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Apr 29, 2011 07:12 PM

Potluck Wedding

I have been invited to a wedding in July. I asked the bride where she is registered and she said that she isn't. She said that there will be a box for money at the event, but that if people want to bring food, she'd love that. I happen to bake, and offered to make her some fairytale cupcakes to match her theme. The only thing I realize now is - how many do I have to make?? I was expecting to make 3 dozen but she said she is expecting approximately 60 guests. Do I need to make 70 cupcakes? 60? What's the etiquette here? I will be providing a display stand for them so I have to decide now how big to make it to hold all the cupcakes. Also, I have to order the wafer paper butterflies for them and need to know how many to buy.


Oh - more details about the wedding - there will be food catered but it is not at a hall. it is at a lodge by a lake, and the invitation said that you can swim if you like and there are hiking trails near by. So it's probably outdoorsy. Dress code is "nice party," not upscale wedding. The wedding cake will be shaped like a fairytale castle and be made by her mother and another guest.


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    1. you don't need to make 70 cupcakes, after all there will already be a wedding cake, and presumably other desserts brought to the potuck as well. folks won't have 1 of each type of dessert, and some folks will probably split a cupcake with their date or a friend.

      i'd just go with your original plan of a few dozen cupcakes, make the presentation as pretty as possible and get a few good photos of your generous and tasty gift to the happy couple. and have a good time at the party. the only other thing i'd say is to make sure that your dessert contribution is *not* bigger/prettier/more elaborate than the cake made by the bride's mother-- same as you would never dress in a way that outshines the bride herself ;-)

      1. This is just me personally; I would feel upset if I did not bring enough for all (she might have heard I'll make cupcakes and you may have said I'll make "some" cupcakes). I would also have included in that feeling, how well I all ready knew her, a family member I'll see at every holiday if not more, or someone on lesser known level.

        You say Potluck, I heard, loosely organized. Lodge at lake = destination wedding or gathering at family camp? Box for money at the wedding or , a basket holder for envelopes, to me sounds toss cash, vs. elegant gifting. But then I wouldn't hike in "nice party" clothes either.
        Too many variables, coin toss. I'd still live easier with making enough for all than seeing it be not enough. YMMV.

        1. Thanks so much for all your comments. I am torn in the same ways - if I decide to give these cupcakes in complete lieu of another gift, then I need to make more. If I make too few and they disappear really quickly it'll seem lame. If I make them and no one eats them because of the wedding cake or other stuff, it'll be a waste of cupcakes.

          I don't know how to avoid the "outdoing the cake" thing. I have no way of knowing how good they will be at making the cake, whether they are doing some cheesy molded cake or what. I am making simple lemon cupcakes with butterflies and dragées in soft silver liners. The stand is made from foam cake dummies and is 3-4 tiered (depending on how many cupcakes!!). it will be covered in white lace or some similar elegant fabric where the cupcakes sit and silver ribbon on the smaller parts and edges. It will be simple and elegant. They will look exactly as these ( do but with matte silver wrappers. A few extra butterflies may be "glued" to the cake stand on the edges if I have a few extras and it looks cool.

          9 Replies
          1. re: Tygress

            make mini-cupcakes. that way your couple dozen goes farther. And they're easier to give away afterwards.
            try not to visually outshine the mum's cake. ask if necessary, and tone down presentation.

            1. re: Chowrin

              That is a GREAT idea. Mini cupcakes might work pretty well. I would feel like I contributed, and that they wouldn't outshine the cake or fill up the guests bellies with more cake!

              1. re: Tygress

                another thing: exotic is good. lavender flavored, rose flavored, rosemary flavored, pepper flavored -- something that more says "that's different." The less like the other cake you look -- without being as clearly "desserty" the better.

                in other words... cherries, chocolate, not so good. *looks up* oh, maybe a more lemony lemon? less sweet?

                1. re: Chowrin

                  For someone else's wedding, I'd completely agree with you. I just last month made a friend some rose flavored macarons for art gallery opening on women and gender roles and they were super well-received. But for this wedding, the bride requested lemon or coconut. So that's what I'm going with. I think along with the fairy tale thing, delicate lemon with a hint of vanilla (I use real beans in my baking, and juice and zest I've made myself) will go over just fine. I may experiment with meyer lemons, never played with them before and I just saw them at Whole Foods.

                  1. re: Tygress

                    my mouth is watering - I love lemon desserts!! mind sharing the recipe?

                    1. re: joe777cool

                      You betcha. I will be testing various recipes in the next 2 months. I will let you know what the recipe is when it is done. Please note - it will be a heat-friendly July outdoors non-melting cupcake recipe. Which means that while ordinarily I am a purist with my frosting and believe that natural ingredients are best, there may be weird things in it like Coolwhip or Crisco to keep it stabilized.

                2. re: Tygress

                  Any chance you could place them in a cellophane bag and tie with a ribbon? I love the idea of minicakes and if you present in the crystal bags, they will not look like a cake but rather a Wedding Favor. And I think the ribbons would really add to the fairytale theme.

                  1. re: Quine

                    Have you ever tried to bag up and tie an iced cupcake? Smudge, smudge, shudder, shudder.

                    1. re: rabaja

                      I won't be turning them into party favors - it seems a little presumptuous of me. The cupcakes will be food to be eaten at the party not something to take home. If I were going to turn them into favors I'd have to get little cupcake boxes and that expense is too much, as well. They run about $0.50 to $1 a box if I only buy 30 and that's not the point of bringing food to the wedding.

            2. You should ask the bride! Nothing wrong with that, and she seems like a pretty relaxed person, given the wedding she's planning.