For rebuilding our spirit of togetherness after so much time apart, there’s no party quite like a potluck to make everyone feel like they’re all part of something. In this classic alternative to the traditional host-led dinner party, each guest brings a dish to the event to share with everyone so that all attendees can enjoy a little something from across a wide spectrum of foods. It also allows the hosts to throw a memorable party without having to cook for days beforehand. Though potlucks are easier than traditional dinner parties, these parties still don’t plan themselves. Refer to these tips for hosting a potluck party to make sure yours goes off without a hitch.
Coordinate the Assignments
When most people hear about a potluck, their first impulse is to whip up their favorite dessert dish. Without a little direction on your part, you could wind up with a table full of cakes, pies, cookies, Jell-O salads, and other sweet delights. Lest you plunge your entire guest list into diabetic shock, coordinate who’s bringing what. Set up a list of courses and allow guests to “make reservations” as to what they plan to bring. This way, you’ll have a full variety of dishes for your dinner, no matter how alluring that feast of desserts may seem at first.
Come up With a Theme
Potlucks are so diverse and disparate in the dishes they feature that we use the term “potluck” as a synonym for “potpourri” in many situations. However, you can still enjoy the fun of a dinner where everyone contributes while also streamlining the process and avoiding a gustatory clash here and there. You may want to do a “Dishes of the World” concept and get as many time-honored family recipes as possible. If you’re throwing an outdoor party over the summer, perhaps steer guests away from dense and heavy casseroles while directing them toward fresh foods and lighter fare.
Take Yourself off Dishwashing Duty
The stress of doing the dishes after a big group of guests leads us to one of our most important tips. Hosting a potluck party means you can throw a dinner party while relaxing somewhat on the food-prep side. With your guests relieving you of a lot of those responsibilities, you can concentrate on other aspects of party planning. One area where you can do so is with the tableware for the event. Because you’ll probably have a sizable guest list that your own dinnerware collection can’t accommodate, it’s best to keep the casual mood going with disposable dinnerware. This doesn’t mean settling for paper plates, though. Instead, use durable and stylish plastic plates that’ll allow you to host an amazing party while keeping costs down. If you do come up with a theme for your party, you can coordinate your tableware with it for a fully overarching concept.