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Bride served Chili’s at her wedding, and people have mixed feelings about it

TikToker Madison Mulkey says she spent a total of $1,950 on wedding food for 99 guests.
Bride serves Chili's at Wedding
When the moon hits your eye like a big Chili's sign ... that's amore.@brideisapersonality via Instagram, Alamy

The internet is on the fence about a bride’s way of saving a little matrimonial money.

On May 14, TikToker Madison Mulkey (whose username is fittingly @brideisapersonality), posted a video that has ignited a debate on wedding fare and staff compensation. In it, Mulkey explains how she pulled off major savings on her Savannah, Georgia wedding by catering the reception with takeout from Chili’s.

“We served Chili’s at our wedding and this is how much we spent,” Mulkey begins the video, which has garnered more than 1.5 million views. “Our total cost for our wedding food was $1,950 for 99 guests.”

Mulkey says the order included gluten- and dairy-free specialty meals, and accommodated folks who had special requests, like a preference for seafood and more.

“So let’s talk about what went into serving Chili’s at our wedding,” she says. “First of all, we loved the price point, I mean, really can’t beat that price point. ... It’s insane that we only spent that much money for our wedding food.”

Mulvey then explains that her wedding party had to do a “lot of work on the back end” that they didn’t expect, including picking the food up at 11 a.m. when the reception was at 6 p.m. because they didn’t want to pay for delivery fees on the day of the event, which happened to coincide with St. Patrick’s Day.

Mulvey says an aunt who works in food service was tapped to handle transport and set the food up, writing sticky notes showing staff how to cook things appropriately so no one got sick. “Normally, when you order from Chili’s, they deliver it … they set it all up. It’s already made, people can just serve,” she says, adding that because of this, they had to figure out how to keep the food fresh until serving time.

“We had to have our hired servers who were really supposed to be cleaning, serving, preparing, really do a lot of the cooking, and my coordinator kind of had to show them what to do and take on a role that she wasn’t really supposed to do and they weren’t supposed to do either,” Mulvey says. “But everyone made it work.”

Mulvey ends her video by noting that her situation was rare.

“I’m sure if you order from Chili’s in any other regard, like, they would serve it and it would all be so hassle-free,” Mulvey says, adding that she and her guests thought the food was amazing, listing chicken tender sliders, egg rolls, chips and salsa, Cajun chicken pasta and salad as items on the menu. “I mean, it was the perfect meal for our wedding. I’m so happy we chose Chili’s. So happy we did this!”

Mulkey did not immediately respond to’s request for comment.

While some of the comments for her video were supportive, many others contained follow-up questions.

“Normalize this! Weddings are so out of control. Such a great idea!” wrote one TikTok user.

“My sister got married in March and spent like $10,000 on the food and it suckkkkeddd lmao should’ve gotten chilis,” another person wrote, to which Mulvey replied, “Wedding food is so expensive!”

“Michael Scott type wedding catering,” another commented, referencing the famous “The Office” character who has a somewhat populist approach to food.

“All I can think abt is how stressful this must have been for the staff,” one TikTok user noted.

“I would cry if I came into work as a to go specialist and had this to do along with the rest of my orders. AND WITH NO TIP,” wrote another.

“I hope you generously tipped your servers for the extra unplanned work & got a nice gift for your aunt!” a TikToker commented, to which another replied, “Considering they weren’t willing to pay $300 for delivery and didn’t tip the staff at chilis I doubt it!”

“Please tell me you tipped,” commented someone else.

So many folks asked about whether or not Mulvey tipped her staff for the unexpected extra work that she uploaded a follow-up video a day later responding to their concerns.

“This video gained a lot of traction, which means it gained a lot of misunderstanding, which is fine, I can’t correct and reply to every comment. But here are a few things I want to say,” Mulvey says in the TikTok.

“We tipped everyone — we tipped the Chili’s kitchen staff $300, we tipped the Chili’s manager who worked specifically with us to make sure this was even possible $100,” she continues, claiming that she tipped her coordinator and servers in addition to paying them a “hefty” hourly fee.

We reached out to Chili's who had this to say:

“When we saw Madison’s video on TikTok our first thought was ‘iconic’ and there is truly no better way to describe it," a Chili's spokesperson tells in an email.

"Chili’s is grateful to have been part of many wedding celebrations, in big ways and small — whether it’s a party platter of our Crispy Chicken Crispers® to even hosting both weddings and receptions in our restaurants (true story), it is an honor to be a part of Madison’s special day," the spokesperson continues. "Raising our (margarita) glass to the newlyweds!” 

Additionally, Chili’s doesn’t have an official tipping policy for to-go orders, which this situation would fall under.

“We really felt it was important to make sure that we were compensating everyone for their help, their work, the time that they spent doing their job, the work that they had to do at the wedding,” Mulkey says in her TikTok update.

Mulvey ends her update by reiterating that the staff didn’t have to set everything up, but make the food, help the buffet run efficiently and then clean up.

“I didn’t ask anyone to work outside of their bounds or their means,” she says. “We were really respectful with everyone who was a part of our wedding day.”

Even with the update, TikTok commenters had even more questions, some which the bride responded to.

“Genuinely curious here, after paying the extra for people helping out… Would it have been cheaper to have Chili’s deliver it after all?” asked one commenter.

“Girl why are you back tracking, you already said in comments that you didn’t tip lol,” wrote another. Some viewers alleged she deleted a comment on the original video saying she hadn't tipped.

“I’m snitching …. Chilis managers aren’t allowed to get tips,” another user claimed, to which Mulvey responded, “Maybe they didn’t take it, I have no idea what they did with it. We gave chilis a lump sum.”