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Etiquette

Potluck etiquette?

We are having a fairly personal reception with around fifty people and would like to have a potluck dinner to cut costs. Me and my FIance would bring the main courses but how do I  delegate who to bring what without being rude? It is okay for me to send cards to those whom RSVP explaining we are having a potluck and give them a few options on what to bring so we dont end up with 5 bowls of potato salad?

Re: Potluck etiquette?

  • You really can't do this the way you propose.  It's not appropriate to say, "Thanks for saying you'll be there!  You can bring a salad!"

    Now if you have some people VERY close to you that are happy to help out, you can talk to them about doing what they can to assist in the self-catered event.  But you really can't ask all the guests who respond to bring something.


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  • Banana is wise.  You really can't do this - a reception is to thank your guests.  
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  • IMO  - weddings are not potluck events.  Afford what you can, maybe get your mother and siblings to help, but to ask the whole invite list would be wrong.
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  • There is really no way to politely ask your guests to feed you and themselves.  Seriously figure out another way.
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  • Yeah, you can't ask guests to bring food. If they do, they are not guests. If I received an invite that had something about what I needed to bring, I would find it tacky & rude.

    Talk to your immediate family about food and see if they offer (don't ask them) to help provide home cooked food. Also, you can get food from Sam's club, Walmart, Costco, etc.

    The simplest reception with food from the above stores would be a thousand times better than asking your guests to provide their own food.

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  • In Response to Potluck etiquette?:
    We are having a fairly personal reception with around fifty people and would like to have a potluck dinner to cut costs. Me and my FIance would bring the main courses but how do I  delegate who to bring what without being rude? It is okay for me to send cards to those whom RSVP explaining we are having a potluck and give them a few options on what to bring so we dont end up with 5 bowls of potato salad?
    Posted by BKGraves
    Sorry but PPs are right, there is not a polite way to throw yourself a potluck wedding.  Please don't ask/tell your guests to bring anything to your wedding. 
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  • "Potluck reception" and "wedding" are two words that don't go together. There are lots of other ways to cut food costs without having your guests provide their own meal.
  • Very true, I just jumped the gun and didn't really think about what I was really saying to my guests while wanting to have a potluck. Thanks.
  • Yes, definitely do something other than a potluck.  On top of it being a bit rude to asks guests to bring a dish to a wedding, the logistics of you doing the main dishes yourselves is mind numbing.  I know, we did all the main dishes for our AHR at our house, only a few people asked to bring something and I had them do a dessert.  It came out okay, but it was a huge task, that we both took the day off beforehand to put together.  Food for fifty people seems like not too bad, but it really is a lot.  You'll have to think of how to store and serve the food (we bought a second fridge for dirt cheap and rented chafing dishes/serveware).  And who is going to get the food set up, not you and FI in your wedding clothes.  All that is a huge undertaking, and the idea of trying to do it AND get married at the same time is just too much for all but a very few, very organized people/families.

    Self-catering a party for that many people is probably not something I will ever do again, and I would definitely not do it while I was getting married.  Find some cheap catering options; for only 50ish peole you should be able to do it well under $1000 unless you're in a HCOL area.
  • If you're set on doing your own food, you could get bulk chicken salad and croissants, veggie and fruit trays, or that sort of thing from somewhere like Sam's Club.

    We're doing BBQ w/ three kinds of meat and 4 sides for 175(ish) people for less than $1500. Just look into your options, you'll find something that will work for you and your budget Smile
  • If you can afford a "main dish" (I'm thinking you mean a roast or some other carving station, or maybe burgers and hot dogs) you can have your wedding at a non-meal time and just do cake and punch, with a few finger foods instead. 
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  • In Response to Re: Potluck etiquette?:
    A potluck I think is acceptable IF and ONLY IF it's acceptable in your circle. That being said, if you do have one, it's pretty rude to mandate what they bring.
    Posted by sister2groom
    Expecting your guests to cater a party you invited them to is never acceptable.

    OP, what is your budget? There have to be things you can cut or spend less on.

    Have the wedding and reception YOU can afford. It's never your guests' responsibility to make your pretty princess day dreams come true.

  • We can definitely help you brainstorm another option within your budget. Some initial ideas:

    "Ethnic" and "off the beaten path" options are typically much cheaper. I.e., ask your favorite Indian, Greek, BBQ restaurants what options they have.
     
    Have it non-meal time (afternoon), and do trays of croissant sandwiches/party platters from a place like Costco, Sam's Club, or Safeway

    Have a dessert reception (make sure it starts well after dinner, i.e., 8pm). Cookies can be made in advance and frozen. You could get more options from a place like Costco, etc.
  • I saw your follow-up post where you acknowledged that a potluck reception at a wedding is really really rude.  Just can't do that.

    But here's the answer to your question - so you can host a potluck dinner or lunch sometime after you are married:

    You write a nice invitation, explaining that you and your new husband are providing all the paper goods and the beverages and the main course, and then you say this:

    "If your last name begins with A through L, please bring a salad.  If your last name begins with M through Z, please bring a dessert."
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