(Closed) Low key pot luck reception

posted 5 years ago in Food
Post # 3
2295 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

Is there a question? Or just an assertion.

With everything in wedding/party planning, I think you just have to know your crowd. Potlucks work great with some guest lists, not great with others. It sounds like your family will be open to this, so I’m sure it will be fun!

With your side traveling in, are there local people who are making their potluck dishes?

The other big concern would just be keeping everything hot/cold/bug free at an outdoor wedding. But it certainly can be done.

Post # 6
2103 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

I think as long as you are not trying to have a formal type affiar with potluck, and it’s family, it’s cool. I know I’d be more than happy to bring a dish to a loved-one’s wedding…AND a gift, because really, how hard is it to whip up a salad?

Post # 7
1755 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

@practicallyme:  It wouldn’t be for me, however; if it’s right for you, then enjoy.  To help it go smoothly, I’d suggest:

  • Talking to relatives ahead of time so they know what you have in mind.


  • Put someone in charge of a sign-up that breaks things down into various categories like veggies, pasta salad, bread & buns, etc.  Otherwise you’ll end up having too much of one thing and none of another.


  • Consider augmenting your picnic affair with a little catering from a BBQ truck or at the very least setting a couple uncles up at the grill and pay for some hotdogs and burgers to fill in.

Post # 8
837 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

@practicallyme:  We had a potluck wedding! It was wonderful and delicious. My brother-in-law ordered pizza. It was weird, but it worked. Ours was in our home, though, so electricity wasn’t an issue for keeping stuff in the fridge (drinks) or keeping things hot (crockpots). We had a few chafing dishes with Sterno, but that didn’t really work for the people who brought things that were already cooked, as they couldn’t be transferred. A lot of people brought cold stuff (pasta salad, etc). 


One thing I mentioned to another bride who wanted to do a potluck was to get a headcount (if that sort of thing flies with your families) of who will be bringing what (we did an e-vite thing saying “by no means are we demanding you bring food, but if you’d like to show off one of your favorite recipes, then please do!”) to prepare hot / cold storage, or how much you should make / provide yourselves. I also suggested getting together with the people you’re closest to (the ones where hanging out isn’t a foregin concept) and, if they said they’re bringing something, offer up a chaffing dish to help them out, so that they’re not worrying over crockpots / Pyrex or wondering how to transfer food.


I know you didn’t ask a question or ask for advice, but I am sticking my nose in everywhere today! Potlucks are wonderful!


Post # 9
1606 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@practicallyme:  I love the idea – I wish more people would have been ok with it in my immediate family because I think the outer family would have loved it.

I want to know your update!!!!

Post # 10
269 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2013

Aww, I’m sorry some of the posts discouraged you! I’m sure you can have a wonderful pot luck reception if that’s what you want and if your guests are open to it. Can you have someone help serve perhaps? That always helps, so they can set out more napkins, cups, cutlary, etc. and even cover salads when everyone’s done. You can also go to the local grocery store and order cheese and/or meat platters and salads – that could help with the preparations and it’s not so expensive. Also what about those portable hotplates – is there a plug somewhere in the park? This could help for hot food or lasagne-type stuff too.

Just a question: why no cake? Is it because you’re not so big on cake yourself, or is it more the hassle of it? What about cupcakes? They’re super easy to do yourself, can look ultra-cute with cupcake wrappers, plus they’re easy to just pick up and eat without a plate so they could work well? You could also have cookies, or mini pies (the bite-sized ones) if you wanted to add a bit of dessert to your reception.

Also, are you asking guests to bring food, or just select family? If you are, have you thought about splitting who you ask for sweets and who for savoury? You could also ask particular guests to bring something you know they’re famous for making!

I’m sure you’ll have a lovely reception – perhaps just give travelling guests good notice of the potluck so they’ll be organised and maybe a place they can drop the food off in the morning or the day before so they don’t necessarily need to remember to bring it to the wedding. Good luck! 🙂

Post # 14
526 posts
Busy bee

Sounds fun!

It never would have worked in our circle.  Most of the people at attended our wedding are terrible at bringing stuff to potlucks!  It would have been a very paltry wedding feast!  Even today, when I throw parties, I always make all the food, because I can’t rely on people to bring good food.  When I go to potlucks, I always take a main dish (like a mac & cheese casserole) plus a dessert.  And…most times, that’s the only “real” food there. 

So yeah, definitely know your crowd, and what people WILL do.  It’s kindof lame to just have 10 bags of chips and nothing else!  😉

Post # 15
249 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

@practicallyme:  Fiance and I went to a potluck wedding about 2 years ago and had so much fun!  I love to cook so I really enjoyed showing off my quadrupled recipe of my smoked gouda mac n cheese!  

I think the only way you could construe a potluck wedding as rude would be if you showed up in some ridiculous $5000 ballgown or displayed somehow that you were all for spending money.. just not on feeding your guests.

I think as long as it’s a casual affair a potluck wedding can be a blast!

Post # 16
443 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

@practicallyme:  I love the idea of potluck, there’s just something very intimate and celebratory about a potluck function. Most of the family/friend functions that I attend are potluck and I have also attended a potluck wedding. The only thing I want to maybe ask you to think about is perhaps hiring people (even just students) to make sure that serving dishes are full, that people are seen to and to clean up any mess that may occur. The absolute biggest downside to a potluck affair is the fact that people who are supposed to be celebrating with you and having fun may end up working the wedding. I’ve been there – and that’s not cool.

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