There’s nothing quite as awkward as a sad party. Whether it’s a birthday, graduation, wedding, or other special event, things can go horribly awry, and no one has more experience with these situations than the employees who work at them. From caterers to DJs, people on AskReddit shared the saddest party they’ve ever witnessed. Warning: Some of these are REALLY sad.
1. The birthday boy died.
“Happened to a friend, fellow caterer. Showed up to cater a birthday party. We usually show up as servers with limited info. Asks client ” So when does the Birthday Boy arrive?” He doesn’t, he is dead. Such an important detail left out of the event logistics . Awkward moment followed by slightly uncomfortable party complete with cake.”
2. 1% of the invite list came.
“I was cocktail-ing a beer release party from a couple local brewers at the restaurant I work at.
I had a guaranteed $300 from the brewers for them taking over my section. ( two ten-seat high-tops)
Before I went in, I checked the fb event page and some 300 people were invited.
The event lasted four hours and three people showed up. I felt pretty bad for the poor motherfuckers. I bought their food with my discount.”
3. Nobody came.
“Not sure if this is what you’re looking for, but we catered a graduation party for some girl once. All the food was set out, all the decorations were set, it was looking pretty great. Except nobody came. The girl and her parents hung around for the full four hours, hoping in vain that at least somebody would show up, but no one did. It was awkward for us, but it must have been devastatingly uncomfortable for the family. Needless to say, there was a lot of food left over.”
4. She cried in a corner.
“My bar got hired for an eighteenth birthday a couple of years ago. This is England bear in mind, so that’s the drinking age. We don’t usually let the bar be rented for them because of the hassle involving underage friends and sneaking in bottles but this girl offered way over the asking price, so fuck it, we’ll cope.
The capacity for the bar is 140. Two hours later, the girls family were still the only ones there. She was crying in the corner with mum whilst dad did shots of tequila and visibly cringed at the bar. It was truly and epically painful to witness. They gave me permission to open the to the public at about 11.00
The kicker? Pretty much everyone the girl knew were out celebrating the end of school and wandered in once we’d opened up, not one of them even pretending to be there for her.”
5. Made the best of the situation.
“Not a caterer, but a Mad Scientist! I was pretty pumped about this party, because the parents ordered two add ons (a dry ice demo and a rocket launch), which meant I was going to probably get a good tip and have the extra pay from the add ons.
Not one kid showed up. I delayed for as long as I could, but it was pushing almost 45 minutes.
Well, I gave that kid the best time anyway. We made a bubble machine with the dry ice, had a full out water war in his front yard, and set off triple the amount of rockets. I was there for more than three hours.
So, I guess it wasn’t the saddest party in the end.”
6. A fed-up nursing home resident.
“My father used to DJ weddings, parties, etc. Well I used to help him out with the equipment load-in and out, and there was this one party that took place in a nursing home. One of the workers there was insisting he go around with his wireless mic and take song requests from some of the residents. He starts going around the circle of old folks and when he gets to this one woman, she grabs the mic from him and yells: “GET ME OUT OF HERE.””
7. Overeaters Anonymous.
“I was a server at Maggiano’s and we catered a party for OA (Overeaters Anonymous). I shit you not. And keep in mind, Maggiano’s is a family style all you can eat huge portions restaurant.”
8. The wedding became a funeral service.
“A family friends wedding turned into a memorial service for the groom…..
The groom and his groomsmen went to get breakfast and get a haircut the morning of the wedding and while going through an intersection got t-boned by a drunk driver and the groom died at the scene….it was 3 hours before he was supposed to go setup at the church….”
9. The bride dropped dead.
“My mom is a wedding coordinator. A friend of hers in a nearby town coordinated a beautiful wedding at a hotel for a lovely young couple. Everything was perfect, until the couple ascended the central staircase to leave the party and start their life together. The bride dropped dead.
It turned out to be a previously undiagnosed heart condition. She was in her mid-20s. Saddest thing I ever heard.”
10. Serving dessert through tears.
“Literally, the saddest was one where I catered a party/memorial service/life celebration of a couple I knew for their mentally disabled son (whom I had served previously) who had passed away at around 40. It was this elderly couple, their other children and grandchildren all sharing stories about his life and choking back tears, remembering what his life was like and how he brightened up their life, even though he was completely dependent on the family. Imagine how hard it is to awkwardly clear away dishes and bring out dessert while everyone, including yourself, is in tears.”
11. A proposal at a wedding.
“I catered at a wedding where one of the male guests found it to be just the right moment to propose to his girlfriend. The girlfriend started to cry and yelled out apologies to the bride as she bolted out of there.”
12. Brutal silence.
“A memorial service (1993) for twin boys and their unborn sister. Their mother was 8 and half months pregnant and the parents were coming home from the mall each with a kid in their arms on their way down the escalator and a bunch a kids racing past pushed them off balance and they fell down the escalator. All three of their children died.
I have never heard so much silence. No one ate, talked, or interacted. They just clustered together and stared at each other. Fucking brutal.”
13. Infidelity during the wedding.
“A friend of mine was working as a server for a wedding and apparently the bride cheated on the groom during the reception with one of his groomsmen.
My friend said that the bride and groomsmen would have gotten away with it but decided to use an employee washroom in the back. The music in the front would have masked the noises they were making. The kitchen manager caught them, thinking it was two employees going at it (there was a couple that worked there that would do this). Shit immediately hit the fan.”
14. A memorial service for a 9/11 widower.
“I’m not a caterer anymore but this was back in 2001. It was early October and I live in the Boston area. Of course this means that many of the people on the planes that crashed into the WTC on 9/11 were from here. So on this particular day I had to work a memorial service at someone’s house. No big deal as this happens all the time. As I start working I learn that the woman of the house was on Flight 11 and it was her first business trip back after going back to work from maternity leave. I then realize that 2 years earlier I had worked at this couples wedding. It was truly a horrible situation to be in. Here I was trying to set up food in a house where a recently Widowed man lived with his infant daughter. This guy was amazingly nice and was more controlled than some of the guests. I guess this isn’t really the greatest story but my god it was devastatingly sad.”