Wedding Wednesday: The Food

Hey y’all! Remember how The Boy and I unexpectedly flew to Alaska and got married in a civil ceremony? Well! I’ve been posting all the little details (that we were able to pull together) for several weeks now and a question from a reader inspired me to write about the topic of today’s post – Le Wedding Food. In a nutshell, she wanted to know how in the hell we were able to cater a reception on three days’ notice. I’ve got two words for you. 

Potluck reception.

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And here’s the thing y’all. I’ve got zero problem with a potluck wedding… if handled properly. Because you know what? Sometimes a potluck is your ONLY option when it comes to hosting a party on short notice. Remember those three whole days that we had to plan this sucker? Yeah… that most definitely did not include arranging for a last-minute catering service for an undetermined number of people (and let’s not forget that even finding catering in rural Alaska was gonna be a bitch [plus, we did not have any money to pay for anything like that]). Here’s how it all went down.

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On a Monday, we made the decision to get married the following Friday after getting some devastating news dad/cancer-wise. Everyone in my family was busy dealing with dad so I picked up the phone and called an old friend. I explained the situation to her and asked for help. She picked the location for the ceremony (the local fairgrounds) and offered to call everyone she knew with the news (FYI – those were our official wedding invitations). At that time, we discussed whether or not a potluck wedding would be inappropriate.

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Mostly, my concern was having people think that we were tacky or pushy. Like, “Hey! Come to my last-minute wedding and also – BRING CHIPS!” But my friend pointed something out to me. People like to help. Explaining the situation and asking people to help out (in lieu of gifts) was basically a wonderful way to include everyone in our wedding. So, the word went out (and was also posted on our wedding website) and I just decided to let it go.

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And everything turned out fine. If a last-minute potluck wedding bothered anyone’s delicate sensibilities – I never heard about it (and in a teeny tiny community? I’d heard about it, I assure you). We provided a giant-ass sports dispenser of water and another of pink lemonade (the kind made from those powdered mixes at Sam’s) and a tiny wedding cake for us to cut into. Everyone else provided everything else – and boy did they!

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Here’s a bit of a potluck food round-up (this is everything that I know of – I barely got to eat at all):

  • Salmon (TONS OF SALMON). It's rural Alaska in July, y'all. People had just been dipnetting or at a fishwheel and were more than happy to share the wealth.
  • Fried chicken. Someone brought this from the grocery store. I didn't get any.
  • Veggie tray.
  • Deviled eggs. From my sister – it's her go-to potluck dish. I actually had to pull the Bride Card and snatch the very last one out of a kid's hand.
  • Snicker pie. Have any of you had this? It's basically Cool Whip, Snickers, and vanilla pudding. I ate a ton of it and almost threw up (but you will get that story another time…).
  • Bread. Someone brought a couple of loaves.
  • Swedish meatballs. My mom's go-to potluck dish.
  • Salad. I think it was a mix from a bag with fresh garden veggies tossed in.
  • Coleslaw.
  • Jell-o salad. A potluck staple.
  • Crackers and dip.
  • Watermelon.
  • Otter Pops. This was actually the coolest thing ever. Someone brought a cooler filled with these popsicles and a pair of scissors. They taped a sign on the lid that said, "Help yourself but make sure that the trash ends up in the cooler!". So smart!
  • Wedding cake, sheet cake, and mini red velvet cupcakes. Courtesy of me, my mom, and my maid-of-honor.

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Amazing right? It was so cool to bump into people throughout the day at the various stores as they were buying things to share or have them call me and say, “I’ve got such-and-such in my fridge – do you want me to bring it?” I was just stunned at how everyone came together to share what they could and help feed our guests. Here I had been all appalled at doing something as tacky as a potluck reception and… no one cared. They understood our situation and stepped up to the plate to support us. No one cared that we had asked them to pitch in. They only cared about helping us get married.

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And so Tulle Nation, I ask you – what’s your option on a potluck reception? Have you ever been to (or hosted) one? Any advice or pointers? Or maybe you just want to share your go-to potluck dish? At the beep…please leave your comment.

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