Potluck Prep: 6 Tips for Planning the Perfect Potluck Party

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Potluck parties can be hit or miss; the truth is, it’s all in the planning.

Plan your potluck to perfection, and it’s bound to be the most glorious (and mouth-watering) party of the year. Without structure and pre-planning, however, it can quickly turn into a disappointing mess. Even if it’s all in beautiful cookware sets, no one wants a table full of nothing but lasagne! And worse still, what if everyone forgets to bring a dish?

Potluck Prep - 6 Tips for Planning the Perfect Potluck Party

With all this in mind, here are six tips to guarantee your next potluck party is a hit:

Tip 1: Set a Theme

Themes are central to many different parties. For a potluck, it’s more important than ever to set one. Without a central theme, you may end up with dishes that don’t complement each other and guests going home with gurgling tummies. No one wants sushi, lasagne, and prawn curry on the same plate, right?

Don’t be afraid to be creative with your theme. Just make sure you reiterate the details with your guests so they can plan their dishes.

Tip 2: Track Your Guest’s Planned Dish

The best potluck parties have a range of delicious options for your guests to try, so it’s crucial to ensure no one brings the same dish. However, when you set a theme, there’s a good chance that at least two of your guests will pick the same recipe.

To avoid doubling up, ask your guests what they plan on bringing. Creating a shared document between you and your guests is even more productive, as everyone will be able to see what dishes or courses have already been covered.

Tip 3: Don’t Forget the Extras

Your guests may be bringing the dishes, but it’s on you to provide the drinks – both soft drinks and spirits. Depending on your guest list and theme, play the role of bartender and stock up on a variety of soft drinks, beer, wine, and spirits. If you’re feeling creative, plan a themed cocktail list with alcoholic and non-alcoholic options to elevate your event.

As host, you’re also responsible for the add-ons like sauces, sides, and condiments. So keep a few essentials on hand, especially if you’re not sure exactly what your guests will bring. Ketchup and mustard are staples, but you may also want to have mayo, barbecue, and other sauces, as well as garnishes.

Tip 4: Determine the Meal Type

The time of the day will determine the style of dishes and drinks. For example, dinner potluck parties are different than brunch parties. So, decide which time of day suits you best, and then set your theme and recipes to fit.

Tip 5: Get Creative with Your Venue

You’re not limited to a house when you throw a potluck party. Many people choose a home simply because there are utensils and a kitchen on hand. However, nothing is stopping you from throwing an outdoor potluck party. Perhaps gathering everyone at the beach sounds more like your style. Alternatively, you may prefer to hire a beautiful event venue. It all depends on your theme, the time of day, and whether you and your friends prefer casual or fancy affairs.

Tip 6: Label Dishes Clearly

Make sure to label each dish with its name, who made it, and any potential allergies or dietary restrictions. This potluck etiquette will ensure your guests feel appreciated and help avoid any unpleasant reactions.

Potluck parties have been around since the 16th century and are something we still celebrate today. These events allow your guests to get involved, share the load, and bond over food. So, get potluck party planning!

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