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

posted 9 years ago in Food
Post # 32
2187 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

Maybe they are not considered fancy enough, or too old-fashioned. I went to quite a few church hall potluck wedding receptions when I was growing up, but maybe it was a regional or cultural thing too. Those receptions seemed much more family-oriented — the kind with kids, aunties and uncles everywhere. Since they were held at the churches, alcohol was rarely present but cake and punch always were. They certainly were not the elegant affairs that costs heaven-knows-what per plate.

Post # 33
4980 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

Please do not do a potluck for a wedding, personally a potluck at a wedding is just tacky. That is like saying hey come to our wedding but we can’t afford to feed you so bring your own food.  Either pony up and and pay for food or don’t have a reception.

Post # 34
8490 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

I think the trick is to not ask “everyone” to bring a dish, but rather ask specific people to bring the food. They should be close both emotionally and geographically, but not be parents, wedding party, or others who will be so involved in the wedding that cooking will be difficult.

I’ve been to two potluck weddings and both were great. In both cases I was a somewhat distant out-of-town relative and did not know the receptions were potluck.  It was not mentioned on the invitations. When I arrived at the reception site and noticed it was potluck, I thought nothing of it. I did not think “how tacky!” and was not disappointed in the least that it wasn’t catered. Both celebrations had a great variety and plenty of food. It was a very comfortable feel and I enjoyed both potlucks. 

I probably would have felt different if I had been asked to bring a dish. I might have sent my regrets (with a gift of course). Not because I would resent being asked or find it rude or anything, but just because of logistics. It would be too stressful to worry about packing clothes and gifts, plus choosing, planning, shopping for, cooking, and transporting a dish worthy of a wedding. I tend to be a perfectionist, but fortunately I am also NOT a martyr and can simply say “no thank you” rather than kill myself trying to do something I don’t really feel responsible for and then feel resentful of it.  

I have happily brought dishes to local potluck showers for close relatives though. I was specifically asked in person or on the phone, it was never mentioned on an invitation. I assume this is what happened with the two potluck weddings — they probably asked close friends and family and did not bother out-of-towners or more distant guests about it. 

Post # 35
61 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I think it’s a great idea – if your community is into it. There’s something about a pot luck that says “We love and support this union, and we’re excited to help celebrate it and share food and love.”


BUT – if your family/friends aren’t into this kind of reception, and pot lucks aren’t the norm, then I think you may be asking for trouble. Perhaps you can get the same kind of warm feeling of community by asking people to bring their favorite dessert? This way it’s not “supply the food” but “share some home baked love.”

Post # 36
994 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

Could you maybe enlist the church ladies or some family members to make food?  I wouldn’t want to have to worry about food for a wedding I’m attending as a guest.  But I think you should definitely stick with a casual feel, but maybe have a catered potluck if you don’t have helpers you can enlist.

Post # 37
606 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

@Daisy_Mae:  I think the trick is to not ask “everyone” to bring a dish, but rather ask specific people to bring the food. They should be close both emotionally and geographically, but not be parents, wedding party, or others who will be so involved in the wedding that cooking will be difficult.

Yes!  FI and I went to a wedding earlier this year where they did the food like this (the groom’s mom asked her best friends, close coworkers, and church friends to make the food).  To be honest, it wasn’t the best ever, but it was a sweet wedding and the food worked for the couple’s extremely limited budget.  I don’t think guests should be asked to bring food, and it will turn into a logistical nightmare for the bride & groom (seriously, what a headache trying to coordinate everything!) – but I don’t see anything wrong with family and/or several close friends pitching in to make it happen.

Post # 38
677 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I don’t know about everyone else, but potlucks have to be VERY coordinated IMO. When we have them at work we usually end up with 10 bags of chips, 3 things of potato salad, and like 30 bottles of soda. That’s it. 

Post # 39
1727 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I was thinking about this… is the goal of the potluck for you?

Is it for the casual feel?

To get people involved?

For a cost saving issue?

Depending on your goal, there are different ways to address it.

Post # 40
648 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I love a good cake and punch reception, but I think I potluck receptions would only work if it was super coordinated, everyone was into it, and it was a very small group of people.

Post # 41
872 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I am not from a culture where potlucks are common.  That being said, the idea turns me off for two reasons:

1. I really don’t like eating other people’s food most of the time.  It’s often not very good or just not to my taste.

2. If logistics make it difficult for me to bring something, I would be pretty annoyed.  I’m happy to help out if I have the time, but that doesn’t always work out.   I would up not attending the only potluck wedding I have ever been invited to.  (I didn’t go because of a family health crisis; the reason was unrelated to the wedding.)  But, the wedding was 3 hours away and as it turned out I had a jam-packed schedule during the prior week.  I was really stressed out trying to figure out how I would manage to bring food to this wedding.  Annoying and guilt-inducing all at the same time!  Fun!  Not.

I would show up and be polite at a potluck wedding but I’d be secretly dreading the food and feeling a little irritated.  The bride wouldn’t know, but that would be my honest perspective as a guest.

Post # 42
922 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I love potlucks, but I think I would be a bit hesitant to eat any food from a potluck at a wedding. I’m sure everyone’s food would be delicious, but between people getting there early, people having a long drive, the food sitting out throughout the ceremony and reception, I would be really worried about food poisoning.

Post # 43
462 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

I wouldn’t like it as a guest. I am a horrible cook and would be stressing about making something worthy for a wedding and enough to feed everyone. I also like the just “get dressed and not have to do a thing” weddings have going on.

It also worries me that your family is worried.

All this said I don’t think your wedding would be a disaster if you decided to do a potluck, just make it’s organized and everyone is fed!



Post # 44
3389 posts
Sugar bee

I love potlucks but for a wedding? It’s not classy.

I was shot down for a potluck wedding so I don’t recommend it to anyone.

Post # 45
6313 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

I won’t even attend a potluck party, I would definitely decline one for a wedding. I also say no to bake sales. 

The thought of not knowing how clean other people’s homes are and random food coming from them…yuck! Aside from the ick factor of eating unknown food, the logistics of feeding that many people would royally suck. 

  • Who is in charge of collecting the food?
  • Who sets it all up?
  • Who keeps the food area clean and refilled? 
  • How do you have enough main dishes?
  • Who cleans up?

I just think that if you’re having a small dinner party reception with immediate family only, you could get away with it. I’m just really opposed to making my guests bring their own food to my wedding.

Post # 46
466 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2017 - Vegas Wedings

I personally think its tacky to be invited to a wedding and then asked to help provide food. It can turn out well for the right group of people….Ive known of one wedding that was potluck and turned out well. BUT, it was appropriate for the bride, groom, and guests. All guests lived in the same town and had simliar values. The fact that you are getting push back from those closest to you does not bode well.

@savealife:  “It also worries me that your family is worried.”



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