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Catering Your Own Wedding With a Potluck Reception

One hundred years ago catering your own wedding with a potluck reception was the standard for most families. If you want to be bare bones and have a shoestring budget then a potluck wedding might be perfect if you are into a casual vibe. Potluck weddings saw a brief popularity in the late '60s and now again are resurfacing as many women take an anti-materialism and pro "do it yourself" stance on weddings. Potluck wedding receptions are an easy answer to catering your own wedding and they are loads of fun!

If you are having a potluck, finding a reception location can be tricky...be sure to read Finding a Reception Location Where You Can Cater Your Own Wedding Food to get some location ideas.

Tips for Catering Your Own Wedding With a Potluck Reception


  • Keeping Track -- The most important thing for catering your own wedding with a successful potluck is to keep track of who is bringing what. The last thing you'd want is to end up with 10 apple pies and no entrees! A running list of the item and who is bringing it is all you'll need.

  • When Will Food Arrive -- The easy answer to this is that people simply bring their dish before the wedding. Keep in mind that people do run late and someone (not the bride!) will need to be in charge of receiving the food as people arrive. Or have a table clearly marked with signs.

  • Storage -- Since the food will all be brought in before the ceremony (unless the reception is on a different day, which is a handy option) the food will need to be stored somewhere. Keep track of what things will need to be refrigerated and make sure you'll have room. For outdoor locations round up a bunch of coolers from family members and have someone be in charge of ice. Other items may need to be kept heated or re-heated. Every woman you know over the age of 40 has at least one slow cooker or warmer, round them up! You can also rent these.


  • wedding stew potluck




  • Set-up -- Someone needs to be in charge of setting the food up on the tables, arranging the tables and making sure that everything is ready with serving spoons.

  • Clean-up -- The food will all need to be cleaned up and dishes returned to their owners again, you'll need helpers to do this. Some guests may offer their food in a dish for you to keep as a wedding gift!

  • Hot Food Issues -- Crock pots are an incredible help when it comes to foods that need to be served and kept hot. Try to avoid foods that will need to be re-heated in an oven; this is just too much work. Heating pans and hot plates come in handy…ask around, many people who entertain a lot have these things they could lend you. Just like catering your own wedding if you are doing all the food, keep in mind that cold food is easier to deal with.

  • Table Decorations -- Raise up certain dishes on the buffet table by placing sturdy boxes underneath them to create risers. Cover the boxes by draping fabric or tablecloths over them. This creates a very professional looking buffet table.

A potluck wedding is all about friends and family coming together, what a wonderful symbol to start a marriage! Only consider catering your own wedding with a potluck reception if you have the support of your friends and family. After all, you'll want them to bring something! Keep in mind that it is also custom for guests to consider the dish they bring as their wedding gift to you, or at least part of it.

Eat, drink and be married!


It's your wedding, do it the way you want!

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