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Food and Cakes

Is a potluck reception tacky?

We're planning to do hors d'oeuvres and sweets along with the cake. I'll be doing a lot of baking, and we'll be ordering vegetable, cheese, and fruit trays and providing some other light snacks. We have quite a few people with dietary restrictions (vegan, gluten free, food allergies), and we want to make sure everyone has something that they can eat. To that end, would it be tacky to invite guests to bring their favorite appetizer?
KnotRiley
«1

Re: Is a potluck reception tacky?

  • OurWildKingdomOurWildKingdom in the 216 member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    Incidentally, I am also baking for the folks with diet restrictions. I found some lovely vegan and gluten free dessert recipes and even some paleo recipes.
  • OurWildKingdomOurWildKingdom in the 216 member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    edited February 2016
    It's going to be late afternoon-early evening.

    I definitely get the food safety concern. I didn't even think of that.

    Thanks for the quick and thoughtful response. Time to think of a plan B!
  • It's going to be late afternoon-early evening.

    I definitely get the food safety concern. I didn't even think of that.

    Thanks for the quick and thoughtful response. Time to think of a plan B!
    Then your plan is definitely not workable. People will be expecting a meal during that time. Move your wedding to early in the afternoon and you don't have that problem anymore.
    MesmrEwe
  • OurWildKingdomOurWildKingdom in the 216 member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    Thanks again! Off to do some number-crunching!
  • OP, I suggest a mid afternoon wedding.  You can serve trays of little tea sandwiches, veggies, cake and coffee/tea/church punch.
    Are you planning on having a DJ?  If so, cancel the DJ, and put your money into food for your guests.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    MesmrEwe
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    The one thing you can't do is make your guests pay for or bring their own provisions.  Not to mention, probably no one guest can bring enough food for everyone to get a helping.

    If the point is to make sure that everyone despite their respective dietary issues has something to eat, you might look for vegan and gluten-free appetizers (usually all persons can eat them unless they have specific allergies or intolerances to the items in question) and try to select a menu that encompasses the vast majority of dietary needs.  If you need to cut other things out of your budget to do that, then that's what I would do (if they are not essentials).
  • What you currently have planned for your menu (the items you are providing) would be very appropriate for an afternoon (i.e. between meal times) ceremony. 

    If you have a reception over a meal time, a meal should be served.

    In either case, no it would not be appropriate to ask guests to bring an item. The reception is to thank your guests for attending your ceremony, thus not appropriate to ask them to bring something to thank themselves. 

    Stick around- everyone would love to help you with ideas for a well hosted wedding that would be budget friendly for you. 
    MesmrEwe
  • Also, hire a caterer/baker to take care of that stuff for you!  You are the bride not staff at your wedding/reception, doing both duties unless you're having maybe 8-10 guests is asking too much of you!  The cost of materials/supplies alone, especially if you're making recipes for dietary restrictions (which require additional precautions to be taken as well!!  It's not as easy as one would think it should be for many allergies/intolerances),  is going to be more for you than it will be to just hire a baker to make something simple which adheres to those dietary requirements.  Also, the cost of the "trials" needs to be factored in to your cost - it's going to add up QUICKLY!  Years ago we figured it out on here and basically the cost to DIY a wedding cake from first idea, to research/trials, ingredients, incidentals, pans, to the very last dish cleaned was akin to hiring the most expensive baker in the region to do the most elaborate level of cake!

    And the PP have covered it - it's never o.k. to ask guests to pay to be your guests!  A cake and apps reception is entirely acceptable as long as it does not take place over a meal time.  For example 10:00, 1:30p, or 7:45p ceremony with cake/app reception that's over before a meal time.  But if you have it over what is a meal time for most of your guests, they need to be hosted properly (and you can do this even on a tight budget!  Most caterers offer a "budget friendly option")

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    CMGragainOurWildKingdom
  • About the cake, you can get decorated sheet cakes from your grocery store, or Sam's Club, Costco, etc.  You guests won't care that it isn't a big tier cake.  They only want to taste it!
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    OurWildKingdom
  • OurWildKingdomOurWildKingdom in the 216 member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    Thanks everyone! We've got 90 on the guest list at the moment. I'd be baking for a week!

    Right now we're looking at a 1:30-2:00 p.m. ceremony time. Ceremony will probably be 45 minutes to an hour, with food and beverages served immediately after. Music and dancing starting at 3:00-3:30, everything wraps up by 6:00-6:30. We'll be in a part of town with lots of decent restaurants, so people can go for dinner after.

    I requested some quotes off Thumbtack, and got one that starts at $9/person. Not bad.
  • OurWildKingdomOurWildKingdom in the 216 member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    edited February 2016
    CMGragain said:
    About the cake, you can get decorated sheet cakes from your grocery store, or Sam's Club, Costco, etc.  You guests won't care that it isn't a big tier cake.  They only want to taste it!
    Exactly what we're doing. Our local grocery chain has really good bakery. We'll get a small vegan and gluten free cake from a specialty bakery for our guests who need it, a small cake for cutting from our favorite bakery, and two sheet cakes from the grocery store.
    MesmrEweCMGragainOliveOilsMom
  • ViczaesarViczaesar Central Coast, CA member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Thanks everyone! We've got 90 on the guest list at the moment. I'd be baking for a week!

    Right now we're looking at a 1:30-2:00 p.m. ceremony time. Ceremony will probably be 45 minutes to an hour, with food and beverages served immediately after. Music and dancing starting at 3:00-3:30, everything wraps up by 6:00-6:30. We'll be in a part of town with lots of decent restaurants, so people can go for dinner after.

    I requested some quotes off Thumbtack, and got one that starts at $9/person. Not bad.
    1:30-6:30 covers a meal time; you have to serve a full meal.  If you start your ceremony at 2 and wrap up your reception by 5:30 then you don't need a full meal.



    [Deleted User]
  • ViczaesarViczaesar Central Coast, CA member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    CMGragain said:
    About the cake, you can get decorated sheet cakes from your grocery store, or Sam's Club, Costco, etc.  You guests won't care that it isn't a big tier cake.  They only want to taste it!
    Exactly what we're doing. Our local grocery chain has really good bakery. We'll get a small vegan and gluten free cake from a specialty bakery for our guests who need it, a small cake for cutting from our favorite bakery, and two sheet cakes from the grocery store.
    Get your sheet cakes from the favorite bakery or get your cutting cake from the grocery store as well; you should not be serving different qualities of cake to different people.



    HeffalumpOliveOilsMomMandyMost
  • sheet cakes are fine as long as your cake is from the same place.  if your cutting into a small fruit filled or mousse filled cake your guests are going to want to try that cake as well.

    as a hobby baker i tell people it cost less to do a simpler cake in tiers 
    getting a 3 tiered cake with a buttercream filling inside and out and simple designs using a piping bag will cost you less and anywhere from 2-3.00 a pp 

    where as a cake with many flavors fillings in each tier and fondont and sugar flowers or gumpaste flowers will cost you a lot more like 4.00+ per person
    OurWildKingdomOliveOilsMom
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    CMGragain said:
    About the cake, you can get decorated sheet cakes from your grocery store, or Sam's Club, Costco, etc.  You guests won't care that it isn't a big tier cake.  They only want to taste it!
    Exactly what we're doing. Our local grocery chain has really good bakery. We'll get a small vegan and gluten free cake from a specialty bakery for our guests who need it, a small cake for cutting from our favorite bakery, and two sheet cakes from the grocery store.
    Get all your cakes from the same supplier.  The cakes you serve to your guests have to be of the same or better quality than the cake you cut.
  • sheet cakes are fine as long as your cake is from the same place.  if your cutting into a small fruit filled or mousse filled cake your guests are going to want to try that cake as well.

    as a hobby baker i tell people it cost less to do a simpler cake in tiers 
    getting a 3 tiered cake with a buttercream filling inside and out and simple designs using a piping bag will cost you less and anywhere from 2-3.00 a pp 

    where as a cake with many flavors fillings in each tier and fondont and sugar flowers or gumpaste flowers will cost you a lot more like 4.00+ per person
    This greatly depends on the area - Not even Walmart charges those prices around here and their portions are smaller than even Wilton's list. 
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  • if you wanted to go cheap, you could find the best pizza place in town, with gluten free options if necessary, and cut them into little squares and serve it on a bed of arugala so it looks fancy

    lifeisbetterwithyou
  • Most people understand that a wedding reception is not a restaurant, and they cannot place orders. Your vegan and gluten-free guests should be fine with not having cake at your wedding. You should be able to provide them at least some food that they can eat, since you know it is an issue, but not everyone has to be able to eat everything.

    We had a gluten-free guest, and made sure the caterer was able to provide a gluten-free meal. But we didn't get him a special gluten-free cake!
    bohobrideCADrillSergeantCat
  • Wow OP, you took all this feedback very well! I am glad you are abandoning the potluck idea. 

    Another catering option to look in to - check with local restaurants, in addition to regular caterers. When we were trying to choose a caterer, we discovered that there were a ton of restaurants in our area that had very reasonable catering prices, and they offered a lot of flexibility in the menu and services they could provide. I am sure you will be able to find something budget-friendly if you think outside the box!
    BabyFruit Ticker
    OurWildKingdom
  • OurWildKingdomOurWildKingdom in the 216 member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    edited February 2016
    We're actually going to check with an Italian grocery near my office @madamerwin. I'm also planning to schedule a tasting with a local natural/organic grocery that also does catering.
  • if you wanted to go cheap, you could find the best pizza place in town, with gluten free options if necessary, and cut them into little squares and serve it on a bed of arugala so it looks fancy

    I love the idea of pizza for weddings, and I hope some day I'll get invited to one.  Italian food can also be pretty cheap too.

    A word of caution about gluten free pizza (or anything catered really): Make sure the prep space is also gluten free.  I've worked a good bit in food service, and most places do this if they're advertising as gluten free.  But some, (dominos comes to mind) don't, though they mention it in small print.

    Also, if you decide to supplement with some baking, do the GF cookies have to be vegan?  I have some great, super easy GF cookie recipes I could send you, but they either have eggs or milk in them.  One makes about 2 dozen in 20 minutes, plus refrigerating overnight.  But I'd suggest recipes that freeze or refrigerate well so you're not going crazy baking a ton right beforehand.
    OurWildKingdom
  • OurWildKingdomOurWildKingdom in the 216 member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    if you wanted to go cheap, you could find the best pizza place in town, with gluten free options if necessary, and cut them into little squares and serve it on a bed of arugala so it looks fancy

    I love the idea of pizza for weddings, and I hope some day I'll get invited to one.  Italian food can also be pretty cheap too.

    A word of caution about gluten free pizza (or anything catered really): Make sure the prep space is also gluten free.  I've worked a good bit in food service, and most places do this if they're advertising as gluten free.  But some, (dominos comes to mind) don't, though they mention it in small print.

    Also, if you decide to supplement with some baking, do the GF cookies have to be vegan?  I have some great, super easy GF cookie recipes I could send you, but they either have eggs or milk in them.  One makes about 2 dozen in 20 minutes, plus refrigerating overnight.  But I'd suggest recipes that freeze or refrigerate well so you're not going crazy baking a ton right beforehand.

    The GF cookies don't have to be vegan, although if you happen to have any recipes that are, that would be great! Definitely send the recipes my way!
  • if you wanted to go cheap, you could find the best pizza place in town, with gluten free options if necessary, and cut them into little squares and serve it on a bed of arugala so it looks fancy

    I love the idea of pizza for weddings, and I hope some day I'll get invited to one.  Italian food can also be pretty cheap too.

    A word of caution about gluten free pizza (or anything catered really): Make sure the prep space is also gluten free.  I've worked a good bit in food service, and most places do this if they're advertising as gluten free.  But some, (dominos comes to mind) don't, though they mention it in small print.

    Also, if you decide to supplement with some baking, do the GF cookies have to be vegan?  I have some great, super easy GF cookie recipes I could send you, but they either have eggs or milk in them.  One makes about 2 dozen in 20 minutes, plus refrigerating overnight.  But I'd suggest recipes that freeze or refrigerate well so you're not going crazy baking a ton right beforehand.

    The GF cookies don't have to be vegan, although if you happen to have any recipes that are, that would be great! Definitely send the recipes my way!
    @OurWildKingdom , I PM'd you:)
  • @scrunchythief  - can I have those recipes too?
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    kmmssg said:
    @scrunchythief  - can I have those recipes too?
    Me three?
  • Jen4948 said:
    kmmssg said:
    @scrunchythief  - can I have those recipes too?
    Me three?
    I didn't expect so much interest:)  This seems easier.

    CARAMEL RICE KRISPIES

    One Layer of Rice Krispies (You need to make 2 total):
    1/4 cup butter 
    4 cups mini marshmallows 
    4 cups rice krispies 
    press into 13x9 pan

    Melt together, stirring:
    14 oz caramels
    1 1/4 stick butter
    1 can sweetened condensed milk

    put on top of rice krispies then in frig for 30 minutes
    while making second batch of rice krispies

    put 2nd batch on top of caramel, then in frig overnight.  Cut into small squares, about 1" by 1".

    STAINED GLASS COOKIES

    6 oz chocolate chips (1 cup)
    2 Tbs butter
    melt together in pan on low heat
    Mix in one beaten egg
    cool slightly then pour over

    3 cups colored mini marshmallows
    1 cup chopped nuts (can substitute 1 cup more marshmallows)

    Divide mixture in 1/2, Put on wax paper sprinkled with powdered sugar
    shape into logs about 8" each.  Sprinkle with more powdered sugar.  Wrap wax paper around log and tape shut.
    chill overnight, slice (I think these might freeze well before slicing, but I've never tried it myself)
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Yum! Thanks for sharing the recipes!
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