The Sensible Bride: Potluck Wedding
Teresa Potter: Executive Chef Serenitea Catering
Many brides and grooms are opting to do a potluck for their wedding reception. How does someone go about inviting people to an event and graciously ask their guests to bring food to the reception?
We suggest setting a theme for your event. A potluck and formal event are not synonymous. Registering for expensive gifts and having a cash bar is not only a contradiction, it can be seen as blatantly cheap and in poor taste.
If you want to have a low key, eclectic event, a community potluck may be the answer to your catering needs. Simply asking your guests to bring a dish to share may not be enough to make the food aspect of your event functional.
Your guests, whether they opt to either bring a gift or bring a dish, will have many questions about the subject. What do I bring? How much should I prepare for? Will I need to bring serving utensils? Will my dish be returned to me? How will I keep the food at a safe temperature? Am I expected to bring enough for the whole wedding or maybe a couple dozen servings?
Whether you are trying to save money by not hiring a caterer, or trimming expenses, you as the host should have answers to these common questions.
Organizing is key to pulling off a fabulous and food safe event. The last gift you want your guests to leave with is food poisoning.
Keep these basic rules in mind when hosting a potluck:
1. Keep cold foods cold, and hot foods hot. Have plenty of ice on hand and reheating sources.
2. Enlist responsible people to handle dishes as they come in, transferring into other containers if needed.
3. Have plenty of serving ware so fingers do not touch food.
4. Have non powdered food grade gloves in a variety of sizes available for all those who will be handling food.
5. Have chaffers with lids and heating elements available for larger dishes that need to remain hot or warm and a lighter.
6. Have a easy to manage way online or a system at home to keep track of what people would like to bring. Never assign them a dish, but having the option of what type of food to bring is better that your guests may choose for themselves.
7. Have ice chests ready, refrigeration, and cooling tubs.
8. Decorate your buffet tables.
9. Provide plates, cups, napkins, and utensils.
10. Serve an main dish and a side.