How to Host a Themed Potluck Dinner

A themed potluck dinner is a gathering of a group of people who each bring a dish to share that fits the theme. Potluck dishes are usually homemade, allowing the guests to taste each other's cooking. Themes for a potluck vary and include holidays, foreign foods and even movies or books. If you're hosting a themed potluck dinner, you'll want to provide loose guidelines for your guests so you'll have a complete dinner that fits your chosen theme.

Things You'll Need

  • Invitations
  • Decorations
  • Tablecloth
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    • 1

      Count the number of expected attendees. Write down the total.

    • 2

      Make a list of food categories. For example, entrees, appetizers and desserts are all possible categories.

    • 3

      Assign each guest a category. Consider how many dishes of each type of food you want. For example, if you have nine guests and want two appetizers, four entrees and three desserts, assign two guests appetizers, four guests entrees and three guest desserts.

    • 4

      Prepare invitations. Include the theme on the invitations. Consider using invitations with decorations that represent the theme. Request the guest bring a dish in her category on the invitation.

    • 5

      Visit a party supply or department store to get decorations that match the theme. Tablecloths, plates and napkins are an inexpensive way to make the dinner festive.

    • 6

      Set up a table to serve as a buffet center for the potluck. Make sure there is enough room for the number of dishes expected. Decorate prior to the guests' arrival.

Tips & Warnings

  • If an attending guest is unable to cook, you can suggest she bring another item that fits the theme, such as a special drink.

  • Ask your potential guests for ideas if you can't decide on a theme before you mail out invitations.

  • Have enough beverages on hand to provide drinks for everyone, and buy extra plates, napkins and utensils.

  • Clean out your fridge before the party so you have room for dishes that must be refrigerated before serving.

  • Don't tell guests to bring specific dishes, as surprise is part of a potluck dinner. Assigning categories ensures a balanced meal but still leaves room for creativity.

  • Make sure you have enough chairs to accommodate your guests.

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