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Is a picnic wedding reception a daft idea?

(51 Posts)
melodyangel Thu 14-Oct-10 14:32:10

We are hoping to get married next year and were thinking of having picnic in a private garden for our reception. Really don't want anything lavish and need to keep costs to a minimum so we were thinking of buying/making picnic blankets and hampers for people and then asking them to bring the food, with us providing wine, soft drinks, cake and bacon sarnies in the early evening. Are we being too optimistic regarding weather and how would you feel if you were asked to provide your own picnic?

Opinions please!

zombishambles Thu 14-Oct-10 14:34:01

Its a good idea but I would provide the picnics and also have a few borrowed gazebos/bell tents on standby just in case.

PoorlyConstructed Thu 14-Oct-10 14:35:15

I think people might be a bit miffed that they have to provide their own picnic, tbh. I guess it depends on who you're inviting. I think I'd consider catering the picnic (you could get a local place to do it quite cheaply with nice sandwiches etc and then supplement that with wine).

I'd be quite worried about the weather though.

going Thu 14-Oct-10 14:36:55

I would ask people to bring picnic blankets and think you should supply the food.

NigellaTufnel Thu 14-Oct-10 14:40:10

So sorry to say this, but I think it's massively cheeky, and I would probably tell you (very nicely) to piss off.

If people are coming to your wedding they may be forking out for travel, outfits, presents, childcare (even if kids are welcome, some folk won't want to bring theirs) accommodation etc, so you have present them with a 'complete 'party.

And by complete party, I think that sandwiches and cake are fine if you are just having having a tea party reception - it doesn't have to go on for ages.

LillianGish Thu 14-Oct-10 14:40:31

I think a picnic is a great idea - you could get everyone to bring a contribution (like a school fete or harvest supper - perhaps let them sign up for sweet or savoury to avoid one pork pie and 300 fairy cakes) rather than an individual picnic. The weather, however, is more of a gamble - I think you need somewhere to take shelter if the worst comes to the worst - I assume you are getting married in Britain.

I'd be too worried about the weather - you just can't rely on it.

As to bringing a picnic, I wouldn't mind if you were family or a close friend and I thought it was for reasons of economy. But if the link was more tenuous I would be hmm thinking you should just have saved money by not inviting me in the first place, IYSWIM.

fairylights Thu 14-Oct-10 14:42:57

one of the the best weddings I went to was organized in 6 weeks flat and all the guests were involved in organizing it - the bride and groom borrowed a barn (pretty dilapidated but atmospheric!) from a farmer friend, the day before the wedding we all turned up in the evening to decorate the barn and then we all brought food and somre drink on the day.
It did help that the weather was fab but I do think a large part of its success was that everyone felt part of it - it did seem a bit like something off the Darling Buds of May but that was what made it special.
Probably would have some gazebos lined up as well though...
Have a lovely wedding and married life whatever you do smile

Doyouthinktheysaurus Thu 14-Oct-10 14:43:17

It's a nice idea but the old fogey part of me is wondering about seatingblush

People will be all dressed up and expected to sit on picnic rugs or stand. I would be a bit uncomfortable with that TBH.

redfairy Thu 14-Oct-10 14:44:39

I think a picnic is a lovely idea - I got married in August and as money was tight we had a BBQ in the garden, put up gazebos with fairy lights etc...it's chance to really go to town or it can be as simple as you'd like. We paid for the BBQ food and champagne and asked people to contribute in whatever way they fancied. No-one had any objections, everyone had a geat time and it was all so relaxed. Far better than that top table three course meal mularky!
My tip would be to provide lots of blankets though. Even though we warned people about the weather I was still running to the ottoman to provide rugs and woollies for guests who had forgotten how chilly even the most sunniest of British days can turn.

FluffyDonkey Thu 14-Oct-10 14:46:03

Doyouthink - same reaction. I'm not old, but Id be uncomfortable sitting on the ground for any length of time. I'd also be a bit miffed at bringing my own picnic...I'd rather bring a dish for everyone to share, knowing poeple would hsare mine too IYSWIM

It's a really good idea - but make sure you have a back up carpet picnic plan just in case.
Would there be members of your close family willing to give you picnic items as a wedding gift. That way not everyone has to bring things?
Am picturing a lovely scene with random flowers in bottles, strings of fairy lights (no bunting though)

FluffyDonkey Thu 14-Oct-10 14:46:21

Argh! spelling!

DanceOnTheDarkSide Thu 14-Oct-10 14:46:55

There are very few friends that i would not think this cheeky of. If you ask for them to provide blankets/camp chairs etc its fine tho. And you could also ask that if they want something special then they could bring that?

melodyangel Thu 14-Oct-10 14:49:13

Just very close family and friends, lots of kids. Happy to provide food would probably make it myself though. Just wondered really if people would be a bit hmm if asked to bring their own or smile at being able to have what they liked!

Think we might hire a small marquee just in case. Would only be a daytime thing no later than 7.30pm end so shouldn't get too cold, fingers crossed!

FakePlasticTrees Thu 14-Oct-10 14:49:31

Do you have any older people going? Sitting on the floor might not be a good idea.

Weather - if you are having a wedding in England, you have to allow for rain. If you are having a picnic when people are expected to sit on the floor, you can't have rain on the day, or the day/night before. (It'll still be soggy)

Bring your own food - sorry, but this is a step too far - if you are only doing a 'tea' type meal, that's fine, but you need to provide the food.

However, I think if it is a sunny day, you provide food, a picnic would be glorious.

What about a hog roast/BBQ in same garden with some shelter and seating (although not seated if you want to keep the casual theme)

mumbybumby Thu 14-Oct-10 14:50:37

Picnic idea is lovely but asking people to bring their own food, not so much!
A friend of mine did this recently and it was all anyone was talking about.

ColdComfortFarm Thu 14-Oct-10 14:51:38

You do need seats for older people, and what if it is wet and the ground is soaked, you need some kind of back up plan. I think you need to provide the food - sorry. Do a buffet of delicious picnic type food. Doesn't have to be hugely expensive.

SylvanianFamily Thu 14-Oct-10 14:52:56

It is a sweet idea, but you will have a problem with people sitting on the ground. Elderly relatives; people in smart clothes; people who don't like their food to be trodden in by small children....

I have been to a picnic themed restaurant aami. You turned up, and each bare wooden table had a picnic hamper on it. Inside the hamper there was a checked table cloth, cutlery wrapped in a cotton napkin, some drinks, and all manner of yummy nibbles (quails eggs (!) I remember for sure.... some kind of meatballs.... olives... bread... like canapes).

In the restaurant you got your main course from a buffet, but potentially you could have most of the food in the hampers, and set out some centerpieces like a whole side of salmon, a whole cooked chicken....

I think the economy from the pov of the restaurant was that it was a charming way to say 'self service, mate'. Since it was a kids restaurant really, the other advantage was that the children could eat immediately. No faffing or waiting.

OrmRenewed Thu 14-Oct-10 14:53:57

Don't ask them to bring their own. Ask each person to bring something to share. Provide cake and champagne - lots of it! Provide paper plates, cutlery and napkins.

Make it clear it's informal so people don't dress up to the nines just to get damp on the grass. Ansd suggest that they bring deckchairs.

Could you ask an ice-cream van to turn up for the afternoon? This happened at a wedding we went to - the b&g paid for everyone to have one ice-cream.

I think it sounds really lovely - assuming you have a nice garden to use and it doesn't rain. What time of year?

Ladymuck Thu 14-Oct-10 14:54:12

What have the previous weddings in this close circle of family and friends been like? If they've similarly been informal and low key, then fine. But if the norm has been to have a sitdown meal then you might wan to rethink.

Anything which relies on the British weather is a gamble!

PoorlyConstructed Thu 14-Oct-10 14:57:10

you also might want to think about whether people will have to take a day off work for it. People are more likely to be resentful (even friends) if they have to use a day of annual leave and have to provide their own lunch.

GeekOfTheWeek Thu 14-Oct-10 15:00:51

I would dread anything like this unless guaranteed the warm weather.

Sitting outside in the cold, damp british summer is just awful.

I wouldn't mind a village hall type affair with everyone bringing a dish to share, its just being forced to be outside all that time that would really bother me.

GeekOfTheWeek Thu 14-Oct-10 15:02:18

Good point Poorly.

A weekend day is much better as many won't want to take a days holiday.

taintedpaint Thu 14-Oct-10 15:08:06

I think it's a nice idea for a party, but a pretty impractical idea for a wedding. Also, asking them to bring their own food is cheeky at best. If you can't afford a bigger wedding, you downsize, because some corners can't really be cut.

The weather would be too much of a risk for me, I wouldn't want to sit on the ground (even on a blanket) while I was dressed up, and I certainly would not want to turn up to a wedding clutching my own packed lunch. You will also have problems with older guests. If you only provide chairs and tables for them, you would have to seat them all together (possibly away from other family members). You would also have to dictate who would be allowed a chair, and annoy guests who wonder why you couldn't seat everyone.

Kids party, yes. Wedding reception, no. Can't you just do a buffet reception to keep costs low?

Sorry.

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