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DIY Weddings

Informal Reception Meals..

staceydeareststaceydearest member
10 Comments 5 Love Its Name Dropper
edited October 2014 in DIY Weddings
My FI and I have been looking at keeping a fairly modest wedding budget. One of the ways we plan on saving money is by avoiding catering. We've been to weddings in the past where the catering has fallen short of expectations, and we're looking for more of a "family" style reception. Plus, there isn't a single person in our families that isn't talented when it comes to cooking.

We're planning on having an autumn wedding, and had talked about something along the line of sandwiches and a soup bar.. (his grandmother's potato soup, my dad's chili.. so on..) But my MIL thinks it would be too informal. My FI and I have talked about it, and we both like the idea of having different options available to our guests without breaking the budget. 

We are planning on having our RSVPs be in the form of recipe cards, so I feel like having homemade food at our reception would be a good way to tie everything together if we had some of our favorite homemade dishes included in the reception. 

I'm not sure if the idea of serving soup is too informal... any opinions or ideas on what to serve?

Edit: We would be using our family members recipes, not making them cook.. 

Knottie22312957morgans2015
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Re: Informal Reception Meals..

  • falsarafalsara Northside of Chicago member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Third Anniversary First Answer
    edited October 2014

    This sounds like a Potluck reception.  Potluck receptions are against etiquette, as your guests should never have to make anything for your wedding. 

     Options for Cheap catering include:

    Costco, (They can do sandwhiches)

    Other grocery stores

    Try regular restaurants - instead of catering companies.


    You can also have your wedding during a non-meal time, and serve them cake and punch, or have a cocktail reception, which would drastically cut down on the cost.

    GL


     

                                               

    Wedding Countdown Ticker

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  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited October 2014
    There's nothing wrong with having soups and sandwiches and other foods like that. But this sounds like you're going to be asking your guests to cook food for your wedding and that is not ok.

  • beetherybeethery So sayeth the fuckin' Pope. member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    My FI and I have been looking at keeping a fairly modest wedding budget. One of the ways we plan on saving money is by avoiding catering. We've been to weddings in the past where the catering has fallen short of expectations, and we're looking for more of a "family" style reception. Plus, there isn't a single person in our families that isn't talented when it comes to cooking.

    We're planning on having an autumn wedding, and had talked about something along the line of sandwiches and a soup bar.. (his grandmother's potato soup, my dad's chili.. so on..) But my MIL thinks it would be too informal. My FI and I have talked about it, and we both like the idea of having different options available to our guests without breaking the budget. 

    We are planning on having our RSVPs be in the form of recipe cards, so I feel like having homemade food at our reception would be a good way to tie everything together if we had some of our favorite homemade dishes included in the reception. 

    I'm not sure if the idea of serving soup is too informal... any opinions or ideas on what to serve?

    Edit: We would be using our family members recipes, not making them cook.. 

    How many people are you guys inviting and where would you be holding the reception? Some places will not allow you to bring your own food. You will also need enough kitchen space to cook all of the food and keep it fresh for the day of the reception.
    --

    I'm the fuck out.

    image
    chibiyui
  • beethery said:
    My FI and I have been looking at keeping a fairly modest wedding budget. One of the ways we plan on saving money is by avoiding catering. We've been to weddings in the past where the catering has fallen short of expectations, and we're looking for more of a "family" style reception. Plus, there isn't a single person in our families that isn't talented when it comes to cooking.

    We're planning on having an autumn wedding, and had talked about something along the line of sandwiches and a soup bar.. (his grandmother's potato soup, my dad's chili.. so on..) But my MIL thinks it would be too informal. My FI and I have talked about it, and we both like the idea of having different options available to our guests without breaking the budget. 

    We are planning on having our RSVPs be in the form of recipe cards, so I feel like having homemade food at our reception would be a good way to tie everything together if we had some of our favorite homemade dishes included in the reception. 

    I'm not sure if the idea of serving soup is too informal... any opinions or ideas on what to serve?

    Edit: We would be using our family members recipes, not making them cook.. 

    How many people are you guys inviting and where would you be holding the reception? Some places will not allow you to bring your own food. You will also need enough kitchen space to cook all of the food and keep it fresh for the day of the reception.
    The reception would be in the community center at our church, which does have a kitchen that would allow us to prepare everything before the reception. We were planning on using make ahead (freezer storage) recipes that could be placed in crock pots..? We're still in the early stages of planning, so I'm not sure what would work. 
  • There's nothing wrong with having soups and sandwiches and other foods like that. But this sounds like you're going to be asking your guests to cook food for your wedding and that is not ok.
    Not planning on making any of the guests cook.
  • falsarafalsara Northside of Chicago member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Third Anniversary First Answer

    @staceydearest,  thanks for clearing that up in your OP!!  Soups and sandwiches sound wonderful!!!

    Just a few things to think about - do you know how long you will have to make everything?  Are you going to have time to do all of that in and amongst all the other stuff that will be going on for the wedding? 

                                               

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  • beetherybeethery So sayeth the fuckin' Pope. member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    edited October 2014
    Will you and your FI have time to go to the church early and work on heating everything up, or will the church have people to do that? I just want to make sure you guys could definitely handle this before I thin you should go ahead with it.

    I'd also advise testing recipes FAAAAARRRRRR in advance of the wedding. Like waaaay before invitations so you can make sure you've got everything rocked out before you start cooking the night before and realize this recipe is way too complicated. Ya know?
    --

    I'm the fuck out.

    image
    staceydearestchibiyuiesstee33
  • I had a friend do exactly this and it was nice. Her reception was in the afternoon and kind of informal, but also pretty classy. She used family soup recipes from both sides. She was able to serve them in cute soup tureens from her church, which dressed up the buffet a bit. She also featured a variety of gourmet mustards, horseradish, and other interesting condiments and got buns from a baker (so not cheapy grocery store sloppy joe buns). Those little touches were not expensive and made the whole thing feel put-together. I'd say if there is a way to avoid mismatched crock pots I would definitely do that. Even though you aren't asking anybody to cook or bring food, you want to avoid a potluck-y feel to your reception food by planning out the presentation of your food.
    staceydearest
  • AprilH81AprilH81 Columbus, OH member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    If your guests/family aren't doing the cooking and you aren't hiring a catering company, just who will be in charge of the food?  I'm confused.
    photo composite_14153800476219.jpg
    esstee33southernbelle0915
  • AprilH81 said:
    If your guests/family aren't doing the cooking and you aren't hiring a catering company, just who will be in charge of the food?  I'm confused.
    It's not like we're asking our guests to each bring a dish with them. I agree that a pot luck in that sense would be tacky.

    On the other hand, being a very young couple with a very supportive family that are more than willing to offer a hand at preparing food we wouldn't turn it down. Is that not what family is for anyway? Would it be rude of us to tell them that we would prefer to break our budget by hiring out a catering company when grandma's mashed potatoes are better than anything I can get from Costco? 

    This is supposed to be a DIY forum. Last time I checked that stood for Do It Yourself. Last time I checked I didn't work at a chain restaurant, and neither did my FI. For that matter, this is supposed to be a supportive forum environment, and frankly I'm tired of people being rude. 

    I assume that most of us came to this forum in search of support and new ideas, not blind criticism. I hope this clears up any confusion from this point on, from you or anyone else.
    vaughan11715
  • esstee33esstee33 Pittsburgh member
    Ninth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    AprilH81 said:
    If your guests/family aren't doing the cooking and you aren't hiring a catering company, just who will be in charge of the food?  I'm confused.
    It's not like we're asking our guests to each bring a dish with them. I agree that a pot luck in that sense would be tacky.

    On the other hand, being a very young couple with a very supportive family that are more than willing to offer a hand at preparing food we wouldn't turn it down. Is that not what family is for anyway? Would it be rude of us to tell them that we would prefer to break our budget by hiring out a catering company when grandma's mashed potatoes are better than anything I can get from Costco? 

    This is supposed to be a DIY forum. Last time I checked that stood for Do It Yourself. Last time I checked I didn't work at a chain restaurant, and neither did my FI. For that matter, this is supposed to be a supportive forum environment, and frankly I'm tired of people being rude. 

    I assume that most of us came to this forum in search of support and new ideas, not blind criticism. I hope this clears up any confusion from this point on, from you or anyone else.
    People are trying to help you not offend your nearest and dearest. Weddings are not a time to assign jobs to your family and friends so you can save money; people want to enjoy themselves and spend time with you, not worry about whether the soup they brought is warm enough, or if they made enough to serve everyone. Making homemade food for something as large-scale as a wedding reception is a huge undertaking, even for those with the best of intentions.

    There are TONS of different options when it comes to catering. Everyone has a budget, and everyone finds ways to stay within it without breaking etiquette. My first wedding was a plated dinner at a hotel for 50 people for under $4,000. My FI and I are planning an appetizers and drinks shindig at a restaurant and if we book the place we really like, our food costs would be a quarter of what I spent last time. Don't act like you're the only person on earth who has to work with a budget. 
    image
    zitiqueenamelisha[Deleted User]novella1186
  • esstee33 said:
    AprilH81 said:
    If your guests/family aren't doing the cooking and you aren't hiring a catering company, just who will be in charge of the food?  I'm confused.
    It's not like we're asking our guests to each bring a dish with them. I agree that a pot luck in that sense would be tacky.

    On the other hand, being a very young couple with a very supportive family that are more than willing to offer a hand at preparing food we wouldn't turn it down. Is that not what family is for anyway? Would it be rude of us to tell them that we would prefer to break our budget by hiring out a catering company when grandma's mashed potatoes are better than anything I can get from Costco? 

    This is supposed to be a DIY forum. Last time I checked that stood for Do It Yourself. Last time I checked I didn't work at a chain restaurant, and neither did my FI. For that matter, this is supposed to be a supportive forum environment, and frankly I'm tired of people being rude. 

    I assume that most of us came to this forum in search of support and new ideas, not blind criticism. I hope this clears up any confusion from this point on, from you or anyone else.
    People are trying to help you not offend your nearest and dearest. Weddings are not a time to assign jobs to your family and friends so you can save money; people want to enjoy themselves and spend time with you, not worry about whether the soup they brought is warm enough, or if they made enough to serve everyone. Making homemade food for something as large-scale as a wedding reception is a huge undertaking, even for those with the best of intentions.

    There are TONS of different options when it comes to catering. Everyone has a budget, and everyone finds ways to stay within it without breaking etiquette. My first wedding was a plated dinner at a hotel for 50 people for under $4,000. My FI and I are planning an appetizers and drinks shindig at a restaurant and if we book the place we really like, our food costs would be a quarter of what I spent last time. Don't act like you're the only person on earth who has to work with a budget. 
    Spending $4000 on 50 people is absolutely absurd. What you're saying is that you spent $80 on each person.. in food alone? 
  • It's your wedding do what you want! I also am doing my own food for my wedding. We are doing pasta dishes and having just one family member help out. And may I add to the others being rude, some family members such as mine (and other weddings I have attended) don't mind helping out. That's what family is for :D As far as doing sandwiches and soups, if it fits the theme of your wedding then go ahead. 
  • I went onto Pinterest and typed in "soup and sandwich wedding buffet" and guess what people have used this idea before :)
  • esstee33esstee33 Pittsburgh member
    Ninth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    esstee33 said:
    AprilH81 said:
    If your guests/family aren't doing the cooking and you aren't hiring a catering company, just who will be in charge of the food?  I'm confused.
    It's not like we're asking our guests to each bring a dish with them. I agree that a pot luck in that sense would be tacky.

    On the other hand, being a very young couple with a very supportive family that are more than willing to offer a hand at preparing food we wouldn't turn it down. Is that not what family is for anyway? Would it be rude of us to tell them that we would prefer to break our budget by hiring out a catering company when grandma's mashed potatoes are better than anything I can get from Costco? 

    This is supposed to be a DIY forum. Last time I checked that stood for Do It Yourself. Last time I checked I didn't work at a chain restaurant, and neither did my FI. For that matter, this is supposed to be a supportive forum environment, and frankly I'm tired of people being rude. 

    I assume that most of us came to this forum in search of support and new ideas, not blind criticism. I hope this clears up any confusion from this point on, from you or anyone else.
    People are trying to help you not offend your nearest and dearest. Weddings are not a time to assign jobs to your family and friends so you can save money; people want to enjoy themselves and spend time with you, not worry about whether the soup they brought is warm enough, or if they made enough to serve everyone. Making homemade food for something as large-scale as a wedding reception is a huge undertaking, even for those with the best of intentions.

    There are TONS of different options when it comes to catering. Everyone has a budget, and everyone finds ways to stay within it without breaking etiquette. My first wedding was a plated dinner at a hotel for 50 people for under $4,000. My FI and I are planning an appetizers and drinks shindig at a restaurant and if we book the place we really like, our food costs would be a quarter of what I spent last time. Don't act like you're the only person on earth who has to work with a budget. 
    Spending $4000 on 50 people is absolutely absurd. What you're saying is that you spent $80 on each person.. in food alone? 
    Nope! That was food, an open bar for 4 hours, centerpieces, and all florals, too. 
    image
  • esstee33esstee33 Pittsburgh member
    Ninth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Furthermore, I think you're underestimating how much it would actually cost to make all your own food, depending on the number of guests you have. You have to have all the equipment to make a large amount of food, then all the warmers and everything to ensure it remains at the correct temperature, all the serving items, plates, and utensils, etc. And, obviously, the food costs. It's not going to be dirt cheap like you seem to be imagining. 

    The soup and sandwiches thing is a cute idea, don't get me wrong, but it's rude to have your family cater your wedding, and it could very possibly be a total shitshow that results in your guests getting sick from food not being kept in the appropriate conditions. 
    image
    chibiyuipenguin44[Deleted User]novella1186
  • edited October 2014
    I don't think you'll save money doing this. And it seems all fun now but cooking for 100+ people is not fun. Especially leading up to and on your wedding day. You want to be relaxed and in the moment - not putting on am apron over your wedding dress to serve soup.

    If you want to save money here are two biggest ways to do it: 1) limit your guest list and 2) have your wedding/reception at a non-meal time. If the event is at a non-meal time, you are not obligated to serve a meal. You can serve light refreshments, cake and punch. These are by far the cheapest weddings and MUCH easier to DIY than a meal. You could still incorporate family recipes in the form of cold apps that you could make ahead of time.

    Wins all around!


    ETA the cheapest wedding is actually eloping to the nearest courthouse, but it sounds like that's not in the cards.
    *********************************************************************************

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    chibiyuinovella1186
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    itslinnylou No one is saying that the soup and sandwiches idea is a bad one. I actually think it's a great idea. We're saying to not put the burden of making the food on your guests. 

    esstee33
  • I'm new to these posts, so I don't know how to get those boxes in from previous posts. Please forgive me for just copying and pasting.  You, lady who started this post, mentioned something interesting. You said:
    "Would it be rude of us to tell them that we would prefer to break our budget by hiring out a catering company when grandma's mashed potatoes are better than anything I can get from Costco?"

    That's a valid, important point because it highlights the drastic differences in attitudes towards food. In some families, preparing food for that many people would be seen as an burdensome, overwhelming, daunting task. Most people do not have experience with that volume of food prep and a wedding is no time to try something new. For those people, it makes sense to hire a caterer or buy from a grocery store or restaurant. For other families, food is just what you do and it only makes sense to do your wedding food yourself. In my own nutty family, for example, it would be seen as an affront to serve my guests food from costco rather than let my aunts/grandmother/cousins/whatever cook the food that we all know and love. To them it doesn't feel like work. Cooking for our family is part of how we celebrate. In my case, I'm designing the menu. I'm having a big food prep day the day before our wedding and then leaving it to my aunts, etc. to actually cook the day of. We're doing a family-style meal and the bridal party will actually serve it. To me, that sounds fun. Really really fun.

    The best advice that I can offer is that if this feels to you like you are putting somebody out or like it will add a layer of stress to your day, don't do it. It's worth spending the money to avoid being stressed and overwhelmed about soup the day you're supposed to get married. But if this is something that sounds nice to you and your relatives, go for it! It wouldn't be acceptable to ask anybody to take this on for you, but if it's something that they've offered and want to do, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Only you know your family and what is polite/acceptable to them in this situation.
    vaughan11715
  • chibiyuichibiyui The Boring Part of MD member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers

    I'm new to these posts, so I don't know how to get those boxes in from previous posts. Please forgive me for just copying and pasting.  You, lady who started this post, mentioned something interesting. You said:
    "Would it be rude of us to tell them that we would prefer to break our
    budget by hiring out a catering company when grandma's mashed potatoes
    are better than anything I can get from Costco?"

    That's a valid, important point because it highlights the drastic differences in attitudes towards food. In some families, preparing food for that many people would be seen as an burdensome, overwhelming, daunting task. Most people do not have experience with that volume of food prep and a wedding is no time to try something new. For those people, it makes sense to hire a caterer or buy from a grocery store or restaurant. For other families, food is just what you do and it only makes sense to do your wedding food yourself. In my own nutty family, for example, it would be seen as an affront to serve my guests food from costco rather than let my aunts/grandmother/cousins/whatever cook the food that we all know and love. To them it doesn't feel like work. Cooking for our family is part of how we celebrate. In my case, I'm designing the menu. I'm having a big food prep day the day before our wedding and then leaving it to my aunts, etc. to actually cook the day of. We're doing a family-style meal and the bridal party will actually serve it. To me, that sounds fun. Really really fun.

    The best advice that I can offer is that if this feels to you like you are putting somebody out or like it will add a layer of stress to your day, don't do it. It's worth spending the money to avoid being stressed and overwhelmed about soup the day you're supposed to get married. But if this is something that sounds nice to you and your relatives, go for it! It wouldn't be acceptable to ask anybody to take this on for you, but if it's something that they've offered and want to do, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Only you know your family and what is polite/acceptable to them in this situation.

    Dude, best of luck to you cause you'll fucking need it.

    Signed,
    Girl whose grandma managed a local grocery deli and bakery department and knows how fucking hard bulk food prep and management is.
    image



    Anniversary
    esstee33[Deleted User]
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I'm new to these posts, so I don't know how to get those boxes in from previous posts. Please forgive me for just copying and pasting.  You, lady who started this post, mentioned something interesting. You said:
    "Would it be rude of us to tell them that we would prefer to break our budget by hiring out a catering company when grandma's mashed potatoes are better than anything I can get from Costco?"

    That's a valid, important point because it highlights the drastic differences in attitudes towards food. In some families, preparing food for that many people would be seen as an burdensome, overwhelming, daunting task. Most people do not have experience with that volume of food prep and a wedding is no time to try something new. For those people, it makes sense to hire a caterer or buy from a grocery store or restaurant. For other families, food is just what you do and it only makes sense to do your wedding food yourself. In my own nutty family, for example, it would be seen as an affront to serve my guests food from costco rather than let my aunts/grandmother/cousins/whatever cook the food that we all know and love. To them it doesn't feel like work. Cooking for our family is part of how we celebrate. In my case, I'm designing the menu. I'm having a big food prep day the day before our wedding and then leaving it to my aunts, etc. to actually cook the day of. We're doing a family-style meal and the bridal party will actually serve it. To me, that sounds fun. Really really fun.

    The best advice that I can offer is that if this feels to you like you are putting somebody out or like it will add a layer of stress to your day, don't do it. It's worth spending the money to avoid being stressed and overwhelmed about soup the day you're supposed to get married. But if this is something that sounds nice to you and your relatives, go for it! It wouldn't be acceptable to ask anybody to take this on for you, but if it's something that they've offered and want to do, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Only you know your family and what is polite/acceptable to them in this situation.
    To me, it sounds like your aunts, other family members, and bridal party will remember your wedding day as a work day.  It is not true that only family and friends know what is polite in a given situation.  Etiquette can tell anyone in any situation what is polite and acceptable.  Treating wedding guests as a workforce is not acceptable in any situation. 
    esstee33chibiyuimrsmagicgeek[Deleted User]
  • jacques27jacques27 member
    Knottie Warrior 500 Love Its 1000 Comments 5 Answers
    edited October 2014
    Volunteering to do it is one thing.  You asking them to do it is another.  The YOU in "Do It YOUrself" is key.

    Also, a reception is a thank you party to your guests for coming to and witnessing your ceremony.  You don't thank your guests by making them work for their own party.  Don't you think your family also deserves to enjoy the party instead of spending the time in the kitchen reheating food? 

    There are lots of ways to save money on food and not break your budget, but it shouldn't come at the expense of your guests and cutting into their time to relax, enjoy the day, socialize with friends and family.

    *Get the food from a grocery deli and hire a couple of high school kids from your church for a little pocket money to do the set-up and clean-up
    *Have it at a non-meal time and just have cake, punch, and a few nibbles
    *Look into restaurant catering (usually much cheaper than caterers)

    (Also, my grandmother made the best potato cheese soup, in my opinion.  Would she have been flattered if I said I wanted to serve it at my wedding?  Absolutely.  Would she have thought I was rude to say "Well, I'm going to get soup from XYZ place instead of serving your soup?"  Nope.  She would have been the first person shoving whatever money she had in her purse into my hand saying "Oh, thank you my dearest *insert embarrassing childhood nickname here* for not making me do all that work making soup for 100.  I would have done it for you because I love you, but I'm so relieved to not have to do all that work.  I'm sure whatever you pick will be delicious.  You've always had such good taste.")
    [Deleted User]MGP
  • NYCMercedesNYCMercedes BOS, NYC, DC. Forever a city girl member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    @grace082915‌ You're having your bridal party serve at your wedding. This is just plain a very bad idea. Hire servers from a girl or Boy Scout troop, from a high school, or from a church youth group looking to fund raise. Bad enough that you want your family to spend the day before working for you, but to ask honored guests to work the day of, omg.
    [Deleted User]
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited October 2014
    My DH is a chef. He has cooked for events with up to 10,000 people.  He knows his shit.  When asked if he wanted to cook for his own wedding he said "Fuck no, I want to enjoy my wedding not work it".


    Anyway, I think getting a local deli to cater would be a better idea.   I'm not sure where you live, but some areas have amazing mom and pop places that caterer for less money and hassle then DIY.   Or have them just do the sandwiches and you cook the soups.   Prepping is the time consuming part of soups and chills.   You can prep a few days out then cook them in crock-pots.

    If it helps my DH has to prep DAYS before an event.  No the day before.  I'm talking DAYS.  Plus he has a huge staff.   Prep takes a lot longer than you think.  Then once of you prep you need to store all the stuff until you need to use them.


    Just things to think about.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
    novella1186
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    Nobody was rude to you, and nobody said soup and sandwiches wasn't a good idea. They are simply offering you logistics advice and to let you know how much work could be involved with this and that we must tread lightly when getting friends or family to help/contribute to our receptions. 

    And pointing to Pinterest does not change anybody's mind here on these forums. Just because you see something on Pinterest doesn't make it a good idea. It simply means the idea has been put into practice somewhere, so my advice is not to use Pinterest to prove to anyone, ever, that something is ok. 
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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    slothiegalchibiyui[Deleted User]novella1186
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