(Closed) BBQ or Potluck Dinner????

posted 10 years ago in Food
Post # 3
Member
168 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

Coming from the Midwest, this is a fairly common means of “catering” for a wedding, at least among my social circle. It’s a great cheap alternative, but you have to keep it organized to make sure you don’t have too many problems. You or your mom should sit down with all the women and decide who is going to make what, going into this “meeting” having a general idea of what you want (how many sides, etc.) Make sure your female family members know that if they’re the only one making a certain dish, it’s going to take a lot for 125 people. You could go the extra mile and help them figure out how many batches of their recipe they need, and then add a little to what would feed 125 since this will undoubtedly be served in a buffet format. If they’re going off of a recipe that tells you how many servings it makes, it should be simple math to tell you how many batches to make. Depending on the number of “helpers” you have, you may want to have two people making each item so no one has to spend the entire day before making (and storing) a ginormous amount of potato salad. Hope This Helps.

Post # 4
Member
2 posts
Wannabee
  • Wedding: June 2009

For our wedding in June we are having a picnic barbecue recpetion and are putting on the invitations for eveybody to bring something for the reception. That way we don’t have to fork out the money for a caterer which is riduculously priced and not in the budget at all so we decided that this was the way to go. We are going to have a couple of grills ready for hot dogs for the kids and chicken and possibly ribs or steaks which we are getting but not sure which one we’re going to use yet. When I did tell several family members so far they were all for it and they are helping with the menu planning and they are already figuing out what to make. Everybody that I have talked to thinks it’s a great idea and more personable and alot more fun. This way everybody gets to be involoved and bring their favorite item. I also am going to everybody send me a copy of the recipes of the meal that they are going to bring and I am going to put them into a cookbook and hand them out as wedding favors for everybody. You can check on the computer for the amounts of food for the recipes and then people know how much of what is required to make the food so then you don;t run out. My sister is making potato salad and macaroni salad and meatballs for sweet & sour meatballs. My best friend is making the vegetable platter and the dips. With having about 100 people there is alot of food but there should be something for everybody. And then when people start saying what they are planning on bringing you will know if there is double of anything and if there is more than 1 type of macaroni or potato salad, who cares?

Post # 5
Member
69 posts
Worker bee

I’m sorry—but that seems rather tacky.

If you are going to have a wedding celebration, do it right. Or don’t do it at all.

 Summermom5- If I were a guest to a wedding where we were requested to bring food, I would chuckle. That would def. be the wedding that no one forgets. I mean its your wedding, loosen the purse straps a little, yeah? 

Post # 6
Member
2292 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

This is also really common where I live, and I agree that the main problem is that most people aren’t used to cooking for 125!  Plus, most people just don’t have enough baking or serving dishes to prepare that much food.  If your church has a big industrial kitchen, you can maybe borrow big pots and trays from them, or even do the cooking there.  For the hot food, it will also make a big difference if you can cook and serve it in the same place, as obviously you can’t easily keep four big lasagnes (or what have you) warm while you bake the fifth, and then transport them all.  Timing also becomes kind of an issue, as either some folks have to miss the wedding because they are cooking or setting up, or there needs to be a delay between the wedding and the actual food part of the reception in which you cook or reheat the hot food.  It’s absolutely do-able, but you’re right to think that there is more to it than the average potluck dinner.

Post # 6
Member
2 posts
Wannabee

maybe you can have the "main course" caterered and have family make a dessert table or a few sides…….i would make sure all the trays/platters look reallynice and match …so it looks nice and neat!!

Post # 7
Member
2008 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

@ boogerette: Some of us can "loosen the strings" all we want, but if there’s nothing in the purse it doesn’t do you much good!  I think it’s absolutely ridiculous to go into debt trying to put on a wedding above your means.  Don’t forget that simple is frequently one of the first words used to describe classic. 

 July09, there is definitely a way to pull this off and I think you’ve got the right idea.  Have you checked out Sara at http://2000dollarwedding.com/?  She could be a great resource as she did something similar (which her guests LOVED) and is wonderful about answering questions and helping other brides out. 

Good luck!

Post # 8
Member
699 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

I’m from the midwest too (Chicago) and have NEVER heard of such a thing as a pot luck wedding. I remember attending those with my parents when I was little for church events.

But, I think there is some great advice above. Just make sure those important ladies (mom, grandmas, aunts, etc.) don’t miss out on the wedding or events and feel stressed out making this perfect for you. If at all possible, try to relieve some of this by having the main course catered like mnecchi said.

But please don’t ask your guests to bring food to your wedding! To be frank, I would be a little annoyed and would probably do something a little more gourmet and count it as most (if not all) of their wedding gift!

Post # 9
Member
51 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

My fiance and I are having a hard time deciding what to do regarding the catering too.  On one hand, we want it catered because then no one will have to worry about if there’s enough food and all family/friends can enjoy the celebration.  On the other hand, there’s not much "in the purse" and we aren’t going to go into debt for the wedding, but we won’t have money for a down payment for a house either.  My fiance’s entire family is filled with professional cooks (used to own a restaurant), and my mom’s not too shabby of a cook either, but again, I want them to enjoy themselves on the day that their first wedding of their oldest children.  I just I am as lost as  you are and I’m sorry I don’t have any advice. 

Post # 11
Member
168 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

@ boogerette – Let’s not resort to using the phrase “tacky” when wedding customs vary so widely in this world and everyone does something different. It wasn’t that long ago that dessert and punch weddings were the norm and a grand dinner would have seemed silly. If that’s the kind of wedding you want, then it will be perfect for you. For those out there who don’t think that’s their style, there’s nothing wrong with a dessert reception, an appetizer reception, and yes, even a potluck reception. If it will be well received by her guests, then it works for her. Obviously, it may not be the right avenue to go in certain crowds, but I guess it works for us “tacky” folks.

@ Little Bear – You gave great advice! But, when I say Midwest, I mean rural areas in Iowa, Kansas, etc., and not so much Chicago. I’m not surprised potluck weddings aren’t something that happen in such a big city. ๐Ÿ™‚

Post # 12
Member
350 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2009

I think a family-catered meal is a lovely idea if your family members are up for it!  125 is a pretty big crowd to cook for but I think with some careful planning they could pull it off.

But can I make a suggestion?  It might be a good idea to put a time gap between the ceremony and the reception (at least two hours) to make sure your loved ones don’t miss out on your vows because they’re fixing the food.  You might have to think of something for your other guests to do during that time but it would be worth it to make sure your family doesn’t miss the ceremony.

Also, this may sound silly, but have you considered not serving a meal at all?  You could just have wedding cake, a few hors d’ouevres, and some drinks (not necc. alcoholic) immediately following the ceremony.  It’s not as fancy or as formal, but it’s a lot more budget-friendly — and that way your family wouldn’t be cooking the day away.  As long as your reception isn’t at mealtime I don’t think anyone would mind not being served a full meal.

Post # 13
Member
93 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: November 2008

I dont think it’s tacky at all. I agree that it might be easier to have the meat portion catered like chicken or barbeque but I was totally part of a wedding where we all helped cook the side dishes. We cooked huge pots of pasta salad and corn salad and potato salad. There was plenty of food for everyone and even some left over. You can do it! Just assign everyone a dish before hand and then enjoy your day!

Post # 14
Member
39 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: March 2008

@ boogerette   – As PP said it is really rude to say to someone you don’t know and who’s financial situation you also dont know to "loosent the purse strings."  I too am from Chicago like Little Bear and no up here it isn’t common to see a potlock wedding or a family catered wedding but I also orginally came from a small town in Central IL and down there this would be much more common.   The whole idea of a big expensive sit down dinner is something that has only really come about in the last 20 or so years up to that point most people had Cake and Punch receptions, family cooked meals, or potluck dinners. And while most of use, including myself, bow down to the wedding monster and ultimatly have a ridiculous expensive sit down dinner that isnt the only option and you shouldnt make people feel like what they are doing is some how lesser because of it.

Much like Bridal showers, weddings are differnet from region to region and city to city.  I didn’t want a sit down dinner style Bridal shower but my husbands parents insisted that was how things were done up here. They then spent an unnecessary amount of money, for an event that would have been far more fun without the stuffy sit down lunch served in a restaurant.  By contrast my family from down state threw me a Bridal shower at the church hall, we had homemade cake, homemade punch, and homemade cream cheese mints and tons of laughs at the creative games they came up with and the stories they shared.  We spent far more time talking to each other than I got to with my husband’s family because it was more informal.  Maybe my bridal shower was tacky to some people but to me that was exactly what I wanted and the "classy/proper" way of doing this just didnt fit me or my family.

 To the opening poster I think depending on how close you are to these 135 people you could ask them to do a potluck if you are really close to everyone that is coming or if not then as someone else mentioned either have the family make stuff or have the main course catered in and then the rest done by the family.   Personally I would be happy to be invited to a potluck wedding but then again I love to cook and love to share that with others. 

Post # 15
Member
41 posts
Newbee

I like the suggestion of doing both. You can have the BBQ as the main course and ask your family and close friends prepare 3-4 side dishes in bulk. Hire two people to man the BBQ and refill serving trays and guests can help themselves at the buffet. That way the main entree will be hot when served and your family and friends can still enjoy the wedding.

The topic ‘BBQ or Potluck Dinner????’ is closed to new replies.

Find Amazing Vendors