Potluck meals not only take a lot of the creative—and financial—pressure off, they offer your guests the opportunity to strut their culinary stuff. Here are some of our favorite ways to make your potluck a smashing success.
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- Pick a theme. Choose an ethnic theme (such as Italian or Asian), a fun theme (such as 50s-style foods), go vegetarian, or have a buffet of comfort foods.
- Assign everyone a dish. To avoid serving eight noodle casseroles, ask certain neighbors make green salads, non-green salads, appetizers, main dishes, or desserts. Remind everyone to bring a serving utensil if you don't think you own enough to go around.
- Make it lovely. Be the hostess with the mostess and purchase festive paper plates, cutlery, cups, and napkins. Light some candles to set a party mood. We also like to make a cute welcome sign for the front door.
- Plan your playlist. Music makes a party, so turn up the volume. To keep the potluck theme going, ask a few people bring their favorite iPod playlists.
- Make it BYOB. On your party invitation, indicate that you'll have non-alcoholic beverages, but everyone should feel free to bring their own favorite wine or beer.
Ryan Homes Tip: Ask guests to bring a copy of their recipe to your party. If a particular dish is a hit, people might want to make the recipe themselves. Or, if certain guests have dietary restrictions or allergies, they might want to know the ingredients before they indulge.