Wedding Customs & Traditions Forum

Potluck engagement party?

Hi, everybody! I got engaged at the end of March and am looking at a long (understatement) engagement -- fiance is in a PhD program and we'd like to get as close to the end of that as we can. The big day looks like it'll come in 2016. We're fine with that. Patience is a virtue and all that. ;)

Until then, we're pondering an engagement party. We have a HUGE family, and having a party for all of us, plus friends, would be more expensive than our parents can afford right now. I absolutely understand, but I've got to admit it makes me sad. We'd love to find a way to get all of us together for an inexpensive, laid-back day.

My quick idea was a potluck. I think they're awesome, but my mom feels it's rude because then they'd be bringing a gift AND food. I told her no one is expected to bring gifts to engagement parties, but the tradition is new to her and she thinks it's asking too much of our guests. What do you think?

Also, given the length of our engagement, would it be OK for us to wait a year or so to throw a bash? By that point, we would still be about 2 years from the wedding. 

Thanks for the input.

Re: Potluck engagement party?

  • Ditto NOLA.  It is rude to throw your own engagement party, and it is rude to have a potluck style engagement party.
  • I'm confused - have your parents offered to throw you an engagement party? If so, it's fine to offer ideas if they ask for them. Otherwise, you cannot plan or throw your own engagement party. Potlucks are tacky - don't do it. Host your guests properly. You don't have to have an expensive party, either. Mine was after dinner so my mom and aunts just made little appetizers and had hummus, nachos, etc. Finally, engagement parties should be thrown within a few months of getting engaged.
  • brielleinlovebrielleinlove member
    100 Love Its 100 Comments First Answer Name Dropper
    edited May 2013
    1. Slow.  The.  Heck.  Down.  I would wait on ANY part of wedding planning if your engagement is going to be that long.

    2. You don't host your own engagement party, and you do not ask someone else to host one for you.  If it's offered, you can accept or decline.  Is this your idea or your parents' idea?

    3. Your mother is right that it is rude to host a pot-luck engagement party (or any kind of pot-luck event that is supposed to be hosted).  When an event is hosted, it means that nothing should be provided or paid for by the guest.  Having a pot-luck dinner at home with your friends on a Friday night is one thing; having a pot-luck engagement party is quite another.  Besides the rude factor, you have no way of ensuring that all the food will come together to form a cohesive meal, you can't control whether things will be labeled for food-allergic persons, and you don't know how anything was prepared, risking exposing your guests to food poisoning,.
    melbelleupPrettyGirlLost
  • It's rude to host yourself an engagement party, to host it pot luck, and to expect gifts.

    If your mother plans food and people offer to bring food, that is totally cool though.
    image   imageimage
    You'll never be subject to a cash bar, gap, potluck wedding, or b-list if you marry a Muppet Overlord.

  • Nope nope nope. There is just no part of this plan that is okay. You can't throw your own party; you can't tell other people to bring food for it; you can't do it so long after your engagement; you can't invite people who aren't going to be invited to the wedding... nope nope nope.
    image
    PrettyGirlLost
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Tenth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    It is rude to throw an engagement party for yourself.  And it is rude to throw a potluck party for any party that is supposed to be "hosted" or where guests are expected to bring gifts.

    I'm afraid your mother is right.
    BostonLilly12PrettyGirlLost
  • If you want to have a potluck party and you don't want gifts, then don't call it an engagement party.

    This is kind of what I was going to say.

    If you want to just have a bunch of family members over, go for it. Make it a potluck or BBQ or a combo of both. Just leave wedding themes out of it.

    image
  • emaydavis said:
    First of all, you're awesome. You have a super smart fiance in a PhD program, you're doing a financially responsible thing by waiting to get married, and you seem really down to earth. Good job :)

    Secondly, I don't think it's rude to host an engagement deal yourself. *gasp!* And I don't think it's rude to have it be a potluck. And here's why:
    1. This is the 21st century. While it may have been traditional for a bride's family to throw her an engagement party in the past, it was also traditional to offer a dowry and if you go back far enough, barter goats for your daughter's hand. How much do you want to lean on tradition when this is the history of engagement parties? You're an empowered woman who is capable of hosting a shindig, and sensitive enough to your parents needs to realize that it's not something they can afford. You go girl!
    2. Traditions are what you make them. These days, people have beautiful potluck weddings. They Day of the Dead weddings. Heck, they get married while running a marathon! What I'm saying is, the best part of partaking in a traditional ceremony is finding the small ways you can make it your own. While Emily Post might not approve of your choices, they will be more authentic in being true to who you are- and if your friends and family really know you, they'll appreciate this part of you.
    3. You want a laid-back day, and aren't asking for gifts. How about even kicking this up a notch and saying "please no gifts- only your presence"? That way the "burden" of bringing food, and the present that is their presence is all your guests need worry about. Talk about being a gracious host, and downplaying the overwrought expectations people may have on what is essentially an excuse to celebrate. 

    That being said, I understand your hesitation. Making room for other people's opinions about the day, and their worries of what may be perceived based on your choices are always the main sources of conflict in planning a wedding- and something you're going to become intimately familiar with in the coming years as your engagement endures.

    Well, hope that's helpful in this forum full of nay-sayers! Just wanted to let you know - you're not alone out there in thinking that mixing it up and downplaying the idea of an engagement ceremony is not akin to slurping your soup with your elbows on the table.

    First of all, this thread is nearly five months old; the OP no longer needs advice.

    Second of all, your advice is terrible and wrong. Please don't spew bad etiquette advice.

    Also, you joined all of two weeks ago and this is your first post. Please lurk a little before you spout off terrible, wrong, bad advice.

    image
    Anniversary

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    I'm gonna go with 'not my circus, not my monkeys.'
    tabathafayePrettyGirlLostrajahmd
  • But she's giving advice for their engagement CEREMONY!  And doing things your own way is more authentic (does that mean if your own way is tacky, then tacky is authentically you?)
    HisGirlFriday13Dreamergirl8812
  • But she's giving advice for their engagement CEREMONY!  And doing things your own way is more authentic (does that mean if your own way is tacky, then tacky is authentically you?)
    LOL @ the bolded. I suppose you could make the argument that it's authentic and traditional in your family to be tacky. It would still be wrong, of course, but there you have it. 
    Anniversary

    image
    I'm gonna go with 'not my circus, not my monkeys.'
  • Dreamergirl8812Dreamergirl8812 your closet member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
    Why do people track down old threads to give shitty advice? Would anyone track this thread down if they weren't tacky and throwing themselves AW potluck parties?



    Anniversary
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    PrettyGirlLost
  • Wow, there's a ton of rude people here who have a lot to say about how to not be rude!
    I realize the actual problem is past, but other people still look at this forum, so I'll add my two cents.

    I really think it depends on the local culture of the people who will be at the party. Around where I live, in a rural area where not everyone has a lot of money to spend on lavish parties, a potluck engagment party is more than acceptable, considering that a potluck wedding is uncommon but still an acceptable alternative. Now I could see how a potluck would be viewed as "tacky" by guests from upscale regions of the country, but I don't think that should rule out the possibility of having a potluck celebration in any area of the US. Seriously, if more people would just stop expecting couples to be able to cater 150 people at $20 a plate plus all the bells and whistles expected from a typical wedding, maybe there wouldn't be so many people aged 18-25 who start their families in the worst way possible: having kids before the commitment! #endrant

    About hosting your own engagement party: I can totally understand how people would think it would be rude to throw your own engagement party since people generally give gifts at one so its essentialy asking people for free stuff. But if you are replacing the gift-giving aspect with a potluck, then I don't see why you couldn't throw your own party since the reason why would you wouldn't want to throw it yourself has been taken away. I mean, listen to yourself. Believe it or not, it really is JUST a party, why does there need to be all these rules attached to everything? 

    [Deleted User]scarletraven
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Sabinus15 said:

    Wow, there's a ton of rude people here who have a lot to say about how to not be rude!
    I realize the actual problem is past, but other people still look at this forum, so I'll add my two cents.

    I really think it depends on the local culture of the people who will be at the party. Around where I live, in a rural area where not everyone has a lot of money to spend on lavish parties, a potluck engagment party is more than acceptable, considering that a potluck wedding is uncommon but still an acceptable alternative. Now I could see how a potluck would be viewed as "tacky" by guests from upscale regions of the country, but I don't think that should rule out the possibility of having a potluck celebration in any area of the US. Seriously, if more people would just stop expecting couples to be able to cater 150 people at $20 a plate plus all the bells and whistles expected from a typical wedding, maybe there wouldn't be so many people aged 18-25 who start their families in the worst way possible: having kids before the commitment! #endrant

    About hosting your own engagement party: I can totally understand how people would think it would be rude to throw your own engagement party since people generally give gifts at one so its essentialy asking people for free stuff. But if you are replacing the gift-giving aspect with a potluck, then I don't see why you couldn't throw your own party since the reason why would you wouldn't want to throw it yourself has been taken away. I mean, listen to yourself. Believe it or not, it really is JUST a party, why does there need to be all these rules attached to everything? 

    To the bolded...what the fuck?!

    SKPM[Deleted User]
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Sabinus15 said:

    Wow, there's a ton of rude people here who have a lot to say about how to not be rude!
    I realize the actual problem is past, but other people still look at this forum, so I'll add my two cents.

    I really think it depends on the local culture of the people who will be at the party. Around where I live, in a rural area where not everyone has a lot of money to spend on lavish parties, a potluck engagment party is more than acceptable, considering that a potluck wedding is uncommon but still an acceptable alternative. Now I could see how a potluck would be viewed as "tacky" by guests from upscale regions of the country, but I don't think that should rule out the possibility of having a potluck celebration in any area of the US. Seriously, if more people would just stop expecting couples to be able to cater 150 people at $20 a plate plus all the bells and whistles expected from a typical wedding, maybe there wouldn't be so many people aged 18-25 who start their families in the worst way possible: having kids before the commitment! #endrant

    About hosting your own engagement party: I can totally understand how people would think it would be rude to throw your own engagement party since people generally give gifts at one so its essentialy asking people for free stuff. But if you are replacing the gift-giving aspect with a potluck, then I don't see why you couldn't throw your own party since the reason why would you wouldn't want to throw it yourself has been taken away. I mean, listen to yourself. Believe it or not, it really is JUST a party, why does there need to be all these rules attached to everything? 

    Your judgmental attitude is rude and offensive.  There is no correlation between good manners and your wallet.  You do not have to have a lot of money to be a proper host, or to know how to be hospitable.  

    No one said any party needs to be lavish.  I live in an area that is considered "upscale".    We have potluck get togethers all the time, including family holidays. Pot luck is not inherently tacky.  What IS tacky is hosting an event on your own behalf and expecting your guests to become co-hosts by providing the food and drink.  No one on this board endorses having a wedding that you cannot afford.  Members of this board encourage couples to avoid taking out loans or putting their wedding on credit.  The mantra has always been to host what you can afford. 

    And regarding this comment......"Seriously, if more people would just stop expecting couples to be able to cater 150 people at $20 a plate plus all the bells and whistles expected from a typical wedding, maybe there wouldn't be so many people aged 18-25 who start their families in the worst way possible: having kids before the commitment! #endrant"........All I can say is, "WTH"?
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    I also can't grasp the correlation between what people expect brides and grooms to host at their wedding and them starting families before getting married.  

    Oh wait, that is because there is no correlation #duh!

  • NYCBruinNYCBruin member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers First Anniversary
    edited November 2013
    I also can't grasp the correlation between what people expect brides and grooms to host at their wedding and them starting families before getting married.  

    Oh wait, that is because there is no correlation #duh!









    Come on Maggie, you know the only reason why people would ever have children outside of wedlock is because they can't afford to throw a "lavish" party.

    *sarcasm
    Don't worry guys, I have the Wedding Police AND the Whambulance on speed dial!
    Maggie0829
  • ViczaesarViczaesar Central Coast, CA member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Sabinus15 said:

    Wow, there's a ton of rude people here who have a lot to say about how to not be rude!
    I realize the actual problem is past, but other people still look at this forum, so I'll add my two cents.

    I really think it depends on the local culture of the people who will be at the party. Around where I live, in a rural area where not everyone has a lot of money to spend on lavish parties, a potluck engagment party is more than acceptable, considering that a potluck wedding is uncommon but still an acceptable alternative. Now I could see how a potluck would be viewed as "tacky" by guests from upscale regions of the country, but I don't think that should rule out the possibility of having a potluck celebration in any area of the US. Seriously, if more people would just stop expecting couples to be able to cater 150 people at $20 a plate plus all the bells and whistles expected from a typical wedding, maybe there wouldn't be so many people aged 18-25 who start their families in the worst way possible: having kids before the commitment! #endrant

    About hosting your own engagement party: I can totally understand how people would think it would be rude to throw your own engagement party since people generally give gifts at one so its essentialy asking people for free stuff. But if you are replacing the gift-giving aspect with a potluck, then I don't see why you couldn't throw your own party since the reason why would you wouldn't want to throw it yourself has been taken away. I mean, listen to yourself. Believe it or not, it really is JUST a party, why does there need to be all these rules attached to everything? 

    So logic isn't your strong suit, huh?



    Liatris2010
  • I think saying "tacky as fuck" is tacky!
    [Deleted User]Sabinus15dongyeongscarletraven
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    TeddiD34PrettyGirlLost
  • I think saying "tacky as fuck" is tacky!
    You're entitled to your opinion.  Doesn't change the fact that potlucks for events like this are tacky.
    Don't worry guys, I have the Wedding Police AND the Whambulance on speed dial!
    PrettyGirlLost
  • Potluck can be fun for a family reunion but sucks for an engagement party or wedding.

     

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