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Potluck MealAlong with brunch-style meals, food truck catering and shindigs featuring “heavy appetizers,” potluck weddings are also gaining popularity among the newly engaged. If your goals include saving money, planning a wedding on short notice or taking a unique approach to your menu, a potluck reception may be the right choice for you. To make it happen, you’ll need to consider a few logistical issues, decide on your event’s theme and execute a solid plan.

Benefits of a “Bring and Share” Wedding Meal

More couples are opting for smaller nuptial celebrations, and rising costs may be one influencing factor. For example, Marialisa Calta of the New York Times revealed that per-plate catering prices can range anywhere between $60 and $200. Not only that, you may want to create an event that reflects your shared personal tastes and values. A potluck reception meal may be ideal because it can be planned very quickly and it’s easily scalable to small, medium or large guest counts. Besides these awesome bonuses, it also allows you to arrange the menu exactly to suit your crowd’s tastes. Gone is the guesswork of figuring out if they’ll nosh on your catered selections, as guests will likely be familiar with both the food and the volunteer cooks who help make it.

Isn’t a Potluck Reception “Tacky”?

Offbeat Bride points out “tacky” is in the eye of the beholder, based on individual tastes and points of view. While such opinions may be influenced by traditional and possibly classist notions of what a wedding “should” be like, it’s important to remember that elaborate bashes weren’t always the norm. Calta’s New York Times article mentions that “Jacob’s supper” weddings were common during the 1800s among pioneer communities. Moreover, the modern concept of a “formal wedding” comes from middle-class families adopting the luxurious black-tie trappings of upper-class nuptials for their own events during the middle of the 20th century. Finally, keep in mind that you can design anything from a down-home shindig to what Hayley Tuller at A Practical Wedding calls a “couture” potluck. 

Will It Work With Your Crowd?

Inspired Bride suggests a few handy tips for designing your potluck reception. You’ll first need to think about your guest list and decide whether the idea is practical. If you have a decent contingent of skilled amateur cooks among your crowd and most of them live in the area, there’s a good chance you can pull it off successfully. If it won’t work with your guests, Offbeat Bride suggests a “cake and punch” after-party as a great alternative.

Should your situation favor a “bring and share” reception meal, keep these tips in mind as you plan:

  • Choose your theme and cuisine styles first.
  • You must provide the main course foods.
  • Ask your volunteer cooks for help as soon as possible.
  • Keep track of what everyone agrees to bring.
  • Don’t forget to hit up volunteers to make drinks.

In addition to these best practices, pay attention to a couple of other essentials as you plan. First, remember the food and drink that your guests bring are in lieu of wedding gifts. Secondly, be judicious about who you tap to supply edibles and potables. Avoid asking invitees attending from outside the area, or those who aren’t really the home-cooking type.

Celebrate by Sharing a Delicious Dinner

With a little thought and some careful logistics, you can have a smorgasbord of delectable cuisine when you and your partner tie the knot. If you believe a potluck meal is conducive for your event, it’s wise to follow some smart planning tips and make sure you ask the cooking whizzes on your guest list for assistance. You’ll not only have a bounty of food, but you’ll also bring friends and family together for a meaningful, memorable celebration.

Category: Wedding Planning Ceremonies

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