Amanda
Beginner October 2020 Ontario

Potluck vs. Buffet caterer

Amanda, on 7/February/2019 at 22:25 Posted in Wedding reception
Hey all!

Thought I’d pop in here and get other opinions. I have a heated issue in my planning process about the “FOOD” section. I have been looking at caterers (nothing fancy) to do a buffet style dinner; prices are reasonable in my opinion. Anyways the fiancé is pushing heavily on doing a potluck, as he doesn’t want to spend the money on it. I do see the pros of saving money and such. But I see major cons; I personally have a GLUTEN allergy (and scared of food ruining my day) and there are a lot of out of town guest coming (which is hard to make a dish in a hotel).

So im looking for opinions or suggestions on how to go about this lovely obstacle!! Or if you have done a potluck style, how did you go about it??

So many decisions!!!!!

Sidenote: my my mom has offered to pay a portion of a caterer, and the fiancé is fully aware of that
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17 Comments

  • Maria
    Newbie August 2019 British Columbia
    Maria ·

    I had the same problems but the other way around. I wanted to have his family bring pot luck dishes as a lot of them do private catering, but he wanted to cater as it would be less work for our guests, and he figured we would have to be the ones taking them shopping, or at the very least offering our cooking space etc.

    I found some low cost option. We live in the Lower Mainland of BC, one great place is Memphis Blue's that does southern BBQ style. They are a restaurant that makes large platters for restaurant goers to share. We were going to just buy 10 platters for 10 people, (we have a hundred guests), but found out that they actually have even lower cost catering options.


    Another option is a low cost catering company that helps refugee women. They give women who might have a hard time to get employment due to their language and other barriers, but damn, can they cook a good meal. There are many options, Indian, Middle Eastern/Greek, Latin American, Caribbean, African etc. depending on the cuisine, you can see that they can do vegetarian, and other options.


    There is also another option here in Vancouver, that helps First Nations women and youth to gain cooking skills and helps them to get trained as chefs and supports them in opening up their own businesses later. The good thing is that this company uses all locally sourced food, is very gourmet looking, so it classes up the experience, and you know that your money is going to a good cause.


    Lastly, I would suggest that you think about your favourite ma/pa restaurant and ask them if they would cater for your event. You would be surprised how many, even if they don't regularly do catering, would be willing to do it and usually at a very low cost.

    I know it's not the best help because we are in a totally different city, but I hope it gives you some ideas.

    Good luck!

  • Amanda
    Beginner October 2020 Ontario
    Amanda ·
    View quoted message
    Oh I know 🙄
  • Bianca
    Featured August 2019 Ontario
    Bianca ·

    Your FH needs to consider all the obstacles with having a potluck and suck it up and do the catered buffet! It will be so much easier in the end and it won't be imposing on your guests.

  • T
    Curious April 2019 Ontario
    Trish ·
    View quoted message

    All of what she said! Never mind the liability part if someone gets really sick!

  • Toni Rose
    Beginner October 2020 Ontario
    Toni Rose ·
    I would definitely get a caterer that offers buffet options. With you allergy, it's better to be safe than sorry. I have an allergy to tomatoes and no matter how often I tell my family, they still make dishes with tomatoes and say 'just eat around it' . Plus, it gives you the assurance that your guests will have enough to eat rather than depending on your guests to making enough servings per dish.
  • Allison
    Featured October 2019 Ontario
    Allison ·
    View quoted message

    With that guest count, I would go with a caterer!

  • C
    Curious May 2021 Ontario
    Charelline ·
    Any ideas for a good buffet caterer in ontario. Dont lnow much about the potluck deal but it does sounds stressful...
  • Taylor
    Curious May 2020 Ontario
    Taylor ·
    Go for the caterer! Less stress on you and your guests. You won’t have to worry about what people are bringing/whether or not it will cause you discomfort/whether or not something will cause other guests discomfort, etc.
  • Amanda
    Beginner October 2020 Ontario
    Amanda ·
    View quoted message
    That’s how I feel. My allergy aside. We have about 150 on our rough guest list so far. We have time as the wedding isn’t till October 2020, but a lot of places are booking so I want to get in with a caterer sooner then later.
  • Allison
    Featured October 2019 Ontario
    Allison ·
    I would go with the caterer in your case!

    How many guests are you having? If there is a lot, then there would be lots needed to be prepared and if most guests are out of town, they aren’t gonna want to transport a dish with them.

    I’d try and talk to your FH and make pros/cons for each - he might be thinking in dollars and cents but if your mom is offering to pay a chunk, I would focus on the logistics of each option.
  • Donna
    Frequent user July 2019 Ontario
    Donna ·

    That's a great idea but it's too late for that. Someone had mentioned that to us, earlier in the game, then maybe.

  • Allen
    Frequent user April 2019 Ontario
    Allen ·
    I'm doing a potluck! I have only one person who is gluten and lactose intolerant, it saves us a bunch of money and everyone is a great cook!
  • Leah
    Featured April 2019 British Columbia
    Leah ·
    Do you or your FH office potlucks?

    Personally, I’m not a fan bc you can never know about the cleanliness of the person cooking the food.

    I also would want my guests to come, relax and celebrate, not think about what dish to make/bring/transport.

    Not to mention the logistics (who will bring what? Will you/your FH make something?), how will you heat and keep the food warm?

    It all just seems to messy for me. And given that you’ve got the financial assistance that seems like the best way to go.


  • Amanda
    Beginner October 2020 Ontario
    Amanda ·
    View quoted message
    I think that’s what I have to do. As I’ve also started to weigh out the cost of tent vs hall. Just thought I’d get some other opinions or if people have done potluck ! I know deep down catering is the only way 😜 lol
  • Tori
    Featured October 2019 Manitoba
    Tori ·

    In this situation I really don't see how potluck is even an option tbh...

    Plus - as much as you are saving on the food by doing a potluck, if I was a guest - I just would give a smaller wedding gift/ presentation amount and it would end up evening out more-less...

    Try listing a pro's and con's list with the FH?

  • Amanda
    Beginner October 2020 Ontario
    Amanda ·
    View quoted message
    Exactly! The last thing I want to be is stressed. I discussed with coworkers last night about this and one suggested going to a local butcher and getting the meat already cooked and sliced, so all we would have to do is warm it... I suppose to not make it sound rude or tacky to other guest only have our bridal party or immediate family bring / help with the other dishes or buy all the sides done and put in those warming dishes.

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