Bring a dish, it’s a wedding!

No, it’s not me getting married! It’s my cousin Justin and his new wife, Nicole. Over the weekend, my family went to her mother’s house on Afton Mountain outside Charlottesville for a gorgeous wedding. The backyard ceremony overlooked the Blue Ridge Mountains—you can’t get much prettier than that!

We’re a pretty cute family 🙂

Their idea was to have a potluck wedding.

I think there are some huge benefits to this: Everything is delicious, there has to be something that guests will like, and there’s no lack of choices to fill your plate. Salads and pastas, and veggies and fruits, barbeque and brisket, and also cakes and more cakes! Mmm. (I took my favorite lentil-and-orzo dish, recipe below.) Food has always been an important part of life for both sides of my family, and since most guests weren’t traveling too far, the idea seemed perfect to me. Now, if cooking and sharing responsibilities isn’t part of your family’s culture, then a potluck wedding would likely not be appropriate.

Plus, I’m sure you save money by having a potluck at your wedding. I see no reason to have absurd wedding budgets, when the money could be better spent on preparing a home together. Simple can be beautiful. And as long as you’re  in love and having fun, and your guests are happy and having fun, then I think traditional wedding “etiquette” doesn’t have to be as much of a concern as it is for many couples.


Of course, a potluck wedding is certainly nontraditional, but this wedding wasn’t traditional in any way either—think, tuxedo shirts for the groomsmen! But, I read some articles online where wedding guests think it’s tacky. I didn’t feel that way at all, perhaps because the wedding was laid back anyways, with the ceremony in a backyard, and the reception in the cleaned-up barn when the weather took a turn. The wedding couple also didn’t request RSVPs, and didn’t request gifts—though, they did have a table for those people that choose to bring gifts. Of course my parents brought something fun that we hope they’ll enjoy in the kitchen.

What do you think about potluck weddings? Do you think they’re a good idea? Or tacky?


(And, as long as you have drinks–aka a few kegs and a table topped with lots of wine bottles!, then everyone is happy.)



Here’s the small barn on the property, where the food was set up (because of rain), and space for dancing and the band to perform.


I loved all the very simple decorations—assorted glass bottles with flowers, most likely picked from their gardens.


Here’s something you don’t see at every wedding.


At least the rain held off for the ceremony. Soon after, these huge clouds rolled in and dumped rain on the mountain.


But congratulations to the very happy couple, and thanks for such a fun wedding 🙂

Lentil-and-Orzo Salad
(Perfect for a potluck because you don’t have to worry if it’s not refrigerated, and leftovers are great for lunches)
Adapted from Southern Living

  • 1/4 cup vinaigrette dressing (such as Good Seasons)
  • 2-4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 2 cups cooked lentils
  • 1 cup cooked orzo
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

Whisk together first 6 ingredients in a large bowl; add lentils and remaining ingredients, tossing gently to coat. Cover and chill 2 hours.

(NOTE: I never exactly follow this recipe, though. Add more dressing or herbs, if you want, or other veggies (I used some green pepper and green onion last time). Keep tasting and adding until it seems like it has the right flavors.

3 thoughts on “Bring a dish, it’s a wedding!

  1. Some of my best friends had a wonderful potluck wedding. They included in the invites little cards that said “This is a __________ Made with love by ____________” so we could all take credit for our dishes. No one bought presents, but the food was spectacular and there was plenty of bubbles to go around! 🙂

    1. Oh I love the idea to have a card next to each dish – takes the guesswork out of choosing what to put on your plate!

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