(Closed) Wedding Potluck Advice

posted 5 years ago in Food
Post # 3
Member
5481 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

Firstly, make sure everything that needs to be hot is hot, and everything that has to be kept cold, keep cold.  Mainly just for health and safety reasons.  Whether you use ice trays or chafing dishes, do what you have to do to prevent foodborne illnesses!

Also, make sure you tell people who are bringing a dish that the dish IS their gift.  They should not have to provide food AND give a gift.

And just for logistics, I’d probably do a sign-up sheet to make sure you get a good variety of foods.  Who needs 20 bags of chips but no drinks?!?! 

I’d probably also let people know on your wedding website just so people who are uncomfortable eating food prepared by other people can make arrangements to eat before hand or bring a snack.

Post # 4
Member
677 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

Yes, just let those who bring food know you will consider it their gift to you. Also, have people put a piece of tape on their dish with their name on it so afterward you know what dish goes home with who.

Post # 5
Member
11242 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

@DaneLady:  This! You can get disposable chafing dishes and fuel at places that sell big quantities of food (we have a place here called Gordon Food Service, but it’s not available in Canada). My cousin did a potluck wedding and most of the stuff was brought and served from crock pots.

Post # 6
Member
2065 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

@DaneLady:  Everything she said.

I’d make sure someone is in charge of the actual food line. They can keep the flow going and notice when a dish is gone to remove it to make room for others. If possible, try to label the dishes (name of the dish, is it vegetarian, not vegetarian, etc) so that people aren’t just standing at the food table wondering what they’re looking at and trying to decide if they want it or not. Also, make sure clean up is accounted for.

Post # 7
Member
9147 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

If you must then make sure guests don’t feel obligated to bring anything and that anything they bring can be considered a gift to the happy couple.  It sounds like you have enough people on board that not everyone would be expected to bring something.

Post # 8
Member
3887 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

Organize your “volunteers” so that you don’t end up with 30 different dishes and each only having 5 servings. Pick an actual menu so that anyone bringing a side dish is bringing one of three choices for example.

Post # 9
Member
1769 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

We always have potluck holidays/birthdays in my family. The host family provides a roast/ham and sandwhich fixings, and all the guest bring an appitizer (fruit tray, deviled eggs, little smokies, etc) – there’s always a wide variety of food and it’s fun.

But as PP mentioned, make sure that you keep foodborne illness in mind – party supply stores sell cheap chaffing dishes. Also, people tend to bring crockpots to these things – make sure you’ve got extension cords and power strips.

Post # 10
Member
1026 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I’ve done a few potlucks for our church- here is a basic list of what you need.

List/coordinator of who brings what.  There are websites that you can set this up on, or just have someone keep a paper list.

(Make sure to let people know how much food they need to bring- you may need to have 2 or 3 people bring the same thing to have enough for 80 people.)

Day of coordinator- someone who will take the dishes as they arrive, place them in the appropriate spot/make sure they are hot or cold. 

Buffet table for food

Chafing dishes (rental or disposable), or crockpots for hot food

serving untensils for each dish

*optional- signs labeling dishes

Appropriate plates, silverware, napkins and glasses

Behind the scenes stuff:  Access to sink/dish soap to rinse out serving dishes

If using real china, place to wash and dry it

Trash bags

paper towels

For 80 people I would also recommend someone to “work” the buffet table- basically wipe up spills, and replenish food as needed.

Lastly a clean up crew!  You don’t want to be stuck clearing plates or washing dishes in your wedding gown so make sure you have people designated to do this. 

 

Post # 11
Member
2390 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

When you put something out on the internet, you are inviting responses.  You can’t tell people how to post, nor can you say “I know this is a terrible idea, but only respond if you’re going to validate my terrible idea!”

The reasons why this is tacky are many.  You’ve already said most people are coming from out of town – how is it that you expect them to make food?  How will you prevent having 6 veggie trays and 2 bowls of potato salad?  How will you keep things at the proper temperature?  What do people do with their food during the ceremony?  Who will clean up?

The real bottom line is that YOU are the hosts, therefore, you must, you know, HOST. You host what you can afford, nothing more.  If that’s cake and punch, that’s great!

Post # 12
Member
2390 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

@StL.Ashley:  Yeah, but see – a wedding isn’t a family holiday.  It’s a wedding, and those doing the inviting should host.  

Post # 13
Member
2065 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

@oneofthesethings:  I’m not the biggest fan of potlucks for weddings either, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Previous posters have actually given some great suggestions to prevent the problems you mentioned – such as coordinating dishes to make sure there’s enough for everyone and having someone in charge of coordinating the food table/setup, and ensuring proper food storage. It’s all in the planning and if she has enough volunteers and puts effort into it, I don’t see why it can’t work. She isn’t forcing anyone to bring food against their will.

Post # 14
Member
2390 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

@misspeanut:  Except that she kind of is.  It’s either bring your own food or don’t eat. That’s not hosting a party.  The very, very basic rule of etiquette is be a good host – in other words, treat your guests well.  A potluck is always an agreed upon thing, like your church or family always does it that way and everyone knows and it’s agreed upon.  A wedding is a hosted event, and she’s demanding that people bring food to her party!  How is that OK? 

Post # 15
Member
2908 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@oneofthesethings:  It’s not “bring your food or don’t eat” – it sounds like some guests will be bringing food and others will not be. Out of 80 guests, 40 were asked to contribute and 29 agreed enthusiastically. I’m pretty sure she’s still inviting the other 51 guests to come eat and celebrate. 

I get it that it’s the host’s responsibility to provide the food and drink, but I also think it’s really lovely when a community comes together to help a couple celebrate their wedding in such a concrete way! As long as the couple is explicit about the food contribution being “the gift”, not making unreasonable demands like, “Ok, Katie, you’re in charge of filet mignon for 75!” and sends a heartfelt thank you afterwards, I would have absolutely zero problem contributing to a potluck wedding and I don’t think it’s really all that out of bounds. 

Post # 16
Member
2390 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

@KatieBklyn:  What are people supposed to say when asked directly???  I assure you that people are going to be grumbling about this, whether they contribute or not.  

And read what you wrote – 29 people are expected to bring food for 80???  Do you have any idea how much work that’s going to be?

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