For all you traditional brides out there who dream of a fully-catered 3-course meal, this may not be your cup of tea. But for brides like me who are up for something a little ... different, here's a trend that making a real difference in my stress level -- and my budget.

My fiance and I are big-time food lovers (I work at Allrecipes, after all!), so when we started planning the wedding, food was the first topic of conversation. I've always been a planner, and I had already scoped out a number of catering options. We loved the thought of food trucks and an exotic menu, but while many companies would customize dishes, the cost was more than we could handle.

The Plan

Since our highfalutin tastes are out of our price range, we decided to stick with what's in our Midwestern blood (and budget). After all, you really can't beat a good burger or your aunt's signature salad. We chose to have the wedding close to our family homes, and we figure there was no better way to incorporate that than to have a potluck reception - with a true food-lover's twist.

We'll be providing the main course of Frito Pie, an idea I got from Leslie Kelly when she tried out Chrissy Teigen's cookbook. It's one of my favorite dishes and a perfect take on the "DIY bar" that's so popular these days at wedding receptions. Our guests will be encouraged to bring their favorite family sides or desserts to accompany the traditional wedding cake.

Photo by Ahmet Ze


Related: Donut Walls are the Hot New Wedding Trend


Spreading the Word

To prepare our guests for our nontraditional reception, we're not only going to make the potluck information available on our wedding website, we'll include a blank recipe card with each invitation. Guests who are up for it (they'll have an option) can share their favorite recipe back with us, and bring the dish to the reception. This will serve as the RSVP, let us know what they're bringing, and becomes a keepsake for our own recipe box!

Photo by XOXO Kristen

Share the Bounty

I had the initial thought to display the returned recipe cards at the reception above a table with blank cards so that our guests could write down the recipes of the dishes they liked. Then I got the better idea to cut out the middle man and just create small cookbooks as favors. You can find editable recipe cards on Etsy (or make your own), and then have a letterpress company make a simple but elegant cover for them.

Photo by Seriously Sabrina Photography

We hope our guests will think of these as more than mere wedding favors. We want them to be able to use these family recipes for years to come, knowing they contributed to making our big day extra special.


Want more potluck recipes?

Here's How to Host a Shower Brunch Like a Pro


Advertisement