Are Potluck or BYOB Backyard Weddings Tacky?

Potluck weddings normally require guests to bring their food.

In some cases, the groom and the bride may provide the main part of the meals and drinks but the guests may still be requested to bring appetizers, snacks, or side dishes, instead of giving a gift.

The task of feeding the wedding crowds can be a serious challenge for some couples, so it’s good to have it figured out before anything else.

Another loose name for this kind of wedding is Bring Your Own Bickering (BYOB), which means the guests are asked to come with their stuff – most stuff, actually, including things like food and drinks, etc.

The main objective behind this kind of wedding is to cut costs.

One interesting thing about wedding etiquette is that the rules are not written in stone if there are any.

Whether your BYOB wedding is going to be successful can depend on your community and friends, but such weddings go down successfully most of the time.

So, Are Potluck Or BYOB Backyard Weddings Tacky?

Yes, here is why:

1. They Dwell Too Much On Saving Costs

The first reason why this kind of wedding is tacky is their overemphasis on the cost-cutting factor more than anything else.

A considerable part of the guests is likely to interpret the event as tacky in that perspective, and may not like how cheap the whole event would look.

To many people, weddings are some of those once-in-a-lifetime events they’d go all lengths to make them memorable with the pomp and splendor they deserve.

As such, asking the guests to bring their food and stuff would come as a shock.

If you have solid intel, or you suspect that your guests might be upset with the idea of being asked to come with their food, we’d suggest you work out an alternative to meet their interests as well as your budgetary needs.

2. Food Festival or A Wedding?

Any slight suggestion that guests should bring anything to your wedding besides themselves can come across as offensive.

It can also make the entire event look like a food fest or even a gift-grab.

Some individuals may see your BYOB as an attempt to turn a well-intended wedding into some sort of a frat party – a party organized by a fraternity.

So, if you are thinking to go BYOB, be prepared to upset some of your guests. As it’s usual with pretty any other event, you don’t need to please or agree with every attendee.

3. “Carry Your Stuff” Means You Have No Control Over Your Wedding

Do you have drunks in your circles?

If you do, then chances are they will think outside the box and bring stuff that never crossed your mind in your wildest imaginations.

Problematic drunks are the last people you want at your wedding.

And with no real bartender around to keep their behavior in check, there’s a considerable risk of ruining the event.

4. Unique Planning Is Need as Well

You will need to ensure the venue is perfect this arrangement — if you want it to take place in your backyard, that’s fine!

But you still need to do a lot of preparation and cleaning up the area (plus trimming the grass).

If you plan to hold it in your local state park, private property, or similar establishment, you will have to figure out how to address the laws and liability issues that may pop up.

And that’s only if the weather allows you to be there!

5. No Gifts!? That’s Both Sad and Untraditional

Gifts are to weddings what roses are to Valentine’s Day – they go together. It’s almost standard to gift the newlyweds.

So, when you ask your friends and families to come with those little things – appetizers, snacks, side dishes, and stuff – in place of real gifts, some attendees may find it odd, especially those who aren’t used to this not-so-orthodox kind of a wedding.

Also, many people attach great importance to the gift-giving part of this event than anything else.

By telling them to bring snacks instead, they are likely to feel unimportant.

Basically, you could come across as a couple that doesn’t value the gifts of your friends and families, and their big hearts as well.

When a friend avoids your gifts, it is easy to think they don’t regard you highly enough, isn’t it?

6. Logistics Pains

While it is obvious that your potluck wedding will cut on expenses, it is also apparent that it will bloat the logistics of any plans you may have at hand.

How do you ensure there’s enough food for everyone even though you asked them to bring some of it (or all of it)?

You are not just not going to sit back and act as if everyone is satisfied. How do you even keep everything in control now that you allowed guests to bring their alcohol?

7. You Could Upset the Bride/Groom’s Family?

What if you offend the bride/groom and/or their family? A potluck or BYOB wedding isn’t every couple’s cup of tea.

The bride can be all for it only to get an entirely different suggestion from the groom.

Either of the two’s family may object to such plans.

For those with traditional tastes and goals, or anyone else who can’t envision asking their guests and family members to do extra work than (potentially) sending a gift, purchasing a plane ticket, preparing proper attire, booking a room, and showing up at the venue on time, a BYOB or potluck wedding is almost certainly out of options.

Potluck or BYOB backyard weddings also entail outdoor reception.

There is nothing tacky, inappropriate, or improper about setting up an outdoor reception area for any sort of wedding.

In fact, this is arguably the best part of the whole event because the site is more likely to be clean and neat with a great supply of fresh air.

Isn’t it reassuring to have healthy grass under your feet this entire time?

Even better, outdoor reception areas tend to be set up in such a way that they can accommodate more guests, if not all guests, their cars, and pretty everything else they brought along.

There’s one major downside though with this kind of wedding.

wedding tent

Assuming everything goes as planned, you will be forced to rent a sizeable tent especially if you anticipate some rains or hot sun.

Related: Is It Tacky To Have A Wedding Ceremony Without A Reception?

Depending on where you choose to hold the wedding, you may spend a fortune on the tent alone.


What’s so tacky about potluck or BYOB weddings?

Pretty every shortcoming related to the cost-saving factor of these weddings.

Some guests won’t feel too enthusiastic about such weddings.

If the bride and groom reach common ground, by any chance, either side’s family and friends may still object.

Country clubs and similar establishments rarely permit people to bring their food in their spaces.

So, if you are planning to hold part of your potluck or BYOB wedding in such places, you need to check whether the establishment permits it.

Potlucks are not meant for large crowds – between 50 to 100 individuals would be perfect.

But, what if 99 or all the 100 of the group bring baked beans?