“I’ve Been Assigned a Dish for My Friend’s Potluck Wedding”

Miss Manners recently answered a wedding-related letter I thought DW readers would have a field day with. Here’s the question:

Recently our friend, who is 55 and marrying this spring (her third marriage), has told her friends that she intends to host a potluck wedding. She is inviting 100 people to an estate property lent to them for the weekend. She and her husband-to-be will ask guests to bring an assigned dish. They are both employed, own two homes (they intend to consolidate into a single household) and are planning a post-wedding vacation. Many of her friends (myself included) are somewhat distressed that she made this decision, indicating that she did not want to pay for caterers. Several friends have suggested economical alternatives. But she is now more committed than ever to require her guests to contribute all the food, beverages, paper products and alcohol. Very specific wedding gifts have also been requested.

We will dutifully bring whatever we are assigned (fingers crossed that we are not assigned filet mignon), but we are still holding out hope we can change her thinking.

Any suggestions about how we should approach her? Or should we just grin and bring the food?



You can click here to read Miss Manners’ reply. What would you say to the LW? What do you think about couples who have potluck weddings and assign specific dishes to each guest? And what if those couples are getting married for the third time AND requesting gifts on top of the potluck contributions??

[via NYTimes]


  1. lets_be_honest says:

    First of all, specific gifts? That’s called a registry which is perfectly acceptable.
    If her friends and family are so put off by having to being ONE DISH, then I feel sorry for her.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      I’m a litle confused about the end of the letter. The whole letter says food, then she says everything including paper products and booze. I could see that being a little weird, but honestly, after the letter the other day, the majority seem to think its totally acceptable to expect to receive back close to what you put into the wedding so I don’t see this as any different than paying for your plate. Its just bringing the plate.

      1. landygirl says:

        I don’t know, the bride is trying to pawn the cost of the wedding off on her guests. If you can’t afford to have a wedding, then elope. This is her 3rd wedding, she should really just elope.

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        I agree about the 3rd wedding.

        However, almost every bride I know and almost everyone on here the other day seemed to think they should expect every to “pay for their plate” with gifts, so I just don’t see how this is any different.

      3. Temperance says:

        I think the issue is you can want it and hope for it, but it crosses the line when you specifically ask for it.

      4. lets_be_honest says:

        That’s true I guess. Aside from it being their 3rd marriage though, I see nothing wrong with a potluck wedding and I wouldn’t be offended to be invited to one. In fact, I think it’d be nice to do something less traditional for once.

      5. Avatar photo landygirl says:

        I see nothing wrong with it either if they were young and broke but they are neither.

      6. Is it really pot luck if you are requesting specific dishes?

      7. lets_be_honest says:

        Yea, someone below mentioned this. I think the idea of saying an app, or entree or dessert is better to avoid 100 dishes of corn, rather than a specific dish someone may not be good at making.

      8. Right I definitely agree, and a party with that many people seems way to big to have pot luck for this very reason, and the fact that it is expensive to make a dish for 100 people.

      9. apparently I should keep reading and join the coversation below instead of starting the same thing up here haha.

      10. Temperance says:

        Honestly, depending on the circumstances, I wouldn’t, either! Where I grew up, I can see this being acceptable, and even fun. For me, it would be okay if it was a smaller, backyard shindig, though – I think what really got me was that this was a 3rd wedding being held by well-off older folks at a donated “manor” estate, you know?

      11. Guy Friday says:

        I’m not sure what letter you’re referring to where “almost everyone on here” endorsed a “pay for their plate” mentality. Are you referring to the one you and I commented on about the thank-you notes and the asking about gifts? Because I don’t recall ANYONE talking about getting equally valued presents. Maybe the idea of not coming to a wedding empty-handed was addressed, but I think most people looked at it as “you shouldn’t come with nothing, but the couple shouldn’t expect it either” approach.

      12. this.

        don’t be a mooch….don’t be tacky and call out moochers, haha.

        My college friends that got married earlier this year were pretty peeved that like 4 of our closer friends didn’t even get them a card. Fortunately I don’t have an ass load of weddings to attend so I threw a generous contribution to their honeymoon fund and got a card too since that was like an online account thing and not that personal.

      13. lets_be_honest says:

        YES! Moochiness has got to be my biggest turn off.

      14. lets_be_honest says:

        The letter from the other day. Last week maybe?

      15. Wasn´t it the shortcuts on friday? And yes, several people said they cover the cost of their plate.

      16. lets_be_honest says:

        Thank you!

      17. Guy Friday says:

        Fair enough. I must have missed those comments when I checked out to do work. My apologies.

      18. You work when there´s a hot debate on DW? The horror!!! 🙂

      19. I have seen the “cover the cost of the plate” thing a million times, and while I disagree with that concept (and so does Miss Manners), how the hell are you even supposed to know how much your plate costs?? I’ve been to weddings in northern Minnesota, Chicago, Tucson, New Hampshire, DC, Indianapolis, Rhode Island, rural Virginia…on Friday night, Saturday afternoon, Sunday evening, cash bar, no bar, open bar, on holiday weekends or not, at hotels, B&Bs, historic mansions, farms, summer camps, college gymnasiums. How on EARTH are you supposed to know how much the plate is for each of these things?! I wouldn’t even have a concept, and I’ve planned a wedding too. Is everyone but me going around and asking the bride and groom how much they should be shelling out for a gift???

      20. Yeah, I don´t get it either.

      21. EscapeHatches says:

        At our wedding the food was free, as a gift from a friend of the family who owned the restaurant/reception hall. I’m not sure I’d have liked the ‘cover your plate’ approach!

      22. In your case, it would be ‘cover the VALUE of your plate” as the meal obviously cost someone. And I would add: cover the retail value of your plate if I subscribed to that theory.

      23. GatorGirl says:

        I’ve said before that I try to give a gift that I think is equal in value to what the couple is paying for me. But I don’t think of it as away to “repay” them for their wedding costs, just a way to gauge how elaborate of a gift I give. It almost always is around about $100 though.

  2. I would be kind of annoyed if I was assigned a dish and asked to bring a gift to a friend’s third wedding. Also I think the number of attendees would overwhelm me. How many people is your dish supposed to feed? I think it’s especially tacky that she kind of said to them I don’t want to pay for caterers but I want food and gifts so you all can bring both! If you don’t want to pay for that have a champagne and dessert reception.

    1. and also if it was a low key back yard wedding of a close friend and i was told to just bring whatever i would be fine. but, to be assigned a dish is kind of over the top to me. as well as assigning people to bring alcohol and plates, etc. i mean even when i host a potluck bbq at my house there are certain basic things i provide.

  3. As I may have mentioned before, I don´t really like big traditional weddings. SO as far as the potluck goes, I think it´s fine.
    Having to take the paper plates, etc is a bit weird.
    And no to the registry. You own 2 homes but ask for specific gifts?

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      I could be wrong,but I think many, if not almost all, brides and grooms these days already live together and presumably have everything they need, so what difference does it make for these two?

      1. I don´t actually like gift registries at all. Sorry everybody.
        But I get it for the few couples that start off married life with nothing. But when the couple has an established household I really don´t think it´s necessary. And after 3 weddings? Etiquette says gifts are only necessary for the 1st wedding.

        FTR, for the weddings I´ve been to, the group of friends that goes to the wedding usually chips in money for the couple.

      2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        I didn’t know that about gifts being required (etiquette-ly) for the 1st wedding. For my 1st wedding I’ll definitely add the priciest things to the registry so I get everything I want then; too risky for the 2nd marriage.

      3. SpaceySteph says:

        It’s not entirely true. Etiquette says if YOU brought a gift to the first wedding you are not at all obligated to bring a gift. Not if there was a first wedding nobody needs to bring gifts.

      4. Addie Pray says:

        Ah, got it. So I’m inviting all new people to my second wedding.

      5. Amazeballs!!

      6. lets_be_honest says:

        I don’t either. I just will be very surprised if everyone on here says how rude this is after the last thread about weddings.

      7. Jessibel5 says:


        I have a personal policy when it comes to registries: If you live together and already have a household, I’m going to assume you have pretty much everything you need, and whatever you put on your registry is an “upgrade” especially when you put expensive things on it (take that, friend’s wife who put Kate Spade dishes and Waterford on their registry! As if I’m spending $100 on one wine glass for you). However, if you’re not living together…I’ll get you something from your registry because it’s highly probable that you don’t have everything you’d need for a household.

        I didn’t create a registry when I got married. My husband and I had two complete households before we moved in together, and ended up giving plenty of duplicates away to my college aged siblings. Our reasoning was “we don’t want gifts, so why? We have plenty of crap, why do we need more crap?” I got so much flak for not creating a registry and telling people not to worry about gifts. I was told I was creating a situation where I looked like a “money-grabber” even though I told everyone that their presence was our present, or something along those lines. Basically you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

      8. GatorGirl says:

        I think this really depends on your age and where you are in life. My fiance and I live together, but we definitely do not have an established household. He is a graduate student with a tiny stipend and I work a pretty low level job. Most of the people we know are in very similar situations. Some things we registered for are an upgrade…but it’s upgrading our mismatched thrift store pots and our 10 year old towels…

        I would be slightly miffed if I was invited to a wedding with no registry and think exactly what your guests though.

      9. zombeyonce says:

        I don’t think a registry is always necessary. I recently got married (both my and my husband’s first wedding) and we didn’t create a registry, much to my mother’s chagrin. We did combine households and had plenty of stuff (much of mine still in boxes until we buy a house), and felt that with so many people having trouble in the recession, we didn’t need gifts. Everyone that asked was told that we didn’t need any gifts and would just love their best wishes instead.

        It worked out pretty well. Some people did give us money (mostly relatives) and some donated to charities in our name, which was lovely. And about half of the guests (mostly our friends as opposed to our families) didn’t get us anything at all, which was just fine.

        I think a registry is fine for people that need household goods, but a registry isn’t always necessary. As long as you tell your family what you’re planning so they can spread the word (since most distant relatives contacted our mothers to see what to get us).

      10. Jessibel5 says:

        See, that I understand. You need stuff! You don’t have an established household, which if I were invited to your wedding, I’d know that and buy you registry gifts. These two I’m specifically thinking about though that I mentioned, which is the first time my “policy” ever came into play, were putting Waterford crystal and $150 per place setting sets of china on theirs. Meanwhile, the bride has refused to get a job for over a year, but insists on maintaining their expensive lifestyle. Sorry honey, I’m not funding that for you.

        Would you think that even if I was like “no, no gifts, we just want you there!” That really made me sad because that was our intent, to not put added pressure on people since we didn’t need any stuff anyway.

      11. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        We’re not registering for china, even though both of our parents want us to. We need everyday plates more! We have registered for some expensive pots and pans- but it’s what we would save up to purchase for ourselves and I’d rather not receive any gifts than have guest spend their money on somehting we won’t truly apprecaite.

        And yeah, that bride needs to get off her lazy butt and get her head out of the clouds!

        I guess my rational is I really like going through a registry and picking a gift that relates to my relationship with the couple or an item that I know they have been really wanting. So, while I do think it is a nice gesture to say “no gifts, just come please!” I want to bring a gift even if it is small, and I wouldn’t want to bring something that wasn’t apprecaited.

      12. Jessibel5 says:

        Mmm..yeah…we’re pretty sure she’s trying to get knocked up so she doesn’t have to get a job….

      13. Temperance says:

        Etiquette-wise, she should not register for gifts at any wedding after her first.

    2. I don’t mind potluck weddings. I’ve been to a couple of them. I do mind be told specifically what I’m required to bring. I prefer either let the guest choose or have kind of a “sign up” type thing like we do when we have office potlucks here. That way people can figure out what fits their budget/time constraints best.

      1. I guess you have a point. Maybe a “Please bring an appetizer/dessert/ whatever” would be better.

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        Oh, ok. That makes sense to assign a type of dish, rather than a specific one, but I still don’t see the big difference.

      3. For me, I think the difference would be cost and skill and even how picky I am. I don’t bring anything to potlucks that I don’t like for a few reasons – I want to be able to taste it before I serve it to others and know it tastes good and I want to be able to eat what I brought. Also, some appetizers or desserts or whatever may be far more affordable to make than others. We are having a potluck at work (for my last day!) and the way we usually do it is to pick a theme (or decide not to have one) and put out a sign up sheet so people can sign up for what they are comfortable bringing. For example, this one is a taco bar, so people are signing up for meat/cheese/toppings/tortillas/etc or dishes that might go with it (rice, beans, desserts).

      4. zombeyonce says:

        I would hate to be assigned a dish that I don’t know how to make, or that is expensive or time consuming to produce if I don’t have much money to spend or time to spend making a dish.

        And I’m sure people with dietary restrictions would be upset to be assigned something they couldn’t eat themselves (meat dishes assigned to vegetarians, bread assigned to people that don’t eat gluten, etc.).

        I think a potluck wedding is a fine idea, but you shouldn’t tell people what they have to bring (or that they have to bring anything at all), since you’re not supposed to insist upon gifts for your wedding, no matter what number it is.

      5. Temperance says:

        It’s a great way to get stuck paying for expensive crap. I wouldn’t want to make ANYTHING for 100 people, ever.

      6. lets_be_honest says:

        Me neither, but if everyone is bringing a dish, I doubt they are expecting each dish be enough for 100 people.

      7. Well, at a true potluck, you don’t need to cook for 100 because each person is bringing a dish. So that dish is enough to feed them and their family, but because it’s all shared, you each eat a little of someone else’s dish. It’s a great way to share the deliciousness!

        I’m not disagreeing with you. I’m just sharing my love of potlucks. I wouldn’t have a potluck wedding, though.

      8. But how big were those weddings? Were they 100+ people like this wedding? If it was a small wedding (less than 30 people) okay, potluck is fine but to have to bring a dish that will feed at least 75 of a 100? I probably would have spent LESS money on an actual gift.

  4. Yeah, if you don’t want to go to a potluck maybe don’t go? It’s not really different from another party.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      How does this only have 1 like?

    2. SweetPeaG says:

      Here’s to common sense!

  5. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

    I don’t like Miss Manners’ reply. She spends too much time criticizing the bride-to-be when it really doesn’t matter what the bride wants. The bride-to-be could have asked everyone to a meet them at the side of a road and help pick up trash for their special wedding day; it really doesn’t matter what anyone thinks about that. The LW in turn has two choices: she can go and “grin and bring the food” as Miss Manners says or KW can not go. If LW is so off-put by the bride’s desire for a potlock wedding and for registring, just don’t go. That seems simple enough, right?

    1. It’s Peggy Post who wrote this, not Miss Manners! Miss Manners is way better at dealing with presumptive wedding bullshit.

  6. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

    Okay, now THIS is why we need to legalize GAY weddings… Straight weddings just get tackier and tackier. Seriously? Have you people no shame? 😉

    1. Temperance says:

      If nothing else, you can see that we’re upholding the sanctity of marriage.

      1. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        Yeah, nothing says you truly value something like spectacularly failing at it repeatedly…

      2. landygirl says:

        At least we know she excels at something.

      3. Temperance says:


      4. landygirl says:

        So nice she might even do it thrice.

      5. Temperance says:

        It’s so sacred to her that she did it three times!

    2. Avatar photo SweetsAndBeats says:

      Well, it is her THIRD wedding…

    3. demoiselle says:

      Every once and a while there is a reason for a big wedding even if its a fourth or fifth… one of my cousins had to learn the hard time about bad men, and has had four weddings that she paid for herself. Now she’s been with the same great guy for over seven years, and they have two kids. They are finally getting married next summer, and it’s going to be a big wedding. Why? Because her fiance has never been married before. And he’s a great guy. It’s a milestone in his family.

      Of course, most likely they will save up and pay for the whole thing themselves, just like she did with her previous weddings.

  7. I know several people who’ve had potluck receptions and really have no problem with the idea. And if you want to tell me to bring “a salad” or “a dessert” or a “main dish” that’s cool, too. But it’s called “potluck” because it’s random, and if you’re going to be controlling and weird about it, screw it.

    Don’t go to weddings just because you want a free meal and drinks, and don’t have a wedding just so you can get presents. Why are people so selfish?

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      But if they stuck to the true potluck rule, they could end up with 100 sides of corn. Its kind of exactly like a registry. They exist so no one gets 100 toasters.

      I’m with you on finding weddings in general to be selfish. But I think that’s just because of what I’ve witnessed in the weddings I’ve been to.

      1. That’s the fun of a potluck! You never know! (And honestly, I’ve never been to one that was that out-of-balance.) But potlucks are not for people with controlling tendencies. They’re go-with-the-flow.

        (I have a lot of theories about potlucks, apparently.)

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        If you think 100 bowls of corn is fun, more power to you lol.
        Someone said above it’d be more polite to ask for a type of dish (app, dessert, etc.) That would at least make it so there isn’t a ton of corn.

      3. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        It’d actually be rather fitting here, l_b_h, as this whole idea is so “corny…”

      4. lets_be_honest says:

        Nice one 🙂

      5. bluesunday says:

        In reality, you’re never going to end up with 100 bowls of corn! You may not have the perfect ratio of salad:entree:dessert, but at least you know that everyone is bringing their specialty dish. I’d rather have 3 amazing pastas then 1 great pasta, an okay spinach dip, and a store bought apple pie because the assigned person had no clue how to make one.

      6. lets_be_honest says:

        I kind of assumed everyone would know I didn’t mean literally 100 dishes of corn. I think the idea, like you said, of everyone doing their specialty dish is really nice. Especially for people into food!

      7. You keep mentioning corn. I feel like you may have had some traumatic corn/potluck related experience.

      8. lets_be_honest says:

        Lol. No, just a repeated example.

      9. Mango black bean salsa anyone? That’s my go to potluck dish and it doesn’t disappoint.

      10. SweetPeaG says:

        Mmm! Sounds yummy!

      11. zombeyonce says:

        And you can put corn in it!

      12. Ha. There is corn it. LBH will love it.

      13. lets_be_honest says:

        You guys are too cute and funny. I lold at that.

  8. I can imagine many situations where a pot luck wedding might be appropriate, however this is not one of them. If the couple was young and low on funds, but had a large family/friend group that they wanted to include, I could see it. If the couple and their friends/family were huge foodies, and wanted an excuse to share their abilities, fine, it makes sense…

    But for a 3rd wedding with 100 guests where the couple clearly has money, and have registed for gifts on top of it?? In my opinion, it’s horribly tacky, and it doesn’t really make sense to me. Seems like it would be a nightmare coordinating all that, anyway! But whatever…

    If I were invited to such a wedding, I’d first have to see what I was assigned to bring, then figure out how to handle the gift situation from there. If it was a picnic and they had me bring a watermelon or something, fine… But if they’re expecting me to make Chicken Picatta for 20, they’re out of their damn minds.

    1. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

      Yeah, your examples of, say, a young couple just starting out make sense.

      Honestly, a PUBLIC third wedding with guests is simply altogether tacky. Go elope or something. But hey, I understand the need to cut costs, I mean… yeah, who wants wedding bills that could easily outlast the marriage?

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Ha! I’ll agree there maybe. A huge, public third wedding is tacky in itself.

      2. Will there be a potluck divorce party, with each guest chipping in on the retainer? Could happen….

    2. Temperance says:

      I think that there are places where it’s acceptable to do this, and places where it’s not. (I remember a friend telling me that she had to argue with her bridesmaid to explain to her why it was tacky to put “please bring a dish to pass” on said friend’s wedding invites).

      This, is so not.

    3. I’m glad you said this. I think there are circumstances where it’s acceptable. Also, if this couple would have framed it differently, maybe. For instance . . .

      Hey, we’re having a backyard bbq. Please bring your favorite dish. And oh yeah, we’re getting married.

      I would have been ok with that, I think. But not a formal third wedding for people established in their homes and career and lives.

    4. zombeyonce says:

      I wouldn’t be surprised at all if people brought their assigned dish and decided that was their gift to the couple and the couple got nothing from their registry. That’s what I would do (after silently stewing that I was told I had to make a specific thing).

      1. I know right! I’m a tinkerer in the kitchen and I go through phases where I feel i’m a better baker vs cook. If I was assigned a dish, and like a specific dish, not ‘zerts or apps’ (parks and rec shout out!) I’d prolly overstress myself trying to make it perfect to serve at a wedding. I’d feel like a caterer, but without the training.

  9. Temperance says:

    Everything about this is tacky. Maybe I’m old school, but to me, third wedding = courthouse in a nice suit, not 100 guests at an estate.

    Expecting your guests to furnish your entire 100-person reception is tacky.

    Expecting gifts from your guests after you expect them to cater and provide a bar is even tackier.

  10. ele4phant says:

    This would offend someone? I am totally planning on doing this (if I decide to actually have the whole wedding with reception deal – I may just go the courthouse route and say f it all). I usually find catered food sub-par, certainly given how much it costs. Nor do I want a high stress sit-down deal.

    I couldn’t imagine “assigning” someone an exact dish, but I think its reasonable to ask people to stay within a certain food type, like salads, meat dishes, desserts, ect. You don’t want to end up with 30 veggie platters.

    1. Temperance says:

      I think it’s cultural. Where I grew up, this would probably be fine (well, not this particular case, but a younger couple who hasn’t been previously married).

      I would be really offended if I saw something like this, but this is a well-off couple who owns two homes and who has already racked up multiple marriages between them. No matter how you slice it, it’s tacky. They want a fancy reception at an “estate” without any cost.

      1. ele4phant says:

        Hmm, I don’t think it matters how much money someone has, they can throw whatever sort of party the want. If their choice isn’t to your liking, that’s fine, don’t go. And reading the letter back, while this party is being held on an estate, this was lent to them so its entirely possible this is meant to be a low-key event thrown on a buddy’s property. Estate doesn’t necessarily have to mean fancy-fancy.

        As far as requesting specific presents, well, maybe its because this is the third go around and they don’t need stuff, so why not mention the few things they actually *don’t* have yet? Our culture does seem to necessitate gift giving for any milestone no matter how insignificant (“Oh, you got a promotion? Let me take you out to dinner/get you flowers/buy you a hideous hallmark card and Starbucks gift card!”), so its not unreasonable to expect people will be giving you stuff whether you want or need it. According to the letter, the gift requests aren’t for high ticket items, they’re just specific. Is it “tacky” to request specific gifts, maybe, but I don’t really understand why that is. Why say nothing for politeness sake and then end up with crap you have no need for? From my understanding, its tacky even to ask for no gifts.

        Weddings just drive me nuts. It all seems like a huge racket to get a couple to throw a party they won’t enjoy and spend more than they want all for the sake of following appropriate protocol and getting their fussy friends and family from tsk-tsking about how tacky they are.

        How about just let people throw the type of reception they want without comment, because its really about them celebrating their marriage and not about proving they know Emily Post’s etiquette by heart.

        If your friends are being legitimate terrors about the whole thing, well, that’s probably less about the wedding and more about them just being kinda shitty people. In that case, why are you friends with them in the first place?

      2. OMG YAY the other Seattleite–can you help me make a decision! I have three options for the 4th. One is gasworks with some work friends. The other is a houseboat–on lake union with the friend of a friend. And lastly, a house ok fine, mansion party at the family home of one of my wealthiest friends. Only downer. its in tacoma. and I hate tacoma. I have no idea what to do! HELP.

      3. ele4phant says:

        Houseboat! We don’t have any plans, so we’ll probably do gasworks, which I’ve never actually done before

        But last year we did one of the argosy cruises and we got a look at the crowd – rather crammed looking. So if I had the choice I’d do the houseboat, you’re right there but you won’t be smacked up against a bunch of other people. And if it rains (fingers-crossed!) they’ll be a roof.

        And I can’t really help you with the Tacoma idea, I don’t go south of the airport if I can help it, so I’m pretty oblivious.

      4. Thanks! I think the houseboat is like a open house kinda thing, so I might even stop by my work friends in gasworks to say hello and hang for a bit before heading over to the boat. OMG how funny, we will totally be at the same event. But not know each other. Sad. Oh well if you see a girl who looks like me, wave 🙂

    2. bluesunday says:

      I think it could be okay, if the setting matched. If you’re doing a small courthouse wedding and a low- key reception at your house after, then I think it’s actually kind of charming. But if want a huge fancy party on an estate, just save your guests the stress and have it catered.

      1. I agree- In the right situation is could be very cute and fun… But this isn’t the right situation.

  11. Well, I can’t cook, so I hope I don’t accidentally poison your wedding of 300 people or whatever. Let’s hope I draw the straw for “paper products.”

    This seems awfully fussy and tacky for a 3rd wedding. I think Miss Manners’ response was pretty much on point.

  12. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

    Personally I find this incredibly tacky. First off- it is a third marriage, it should not be a grand affair. Secondly- handing out the dishes to be brought is just plain rude. I would be okay with a sign up system, or perhaps asking certain groups of people to bring deserts, others appetizers and so on…maybe. I can’t even really wrap my head around that one. Third- a registry is one thing, but if she is assigning gifts…I don’t even know what to say. They should have a private wedding ceremony and a celebratory night together during their trip and leave it be.

      1. GatorGirl says:

        Yeah, I agree. If it is a registry…I guess it’s okay-ish. But if she was like Aunt Sally I need you to buy that toaster…that’s a whole nother ball game.

        I don’t love the idea of a registry for a third marraige, but people will buy gifts so maybe it’s better to at least let you know what you’re interested in?

      2. See, I should have sent pictures and instructions to all of my wedding guests of what I wanted. “Dear Aunt Sally, you are cordially invited to my wedding. And by the way, I want this $90 blender. You can find it at Target in aisle 6. Love, honeybeenicki”

      3. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I might have to try this for my up coming wedding and report back on how it is received. Mom, you get the frying pan. Grandma, the roasting pan. Uncle Tim, the pasta pot. My family would have a field day!!

  13. theattack says:

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a potluck wedding on the third or sixtieth wedding. The point of having a wedding with your friends and family around is so they can be there to celebrate with you. If you want them there but can’t afford the price tag of catering, a potluck is a great idea. And guys, weddings are soooo not cheap. If you haven’t planned one in recent years, you might not realize that catering alone can EASILY cost twice the amount of a nice honeymoon. It’s not too much to expect that your friends and family don’t want you to incur those costs, but do want to celebrate with you through a meal together. A big casserole dish of mac’n’cheese will cost around $5 to make, which is much easier to handle than thousands of dollars on the newly wed couple. I would be hurt if I asked my friends and family to help out with a simple cheap dish when it could save me thousands of dollars, and then found out that they thought it was too much to ask.

    I do think it’s too much to ask every gift to bring both a gift and a dish, but an either/or option is definitely good. Also, has anyone considered that the registry could be for bridal showers and not for the wedding itself?

    LW, at least bring the dish and a card. If you can’t afford a small gift to go along with it, which is understandable, then it’s no big deal. If you feel like taking half an hour out of your time to make a casserole is too much, then maybe you’re not close enough to this bride to even justify going to the wedding.

    1. I think it depends on how severe the plate costs are. But yea, cheaper summerish style dish to passes is totally not that big of a deal. Maybe the LW just knows the bride as someone with expensive taste.

    2. but the other thing is there are other options than fully catered meal vs pot luck. i’ve helped others plan weddings and helped my sister cook for her wedding. you can also go the route of a dessert and champagne brunch. i think the hardest thing in weddings is dealing with the fact that you can’t always afford what you want. and it’s NOT about the reception or what kind of food you have. it’s about being married. if you can’t afford it you just make changes to your expectations so that you can have a wedding/reception that you can reasonably afford. and a potluck may be fine. but honestly if you assigned me a dish and asked me to bring you a gift to your 3rd wedding i would be kind of annoyed especially if it was at an ‘estate’ that was being lent to you for what seems presumably to be free.

      1. theattack says:

        I do agree that the bride could have chosen a dessert-only option, and that it’s important to realize you can’t have everything you want. But for all we know, the bride could have casually polled some of her friends and family and found out that they were cool with it. I do agree that it’s tacky to ask for a dish AND a gift, but a potluck in and of itself is completely fine, no matter the size of the wedding. But what difference does it make what she paid for the venue? Maybe she just can’t afford anything more than what she’s doing, and she jumped on the opportunity for a free venue.

      2. i guess i took from the letter than it was more than just the LW in question who wasn’t too excited about being assigned a dish to bring. and really it doesn’t matter, except that she told them that she was being lent the venue and that she didn’t want to pay for caterers. great, so word those things differently and you’ll get a much better response from people. also the number of people they are inviting and expecting guests to help feed is kind of up there. if this was a much smaller guest list i think it would be less overwhelming for guests.

    3. bluesunday says:

      From the sounds of it, I don’t think the bride really has casserole or mac and cheese on the menu. I think the LW is upset because the bride is having a relatively lavish affair for a third wedding (with the estate venue and the 100 guests), and she’s choosing NOT to give back to the guests in the form of a catered meal. It seems like the attention and gifts are important to her, but her family and friends are not quite important enough to feed on her dime. If this was a small, intimate affair in the newly- weds home, I would think the potluck is pretty cute, but for a fairly large reception, it just seems tacky.

      1. theattack says:

        What makes you think she’s wanting a lavish affair and expensive foods? I didn’t pick up on that in the letter. She didn’t give specific examples of the food, so I don’t see a reason to assume that it’s extravagant food.

      2. bluesunday says:

        I got the impression its a lavish affair from the number of guests, the “estate” location, and the LW’s comment that she doesn’t want to get stuck with the filet mignon (which, sure, could have been added for effect, but also implies that the bride wants fairly fancy food).

      3. Avatar photo theattack says:

        The estate venue was free to them. They probably just accepted an offer from a friend, which I would say changes the meaning of it. It would be crazy for them to turn down a free location because it’s fancy. And yeah, I assumed the filet mignon comment was just the LW expressing her annoyance with the bride and was not indicative of what the bride is actually asking for.

      4. bluesunday says:

        It really wouldn’t be that crazy to turn down a free fancy location- if you want to have a chill, intimate potluck. I’m not going to throw a rave in a castle.

      5. lets_be_honest says:

        I will never ever ever have a wedding. Ever. But when I do, you’re totally invited. 😉

    4. Temperance says:

      From the details given here, though, the couple can easily afford it and is cheaping out by choice. They’re getting the site for 100% free.

      There are also plenty of other options, and frankly, catering doesn’t have to be “thousands of dollars”. She could do a brunch reception, or a lunch reception, which would lower the costs. She could do heavy appetizers instead of dinner.

      I worked at a very nice hotel that had events on site starting at $15/per person. You could do some legwork to find a caterer who would charge less than that.

      The other thing to consider here is that the bride and her husband are going to need someone to serve the food, and participate in prep and cleanup. Is she goign to require the guests to do all of that, too, so she can save?

      1. theattack says:

        I just don’t understand why getting a free venue means it’s tacky for her to have a potluck. How are those two things related? If someone offered me a free venue, I would sure as hell take it! And if she can’t afford more than that, then it is what it is. I don’t remember reading that the couple is well-off. All I remember was that they had two houses and were combining, which frankly doesn’t mean much.

        Brunch and lunch weddings are not cheap either. Yes, it saves you money, but it doesn’t necessarily make it affordable. And cheaper than $15/person doesn’t mean it’s cheap. I think that sounds extravagant, personally. Even half that price sets the bride at several hundred dollars, not including plates, drinks, etc. I know as I’m planning my wedding, my venue only allows me to have a wedding during the evening, which requires serving a meal. After looking at prices, I just don’t know that I can afford any catered food, even from our local tiny BBQ joint. If I can’t, that means that I have to make all the food myself, so you can believe I’ll be asking my generous friends to help out with it!

        Generally when someone does a potluck wedding, it’s buffet style. Even if my wedding is catered, it will be buffet style. It’s just one less expense to have. And yes, prep and cleanup is often done by friends and family for the whole affair, not just the food. People frequently help take down chairs or contribute however they can, because they care about the bride and groom and want to be helpful. If that’s a crazy idea for anyone, I feel really sorry for them for not having friends and family that care enough to help out.

      2. I think in the case of the bride to be in the letter, the fact that its her THIRD wedding, so she’s had the whole wedding with the gifts and the catered food and everything else, and is now doing this (shifting the costs onto the guests but still expecting presents) rubs people the wrong way. For a couple with a tight budget, well I don’t see anything wrong with family members and close friends (and ONLY close friends, not 100 of your ‘nearest and dearest’) pitching in potluck style.

      3. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Do we have a detailed history of her previous weddings? Maybe she never got to have a wedding, and she’s finally doing it. Or maybe it is her third wedding. So what? If someone doesn’t like it, they don’t have to go. If this bride is like every other bride, she’s probably thought about every possible scenario she could do and carefully weighed out her options, even if the reasons aren’t widely available to the public. I’m just sick of reading assumptions that this bride is selfish and trying to get free stuff and doesn’t care about her friends, etc. We just don’t know what’s going on with them. Maybe I’m sensitive about it because I’m wedding planning myself, but the couple cannot be expected to make everyone happy while simultaneously respecting their wallets.

      4. No, I don’t have a detailed history. I do think its implied by the letter writer who mentions that its a third wedding and by her saying so, one CAN assume that the bride has had two other weddings where it wasn’t ‘potluck’ meaning, people other than the guests provided the food. Plus this line ‘ indicating that she did not want to pay for caterers’ also shows that since the LW wrote it, it isn’t a stretch to assume she had caterers before. I’m not arguing that the LW doesn’t have the go if she doesn’t want to, just stating that in my opinion, asking guests to provide everything to keep costs down for the couple isn’t the best way to go about having a wedding. Its just not Miss Manners/ettiquette approved in my book. BUT thats my opinion.

        And sorry this letter is hitting close to home regarding the wedding stress. Its a stressful and personal choice for a lot of brides I know. Adding small budgets with dream weddings is never a fun task and I don’t envy those that have to do it. *(Making a mental note to start a personal wedding fund not called Bank oF DAD)*

      5. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Honestly, it’s not the stress of a dream wedding. I never even wanted a wedding, so I don’t have a dream wedding at all. It’s the stress of everybody having an opinion and thinking that what you’re doing is wrong. It’s stuff exactly like this letter that makes it stressful. Seriously, if you don’t like it, just don’t go. No need to complain or damage friendships or gossip. Just. Don’t. Go.

        But anyway, I just don’t think we have enough evidence to assume those things. I don’t agree with your interpretation of those sentences. The LW’s sentence “indicating that she didn’t want to pay for caterers” doesn’t mean anything besides that the bride doesn’t want to pay for a caterer. People ask me all the time about things I’m doing in my wedding, and it’s not because I’ve had two weddings in the past that they’re comparing it to. Also, saying that she doesn’t want to pay for it could mean that she doesn’t want to go into debt for it, not that she doesn’t want to spend money she actually has on it. I just think people are making lots of assumptions.

        I won’t argue that you’ll find this sort of a wedding in an etiquette book, but I am arguing that among real friends, it shouldn’t matter.

      6. Just replying to say that I sorta disagree with your last sentence. I mean, I still want to follow all the etiquette rules even for my closest friends. To me, following the rules proper etiquette is a sign of respect and class, no matter how close the connection. I still feel kinda bad about the one time my best friend offered to bake me a birthday cake and asked me what kind to make. So I told her which one I wanted (red velvet) and loaned her my cookbook with the recipe for it. I mean, she offered to bake it, and the recipe only helped her out, but it did kinda feel like I was telling her what to do. I don’t think I’ll do it that way again and just kindly accept whatever she wants to bake. You live and learn. And if I really want that cake, I can bake it myself.

        Oh and about dream weddings, I totally have one. Although, it would probably only be appropriate if I was ‘marrying’ my best girl friend since I have visions of everything pink and bowls full of lipgloss in the bathroom as favors. A spectacular dance performance and various themed cocktails all pink. I’d also like the guests to wear all white, to look so picturesque against the pink. I should just rename this my 25 (redux) birthday party and throw it myself.

      7. Oh and another dream wedding of mine-the fashion wedding where its all done runway style. yeah. maybe that can be a wedding for the time I marry a gay man. BGM–you gotta any friends who’d help a girl out? He can keep half the presents. As long as he acts his part right 😉

      8. And this wedding wouldn’t have food. Because we all know models don’t eat anything. Well other than grapes and champagne. SO I guess I’d be ok to serve grapes and champagne.

      9. Avatar photo theattack says:

        First, your dream wedding sounds really fun. I would love to go to a wedding where I got to pick out lipstick from a bowl in the bathroom!

        I agree that it’s important to respect your friends. But I think we’ve already established that you and I come from two very different cultures of family and friendship, back in the conversation about having teasing relationships. My friends and family are all very laid back in our interactions, but we still respect each other. When it comes down to it, we all treat each other very well, but it’s very common for us to tease each other, or to ask for help in doing something. Part of having those close relationships for us means that we know we can rely on each other, and we would do anything for each other. Something like making a dish for their wedding, which could save them thousands of dollars, is just a drop in the bucket. I wonder if my opinion is so different from everyone else’s because I’m both working class and Southern.

      10. That makes perfect sense-the difference in cultures! And good job for remembering the teasing convo–I’d totally spaced. I’m on mental holiday already though. Its absurd people expect us to work today HA.

        And if you don’t mind my asking, I was under the impression that Southerners were all about hospitality, etiquette, ladylike behavior and class, is that not true? I’m picturing Southern Belles with their strong ties to tradition when i say this though, and its mostly hollywood based, so I could be way off lol.

      11. Avatar photo theattack says:

        I love talking about Southern culture! I’m so glad you asked about it! haha

        Southerners certainly are all about hospitality, but the hospitality is not just confined to the host/hostess. It also extends to includes helping out other people at every opportunity. People always step in and help out, and we bring dishes to just about every event possible. (Really weddings are the only times where people don’t always bring food, so asking them to do it then is just no big deal to me). In fact, it’s actually rude to not allow people to help you out, and actively seeking out help is usually a compliment to the person you’re asking.

        And we do love etiquette! But some groups of people (I’m not really qualified to make a sweeping generalization, but I would guess from my experiences that it’s mostly working and lower middle class people) have friendships where the desire to be asked for help either outweighs etiquette or is actually part of it. People WANT to be asked to help out, to the point that sometimes we even create unnecessary jobs just to make other people feel included and special. Asking someone to do something for you is part of being polite in many Southern social groups. Now, wealthy Southerners are not like this at all. Not one bit. They’re more into uptight etiquette where no guests ever lift a finger, but those people are few and far between, and most of us make fun of them.

        I’m not sure if I adequately explained this.

      12. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Please forgive when my syntax just doesn’t make sense. I clearly rephrased some sentences and didn’t proofread.

      13. Cool thanks for explaining! Oh and I lied I DO have a close friend who’s Southern. I just haven’t talked to her in forever 🙁 Mental Note, Call T tonight–and she’s from the ‘uptight’ etiquette family you describe. I remember back when her brother got married–to a non Southern girl–she and her mother were absolutely horrified that the bride printed save the dates on her own computer and mailed them TO THEIR FAMILY. My friend was like ‘ugh that is beyond tacky, they should always be professionally done. If she (the bride) didn’t/couldn’t pay for that, then she should have asked my mother to pay for it. She would have gladly to be spared the humiliation’ And I think her family is the type that never asks others for help, as that indicates you can’t do/afford it yourself. T also never talks money. At all. So I think she’s who I think most southern girls are like. I actually thought T and I were super similar in terms of upbringing. I never show up empty handed, but never bring food either because I don’t want to throw off the hostess’ meal planning. SO I bring flowers or home goods etc. And I offer to help in the kitchen, BUT most hostesses know that doing so puts my manicure/outfit at risk and only asks me to do basic jobs like laying out flatware or something.

      14. No grapes! too many calories! Cottonballs infused with calorie-free orange juice is the dish de jour! Put them on a stick and they even look fancy!

      15. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Your friend definitely sounds like that upper-class, uptight (not meant as an insult, just a description) type of Southerner! I wish I could show you what Southern culture is like for more common people. I should also note that I come from a small town in the South, so a lot of my experience is more extreme than it is in cities.

      16. I’m yankee northeast, marrying a southerner. I’ve come to the conclusion that it must be a HUGE cultural difference (having attended a “southern wedding” not too long ago and planning my “northern wedding” for later this year). I would never dream of having a wedding (beyond small courthouse/backyard) and asking my friends and family to chip in. I had never attended a wedding that was – to my mind – informal and kinda weird until just a few years ago. My experience with wedding receptions was they were all formal dinner, assigned seats, some dancing afterwards (band if you’re more fancy, if not DJ) and the most you would ‘ask’ of your guests would be a cash bar – but that is pretty much frowned upon;)

        Now I’m like an ambassador… I’ve been in southern receptions where I never ate because I could never “find my table” and didn’t know the buffet was an option, and I’ve helped my southern friends (and fiance) understand the concepts of assigned seating, receiving lines and introducing the wedding party…

        cultural differences in gift giving is even more fun, here’s my quick and dirty synopsis (based on my own personal experiences, sorry to generalize!):
        Long Island/Italian = cash
        Northeast = registry/cash
        Midwest = small gift/maybe registry
        West Coast = registry
        South = multiple gifts from your registries for the multiple affairs (sorry, that’s the bitterness of battling my FMIL talking… when I have to ask what a bridesmaid luncheon is, well no I’m not having one because I didn’t know they existed!!)

        Sorry for the ramble. At the end of the day I agree with those above = this instance (due to age, household, number of weddings, etc.) is tacky regardless of where you are!

      17. GatorGirl says:

        @McG I’m a northern girl marrying a southernern and navigating the cultural differences is time consuming and stressful! I had no idea what a bridal brunch was either!

      18. @GatorGirl… I’m trying to take the best of both. I love having honorary attendants who can help out without being in required dress code or on the hook for anything (I was one for a friend down south – it’s a great option for me because my wedding party is small and family only with only one girl over 10:-)) and dig a good buffet but I like having an assigned seat to put my purse at!

      19. Avatar photo theattack says:

        @MMcG, In my experience, the size of the wedding is what has determined whether there were assigned seats. For weddings under 60 ish people, there are usually just several tables with more seats than what is needed, that way there’s plenty of room for people to mix and mingle with everyone, and it’s easier to meet new people (like potential future husbands). I like the arrangement for a smaller wedding for those reasons, but I totally agree that larger weddings need table numbers. And the large weddings I’ve been to have always had assigned tables.

        As for the purse, I’d never thought of that as an issue since I’m trusting of all the people I know, and I mostly trust the judgement of the people I know to only associate with other good people. I just assume that anyone the couple invites is trustworthy. Trusting people in those types of situations is probably a Southern thing too.

      20. @theattack
        I’ve probably just heard of too many horror stories about things (especially wedding envelopes, how sad:() getting ripped off at a reception, not even the guests so much as all the vendors… but hopefully not a problem in your own backyard or if you weren’t bringing people in!

        FWIW I’m also the kind of person who likes my little designated area as opposed to having to think and mingle at social settings;)

      21. painted_lady says:

        @Lili – Totally agree with theattack on the whole Southerners-love-to-help thing. It’s also the height of rudeness in my family to not accept the help/food/hospitality that’s being offered. I have more examples than I can list of folks coming into a party or reception or something and going, “Give me something to do!” and if it isn’t given, the person who offered either gets all stressed or all offended that their help wasn’t accepted.

        We actually have a long-running family joke about my mom’s parents – anytime anyone new came to their house, we always warned them to take something to eat and something to drink because otherwise my grandfather would run through the inventory of the fridge and pantry hoping to be able to feed the guest. Whenever someone in the family asks, “Would you like something to drink? Or a snack?” someone else inevitably starts droning in my grandfather’s voice (sounded sort of like John Wayne) “We got Coke, Diet Coke, root beer, orange juice, milk…we can open a can of Vienna sausages, ice cream, Oreos, Cheetos, make you a cocktail, we got bourbon, rum, vodky…” It would seriously go on forever and he felt MUCH better once you had taken something. They had an entire fridge stocked with sodas, half of them sodas neither of them drank, just in case someone who liked root beer or Dr. Pepper happened by.

        Fortunately – for me at least – my family isn’t that hung up on etiquette. I don’t remember a single wedding with assigned seats, no bridesmaids luncheons, if you couldn’t bring a gift they were just thrilled to see you. I can only think of one sit-down dinner in the past twenty years that wasn’t buffet style. My family’s also a bunch of blue collar sorts, farmers, factory workers, very little formal education until recently, and zero cotillion, charm school, etiquette classes, etc. I know people who grew up in the same community I did who did all those things, but my family definitely isn’t the type.

      22. @PaintedLady–Thanks for the explanation. Your grandparents sound like wonderfully gracious people. Haha Funny you mention charm school. When I was like 12-13 I was OBSESSED with all things British and proper. I remember begging my parents for ettiquette/charm school lessons. My parents instead got me the latest Emily Post Edition, which is still a cherished and well referenced book on my bookshelf 🙂 Its outdated, but I don’t wanna replace it. too much sentimental value.

      23. Avatar photo theattack says:

        @Painted Lady, Your explanation is spot on! Also, your grandparents sound exactly like me, and both of my parents. I did forget to mention that part where declining help is basically the height of rudeness.

        Out of politeness, you should decline help once, and then the other person should offer a second time, and then the hostess should accept the help. Preferably the hostess would give real tasks too, not just rinky dink things they could ask children to do. I somewhat question my future mother-in-law’s complete acceptance of me because she doesn’t always accept help when I offer it, and she only asks me to do easy things like setting the table. She finally asked me to slice sweet potatoes recently, and I was thrilled!

      24. painted_lady says:

        @theattack – Yay! She asked you to help! Really help! Walter’s mom let me run errands for her when she had foot surgery last Christmas, which was fantastic. And then this year, my mom let Walter make the green beans.

      25. painted_lady says:

        Oh god, and don’t EVEN get me started on gifts. My mom and I were recently discussing my wedding, which is still a good three years away at least, and my mom – who is a pro at making sure I never feel like I’m making the right decision anyway – was like, “I don’t get the idea of wedding gifts for couples who are already living together.” I agree to an extent – Walter and I already have too much stuff, so I told her we’d discussed the idea of asking for donations to charity. And then she changed tactics at light speed and said, “But there are going to be people who want to give you gifts anyway, so you HAVE to have a registry of some sort!”

        And she’s right. We both have relatives who will be offended at the idea of not being able to give us things! But I can’t even imagine sending out invites with a request for donations AND a gift registry! I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO!

      26. @Painted Lady–Donate the new gift items. Like Register at target, and do it for a DV shelter or homeless/get people back on their feet organization and register for NEW things to donate. That way your guests get to give a tangible gift, and you’re donating it. Its up to you if you want to let people know beforehand, I would though, and then its win win. No more new stuff for you, new stuff for those in need:) Ok now can you help me decide what to do tomorrow. I’m like overwhelmed by choices. I mean, I can’t decide between the beef and salmon for the wedding I’m invited to thats months away, Tomorrow plans are even harder!

  14. The idea of a potluck celebration in and of itself is charming, and even a bit refreshing given the over the top nature of so many weddings nowadays. It sounds perfect for a young couple starting out, a military couple with a partner about to be deployed, an elderly couple renewing vows, or a couple where one partner has some sort of illness. It also could’ve worked in this case…had the couple in question had a private ceremony for themselves and turned this celebration into a picnic/open house sort of party and allowed guests to bring what s/he saw fit. The way this couple’s chosen to move forward this ceremony, IMHO, just feels very wrong. Like I said, the idea is charming, but the charm fades when guests are assigned dishes and gifts in a way that makes them feel imposed upon rather than a treasured friend.

    I would tell this LW to send her regrets along with a small gift and pass on attending.

    1. I just thought of something else: This wedding is going to have 100 people in attendance. Exactly how much food is each guest supposed to bring, anyway? And guests are bringing everything, from the main course to the plates for the canapes because the bride didn’t want to spring for a caterer? The more I think about it, the tackier this seems. I sure hope LW has a long talk with her friend…and sends her regrets on not being able to attend. This is just wrong.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Lets say everyone agrees on it being tacky. Do you really think her “friend” should tell her the idea of her own wedding is tacky? That alone is pretty damn tacky if you ask me. If they hate the idea so much, they should just not go, imo.

      2. Temperance says:

        Honestly, do you think it might be nicer for a close friend to very diplomatically and gently point out that what she’s doing is ridiculous and tacky (NOT in those words) rather than let this woman make an ass of herself?

      3. If this woman has enough nerve to assign potluck items (for a third wedding for a guest list of 100 persons, mind you) AND a gift to everyone, then LW should be able to say, “Really? I think you’re way out of line with your request. It’s rude and imposing, it’s making everyone feel uncomfortable, and frankly, it’s making you look entitled and foolish.”

        Of course, I’d hope she’d say it in the diplomatic and tactful way Temperance suggests, but sometimes good friends have to tell the unvarnished truth.

        Unfortunately, I don’t think the bride-to-be would listen in this case. And I’m curious as to why the husband-to-be, or even their family members for that matter haven’t said as such. Which gets me back to my original advice: Small gift, send regrets, stay home, and avoid the fray.

      4. And the unvarnished truth should be told by someone (preferably someone close like a family member or a close friend) for one reason alone: This potluck is only being held simply because the bride to be (BTB?) does not want to pay for a caterer. It may be rude for this good friend to call the BTB on her appalling behavior, but isn’t it just as appalling (if not more) for the BTB to act this way because she doesn’t want to write a check?

      5. theattack says:

        Why are you saying “doesn’t WANT to write a check?” Don’t you think it’s equally, if not more likely, that she can’t afford to write one?

      6. I’d agree with you here (and on your other points above) if this weren’t the bride’s third wedding. It’s one thing if you’re just starting out in life, but this is a 55-year-old woman with a fiance presumably around the same age. If two people at that stage in life can’t save up a few hundred bucks to furnish their invited guests with cold cuts and lemonade on Chinet, they really ought to just go to the courthouse or cut the guest list WAY down. Naturally every couple wants to have people celebrate with them, but this is a perversion of hospitality, to reverse the meanings of “host” and “guest” for your third wedding when you have been living an adult life for nearly 4 decades.

      7. THANK YOU.

      8. Avatar photo theattack says:

        So 55 year olds who don’t have money shouldn’t be able to celebrate their marriages with their friends and family? There’s a lot of money-shaming going on in this post. Plenty of 55 year olds are dirt poor. Living an “adult life” for four decades doesn’t mean they have money at all, especially for someone who’s been through two divorces already!

      9. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        Actually, women tend to do VERY well in divorces, typically.

      10. Avatar photo theattack says:

        @BGM, It depends. My fiance is a divorce attorney, and he seems to think that most middle-class people usually spend more money on their contested divorces than they get back from things like alimony. If it’s uncontested, that might be so if the woman doesn’t have major struggles in getting her life set up again.

      11. This isn’t money shaming. This is about a breach of etiquette and tact. Telling guests what to give, what to bring, what to spend is never acceptable, no matter age, income, background, or number of weddings.

      12. Avatar photo theattack says:

        @Tracey, She’s not telling the guests what to spend, first of all. All she did was ask for them to bring a dish and then, I’m guessing, set up a registry. She didn’t say “You must spend $25 on making this food, and you have to buy us this specific fancy blender that costs exactly $75.” She said “Please bring this dish.” That’s it. I’m not convinced that the registry is even meant for the wedding, since so many people have bridal showers and engagement parties as well.

      13. @theattack: We all need family and friends to help out. No one should walk through this life completely alone. We also should do all we can not to be an imposition so when help is needed, it’s not resented by those asked or demanded by those needing that help.

      14. Avatar photo theattack says:

        I can’t imagine what it’s like to have friends who consider it an imposition to spend a few minutes of their day doing something for me that would save me tons of money.

      15. Avatar photo theattack says:

        I just absolutely can’t stand when people say “If you can’t afford this, then you should only….” I feel like anyone who says something like this just doesn’t understand what it’s like to struggle financially. Working class families have weddings like this one all the time.

      16. If you can’t afford a Lexus, you don’t get a Lexus. It’s as simple as that.

        If you want a BIG wedding, you shouldn’t expect your friends and family to cover the costs of it. If people want to go out of their way to provide you with a big wedding, that’s one thing, but to EXPECT it, and see nothing wrong with it is where the problem lies.

      17. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Yeah, a stupid freaking car is very from celebrating one of the most important decisions of your life.

      18. I hear you, and I definitely have had times in my life when even $10 feels like a LOT of money. My issue with this particular set-up is the bride’s feeling entitled to all of her guests’ money and/or labor (it’s clear from the letter that several people expressed reservations, which were ignored). She is telling them specific dishes to bring, and clearly expecting gifts as well. That’s not okay. It would be different if, instead, people *offered* to bring food, or if it were presented as a casual pot-luck where one could contribute a dish of one’s choosing in lieu of a boxed gift. My saying “if they can’t afford it, then…” stems from the seeming desire of the marrying couple to have a lavish party that is entirely paid for by their guests. If a couple wants a fancy wedding and can’t afford it, then they ought to figure out a way to cut costs that does not involve transferring the entire burden to their guests.

        All that said, I agree with several other people on here that the LW can simply decline the invitation if she does not want to go.

      19. Avatar photo theattack says:

        @Vathena, I agree with your general premise there, but I just don’t think we can assume that’s what’s happening here.

      20. Telling someone “you should bring ‘x’ to the wedding” or “you should provide ‘x’ dish/beverage” is telling someone what to spend. I’m very sorry this topic is such a sore spot for you. I’m also sorry that we will, I’m afraid, never agree on this. I hear what you’re saying, but we’ll never agree.

      21. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Yes, it sounds like we never will agree on it. But there’s no reason to feel sorry for it being a sore spot for me. Reading these comments makes me feel lucky to have friends and family who actually care enough to want to help me out. I didn’t realize that was such a rarity.

      22. Avatar photo landygirl says:

        Well, it’s true. If you can’t afford a wedding (or a second or a third) then elope. The LW said that they had no money problems, they each own their own home and will be selling one.

        What this bride is doing is the ultimate in tacky.

      23. You can celebrate your wedding without REQUIRING your guests to put out money for YOUR PARTY.

        Like we’ve all said, it’s one thing if your family and friends want to throw you a party, or suggest a pot luck, because they know you don’t have cash, but that’s not what is happening in the scenario we are talking about!! This woman is specifically assigning dishes to people and asking for gifts.

      24. Avatar photo theattack says:

        @landygirl, And I’m sure that the LW knows exactly what the bride and groom’s financial situation looks like…. No one ever knows, and as someone else has already said elsewhere, dealing with the two homes in this economy is quite possibly more of a drain on their finances than it is an asset.

        I don’t think it’s fair to say that the couple shouldn’t attempt to have a wedding with their friends around to celebrate with them. If the friends don’t want to do it, they don’t have to. But among friends, there shouldn’t be anything wrong with asking.

      25. I have many friends and family for whom I would walk through fire AND take a bullet, and I absolutely do not have a problem pitching in wherever needed to help make their celebrations happen. I have done it before and will do it again. But none of them are people who would dream of *ordering* me, or anyone, to purchase a gift for them and also cater the meal of their choosing. And I just can’t imagine having asked any of our wedding guests (who were already spending money on plane tickets and hotel rooms) to also contribute their own food, drinks, and flatware, AND a gift. I was abjectly grateful that they wanted to get us gifts at all!

      26. bluesunday says:

        theattack, I also care about my friends and family. So much, that when I get married, I want to host a party where they are the guests, and I can provide them with a meal. And if I’m as dirt poor then as I am now, I’ll cook a meal for my 20- 30 closest friends. And if they offer to bring side dishes or dessert, I will be delighted and grateful.

      27. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Good for you. It sounds like you clearly love your friends and family more than this bride, or more than I do.

      28. I’m saying it because the LW indicated the BTB doesn’t want to write a check:

        “Many of her friends (myself included) are somewhat distressed that she made this decision, indicating that she did not want to pay for caterers. Several friends have suggested economical alternatives. But she is now more committed than ever to require her guests to contribute all the food, beverages, paper products and alcohol. Very specific wedding gifts have also been requested.”

        From the way I see it, if BTB can’t afford to write one, then she (and her hubby to be – HTB) should plan a wedding they can afford without imposing their will on their guests. Especially given the fact this is her third wedding.

        And I speak from experience. I’ve been married twice. With my first wedding, we had a small (under 75 guests) ceremony. We didn’t register for gifts because we’d been living together for about a year and had everything we needed. We didn’t have much money (we were getting ready to move houses) and we weren’t the type to want a big party, so we were planning on having a cake and punch reception. We didn’t pick a wedding party, so there was no pressure on attendants to throw a shower/bachelor party. My family’s gift to us was our reception (my cousins are caterers, and my mom paid them a rate they worked out at her insistence), and his family’s gift to us was wedding photos. Sadly, we divorced four years later. With my second wedding, it was just immediate family – his mom, my mom, sister, and brother-in-law. The ceremony was at a riverside park where we had our first date. Afterwards, we took the family to dinner. Again, we didn’t register or ask for gifts because we had everything we needed and we’d both been married before.

        Both weddings were heartfelt, simple, and without fuss, which is a route this BTB could have taken. Still can, if she chooses.

      29. I should also add that the family gifts, while appreciated and cherished, were not solicited by me or my husband. Had either of us known what they were planning, we would’ve declined.

      30. Avatar photo landygirl says:

        You rock.

      31. You have a lot of class Tracey 🙂
        Sadly, I think its getting rarer and rarer.

        I know I can be a bit prima donna in my tastes, but if money becomes an issue, your 2nd wedding sounds perfect for me. A heartfelt intimate ceremony followed by good food, surrounded by the people who wish you the best (with me there’d be my close friends as well, but just them) all for a price we can afford. We have the rest of our lives to throw parties when our budget allows. The start shouldn’t be a financially stressful and straining one.

      32. It’s about the love, not about the toys. Wish more people understood that. Hell, wish I’d considered the former a bit more…if I had, I wouldn’t have two divorces under my belt. Oh well…that’s life….

      33. And thank you, landygirl & Lili.

      34. I agree with you LBH.

        Yes, the way the couple went about this wedding is a little off putting. But equally off putting is calling out someone on their bad manners. So, if it bothers the LW that much, she should respectfully decline.

        I would actually like to have soon Judith Martin, another Miss Manners, answer this. Her responses are always brief and fun to read. I’m sure she would say the same thing as you.

      35. seen. not soon. sorry.

      36. anonymous says:

        Yes, I think the real Miss Manners would have had something to say! This particular person was mis-identified as Miss Manners — which would probably horrify Judith Martin!

      37. Exactly! I don’t think that they’d be complaining if it were a typical pot-luck where it’s a hodge podge of dishes. She’s trying to get her guests to cater a wedding for 100 people! That’s entirely different.

        Unless it’s jelly sandwiches or chiclets, or something like that, I’d have to hire a caterer. That’s going to get expensive.

      38. ele4phant says:

        Is she dictating the *exact* dish, or is she just asking people to bring a certain type of dish (salad, side, dessert, drinks, ect.)? I mean, if you’re going to do a potluck, you can’t have half the people bring chips and salsa. That’d be a sucky meal for all. A little direction is needed.

    2. Avatar photo Firegirl32 says:

      Perfect. Exactly what I wanted to say, but in a much nicer tone. 😉

    3. Yes! Tracey. I agree 110%.

      The couple went about this in the wrong way.

    4. “Like I said, the idea is charming, but the charm fades when guests are assigned dishes and gifts in a way that makes them feel imposed upon rather than a treasured friend.”

      X – 1million

  15. I think the “pay for your plate” mentality is horrible. If you throw a lavish wedding with expensive food, that is your choice. You should not expect your guests to “pay” you back for that. If they had their choice, maybe they wouldn’t choose such expensive food. I believe a wedding is a celebration and a chance to have your family and friends all together. But to bean count your gifts is gross.

    As for this wedding, I would just send my regrets or say that my food contribution to their wedding is the gift. The gall of this woman is ridiculous. People are just ridiculous anymore. I can’t believe miss manners was as nice as she was.

  16. It’s Connecticut, people! Potlucks may be acceptable elsewhere, but not there. I would never bring a dish to a wedding unless the couple was 18 and broke and getting married in their backyard. An established couple just being cheap? Sorry, not going to happen.

    1. “It’s Connecticut, people! Potlucks may be acceptable elsewhere, but not there.”

      *cheshire cat grin*

  17. I don’t understand how this would work unless you have the reception a couple hours after the ceremony — how are people supposed to keep their dishes warm? Unless everything is a cold dish, but that seems sort of unlikely. I think the whole thing is sort of strange — if they want a potluck, fine, but then don’t also ask for a gift. Or, better yet, don’t ever expect a gift for a third wedding.

    1. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

      Yeah, how would you keep a hotdish hot? I guess… Pasta Salad! For everyone!!! 😉

      1. Crock pot. Everyone should bring a crock pot. Then the bride and groom will have to rummage around for enought power cords and strips to accomodate all the dishes.

      2. this will probably be the biggest disaster. unless there is someone who has been assigned to delegate where dishes go and how to deal with cold vs hot food it’s going to get very interesting. it’s hard enough to juggle the logistics when it is a part for 30 to 40 people. for 100 plus when it also includes people bringing alcohol, plates, napkins, etc it’s going to get interesting!

      3. I was being facetious.

      4. oh i know 😉 i was just saying, i think this is going to be a giant disaster unless it’s really well planned!

      5. Agreed.

      6. That would be awesome. I would probably bring a crock pot out of spite, just to make it difficult for the bride 🙂 I’m a bad person.

      7. Temperance says:

        I’m sure she thought of that, and already requested her guests provide a small surcharge for the energy usage.

      8. HA!

      9. Avatar photo SweetsAndBeats says:

        Oh gosh, that would be a disaster. The whole idea of a potluck, completely devoid of waiter/chef services, sounds like a clusterfuck waiting to happen. People scrambling for the dishes made by the good cooks, half the guests having to wait their turn and ending up with nothing but cold, congealed, or melted food (nothing will stay warm without the myriad of power cords, like you said)…

        Ugh. I’d decline the invitation.

      10. ele4phant says:

        Really? Because I’ve been to catered weddings where its buffet style and its just as chaotic as if actually were a potluck. I mean, those little Bunsen burners they use don’t really do a whole heck of a lot to keep things warm, and the caterers certainly don’t provide crowd control.

        And gee, maybe if the bride thought about who should bring what kind of dish, there wouldn’t need to be a mad rush for the only few decent items because then the spread wouldn’t have consisted of 15 dishes of potato salad. Oh, but that would be demanding and tacky if requests for particular dishes were made.

      11. In regards to the catering staff, I think their job is mainly to replenish the empty dishes. So no one who WANTS the mashed potatoes is left potato less. Because ideally, the caterer is being paid to ensure they have enough mashed potatoes for all the guests. Sure people get crazy about food, I mean I get Hangry pretty often, esp if I had to sit through a catholic mass for my meal. But I know, that at a well catered wedding, my mashed potatoes are safe. No matter how long I spend at the bar vs in line.

        But again, I think it comes down to people HATE being told what to bring at weddings,a self serving event at its core. I mean, if we change the event to say a baby shower. People–ok women mostly, would GLADLY bring both a gift and a dish. But its because the gift is FOR THE BABY. I think the main issue commentators are having is the GIMME GIMME aspect to this wedding. The bride is a grown ass woman. And she’s acting like a teenager on my sweet 16. The guests not only have to provide the gift, which is societally acceptable, but the food as well. And yeah catering food is hit or miss ( I sure hope my beef is delish at the wedding i’m going to!) but we’re given it as a act of partaking in a person’s self involved wedding. I mean, unless its a best friend or family member (and even those people, I personally avoid weddings of…) in general, people like the LW don’t care to attend. We do because we have manners and obligations as a society to support the joining of two people–and YES i said people. I want all genders to partake in this self involved heyday. This obligation as a society to support nuptials is similar to the obligation to wear deodorant. We do it for others more for ourselves. Do we enjoy it–eh. Somedays I hate the artificial smell of my secret deodorant. But i wear it for YOU bus neighbor. I do it for society.Like I attend weddings, I like supporting love and unions. As a member of polite society.

      12. ele4phant says:

        Soooo, are you saying you go to most weddings not because you want to but because you feel socially obligated, and therefore you deserve to be compensated with mash potatoes?

        I know that’s not really what you mean, but the more wedding themed posts there are, the more I hate the idea of weddings. There’s so many rules and expectations, and people seem to just flip about them and its all so unnecessary. The couple will be forced into having the sort of party they don’t want (Potluck! but its a WEDDING!!!) and guests get forced into going and giving presents when they don’t really want to. It all seems like a vicious cycles of the guests and wedding party demanding certain things from the other and nobody ends up happy. What are we supposed to be celebrating here?

        Its just so odd to me that wedding receptions are given so much more gravitas than any other sort of party. If this wasn’t a wedding – if this was the women’s fiftieth birthday or something- and she wanted to do the same thing and have a large but casual party, nobody would have given a crap. People would have cooked up a dish, some would probably got her a gift too because that’s what you do for birthdays but nobody would have been forced to, and those who weren’t interested would have sent their apologies and not came. Why does the fact that this is a WEDDING!!!!!, not a birthday party, suddenly change everything? It shouldn’t.

        And one last plug for potlucks. Maybe its because I grew up in a community that had constant potlucks (seriously, we’re like the Paris Hilton’s of potlucks. We’ll throw one for the opening of an envelope), but I think your fears about not getting enough good food are unfounded. Think of it this way, for a buffet wedding, there’s what, four or five dishes to choose from? And what if one of them sucks, I mean is just awful and no one wants to eat it? Suddenly your meal has gotten smaller, and everybody is clamoring for the three remaining good ones, resulting in a shortage. But if its a potluck, maybe the mash potatoes will disappear before you get to them, but they’ll be 99 other alternatives. Chances are you’ll find something you like just as much.

      13. exactly- weddings are circuses. weddings originally were just big look-how-much-money-i-have-and-look-at-the-important-family-im-connected-to-now shows.. i think that the whole problem is the disagreements that different generations are now having between a wedding as a show of wealth and then as a show of love (which of itself is a new idea – marrying for love)… i think were just in the middle of a cultural shift.

        oh, and about the whole banquet thing- being someone who has worked many weddings in a kitchen, banquet weddings are much harder because you have to make 2-3 times the amount of food. as lili said, if the mashed potatoes run out, they do have to give you more. thats what a buffet implies. actually, kitchen staff loves to know what kind of group is eating a buffet always- is it a group of ladies? they wont eat a whole lot. is it a group of big biker guys? they will eat a ton, and you need to prep much more then you would for any other buffet. are they hitting the open bar hard? what is the mix of men/women? are there a lot of kids? there are a ton of factors… buffets are hard. plated dinners are much better because its always whatever the count is plus 20%. super easy.

      14. Ew… I wouldn’t want to eat that either- the mayo would probably spoil!!

  18. I think for a third wedding if you want to have a put luck reception, with some of your closest friends and family that is fine, its a celebration, but don’t ask for gifts, because they are already paying for the food, leave that up to them if they want to get a gift as well. What this person is doing is way way different though! She is basically asking people, to pay for her whole wedding (since the other stuff is already donated) and asking for specific gifts. That is very tacky, and uncalled for. I had a cousin that got married last year, and it was his second marriage, so they had a his and her cookout/wedding shower, and on the invitation it asked you to bring your own food, own drinks, and they wanted cash gifts! This was just the wedding shower! So most of the people in my family did not go, and the ones who did, brought food and drinks, but didn’t give them much money or anything. This is because people hate to be told what to do, especially if they are pretty much paying for the event anyway.

    1. Temperance says:

      That is …. impressive in its tackiness!

      1. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        Yeah, that is tacky. People often get so greedy when it come to gifts… A good friend once asked my what I getting her for HER anniversary. Not our anniversary, no, hers with her husband. And it wasn’t even a milestone or anything. It was like year eight or something… But they were having an obnoxiously big party…

        “Many people are already thinking of really creative gifts! I know we are getting a Spa Weekend! What are you thinking of?”

        “Oh, just another year of me NOT seducing your husband at the gym, I suppose…”

        Seriously. People need to stop it with their desire for gifts…

      2. dear lord, what is wrong with people?!

        My husband had a friend who hosted a birthday part ofr himself every year, and sent out a LIST of gifts he wanted. He was over 30 at the time. I’m a firm believer in never showing up to a party empty handed (I usually bring a bottle of wine), but to ask for a gift as a grown man?! TACKY!

      3. I’d have brought a book of manners as a gift. Plain and simple. And I’d leave as soon as humanly possible after releasing a stink bomb and a cherry bomb in their guest bathroom.

      4. Jessibel5 says:

        I have no words for someone who asks someone else what gift they’re getting for them. I mean, it’s one thing if you jokingly ask, but this isn’t it? For an anniversary? She totally deserved that response and I hope you actually said it!!!

      5. Why on earth would someone expect an anniversary gift from anyone besides the person they’re celebrating that anniversary with??? That is crazy! My siblings and I have given my parents anniversary gifts, but that’s definitely a different situation.

      6. Avatar photo SweetsAndBeats says:

        I really hope you actually said that to her.

      7. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        I did, actually. She wasn’t THAT good of a friend. What she didn’t know, though, was just how true of a statement that was… In other words, I probably wouldn’t have been the first… Yeah, we all, uh, had some serious doubts about Harvey. Ones I had expressed BEFORE the really big wedding…

      8. Avatar photo SweetsAndBeats says:

        Sounds like she’s a permanent resident of La La Land.

      9. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        Indeed. I don’t see much of her any more. Just him at the gym…

      10. So he IS gay?

      11. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        He is, uh, decidedly bi-guy-LIKES-to-try… He actually claims it’s NOT cheating if he’s with a dude. I think she might actually agree. Whatever, it works for them, I guess. (In an odd way, I kind of get it…) He makes A LOT of money. And I suppose that helps… Hell, if I had a husband and he was completely supporting me (rather lavishly, I might add) I suppose he could sleep with slutty chicks all the time at the gym right now and I wouldn’t bat an eye…

      12. I seeee. Interesting.

      13. Avatar photo landygirl says:

        Are they divorced yet?

      14. I joke with one of my friends about what she is going to get me for my anniversary (with my husband), but I don’t actually expect anything. She is my stand-in-husband though, so we get each other stuff on “our” anniversary (the day my husband was incarcerated and she stepped in to be my stand-in-husband). But we also just give each other little gifts randomly too. But actually expecting someone to get you something for your anniversary (other than your spouse) is quite absurd.

  19. Avatar photo Michelle.Lea says:

    totally depends on the friend. we have a set of friends that we would have done whatever we could have for their wedding. they certainly did it for us!

    that being said… it’s also a 100 guest wedding. a potluck is weird, and a little over the top. you’re inviting people to *your* party. you invited them, you should be covering things.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      I’ll give you that-it does at minimum cause confusion about how many people your dish should provide for, but if everyone is bringing a dish, I’m sure there’s plenty of food.

      Also, glad you brought up your willingness to do anything for certain friends. If this is a close friend, especially one who may have been given a nice wedding gift for their wedding, then I really don’t see what’s so wrong about this.

  20. I think it’s tacky what the bride is doing, sure. But in terms of advice to the LW, the issue isn’t really whether the potluck is the right call or not. The LW can either not go, if she’s that offended, or just humor the bride and take a dish. I’d say just to bring a simple dish and maybe skip another gift. Potlucks seem OK in the right situation. Like if it’s a super casual wedding among only close friends and family. But for a third wedding, I think it’s the bride and groom’s job to make it as pain-free as possible for the guests who are suffering through yet another ceremony.

  21. brendapie says:

    I read a little article on Offbeat Bride about a wedding cake potluck. I think it’s a cute idea and I could see it working for the right wedding.

    Here individual family members contributed to a wedding cake quilt:

    I don’t think potlucks are tacky for a wedding reception but I think they are more appropriate for smaller weddings held at a park or in someone’s backyard.

  22. AndreaMarie says:

    If you can’t afford to purchase paper plates for your reception than you shouldn’t be having one at all. The pot luck idea would be cute and appropriate had the reception been in some one’s back yard or other small intimate venue with a handful of close friends and family. However, to ask someone to purchase an entree that needs to be large enough to feed over 100 people is obnoxious in my opinion. It’s a sneaky way of having everyone pay for the large wedding you can not afford. Lets say you are assigned baked zita. One tray could run you $60 and will feed ~20 people. So you would need to purchase 5 trays. That’s a minimum of $300 and then you are expected to provide a gift as well? Classless.

    1. theattack says:

      You don’t have to bring enough to feed 100 people. You have to bring a regular sized dish, like what you would cook for dinner at home. If 100 people brought enough food for 100 people, that would be quite an excess of food. No one is going to get 100 separate items.

      1. Now the million dollar question is, is the Bride going to make a dish, too??

  23. In many ways I think it’s tacky to have a large celebration for a third wedding, however I know that some people really feel that they *finally* made the right decision with someone to marry (who knows if that’s really true) and really want to celebrate with their friends and family. But I think to have the whole wedding, reception, and honeymoon is over the top for such an occasion. AND to expect your guests to contribute a lot towards that. If you don’t have a lot of money and you’re scraping by to pay for such a wedding (which it doesn’t sound like the case here), then it’s not fair to ask all your guests to contribute to make your dream affordable. I think this case is about living within your means and not trying to throw the fanciest party out there if you can’t afford it. Your guests should love your wedding for what its celebrating, not for all the details people won’t notice much anyway. I don’t have a problem with potlucks in general, but I don’t think it’s fit for a wedding, where its expected the cost falls on the burden of the couple throwing it (or the family that may help out).

    1. SpaceySteph says:

      But maybe they aren’t having a large wedding. If her first wedding had 500 guests at a fancy hotel, then maybe a potluck for 100 sounds like a small wedding to her.

      1. Regardless, expecting all of your guests to contribute to the cost of your own wedding is tacky. It’s fine if your guests WANT to help you out, but to expect it is another thing entirely. If you can’t afford it, then make the wedding cheaper. It can be done for all sizes of weddings.

  24. I think the bride is a acting like an entitled brat. There are some potluck type weddings that are done because they can’t afford a catered event. It’s done out of the goodness of friend/family’s hearts, not because they were told to do it by the bride. It was done because the bride agonized over how to pay for the cheapest of snacks and everyone came together and said “we love you and we want to do this for you”, as a gift to the bride and groom.

    Right now, it does not sound like they are hurting for money. They have two homes, there is no mention of financial hurt, they have a home being loaned to them to host their wedding/reception, and on top of this forced potluck and gift grab.

    *sigh* If the LW has accepted the invitation to the wedding (or more likely, the summons), then it’s up to her to decide whether or not she is going to go along with the catering. She doesn’t HAVE to buy a gift. Especially if she’s bought gifts for the other weddings. There should be plenty of household items between the TWO homes (that are being consolidated) that they don’t need anything. A card of congratulations should be enough, especially if you are helping to cater the damned event.

    1. ele4phant says:

      I disagree. Just because someone theoretically could spend more doesn’t mean they are obligated to. If they want to have a potluck wedding on property someone lends them for free, fine. Its their damn wedding.

      Besides, aside from the fact that they each own their own home and have jobs, we don’t really know that they CAN afford more. The mortgages could be under water, they could have not gotten a single raise since the economy tanked four years ago, there retirements could have gone south with the market crash and have yet to recover. We don’t know, but owning a home by fifty is hardly a sign you’re rolling in it.

      Of course, if the LW finds this type of wedding distasteful, she’s under no obligation to go. She’s under no obligation to bring a gift if she feels bringing a dish is contribution enough. She’s under no obligation to remain friends with this woman if she feels she is trying to get her guests to subsidize her wedding. However, her question was about how to approach this friend about what she is doing. And the answer should be “Leave her alone.” To me, confronting someone about how they decide to conduct their wedding is tacky.

      If you don’t like it, well don’t go. But don’t try to school your friend on what they “should” be doing.

      1. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Best response yet.

  25. SpaceySteph says:

    Ugh. I am so irked by this letter, just overall. First of all, it’s their damn wedding and if they want to do a potluck, who gives a shit? Each of the people is obviously free to “have a prior engagement” and not attend. Maybe they are inviting 50 of those people out of obligation even though they really want an intimate potluck style backyard thing.

    Also I don’t think we have enough info to really understand if it’s as bad as it sounds. I mean “specific gift” could just mean they registered for a few things, not expecting many gifts for their 3rd wedding/expecting the potluck to be the gift.

    And finally, the LW sounds like an entitled bitch. You aren’t entitled to a free meal just because your friend is getting married.

    And honestly, my fiance and I each own a home and it’s not exactly sunshine and rainbows. We’re going to have to fix one up and sell it, likely taking a loss on it. It might be on the market for months. Yes as single people we could afford 2 (small) houses but that doesn’t mean we are rolling in dough, just that we both (before we met) prioritized having a house above other things. Now that there’s two of us, twice as many families out of state to visit, possibly needing new jobs in a new place, maybe children one day… it’s frankly terrifying that we are stuck with 2 houses. If my parents weren’t helping with the wedding, you can bet your ass we would be having a much smaller, cheaper affair.

    1. “And finally, the LW sounds like an entitled bitch. You aren’t entitled to a free meal just because your friend is getting married.”

      Ehh I don’t know if the LW’s frustration is from being deprived of her choice of free chicken or fish. Personally, I hate cooking and would rather attend a foodless reception than waste the time and energy whipping up some specific dish for 100 people.

      1. If it’s a potluck you don’t have to cook for 100. You just make a dish that’s enough for you, and everyone else does the same.

        (I am a staunch defender of potlucks.)

      2. ele4phant says:

        Seriously. If 100 people brought 100 servings of their contribution, you’d end up with 10,000 servings. You bring ONE dish to a potluck. Its not really all that demanding.

      3. SpaceySteph says:

        Well then buy it from the grocery store. Or don’t go. You give a valid reason to not participate, not valid reasons to talk the couple out of doing what they want to do.

        But its more the way she airs her concerns- the focus of her question is not “I don’t want to cook for 100 people” but “my friend has plenty of money yet is still planning a cheapo wedding, how do I talk her out of it?”

      4. theattack says:

        exactly exactly exactly!

      5. Yeah I was more responding to your accusation that the LW was miffed because she is missing out on a free meal which in my opinion is probably not the source of her resentment ; I think the more likely cause is that she was assigned duties at an event where she is supposed to be a guest( I mean even most people ASK their friends and relatives to be members of the wedding party instead of just instructing them to participate).

        In addition, I don’t think people who get married are obligated to provide their guests with a meal (just an hors d’oeuvre hour or ceremony w/o reception are fine in my book ) but by the same token I don’t think guests should be obligated to cater a bride and groom’s reception.

      6. SpaceySteph says:

        But you aren’t obligated to cater because you aren’t obligated to GO. Stay home. Eat food on your own couch.

      7. What if the couple hired a caterer and instructed every guest to bring a check for $50 to cover the cost of his or her meal? Would you still think the LW was an “entitled bitch” if she found this tacky and presumptuous?

      8. Avatar photo theattack says:

        $50 is totally different from the cost it takes to prepare a simple dish at home. Most potluck dishes will be under $10. It’s also different because homemade things have a value outside of money as well. For example, it’s okay to ask your grandmother to crochet you a blanket. It’s not okay to ask her to buy you a blanket.

      9. they are also asking people to bring alcohol which is more expensive and I doubt has any sentimental value 😉

      10. Avatar photo theattack says:

        True. But bringing alcohol or paper plates is a good option for someone who doesn’t know how to cook but still wants to bring something.

      11. but the thing is according to the LW they are being assigned what to bring. obviously we don’t know how that is being done, but if the bride is just randomly assigning things guests don’t have that option. which i think will probably lead to more than one guest deciding not to go, rather than saying anything to the bride.

      12. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Yeah, we don’t know how that’s being done, or what order it’s being done in. I would assume that the bride would plan it out so that she only asked guests to bring something after they had confirmed their attendance. I would also assume that the bride is taking into consideration who is best at what, ie: not asking a bachelor who eats pizza every night to make something that requires any skills. But we don’t know.

      13. What if all the people assigned alcohol don’t show. T hat would be a sad sad wedding amirite?!

      14. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        You’re absolutely right.

      15. Avatar photo landygirl says:

        And she isn’t obligated to have a huge wedding ceremony.

      16. Avatar photo landygirl says:

        You seem to be taking this very personally.

    2. theattack says:

      Perfect response! I love that you explained why having two houses does not mean they have money. For the average middle class American right now, it probably means that things are kind of rough. I totally agree with everything you said.

      1. SpaceySteph says:

        Honestly, the house thing is the single biggest stressor in my life right now. Bigger than planning my wedding. Bigger than my job.
        You know when you are a college senior and people are like “so what are you gonna do when you graduate?” and you hate them all for asking that? Well that’s me with the “where are you guys gonna live?” question. Its awful. If I get ahold of a time machine, on my way back to the future from killing baby Hitler, I’m gonna stop in 2009 and beg myself not to buy a house.

      2. Avatar photo theattack says:

        haha, Right now I am finishing up college, planning a wedding, trying to find a new apartment in a new city I’m unfamiliar with, planning the transition from LDR to live-in relationship, and looking for a job. All at once I’m getting “What are you going to do when you graduate?” “Do you have a job yet?” “Do you have a new place yet/what’s your new address?” “When’s the wedding date?/What color are the bridesmaids dresses?/Is the groom dressing differently from the other groomsmen?/Where are you going on your honeymoon?/ Questions about every single other wedding topic possible.”

        Needless to say I totally get what you’re saying. I can’t even imagine the stress of having a house on top of everything, especially in this economy.

      3. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I didn’t know you were in a LDR too! My fiance and I were for like 3 years! We had a super easy transition to living together so I’m hoping it goes just as smoothly for you!

        And yes, wedding talk is driving me nuts too.

      4. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Thanks, GatorGirl! You and I are in extremely similar situations, though you’re a few months ahead of me. I’ve been in an LDR for two years (though kind of more like 3 since we were basically half-dating for a year), just got engaged in May, moving in together in two months, and getting married next May! We can go through the crazy together.

      5. SpaceySteph says:

        You know what drives me crazy about wedding talk? Whenever someone asks what I’m doing about X and I respond and they say “You can’t have X.” Of course I can, it’s my fucking wedding. (It’s my fiance’s too, of course, but he’s not the one saying “you cant…” and if he did I would not say that)
        For instance:
        Grandmother: “What shoes are you gonna wear?” “I’m looking for purple heels.” “You can’t wear purple shoes. They have to be dyed to match the dress.” (Wait til she sees the purple cowboy boots I bought for the reception!)
        Mom: “Have you found a makeup artist?” “I’m thinking we’ll do our own makeup.” “You can’t let people do their own makeup. It won’t look good.”
        Bridesmaid: “Where are you having your bridal shower?” “I’m not going to have one, I already had an engagement party for the family and don’t really need another party.” “You can’t do that. Everyone should have a bridal shower!” (Oh and when I still resisted she tried to get all the other girls to do it behind my back)

        Just let me do it my way, damnit!

      6. I hate this too!!! So much. I wanted to have just a two-person head table so that everyone in our wedding party could eat dinner with their date instead of sitting up with us, but my mom absolutely insisted on having it the “right way.”

        I’m also so tired of all the “are you getting excited???” questions and “you must be having so much fun planning.” I know they mean well, but I honestly hate the planning and all the details. I could never be an event planner. I can’t wait to just be married and not have a to-do list that’s a mile long!

      7. We had a two person “sweetheart” table, but also had 2 tables set up on either side of our table that we had the wedding party and their dates sit at. It was a good compromise.

      8. Avatar photo theattack says:

        I like this idea. I hadn’t even thought about the table issue until this post today. I’m going to write that down in the wedding notebook.

      9. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        oh the wedding notebook! I have a massive binder with dividers. EXHAUSTING!

      10. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Same. here. I kind of hate the notebook. And just this weekend I made another small notebook for looking for places to live, because our new city is apparently not very apartment-friendly, and this is going to be quite a project.

      11. I love that idea, too. Unfortunately, my mom thinks it would ruin the pictures to not have the wedding party sitting at one table. The things people end up caring about are really weird.

      12. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Who takes pictures of the whole wedding party sitting at a long table? If she is concerned about the toasts, just have them come stand next to you!

      13. That’s what I said! I guess she really, really wants a picture of everyone sitting together. Since I don’t care nearly as much as she does, I said fine, haha.

        My fiance’s father also insisted on wearing a kilt, so that will be interesting.

      14. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        You know I was getting kind of upset that my mom had a “do what you want” attitude about the wedding…but now I think I’m lucking out! She could careless if I wore blue jeans or a ball gown, or had 10 bridesmaids or none. My fiance’s mom on the other hand is pretty opinionated.

        And the kilt is awesome. Ha I love it.

      15. Avatar photo theattack says:

        That is a perfect example of the kind of crap that doesn’t matter but people make a big ass deal about it anyway. I hope you guys can come to an agreement.

      16. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Goddddddddddddd I know! I’ve had that exact conversation about the shoes with my mother, by the way, including colored shoes AND my cowboy boots. I always wondered why people stressed so much about wedding planning, and I’m learning it’s not so much all the details as it is dealing with everyone else and their BS.

      17. Yes, exactly!

      18. I heard the “you can’t” a lot when planning my wedding. The big one was bridal shower (they apparently wanted ME to throw one? I don’t think so – I’m giving the wedding), but my MOH ended up giving me a bridal shower, so that was fine. The other was a bachelor and bachelorette party. Everyone under the sun told me we HAD to have them. Well, neither of us wanted them. Eventually we did have a joint bachelor(ette) party together.

      19. It’s frustrating all the things you’re told you HAVE to have. As soon as people find out you’re getting married, they start giving their opinions and judging your choices. It’s so weird. Balancing everyone’s expectations is definitely the hardest part about wedding planning. (e.g. My dad and fiance: “We need a generator to power the lights under the tent.” My mom: “No, a generator would be too loud and smelly.”) For someone who hates making people upset, planning all these details has been a nightmare for me.

      20. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        One thing that is driving me nuts is people asking if we’ve thought of the most basic things…like rings. My fiances mom asked me the other day if we had budgeted for them…like duh it’s kind of the focal point of the day- me and him exchaning them…

      21. Hey Kristen! If you ever need a night away from all the stress, text me and we’ll get together for some wine. 🙂

      22. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        People look at me like I have three heads when I say we’re not having a wedding party. For some reason they just can’t wrap their heads around it. I’m also going to wear flat sandals which everyone thinks is nuts. Oh, and I did not get a strapless dress…people just can’t beleive it.

        Also we’re planning on going to our after party- not run away to the honeymoon suite (which we aren’t having one of those…) and everyone thinks we’re nuts. My fiance’s mom was like “but don’t you want to have alone time the first night your married??” I’d rather spend time with our family and friends who are coming from all over the east coast for this!

      23. This is so very true about other people’s opinions – about the most trivial things! But you find when the wedding is over that you CAN wear cowgirl boots, or not wear a veil, or not have a wedding party, or have ice cream sandwiches instead of cake or whatever, and you are still just as Married at the end of the night as anyone who did everything By The Book. If your moms give you a hard time about stuff, just ask them if it will still matter in 15 years whether your mascara was applied by a professional. (This worked with my mom!) Best of luck to all the BTBs!

        (And yeah, I will even admit this LW’s friend will be fully Married even if it is for the third time, and even if she annoys the crap out of all her loved ones and the potato salad turns and gives everyone food poisoning in the process) 🙂

      24. although you do have to be careful about the food poisoning. my mom went to a wedding when i was a teenager and quite a few people ended up with norwalk virus. they catered the event themselves but it was at a venue. the local health department ended up doing an investigation and i think someone was fined because certain food rules weren’t followed. i don’t know what the rules are if you have it at a private home. i do know that my mom and some guests got really sick, my mom ended up in the hospital because she was so dehydrated!

      25. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        In defense of your mother, I’ve seen some truly horrific make up at many a wedding… Jaw droppingly bad. Somebody always has some NEW eye shadow they love that looks dated two minuted before they even put it on.

        And regarding the bridal shower… You know, my sister wasn’t thrilled about having one, but she eventually relented, seeing that it meant a lot to our mother. PS: ALL my mother’s friends came and they ALL brought KILLER gifts… Not to sound materialistic, but it was pretty much “payback” for all the bridal showers my own mom brought a killer gift, too. The is a sort of reciprocity among classy family friends…

      26. I totally mock bad wedding makeup. Sadly its all too common, especially among brides in my family who go to disgusting ‘parlors’ that cake it on and make her look like the bride of frankenstein.

      27. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Well in defense of brides – sometimes make up looks caked on in person and FLAWLESSLY gorgeous in pictures. You’re my FB friend right lili? Well go look at my wedding pictures. I felt like a drag queen. In the pictures it looked very plain. Weird how that works.

      28. Nice pics, You look flawless! I love the eye emphasis too 🙂

        Yeah, its hard to get the right HD makeup and not have it look cakey. Plus with the sun beaming down, I can imagine how your artist layered for the venue and climate.

        The brides I’m referring too look like this:

      29. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Yeah looks pretty normal in pictures right? It was ridiculous in person. Or it felt like it. But that pictures is YIKES. YIKES. I hate heavy eye make up and heavy lip. Choose one or the other.

      30. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Oh and I forgot to tell you – I did everything myself except the eyeshadow and lip shade. And I am nooo expert. I just did double what I normally do.

      31. SpaceySteph says:

        Yeah my concern is if I go get it done professionally, it’ll be caked on and hide my (self-proclaimed, of course) adorable freckles. I want less makeup, not to do myself up like a raccoon. And honestly, will it really ruin my wedding if my bridesmaids go the bride of Frankenstein route? No.

      32. A good makeup artist SHOULD be able to do that. I mean, just use a sheer foundation. I take it you don’t have any major skin concerns right, so a sheer foundation should work. The only tricky part would be the right blush since I’m assuming your freckles are on you nose/cheeks. BUT there are sheer blushes out there that can let it show through as well. Oh and for the nose, the RIGHT highlighter is crucial, because you want it to stand out in pics, but again, not cover the freckles. Hmm. I know a lot of wedding makeup artists like to go airbrushing because its ‘high profile’ but it DOES change a person’s look. Another reason I don’t ever wanna be a ‘professional’ just want to know what I can rock and not 😉

        Oh an sorry if any of that sounded like it was unsolicited advice. It was me mostly just thinking out loud about makeup.

      33. Avatar photo theattack says:

        I need you to come teach me how to do my makeup!

      34. Oh AND SpaceySteph Just an FYI: I’d make a note to mention your freckle love to your wedding photographer so they don’t photoshop them out. I have a friend who’s a photographer and freckles (and fat rolls and blemishes) are EXACTLY the kinds of things she photoshops out. Its amazing how made up even ‘family’ and senior pics are. To the point where I find them to be more works of computers than naturally occurring

      35. SpaceySteph says:

        I was going home to buy my dress at a family friend’s store so I told my mom that if she wanted to do a party she should do it then. I said it could be a shower and I would come alone or an engagement party and I’d bring my fiancé. She chose engagement party. We have given my fiancé’s mom a similar deal when we go visit in September. So we’re hitting all the family friends that way, my own personal friends are all invited to the destination bachelorette party gathering, and my work acquaintances are not really people I want to be making toilet paper wedding dresses and stuff with.

        You make a good point about the shower usually being more about the reciprocity. My mom has already called like “Have you gotten a gift from so and so?” after the engagement party, trying to use that to decide what gifts to bring to other showers and graduation parties and such.

      36. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        We’re doing something similar since our families live so far apart. One party in one state and another in the other state. We live in a third state but I don’t think we’re doing anything here. Time to stock up on thank you cards!

      37. I hate the “You Can’ts” too. Especially since it’s my 3rd go-round. What’s even worse, is my mom expects me to do things as if it’s still my first. “You can’t wear a black dress!” (uh… after 4 kids and 2 previous marriages, a sign of purity is a joke, and I hate wearing white anyways), “you have to have a wedding party” (not when there are only 35 people being invited), “you can’t not invite your sister” (oh yes I can). My favorite is from my grandma though. “You can’t have pizza as the main dish at a reception”. Watch me.

        This isn’t elaborate. We’re doing the Spaceballs short-short version and then everyone can enjoy hanging out and doing what they want. At my expense. No dressing up, no gifts, no worries. Let the kids get messy if they bring any with them. Let my SO’s mother get pissed off because my 2nd ex-husband attended and it’s the first time she’s meeting the rest of my family (minus my sister and my biological father’s side and the majority of my maternal side). The close friends we wanted there will enjoy themselves.

      38. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        A pizza reception sounds awesome.

      39. This sounds like a kickass wedding. LOVE the Spaceballs reference. “Do you? Yes! Do you? Yes! GOOD! You’re married! Kiss her!!”

      40. Temperance says:

        Can I just tell you that I am so fucking happy that Dyeables are no longer in fashion?

        Also, GO YOU for getting purple shoes and cowboy boots. I’d rather see something different than either white heels or converse.

    3. Avatar photo landygirl says:

      After two previous weddings, which probably included her friends buying her shower and wedding gifts, this woman is asking a lot from her friends to help pay to celebrate her third wedding. She should go to Vegas and elope, not expect her friends to foot the bill because she likes to get married.

      Chances are good that number 3 will go the way of numbers 1 and 2.

  26. zombeyonce says:

    I’m just imagining the hellish nightmare of trying to get my casserole dish back at the end of a potluck meal for 100 people.

    1. Avatar photo theattack says:

      A lot of people bring disposable roasting pans to potlucks for this very reason.

      1. zombeyonce says:

        But that’s just more money spent. And I know my super eco-friendly husband would hate the idea of taking a dish that will be thrown away instead of reused. Also, to me it would look tacky to have a table full of aluminum foil containers and tupperware (not for regular potlucks, but for a fancy manor wedding that this thing apparently is).

      2. You beat me with the green comment! I’ve complained about how green my office is and how the city is now banning plastic bags. But, I have to admit it has a purpose and using non disposable items just looks better. And is more earth friendly, so after getting used to it, I kinda like it 🙂

      3. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I’d be irritated if there were 100 disposable pans wasted at my wedding. We’re a pretty envoirnmentally conscience house so that would just not work here. There is definitely a time and a place for the throw away pans, but I would be grumpy about it at my wedding!

      4. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        I agree, the whole paper plates in general is an idea I find obnoxious truth be told.

      5. So now they’re paying the $4.99 for a disposable dish too?! Jesus.

      6. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Jesus Christ, guys. I dont’ know why this is so irritating to me, but I feel like I’m being personally attacked on here for everything today. Even pointing out a freaking option for pans. Jesus Christ. I’m sorry I even read this post.

        (btw, I just picked the last comment to reply to, bethany. nothing specifically at you over all the other comments)

      7. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Hahaha, Thanks, Lili! That was pretty funny.

      8. zombeyonce says:

        I should admit that I live in Portland, which makes the Portlandia clip all the more hilarious.

      9. why are you complaining? you were okay with attacking sarobelle in the other thread. double standard, anyone?

      10. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Actually I didn’t even make a comment on the whole sarobelle thread. I only commented once on that whole post. You’re confusing me with someone else, but thanks for saying it’s okay for everyone to make personal attacks on me. I really appreciate it.

      11. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Also thanks to the people who “liked” martha’s comment without paying any attention to whether or not it was true. These comments today have made me feel so hated that I wonder if I should just leave DW. I was gone for over a month when Wendy blocked me and no one noticed or cared anyway.

      12. From what I´ve read of your posts I agree with you. 🙂

        I´ve been meaning to ask you, any update on the situation with your professor?

      13. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Well, the class ended yesterday, thank goodness. I ultimately just sucked it up, bought new clothes with my grocery money, and just ended up having different issues with him. He ended up telling the whole class that he was “just teasing me” (he totally was not. he was extremely mean), but that he just, oops, forgot to tell me that. The whole class knew he wasn’t kidding about it, and it was kind of awkward because we all knew he was trying to save face without admitting he was wrong.

        Then one day he told me that I had a good body for public speaking. And another day I came into class in a dress, and as I was leaving the classroom, he grabbed my elbow, looked me up and down, and made that guttural “MMMMM” noise and told me I looked good and should wear dresses more often. That he’d wanted to see me do my speeches in a dress (versus the khakis and slacks I had been wearing). So basically, he’s horribly unprofessional and should not be allowed to teach. I know I should report him, but I’m honestly just tired of dealing with him, and I only have a few more weeks of the university anyway. I just want to forget about it and move on now.

      14. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Thanks for asking, by the way! Also, it’s totally nice to know that someone remembers who I am from one thing to another. That makes me feel special. 🙂

      15. You´re welcome. I´m glad you´re feeling better about it.
        And that professor sounds like such an ass!

      16. Slimy bastard sounds like a great candidate for post-university, transcripts in hand, public shaming:)

      17. zombeyonce says:

        I didn’t mean to make you feel attacked; I’m sorry it came across that way. 🙁

        I had considered the disposable container option as well, but just wanted to point out why I didn’t like that solution very much.

        Here’s a cute bunny picture to make you feel better:

      18. Avatar photo theattack says:

        I got an access denied when I clicked on the link. 🙁 But thanks!

  27. AliceInDairyLand says:

    Everyone say their favorite dish(es) to bring to a potluck! GO!

    –Hot cheesy artichoke dip in a small crockpot
    –Orzo salad with roasted chickpeas, dill, and lemon (hot or cold people!)

    As an aside, I think people are not understanding the potluck idea where you bring one casserole sized dish. Otherwise you get an insane amount of food. And maybe she is having other people bring plates, booze, etc because they specifically said they hate/don’t cook. We don’t have enough information to make a judgement call… Basically LW, I would say either come and bring a dish or politely decline.

    1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      I make this killer black bean and corn salsa dip thing. YUM! We’re having a pot luck 4th of July party tomorrow- horray!

      1. AliceInDairyLand says:

        This sounds amazing. We need to have a virtual DW potluck some time on the open thread…

      2. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        The dip (or side dish) is super easy. A can of black beans (rinsed and I prefer Goya), a bag of frozen sweet corn (has to be sweet!!), some diced onion and tomato, salt, peper, and fresh lime juice. I usually thrown in some KC Masterpeice Chipotle Lime marinade and maybe some salsa and let is sit for a while. You can serve it hot or cold, as a dip for tortillas or a side to a entree. I can’t wait to make it tonight.

    2. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

      I make a killer pasta salad… Rainbow Rotini and a bazillion vegetables and the a decent bottled Italian dressing. Oh, I’ve made my own dressing before, but honestly, Kraft House Italian really makes this salad sing for some odd reason. Store bought pasta salads are always so BLAND. Not mine! It’s delicious. Oh, and FETA cheese always adds a nice punch, too.

      I also whip up this decidedly odd chinese cabbage salad made with ramen noodles of all things… Okay, it sounds hideous, I know, but truthfully, is always a huge hit. Especially if I use red/purple cabbage as its so visually striking… It has carrots, green onions, and cashews or almonds in it. And sometimes, mandarin oranges. You make the dressing with sesame oil and the ramen seasoning packet among other things… It’s a recipe my mom makes every summer and it’s really quite good. No matter how small the gathering there is never any left over to bring home, it always GOES!

      My other go to — is the Trader Joe’s cheese plate. Meaning I shop TJ’s where it’s super fun and easy pick up a few things that will wow guests. I start with three harder cheeses, like: English Cheddar with Caramelized Onions, Iberica (always serve this with honey, yum!) and maybe something more typical like a Swiss. I also usually grab the goat cheese trio as well — a of of BANG for your 5 bucks! Oh, and some Hard Salami. Along with that box of the assorted crackers and viola! People WILL love it. Brie is always good, too. Honestly, there are so many cheeses at Trader Joes it’s impossible not to find something amazing there…

      1. Baked brie is one of my favorite things ever. And your pasta salad sounds delicious!

      2. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        It’s SUPER easy. The trick is to just cook the pasta perfectly and pick interesting veggies. And mixing those up can change the taste wildly — jarred artichoke hearts for example.

      3. I’ve made the chinese cabbage salad before. Although, we call it chinese cole slaw and instead of cabbage, we buy bags of shredded broccoli. Still delish though.

      4. AliceInDairyLand says:

        You are making me crave a cheese plate…. I might have to go to TJ just to pick up one to eat for myself. Pathetic or brilliant, I’m not 100% sure… Also I think I have had a similar napa/chinese cabbage dish and I ate wayy more than I should have.

    3. zombeyonce says:

      My mom’s secret recipe chocolate chip cookies or brownie bites (brownie mix in a mini muffin pan) with chocolate chunks. Simple and popular. They both go fast.

    4. SpaceySteph says:

      Tonight I’m going to a not-really-potluck party. Host is providing hot dogs and hamburgers, I’m providing buns.
      I’m also bringing sangria and sour cream and onion dip. And I’m super excited to eat all that deliciousness.

  28. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

    I’m a little late to the party here – which is probably a good thing because I have nothing nice to say – but I’m going to say it anyways.

    This is so tacky. You are essentially making other people pay for your wedding. TACKY. Don’t get me wrong I love a good potluck – for the 4th of July. Or hell even for a wedding if it’s a small intimate affair. But for 100 people? On your third marriage? You should be begging people to support your third marriage. I mean frankly three strikes you’re out. Maybe this whole marriage thing just isn’t for you. But who asks for gifts for a 3rd wedding? You’re 55 years old – do you really need a fucking mix master?

    Actually you know what? I’m just jealous. From now on Sampson is getting a large extravagant birthday party every year where my friends are welcome to bring cash gifts. I mean he is saving for college. What else can my friends subsidize? Maybe I can have an “I want to be a home owner so everyone come over and give me money party” too. Pot luck of course.

    Sigh. I hate people.

    And for everyone judging people that go to weddings for the free meal – well duh. But mostly the free booze. I never really end up eating anything at weddings. But then again I have this weird thing where alcohol is an appetite suppressant to me. You know what food is good with wine? More wine.

    I just realized I didn’t have any advice. Whoops. Okay LW – go and don’t bring a dish. Oh the blasphemy! Seriously – I mean what are they going to do – use your dish as a ticket in? Fuck that. You gotta work the system on the down low. Or just don’t go. This lady sounds like she sucks anyways.

  29. The problem I have with this is that I was taught that when you throw your own party, you cover the cost, not the ppl you invite. And if you can’t afford it then you don’t throw one in the first place.

    Also, reading all the comments on wedding planning really make me not want a wedding.

    LW, if you don’t feel like going, then just don’t go. Or go, and bring you assigned dish. Hopefully it will be something you know how to cook and it won’t be to expensive.

  30. fast eddie says:

    Who knows if the couple can really afford a caterer or not. With the real estate market in a flux, having properties (plural) doesn’t mean having cash or even credit. I’d make the dish and keep within my own budget for the gift. If she’s worthy of friendship and you want to make a point let her know that EVERYBODY is feeling the pinch and offer labor in place of a toaster.

    We were lucky that we could ratchet up the credit cards for our shindig, and made it clear that gifts were not required. Some friends of ours had a small wedding and party and asked for donations to their church’s building fund in place of microwave ovens, a class act all the way.

  31. I didn’t get a chance to read the comments, but shouldn’t the dish be the gift? I don’t see anything wrong with a pot-luck reception. However, I think it’s tacky to request a specific dish. Regardless, if the guests are supplying the food and beverages that should be their gift to the couple. Guests shouldn’t be expected to cater the party and buy the couple a gift. Why not ask everyone to bring a dish and include the recipe for the happy couple? The couple will have a fun reception with lots of food variety and a bunch of recipes to try together. Unfortunately this bride probably wants lots of “stuff” and won’t be happy with just recipes. I personally would love it though.

  32. lets_be_honest says:

    This was a lovely reminder of why I never want a wedding because it’s apparently only for everyone but the people getting married. Luckily, it’s also a reminder that if I told my friends and family I wanted to get married in 7-11 and none existed they would make one for me and attend with a smile on their faces. Ugh.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      The hypocrisy on this thread after last weeks is laughable. Also all the people above who were annoyed their family said you CANT do x y or z…how come u think it’s totally cool to tell this bride what she can’t do bc you think it’s tacky.

      1. I´m with you lbh!!!! As always. 🙂

        Sorry, should´ve said wlbhs.

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        That’s why we’re dwbffs 🙂

      3. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. I have sat here quietly watching this obscene flirting and it has to stop now. JK is *my* dwbff and lets_be_honest is my dw lesbian lover. You two need to back away from each other because I do not like my dw worlds colliding.

      4. Don´t worry, there´s JK for everyone. 🙂
        And you get me on fb, AP.

      5. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        No JK for nobody but me!

      6. Maybe its because I’m on mental holiday, but I don’t see the hypocrisy you are. I think the other thread and this one have the same theme. People hate being told what to do and how to do it when they are guests at someone’s wedding and I’d say in life in general. And by being told I mean, by having the person hosting event dictate. Like we all basically know what we as a polite society have to do, show up with a gift, dressed well etc. but its the being explicitly told how to do it by the people who invited us that rubs some/most/pick one people the wrong way.

      7. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Omg, THANK YOU!!! Seriously. (Btw, I’m annoyed that my family thinks I can’t do X,Y, and Z and that I have to do A, B, and C, but I am clearly on the side of the couple here). I thought I was the only one that thought this.

    2. Avatar photo landygirl says:

      Are you a 55 year old woman about to get married for the 3rd time? If not I wouldn’t take this personally.

      1. Avatar photo theattack says:

        I really don’t think that matters, and I’m guessing that LBH doesn’t think so either.

      2. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Eh – to me it makes a huge difference. I didn’t even ask for presents on my first wedding let alone my THIRD. You’re 55 – do you seriously need another blender?

        Listen I’m not bashing the pot luck dinner – I actually think it’s a great idea since I don’t really like steak/pot roast and that seems to be a regular at most weddings. Plus I never eat much anyway. But it is so gross to ask for presents for a 3rd wedding let alone dictate what they are.

      3. Avatar photo theattack says:

        I’ve already said a good deal about this today, but I don’t think we can jump to the conclusion that the bride is actually ASKING for gifts and telling people what to buy. I’m guessing that she just made a registry for people who did want to buy her gifts, and maybe for any showers or engagement parties that were thrown for her. I think the LW is exaggerating because she’s annoyed.

      4. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        But then why wouldn’t she just have said she registered? I mean saying that she asked for really specific gifts leads me to believe that she said I want this from you – and you’re also in charge of bringing a pasta dish. I guess I just think we need to take the LW’s at their word. And if she’s annoyed we should think about why she’s annoyed. Probably because the bride is being really annoying. Is 100 people necessary for a 3rd wedding?! At 55?? And even if she did just register – I judge her for that too. Why at 55 do you need a blender? If you want to celebrate your marriage – then fine celebrate it. But don’t register for gifts and write – “We request your presence to celebrate in our love, no gifts please”.

        There are ways to celebrate without being tacky – this bride is just missing the point.

      5. Avatar photo landygirl says:

        I agree, I think people are reading things into this letter that aren’t there because these are things they are currently experiencing. My husband and I rented the space and paid for the food and alcohol at our wedding without ever expecting to receive a gift in return. I had a wedding because I wanted to celebrate and share a special day with my friends and family.

        The biggest issue I have with this bride is that she’s all about gimme gimme. If she had any tact, which she apparently doesn’t, she wouldn’t be holding her hand out looking for a free ride. She doesn’t need a wedding, she wants a wedding and she wants others to finance it.

      6. lets_be_honest says:

        I’m just commenting like every else. You included. Are you taking my comments personally? Prob not. Why assume I am? That’s just silly.

    3. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

      Does this remind anyone else of the Sex and the City episode where Carrie gets offended that she’s going to their friends 3rd baby shower and no one ever celebrates her singledom? And then her shoes get stolen at the party and the mom won’t reimburse her because she thinks it’s pathetic she spent $400 on shoes. Because the mom/friend thinks her life in general is pathetic since she’s single and has no kids.

      Not sure why this reminds me of that, but now I want to watch Sex and the City.

      1. Heh, it reminded me of that episode too.

  33. Sue Jones says:

    The pot luck dinner is a GREAT ideal! So many bridezillas blow a fortune on a fancy wedding only to get a divorce soon after. I think it is a smart economical choice and a great way to support a new marriage. Would that ALL weddings were like this instead of the lavish narcissismfest that most of them are. As for asking for specific gifts, why not? If you don’t ask for what you want you may get a lot of stuff that you don’t want or need. And yes, a registry really does the same thing.

    1. I have to disagree, to me a registry serves the function of allowing people to get me something that they know that I would enjoy — should they decide to get me a present for my wedding. Taking the LW at her word she was specifically instructed as to what to give as a gift, not given the opportunity to choose to give a gift if she wanted… after cooking her own meal.

      As I wrote above, I believe there are cultural distinctions in the US between what people consider the proper role for guest vs. host — in that what is encouraged in one area (chipping in, helping out, “being a part of the event” down south) is specifically discouraged in others (northeast, ironically enough where we are supposed to be the rudest;) — it would be considered terribly rude to ask your guests to help out at all because you are expected to host). It usually balances out within a community… can get a little fun when you are blending the two.

      I think it results in the different perspectives being seen on this thread. Also have to second Lily above in that I really really don’t like being told what to do, which is part of what is really nails on the chalkboard for me about this case.

      1. Sue Jones says:

        You are talking to someone who got married in her livingroom with one other couple as witnesses. My first wedding, my (still after 17 years) husband ‘s 2nd. His first wedding was a huge lavish major big deal and it ended in divorce within 3 years… I didn’t want the stress of a wedding and knew my mother would try to make it “her” wedding so we sort of eloped. Then 3 months later we had a kick-ass party where family and friends could celebrate with us and the next day we had a (gasp!) potluck with a band that I was a member of, but did not perform that day. And my Dad gave us a check that would have gone for a wedding and we used it as a down payment for a house. The whole lavish wedding thing makes my skin crawl to be honest, but I do love to attend weddings when invited, and if someone wants me to cook something, I have no problem doing that. We do things a little differently and non-traditionally out in the Rockies I suppose…

      2. Temperance says:

        See, THAT is the PERFECT situation for a potluck! It’s fun! It’s a nonformal celebration! It was for your first wedding, and you weren’t expecting your friends to feed 100 people, and presumably (judging by your comment here, you seem fairly laid-back) weren’t telling them exactly the item to make and bring!

    2. Temperance says:

      See, I think my issue is that this is clearly a lavish narcissism-fest! She’s hosting it at a “manor”, and expects her 100 guests to provide all food, alcohol, and plates/cups.

      It’s also her third wedding. You don’t have a huge third wedding. It’s tack-city.

  34. We can all share our opinions without judgment. That’s all. Where is Addie Pray???

  35. HAHAHAHAH OMG. You guys I just came home to a wedding invite. Luckily, all I have to do is choose between (and these are the actual choices, I love it!)

    1)Pepper and Herb encrusted tenderloin of beef served with cognac truffle demi glace
    2)Mesquite grilled salmon with lemon basil butter
    3)Roasted red peppers stuffed with wild rice, basil, roasted vegetables and goat cheese served on a yellow pepper coulis.

    OMG they all sound amazing. I’m leaning towards the beef. And she has three registries, so plenty of pricing options for gifts. So glad I don’t have to deal with the LW’s type of bride!

    1. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

      They had me at pepper and herb.

    2. Lili… I recommend the following course of action in determining your wedding gift:
      Go online and peruse a grocery website to estimate the cost of each of those meal choices, then you must create an algorithm that calculates the miles traveled to the wedding, lodging costs (- 2.65 for black/white tie attire), divided by how long you’ve known the person — multiplied by a factor of whether you are good friends or great friends or BFFs (+8.45 if this woman has been your midwife or has shameful photos of you from high school) taken by an exponent of whether you are invited with a guest or not… and thus you have properly determined how much your wedding present must be depending on whether you like beef or salmon and can proceed accordingly:)))

      1. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        I just lol’ed all over my computer screen.

      2. Tangent… Precise numbers above because I’ve been watching the gymnastics olympic qualifying, and I miss the old school scoring. Now I have no clue what a good score is… 16 maybe!?! Ruined it. What was so wrong with Mary Lou and the perfect 10?

      3. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        MMcG – you know I don’t speak spanish.

        Are you talking about the Olympics? Are they on?

      4. I get within a month of those glorious rings and its GAME ON. I went in Atlanta in 96 and it remains one of the better things I’ve ever experienced… so I’ve already watched gymnastics, track & field, and swimming. I HIGHLY recommend swimming… that and men’s water polo can change a gal forever;)

      5. HAHAHAHAHA. Thanks! And the Bride to be is so cool–I’ll be seeing her tomorrow–I think I can mention that a friendly internet person told me the algorithm 😉 I also plan on asking her what she liked more at her tasting and using that as a factor.

    3. SpaceySteph says:

      Never the beef, is my advice. Beef is the most likely to end up dry and overcooked because they have to keep it warm somehow. I always choose the fish.

  36. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

    I’m sofa king full. I just ate 1/2 a large pizza and I want to puke. That’s all. Everybody carry on. By the way, *what* is everyone talking about? I feel left out.

    1. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

      I’m talking about Sex and the City and what I’m having for dinner. Qdoba and beer? Too fatty? I can’t decide.

      1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Qdoba is so good. I dream of a sea of Qdoba queso that I can swim naked in and slurp up every passing tortilla chip.

      2. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        I’m so happy you said that. You’re forgiven for the RR update. I seriously think Qdoba Queso rivals Haciendas Queso – which is unreal. Chicken Queso nachos or Chicken Queso Burrito?

        Also Ethan isn’t home from work yet. Me thinks someone is getting drunk with friends. I am so proud.

      3. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Can we talk about my new condo? I saw it again today during the inspection. I am so in love. I have so many plans for the condo.

      4. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        I have so many plans for the condo too. I hope that’s not awkward for you.

      5. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Mi plans et su plans mon amour!

      6. How was the inspection?
        So cool that you got one you love so much. 🙂

      7. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Are you moving to the South?

      8. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        No. Change of plans. I took a job in Chicago instead.

      9. Queso anything is a win in my book! Except I worked out too hard an now can’t move. so I will just stare at images of pizza online and pretend its satisfying. It kind of is, god you guys, I’m becoming like the models at work. I dont need to EAT the food, seeing it is enough.

      10. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Ugh – so much for getting drunk tonight – I would have to drink like 7 shots to get drunk after that burrito. Mmmmm Queso como.

      11. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        seriously, how fun would it be to swim naked in queso?

      12. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Too soon Addie, too soon. Wait like an hour until the Queso has made it through my intestines. Right now it is one bite away from coming back up.

      13. Let it. Model Diet! Can you guess we have a photoshoot coming up at work. I always feel so inadequate on photoshoot days.

    2. Avatar photo theattack says:

      Ugh. Pizza. Last night I ordered a pizza while I was studying for a final, thinking that I could eat on it for a few days. When it got here, the dough wasn’t cooked all the way, and someone did the crappiest job of cutting it I’ve ever seen. It looked like a block of knives fell on top of it and just accidentally cut into the top of it in some random places, but didn’t quite make it all the way through. It was ridiculous and a total waste of money. On top of that, I couldn’t find anywhere online to give the place a horrible review.

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