photo of small burgers in a wedding


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While your wedding is supposed to be one of the most special days of your life, planning it can sometimes feel like a nightmare. From seating charts and venue availability to decorations and menu planning, the entire process can be daunting — but the biggest headache for engaged couples is planning with a budget, according to The Knot's most recent wedding study. Bridal budgets often lead to cutting corners and one bride's viral TikTok video shows how she and her husband slashed catering costs by ordering their reception food from Chili's.

In her video, Madison Mulkey (@brideisapersonality) shared her experience using Chili's to supply the food for her wedding. To feed 99 people, the newlyweds paid $1,950.04, which included five specialty meals they purchased for guests with dietary restrictions. Mulkey said they wound up with tasty dishes like chicken tenders, sliders, eggrolls, chips and salsa, cajun chicken pasta, and salad. When you break down the cost for 99 guests, the catering cost sits at an ultra-cheap $19.69 per guest, which is significantly cheaper than the average wedding catering cost for a wedding of that size (a whopping $70 per person), according to The Knot. 

Mulkey even received praise from the official Chili's Grill & Bar TikTok account, which commented: "iconic."

Of course, this bride's experience wasn't without flaws, although she admits they were likely due to the fact that her wedding took place on St. Patrick's Day weekend — a busy time for the bar and grill. She said the food had to be picked up several hours before serving and the bride and groom's hired help, along with their wedding coordinator, had to quickly shuffle around to keep the food properly stored, re-heated, and served — something they didn't anticipate ahead of time. 

Still, Mulkey raved about the decision and even remarked that on a different weekend, when Chili's could have delivered the order themselves, the set-up struggles wouldn't have been present and the whole thing would've gone off without a hitch. Even so, for $50 less per person (saving $4,950 overall) than the average wedding chow, some last-minute rearrangements are one headache most brides and grooms would welcome with open arms.

While most of the comments on the original TikTok were positive, some questioned if the wedding staff was tipped. Mulkey responded with a follow-up video, explaining that everyone was tipped and compensated fairly.


Weeks after Madison Mulkey's (@brideisapersonality) video went viral, she noticed that Chili's bought almost everything left on their wedding registry. 

"So many of you have asked if Chili's has reached out, and yes, Chili's has reached out. We have been in communications over DMs for probably like two weeks now at this point. Um, but yesterday I got a DM from them. We were like driving -- my husband and I, and they bought the rest of our wedding registry. 

"There's still a couple of items on there, but they bought pretty much the majority of everything left on our registry. And I haven't even looked at my registry, really, since probably the day after the wedding. Um, so I was in complete shock. I am so grateful. Thank you so much, Chili's. I obviously never expected this to happen."

The full video below shows all the items that Chili's purchased for the newlyweds and they even left a "Love U Queen" in the comments. 


Not only is this a generous and fun gesture from Chili's, but also a savvy bit of marketing to lean into this viral story. 

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