Potluck Planning Made Easy
60 Tips for Your Next Potluck
Whether you are hosting a potluck or attending one, there are ways to lessen the burden and make certain the meal comes together without a hitch. You are sure to create the perfect potluck by following these helpful tips.
Hosting a Potluck
1. “What can I bring?” Make it easy for guests by prepping a list of what you will need. Create an online sign up with SignUpGenius to make potluck organizing a breeze! See how it works.
5. Set a theme. Create excitement by setting a theme for your potluck. Send out a unique online invitation with SignUpGenius.com - just one tool can help you collect your RSVP’s and food items at once. See theme examples.
View a Sample Potluck sign up HERE
9. Cover the basics. As the host, plan to provide one of the main dishes. Also make sure you have plenty of the essentials like serving utensils, non-alcoholic drinks, paper products and ice.
10. Send reminders. SignUpGenius makes it easy to remind guests of what they have signed up to bring! The system will do the reminder work – one less thing you’ll have to worry about!
11. No show? Have some emergency items on hand in case of a no show.
13. Seating Needs. Make sure you have enough seating areas so that everyone will be comfortable while eating.
14. Make room. Clear out your refrigerator prior to the party.
17. All about presentation. Provide pretty serving dishes and stress presentation so that guests feel pampered. Condiments should be served in pretty containers next to the appropriate dish or item.
18. Prioritize and strategize. Organize food items that you have more of (or that are less expensive) at the front of the line.
19. Set up a separate children's line. If there are many children attending, you may even want to assign someone to be in charge of the kids’ food and set up.
20. Accommodate littlest guests first. Ask that parents be allowed to fix children's plates before the overall group begins so that parents can relax and enjoy the meal.
21. Line leaders. Acknowledge any special guests and establish the order of the serving line. When adults are served, it is proper to have the oldest members of the group go first out of respect.
22. Speak up. Guests may wait for their host to announce when it is time to eat. If you will be saying grace or doing a toast before a meal, do it early.
If some guests can't bring food items allow them to contribute financial towards the meal costs with SignUpGenius Payments!
24. After dinner coffee. Have coffee available and ready to brew. All coffee necessities should be at a drink station before the party begins. For large groups, brew before the party and use a thermal coffee container.
25. Something sweet. Set up desserts separately and have separate dishes and flatware available.
26. Trash. Provide trash receptacles in several locations if it will be a large party with paper products.
27. Doggy bag time. Be prepared with take away containers or plastic bags if you want to share the leftovers.
28. Cleaning up. Don’t want to spend the last half of your get-together standing at the sink cleaning dishes and packing up food? Provide take home containers for your guests or have foil on hand so you aren’t left with the extra hassle of cleaning and returning dishes long after your guests have left.
29. Share! Your guests are bound to say, “I need to get that recipe!” Why not encourage everyone to bring a print out of their recipe and supply blank recipe cards so your guests can trade them easily?
30. Thanks for coming. Provide a pretty envelope that your guests can slide recipes into with a little note that says, “Thanks for coming!” It’s a simple-but-nice touch and a fun memento of the evening.
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Posted by Kate White
Posted by Betsy Lytle on Sun Sep 24, 2017 5:18 PM EST
If you are hiding the names on your sign up, any comments will also be hidden. To update this setting so that everyone can see what specific items others are bringing, go to 'Step 5: Settings,' and in the Contact info box you can uncheck the box next to "Also hide the names from group members." Please click 'Update' at the bottom of the screen to save that change.
Posted by Doreen Campbell on Sun Sep 24, 2017 7:05 AM EST
As Administrator I see who is bringing what meal or dessert, but the rest of the group cannot. How do I allow everyone to see what I am seeing?
Posted by Barbara Goins on Thu Jul 10, 2014 9:22 AM EST
Please email when new information is added to this page.
Posted by Silvia Brownlow on Wed Sep 12, 2012 8:42 AM EST
Ah!! And don't forget to cook with love, that is the best ingrediant for a god meal...I still remember one time that I have pleple over that I don't like and my Risotto come not that good like always...and my sister says to me :you didn't put to much love "...true
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