Post # 1
We are doing a super cheap wedding and as we cant afford a caterer we are planning on doing a potluck style dinner. The ceremony and reception is all at the same place and there is a a few refridgerators if needed Is this ok ask guests bring food to a wedding? We’re still planning on providing the main dish and then i asked 2 of my bridesmaids to help coordinate the guests food. I was thinking when we send out the invites that on the rsvps that its a potluck and to ask can you bring a certain thing like a salad or desert or something. Would that be ok to do or any thoughts on how to do that?
Also for the main dish me and my guy were taking about if it would be ok to either just get some premade sub platters like from jimmy johns or if it would be ok to just get a bunch of pizzas. theres a place nearby that makes these really long pizzas and they deliver. My cousin had caterers at her wedding but around 11 at night they ordered a ton of pizzas and it was awesome.
Anyone else doing this style wedding that can give me some advice? thanks
Post # 3
@jbbs1222: I personally do not feel that wedding is an appropriate event at which to do a potluck. Asking guests to bring food to feed themselves is something I would never do. If you can’t afford to feed your guests, then do a simple drinks and dessert reception, but do not ask guests at your wedding to provide their own meal.
Post # 4
I had a friend that did this at her church, and my FI’s parents did this back in the day. If you are saying, “Bring a dish, not a gift” I think it is okay… this is what both of these couples did. Otherwise it is a bit odd for your guests to bring food and gifts, IMO.
Post # 5
We didn’t really do a potluck (I wanted to, though!), but the caterers we hired were friends of the family (local CWA) and they did an afternoon tea style reception for us (only $22/head!). After that, we had a BBQ and some pizzas in our pizza oven, which were all cooked by any friends or family that wanted to man the BBQ or oven!
I think, logistically, potluck can be a little tricky – guests bring food for the ceremony, which will need to be stored somehow until the reception (could be a few hours!), and it needs to be kept warm or cool, served, etc. It would probably be easier if you got a few of the closer friends/family to make larger portions (e.g. one person do a few roasts, someone else make a few salads, etc.), so that all of the different dishes are easier to coordinate.
Post # 6
If you are already providing the main dish then I really think your budget could extend to provding some sides as well, surely? You could get close family to help you make them up and store them in the fridges you mention. Making up batches of potato/pasta salad, green salad, veggies, bread rolls etc. would be pretty cheap. I just think pot-luck for a wedding would be too hard to organise, particularly if you have a large guest list. In order to ensure you had enough of everything you would need to pretty much dictate to people what they needed to bring, otherwise you’d end up with a little bit of everything and it would all run out before everyone had been served. Everything would have to be cold unless you were also going to have heating capabilities on site. This is in addition to the whole etiquette issue of asking guests to byo their own food that others have raised.
Post # 7
Why not just serve what you can afford? I don’t see anything wrong with pizza and salad for a casual wedding. I would totally do that before I asked guests to bring food. You could also do the sandwich platters, have fruit and salad.
Post # 8
Hmm, I think it’ll be tough to pull off, but you can do it. Why not? A wedding doesn’t necessarily have to be fancier than a normal party you’d throw.
That said, I would definetly put a “Bring a dish, not a gift” message on the RSVP, and I’d be prepared that everything is not going to “go together” perfectly.
Post # 9
I don’t think potlucks are appropriate for weddings. A wedding reception should be fully hosted because it is supposed to be a thank-you to your guests for attending your ceremony. Asking for a dish in lieu of a gift doesn’t make it okay from an etiquette standpoint because gifts are not mandatory to begin with.
There are also the logistical issues PPs have brought up – keeping the food at proper temperature (I know you said there are refrigerators on-site but what about during transport and during the event while everything is sitting out) and making sure there is enough quantity and variety to feed everybody a meal.
Pizza or sub platters would be fine for a casual, inexpensive wedding.
Post # 10
It might be more trouble than it’s worth IMO…why don’t you just go with the pizzas? That sounds better to me than a lot of random dishes.
You can do it but you need to ask everyone what they can bring and then organize everything. You want to make sure you are covering all your food bases and you need to make sure everything can be kept heated or cooled as appropriate. So you need to make sure you have another space and plug ins for crock-pots, etc.
Just make sure to tell them to bring food instead of a gift.
Post # 11
You are likely to get a lot of negative responses from people but don’t necessarily let them disaude you. I was at a potluck wedding last year and it was one of my favorite weddings ever and it truly had the best food of any wedding I have been to, everyone went above and beyond for their dishes.
Only you know the crowd you are dealing with and how this will go over. My worry for potluck is all the organizing it takes but if you plan all the details I think it can work just fine.
Post # 12
@TattedNYBride: +1. It is incredibly inappropriate. So I take time out of my life to attend a wedding, spend money on a gift, AND pay for the food too? I just wouldn’t go.
Of course I wouldn’t advocate breaking your budget and spending money you don’t have, but a pot luck wedding is just tacky, rude, and cheap in my opinion. I would stick to appetizers, cocktails, desserts, or anything that is cheaper that you guys can afford (even if that means cutting down on numbers). The logistics of bringing food to a wedding and having it stay hot would be a nightmare too. There are other threads like this one that received similar feedback.
Post # 13
@jbbs1222: I would love to go to a potluck wedding, I think that sounds awesome. Perhaps you could use a website and/or facebook to help corrdinate who brings what? However, I think the sucess of this project really depends on the number and the type of people coming to your wedding. I think you could totally do cheap catering, for example I bet this place:
which is a cheap local greek restaurant would cater for around $10 a head and people could just serve themselves buffet style, and then you could ask everyone to bring their favorite dessert!
Post # 14
@jbbs1222: I think if you are going to do potluck, you shouldn’t ask guests to bring food, but try to ask close people to you (aunts, parents, bridal party, grandparents) to help. Maybe you provide the main course and each provides a side dish/desert. This way, it may be more of a planned meal than your guests showing up and everyone made deviled eggs or mashed potatoes. It’s very hard to request your guests to make something specific and I think it may be off-putting to guests.
Post # 15
@kellmerr: +10 same here: would we love a seated reception? You bet! Can we swing it? No way in hell…but we CAN provide some killer BBQ, wings and Mexican food 🙂
@jbbs1222: Sorry, OP: I’m of the school of “if I host it, I don’t ask for anything.” I would be STOKED to attend a reception with pizza and subs instead of rubbery chicken and lukewarm veggies. I think this is a great oppertunity to go outside the box with food people won’t expect.
Post # 16
I’m Maid/Matron of Honor in a wedding next year where the family of the couple is doing a potluck style reception. Each aunt/sister/cousin/uncle/grandma etc is being assigned 1 dish and they will make enough of it to feed all of the guests. That way, the bride and her mom can control the food a little more and they’ll save money. The family did it for her cousin’s wedding and apparently, it worked great. They’re doing BBQ style food.