Bringing Food Instead of Gifts to a Reception?

I am getting married on April 18, 2009. We both have large families coming from out of town, so we are looking at a sit down reception with over 150 guests; and that's not including very many friends. "People" are more important to my fiance and I than gifts, so we want to have as many as we can at our reception. Is is tacky to ask someone to make, say, rice for 50 people instead of giving us a gift?


teedee from Indiana

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By Vivien (Guest Post)
October 15, 20080 found this helpful

Many of our wedding gifts were "in kind". Someone made the cake, someone else decorated it; someone made wine and beer; the organist and bellringers played for free; the photographer took professional pics for free; a friend made my dress; my sister made the bridesmaids" dresses; etc. etc. it's a lovely way to make people feel involved and saves thousands.

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By Robin (Guest Post)
October 15, 20080 found this helpful

Instead of registering somewhere,why not insert a card with your invitation to suggest gift cards from the local grocery stores in your area? You can even say the gift cards will go towards providing a wonderful reception for everyone.


Then you can easily give your caterer the gift cards to shop!

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October 15, 20080 found this helpful

Have you thought about setting up a wedding blog? I have heard many people are doing that now. They put where they are registered, RSVPs, etc. on it. You could explan your request and have a sign-up sheet for different requested food items. That way you know before the party who is coming, what they are bringing and what you need to fill in. I hope you have a lovely wedding. You sound very down to earth.

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By Holly (Guest Post)
October 15, 20080 found this helpful

My sister's wedding nearly three decades ago was "bring a dish." It was understood that the family was to supply the meats, the cake, and the beverages. Most of the rest of the food came from the invited guests, accompanied by modest non-food wedding gifts. Most large weddings I attended in the working class suburb where we lived in my youth were similar. It wasn't until I moved across the metropolitan area after college that I went to fully catered wedding receptions.


For my sister's wedding, formal invitations went out without the mention of food or gifts. The food arrangements were made informally with close friends and relatives either in person or by telephone. People who asked what they could bring were told what was still needed. Make sure that any wedding cake bakers have photographs of completed cakes and references-it might help you avoid a "Leaning Tower of Pisa" cake.

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By Erica (Guest Post)
October 16, 20080 found this helpful

Good call! My man and I were married this past summer and we wrote on our homemade invitations: "Absolutely no gifts please!". Then we wrote on the other side "To RSVP and tell us what you will be bringing to the potluck dinner please call this phone number"


When people phoned, we asked them what they wanted to bring. If they said "green salad" then we would write that on a list. If they said buns and 4 others were bringing buns we would ask them to bring a salad or something else we were low on. We had almost 200 people and we supplied non-alcoholic drinks and snacks for before the meal and we also had many leftovers from what people brought.

Almost everyone said it was the best meal they had ever had at a wedding. It was awesome! We didn't have to worry about picky eaters or having too little food because everyone always brings something they like to a potluck. The other thing was we asked people to bring things that didn't need to be heated. The roast beef was brought in crock pots that plugged in before the wedding. Anyway- I'm sure you'll figure out the details on your own! It worked great for us!

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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 969 Posts
October 17, 20080 found this helpful

My daugters sister in law is getting married the same day, and my daughter is getting married the week after! They secured a wonderful place here in Salem OR called "the ranch". It has a full kitchen where you can make your own stuff. They are bringing two smokers and one grill. We are all designated to bring something. I am making marinated mushrooms and my famous pasta salad.


Everyone is going to be stressless and have lots of great food!
Your wedding is exactly how you want it to be, so don't worry about "protocal and ettiquet". It's your day and your husbands, and everyone will want to contribute. It's a great way of not letting anyone feel left out!
Have a Ball!!

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Silver Feedback Medal for All Time! 270 Feedbacks
October 17, 20080 found this helpful

ONLY if you plan this ahead of time and let everyone know. Don't do the fancy engraved invitations--that throws the theme of family off and makes it look like you are begging. Do simple fun invitation which then allows you to direct the wedding as a large family reunion type affair.


We did the "can you bring" for my son's groom's supper, had the county Pork Producers do the pork chops on the grill and had it in the back room of a bar. It was free, no one bothered us. We needed a place to gather after the night before events and everyone went home within 2 hours.

Don't do a fancy sit down style--have a bridal table set up let people flow around the dining area, park or which ever is the place of choice.

As far as where you are having the event--check with local regulations. Department of Health for each state will direct you to how much and WHAT you can ask people for. Here in MN, the food must be prepared on site in a commercial kitchen IF it is served to the public (your guests) with food temp highly regulated of hot and cold. You must keep HOT food HOT and COLD food COLD. Make sure you have someone in the know in charge of the food and directives. That should not belong to the bride or the mothers of the couple.

Anyway, the place you are having the reception/dinner may have guidelines to follow if they are licensed for on site prepared food. Check it out.

Hope you have a good SAFE day!

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October 23, 20080 found this helpful

We did the same thing and my one friend brought Spanish rice and beans and chicken and hubby did the grilling and everybody loved his steaks. He brought them cheap and we had sodas that we had brought the week before at k-mart cause they were on sale. It was great the cake was a sheet cake and it was big enough for everyone. Praise the Lord we had no bills from the wedding or the reception. Got my dress at JC Penney outlet for 60 bucks didn't want anything fancy got a great skirt and top it was wedding stuff and in an off white too. Great wedding too

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By Southernevents (Guest Post)
October 29, 20080 found this helpful

Oh absolutely, how wonderful. And really , who needs a Navajo Fertility Sand Painting ... really. There are many weddings where the pieces are made into the wedding and it makes it beautiful is a different, meaninful way. You can use a program to thank each person for their part in your ceremony and reception.

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