If you’ve ever hosted a wedding, or been to a wedding you can guess one of the biggest expenses as a wedding…the food! And in case you hadn’t noticed, we’re a big on food around here. Which means skimping, or getting less than awesome food was just not an option.
I’d been struggling with how we were going to feed everyone from our property. Ordering in catering was going to be expensive and a little difficult. And not having enough food is just about the biggest wedding faux pas in my opinion.
So after talking it over with our amazing wedding planner (seriously this girl is amazing) we decided to either do a simple appetizers style reception or a potluck. Because I love food, and because I know many of my friends and family are amazing cooks we opt’d for the potluck wedding.
If you’re going to do a potluck wedding you really have to figure out how to ask people to bring their own food, especially when you’re having a wedding in a town that none of your guests live in. Plus, how do you keep everything hot and cold. And for us we had to figure out how we’d clean up after. So here are 5 tips to make your potluck wedding successful.
Do the Ask:
We figured out two different ways to do this. The first option was to just ask specific people to make specific items. If you have an aunt who makes amazing meatballs. Or a cousin who can cook the heck out of baked beans ask them to make a large batch to help feed your guests. This works particularly well if you’re going to be providing the main dish.
The other option would be asking people to provide a dish in lieu of a present. Because we’re already living together, already own a house, already combined two households worth of stuff we didn’t really have a problem giving people an out for presents. On the RSVP we worded it in such a way that no one would feel pressured into providing a dish for the potluck.
|We are doing a pot luck reception so that we do not have to limit our guest list. Would you be so kind as to bring a dish in lieu of a present?||If you can bring a dish what will you be bringing? If you don’t know specifically giving a general idea will help us to know we have enough food. (IE a salad, side, etc)|
Ever heard of the ‘Cereal Aisle Problem’. It’s the idea that when given too many choices we shut down and are unable to make any decision at all. Don’t do this to your guests, give them options for what to make. Break it down into sides, salads, desserts, main dishes, other.
I’ve gotten a lot of people who have RSVP’d saying they’d just bring whatever I need. By having an idea of what other people are bringing I know where we have gaps and can make suggestions to everyone else left.
Be Prepared to Fill in the Gaps:
Because you were specific and know what everyone is bringing you know what you still need. Be ready with some ideas for how to fill in those gaps. Make sure you’ll have enough food for everyone, and make sure you’ll have enough variety. We’re going to make lasagna if we need more main dish items because it’s delicious and easy to make a lot of.
Provide Enough Gear:
You’re asking people to bring you food it’s only kind to provide the equipment needed to serve everyone. We’ve rented an ice table for the cold dishes and will have plenty of outlets and buffet dishes for warm food. Because it’s an outdoor wedding we’re borrowing a screen tent to cover the food area. We’re also going to provide all the service spoons and forks!
You’ll want to create some system of knowing what people are bringing to make sure you don’t end up with 15 different potato salads. If you’re using a traditional mailed RSVP card have a section on there for them to fill in with what they’re bringing. We went a more modern route and created a website and online RSVP option. This gave me the ability to create an RSVP form that stores everyone responses.
It’s still important for me to keep track of everything though, especially because we have a few people who aren’t RSVP’d online. Our grandparents and a few other guests have RSVP’d over the phone or in person because they don’t do computers. So I keep a list of what they’ve offered to bring.
I’m really excited for the wedding, it’s going to be a great time with our closest friends and family. We’ve been really lucky and had a lot of people who have offered to bring a wide variety of items to the wedding, and a lot of people offer to bring whatever we need. So I’m not worried at all! We’ll have lots of good food, lots of good people, and saved a lot of money!