No secret, I am a bit of an Etiquette Snob… so
I don’t mind potlucks for informal occasions, but I don’t think a wedding is an informal occasion. As the host of the event, you (or your parents, FILS, or whoever) are responsible for providing food and beverage (alcoholic or not) to satisfy your guests. It’s impolite to put that burden in your guests.
AND Ms Bookworm:
I think family gatherings (like holiday celebrations) that are potluck style are totally different from a wedding potluck. Holidays are not celebrating any one person in particular, it is the whole family getting together to spend time with one another. Weddings, on the other hand, are celebrating two specific people, and the reception is technically the “thank you” to the guests for coming to support the couple during their wedding ceremony. When you make them provide their own food, that’s not really a thank you at all. Frankly, it’s not really your guests’ problem that you have other things you need to spend your money on. I guess I don’t really understand that attitude. “No thanks!” to feeding your guests? If you can’t afford to feed your guests, that doesn’t mean the burden to provide food should get moved from you to them… If the couple is choosing to have a wedding, they are responsible for taking care of their guests, even if that’s not a full meal but instead heavy appetizers, or cake and punch.
A Potluck for a Wedding just isn’t appropriate. You are technically “inconveniencing” your Guests by asking them to DO SOMETHING / CONTRIBUTE to YOUR PARTY that you are supposed to be Hosting.
Plain and simple as others said… really improper (tacky).
The thing is, if you are looking to keep to a limited Budget there are other ways to do so… and easy to do, and even nicer overall.
I think the modern idea of Receptions (with a Sit-Down Meal) is HOW all this nonsense / pressures on Couples got started.
IT IS NOT NECESSARY… a Reception, purely provides an “opportunity” when the Bride & Groom can thank their Guests for coming. It could be something as simple as Iced Tea or Lemonade served in the garden outside the Church / Venue… or a Cocktail Hour with lite eats… or just Cake and “something” Sparkling to have a Toast…
BEFORE the Bride & Groom slip off for their Honeymoon
This used to be the norm for many many Brides prior to the 1960s… a Morning or Early Afternoon Wedding… followed by a quick round of “courtesy Hellos & Thank Yous” before they drove off to make the afternoon travel connections for their Honeymoon.
It really can be a classy way to do things… and worthwhile exploring as a viable inexpensive alternative for Couples who find themselves unable to host a full-on BIG Celebratory Meal.
Hope this helps,
PS… For a girl who seems concerned about costs… you should be aware also that in the long run you might come out farther ahead financially IF you do something more classical, as Guests will be more likely to give you a Gift vs just bring a Dish for the Meal. NOT THAT GIFTS ARE IMPORTANT… but personally I think most B&Gs would prefer $ 25 in cash, vs a pot of cold stew that only feeds 8.