Is a potluck wedding reception considered rude?

May 6th, 2011

We are having a simple and casual outdoor ceremony and reception on a farm in October, and would love to have it as a potluck, but worry that people will feel offended if asked to bring food. We will provide drinks, dessert and some barbecue and plan to put together lovely favors for our guests. Our wedding theme has sort of a down home vintage feel and weddings used to always be potluck back in the day. i think it will give an intimate and family feeling. i would appreciate some opinions.

23 Responses to “Is a potluck wedding reception considered rude?”

  1. NOLASaints says:

    It is more trashy than anything.

  2. Arielle Rain ♣3-17-10♣ says:

    i think you should supply the food, the backyard theme is fine but i would supply the food personally

  3. melouofs says:

    I think if it were restricted to immediate family or if that were the custom in your circle, it would be totally fine. Otherwise, I think it comes off as cheap. I think an outdoor wedding with BBQ already comes off as down home without your guests having to provide the meal. Generally, they are not well received.

  4. Perse says:

    Most everywhere, yes. A wedding is a hosted event, but with a potluck you’re asking the guests to treat themselves when really the hosts should be taking care of that so the guests can just enjoy.

    Honestly, where I’m from, potlucks are pretty common, no one would think a thing of it. But, you have to keep your crowd in mind. The Sunday church ladies will likely be glad to contribute, but your friends at work might look at you like you’re crazy.

  5. The Original GarnetGlitter says:

    If your guests volunteer to bring food, then no…for you to ASK that they not only feed you but themselves and others…then yes. Rude and tasteless, shows no class. If one invites wedding guests then one feeds those guests.

    That would be like inviting people to your birthday party and telling them THEY have to bring the chips, dip, soda and cake.

    Them that gives the party and issues the invites FEEDS the guests.

  6. basketcase88 says:

    About the only place I’ve seen potlucks accepted is at church socials, or even gatherings of friends in a friends home. For a wedding, I personally think it’s tacky, and would never do it. I’d scale my reception down to cake and punch if I couldn’t afford to provide a meal, and if I had a cake and punch reception, I’d make certain it wasn’t being held at a meal time.

  7. NinaPina says:

    Making your guests bring their own food is as tacky as can be. It defeats the purpose of being a guest. It is up to you to provide the food for your reception. If you cannot afford to do this, you should go quietly to the courthouse. It is your wedding, hence your obligation to provide all the refreshments.

  8. SugarCat says:

    The wedding reception is your thank you to your guests for taking the time out of their busy lives to buy you a gift, get dressed up and come to your wedding. To also ask them to bring their own food is too much, and, yes, rude.

  9. BBG says:

    At a reception the guests DO NOT provide the refreshments.

    I strongly urge you to focus on the basics. Refreshments are required. Favors are not.

    You’ve already got drinks, dessert and BBQ planned….all you need is a couple of salads (potato, leafy greens, cole slaw, fruit etc.) and maybe some rolls and you’ve got it covered.

    You’re almost there so please don’t go the pot-luck route.

    That being said, since this is a casual function and you’re a close-knit family, I see no reason why you can’t carefully choose an aunt and let her know you would be most grateful if she would make her famous potato salad for your reception (if you catch my drift). But DO NOT expect the majority of your guests to bring a dish or call it a pot-luck.

    Good luck!

  10. Because I Said So says:

    you can’t really do that. if you’re hosting the wedding, that means providing food. it’s not a family reunion or kid’s bday party, it’s a very formal event. the meal is how you show respect for your guests and thank them for coming. keep in mind they are bringing you gifts, so you can’t ask them to also bring their own food. my catering cost $5000 and we made all that back in wedding gifts after the wedding- plus a lot more $$$$. you gotta spend money to make money as they say!

  11. truefirstedition says:

    Where I live, it’s considered very rude to invite people to an event and then expect them to provide part or all of the meal. But I know there are some regional exceptions – in Philadelphia, it’s very common for wedding receptions to have a “potluck” cookie table in addition to cake, where any guest is welcome to bring their best cookies to share.

    You need to consider your family, your regional culture, etc. For example, if half of your wedding guests are coming from out of town, you can’t expect them to bring a dish to the reception, and then there won’t be enough food for everyone. But if your wedding is just a few very close family members and friends and you know they’d all enjoy bringing some food, it might work for your situation.

    If you’re in any doubt, don’t do it. Provide the meal that you can afford on your own.

  12. CC says:

    yeaaaaa…I think most people will tell you here that asking guests to bring food is wrong.
    And most of the time, I’d agree with them. But I believe this is an exception.

    You can pull this off IF…
    The reception is casual like you say…very very casual
    You are not inviting a lot of people—only CLOSE family and friends
    And you tell people far in advance that it’s a potluck reception.

    I think close family wouldn’t mind bringing food. I surely wouldn’t mind if my sister was getting married and she asked me to bring something. BUT I would mind..if Jane from down the street whom I hardly talk to invites me to her wedding and asked me to bring something.

    Make this reception a small family get together and it will work.

  13. La Vie Boheme says:

    It’s OK if family is on board but never is it OK to ask guests to bring food

  14. berries_cream_love says:

    I am getting married in a few weeks and our ceremony and reception is just immediate family, we are having a pot luck reception. If it were to be all of our friends and family, we would not be doing a pot luck, but mom’s and dad’s and siblings don’t mind bringing some sides. We are supplying the majority of the food.

  15. TigerO says:

    Hmm…if you were throwing a party, would you ask your guest to bring their own cheese and crackers? A wedding reception is just a large, formal party.

  16. Crochet rocket says:

    We wanted a homey feeling to our wedding too. The potluck thing crossed our minds, but immediately went out the other side, because yes it is sort of cheap. If it was just your family, fine. But if you’re inviting people outside of your family, it might not be received so well.

    So what we’re doing is we asked our friend (who happens to be our town’s lasagne champion three times over) to do up a few really nice lasagnes and some salad. We hate the buffet idea (some unfortunate table always has to wait until the end to eat, and by then the first table is already finished…), so we’re having the food brought to the tables and people can help themselves there. Still like a family meal, but a bit more planned and polished.

    To include those who want to contribute with food, I’ve put on our registry that we would like a few avid bakers to provide some desserts as a wedding gift. That way, Aunt Mary can still show off her mad skills, but the pressure’s off for everyone to bring food.

    If you’re worried about price, consider a cake and champagne reception instead of a full-blown sitdown dinner.

  17. almarj70 says:

    I think it depends on the circumstances. I have been to a potluck reception where the bride and groom both attended the same church ( where they met) and the church and both families did regular potluck functions and were very happy and comfortable with the idea. Guests who had to travel a long way or who were excused ( many brought drinks such as a couple of bottles of wine) . It was a very relaxed, friendly reception and I’d love to attend more like it.

  18. Jilly says:

    I think it’s completely about context. Personally, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. I don’t care that much about being wined and dined and ‘hosted’. I’d actually be more comfortable sitting around a long table eating someone’s potato salad and having brought a plate of bars or something than sit at a big plated dinner with assigned seating and all the usual wedding bells and whistles that are considered ‘appropriate’. I’m a simple girl who doesn’t need all the fuss.

  19. fairypelican says:

    go with what you feel is right for you !!!!
    But I would suggest that you state on your invitations ( or by word of mouth) that your guests contribution of food to your celebration is their gift to you & you do not wish for other gifts.
    Many people are more than happy with this.
    When my daughter got married 10 years ago – they asked their guests to pay for their own meal at a restaurant rather than give gifts. My other daughter has also attended a wedding where this was the case.
    This type of thing is happening more often today as many couples have lived together for some time prior to getting married & generally have most things they need.
    Have a look at this site & you will see examples of ALL sorts of wedding celebrations.

  20. ◦Lady2◦ says:

    I personally don’t find it rude. I think its more of a family gathering, celebrating, and coming together. I think everyone bringing food is fine. I think people are so against it because the wedding industry has really turned the meaning of a wedding into their own thing. (Ex. You have to have this, or that, you can’t do that, etc) I think if the people you invite really care about you, and everyone (friends and family) are close, bringing food is completely acceptable. Its people coming together on your special day. It’s great!!

  21. iloveweddings says:

    Yes, “back in the day” this was accepted, but it is rarely done anymore. If this is a cost issue, then perhaps your IMMEDIATE family could help you out, but I would stop with immediate family only.

    If you are simply wanting to do this for an “intimate feeling” I don’t think you will accomplish that. Everyone is busy these days and having to make a dish to bring to a wedding reception just adds more on the “to do” list for your guests.

    NO, have something that you can afford. Nix the favors in lieu of getting more food for your guests.

  22. Liz says:

    Yes, it is very rude to expect your guests to bring food. The reception is the party that the newly married couple throws for their friends and family to thank them for taking time out of their busy days to attend their wedding and share their special moment with them – not to mention thanking them for taking money out of their bank accounts to buy presents, travel to your venue, possibly buy clothes and get hair done, etc. You do not repeat not ask your guests to foot the bill for any part of your festivities.

  23. Dennis Cavagnaro says:

    I don’t think it’s rude at all if you have only close friends and family members. If I were invited to a potluck wedding by my closest cousin, I wouldn’t at all be offended, HOWEVER, if I were invited to a wedding by a co-worker I might be a little confused (especially if we aren’t very close).

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