(Closed) Why don't people like potluck receptions?

posted 9 years ago in Food
Post # 3
342 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I love potlucks, but I think doing it for a wedding is a bit… what’s the word I’m looking for?

You don’t ask guests to bring something or pick up the tab for any part of YOUR party. If they have to contribute in some way, they’re not guests, they’re help. It’s sort of in bad taste.

Post # 4
3525 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2018

@Edelweiss:  Exactly. Well said.

Post # 5
500 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

A potluck reception is best if everyone lives nearby and if someone is willing to coordinate it.  If you’re asking a lot of people to travel from out of state, the least you could do is feed them instead of making them worry about having to bring food.  Checks and/or online registry gifts are the most wonderful things when you travel out of state for a wedding.  Also potlucks are hard to coordinate for more than say, 20 people.  You need to know beforehand what everyone plans on bringing, how much of it they plan on bringing and you need to be ready to cover the extra.  At least a quarter of the guests won’t be bringing anything–that’s a big gap to cover.  You can’t just do sandwiches or you’ll have some people eating a full tasty meal and others left with sad old subway sandwiches.

If that’s really what you want to do, that’s fine but you need to be ready to do a lot of organizing and figure out something other than Subway for your contribution.  Your vague idea right now is not going to cut it.  If you can show that you’ve got it under control, people are going to be less skeptical.

Post # 6
466 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

I guess word of mouth is the best way to “feel it out” and see if you’re guests are on board. If not, I see nothing wrong with the foods you mentioned above, in a higher quantity, that are easy enough for a few people handle that day.

Post # 7
1727 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

Potlucks are fun, but they do take a good amount of organization.

I think they are fun if you just want to get together with your friends, but since you are asking your friends to celebrate you its a bit off putting to also ask them to bring the food for the reception as well as celebrate your nuptials. 

I think more than anything, people have different expectations out of a reception vs a regular party. They generally expect to only be a guest and to not be responsible for a part of the actual party.

Post # 8
6317 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: December 2013

@crescentloon23:  It just sounds tacky to me. We have potlucks at our office and it’s sort of fun, but ends up being a weird mish mash of food and most people leave with stomach aches. People generally think of weddings as a fun affair that doesn’t involve work, or eating a weird mish mash of food.

Maybe I’m being a snob, and I do think your idea is kinda cute… but like your family warns, it probably won’t end up the way you envision. I think after splurging for gifts etc. people really shouldn’t have to worry about cooking or stopping at the store (and feeling guilty for not having cooked).

Unless you’re really young or really poor I just don’t see this being a good idea. Sorry.

Post # 9
7574 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

@Edelweiss:  << what she said

I just don’t like being expected to do something like provide the catering when I am invited to someone elses event like a wedding. It kind of makes me think I am only important/close enough to invite to your wedding if I can bring a dish!

Post # 10
4173 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

Not my favorite, cause now I have to buy you a present AND cook

Post # 11
197 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

I wouldn’t like going to a potluck reception.  I feel that’s something more for like a family picnic or something, not a wedding.  I’m also picky about my food… and I’d be concerned about food sitting out or eating a bunch of things that different people made.

Post # 12
660 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

I would be excited to bring a dish to a wedding. I would even figure out the logistics of bringing one if i was coming from out-of-town. But that’s just me. 

Post # 13
1675 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2016

if I got an invite for a wedding in a different state, and it was potluck, I probably wouldn’t go. Not only now am I paying to attend your wedding, but I’m expected to bring my own food? 

I would send a card with a gift card to a grocery store and tell them to buy a side or something. It’s just not something I would attend.

However, if it was a small, local wedding being held by close friends, I would probably attend, carrying my bowl of potatoe salad. But it will take a lot of coordination, and other things from you. Like you said, who’s going to set up/keep food hot or cold, clean up, and what happens if 30 people show up carrying potato salad and you only have one container of entree type food? 


Have you considered asking a favourite local resturaunt if they cater? 

Post # 14
1519 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

Girl it totally depends on your church. If you live in an area where potluck receptions are common then your church ladies will have all kinds of ideas. In my church it would be simple. Everyone brings there best dish to every potluck and I know what they all are. Filling in the gaps are simple when you know the gaps.

I would  plan to do the meat myself say Turkey and Ham or Lemon Pepper Chicken and Roast Beef and the mashed potatoes. Then post a signup sheet with catergories:

Soda (3 bottles of specific kind}

1. Joe R. – Sprite

2. Sally G. – Cola

Vegetables (please specify type}

1. Brenda V. – baked corn casserole

2. Gina P. – veggie tray


1. Ron T. – Rice Pilaf

2. Zack D. – deviled eggs

Rolls ( please bring 2 dozen}

1. Tonya B. – wheat rolls (6 doz.}


 1. Nancy Y. – blueberry cobbler

That way everything stays organized and they can bring things in crockpots but this onlyworks in churches used to potlucks and if they have enough outlets.

Post # 15
316 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

I’ve been to a potluck reception and it really was a bit of a disaster. There was a weird mix, and it was hard get through the line because people were examining all if the dishes. It’d money is a factor just have a cocktail reception. 

Post # 16
199 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

The place where I work has 3 pot lucks a year, and the trick is bringing something that doesn’t need to be hot (or super cold), or having big crock pots with outlets. Yes this is hard for the out of town guests, but they could brsome something that travels well (like cookies), or you could tell them that you don’t expect them to bring a dish.

I think the idea is totally fine, and I’m actually kind of surprised at the sentiment that this is rude to guests or something. When a friend has me over for dinner or a family member has a BBQ or something, I usually take something (asking them first, of course). A wedding doesn’t have to be that different (and where I’m originally from, it’s sometimes just like that). Have we just gotten too accustomed to the idea that weddings are always catered?

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