A potluck meal may whet your appetite if a feast comprised of dishes such as enchiladas, lasagna, curry, boiled cabbage, baguettes, chocolate mousse and beignets seems like a tempting buffet. Although the main idea of a potluck is to avoid having to plan too much – and avoid too much cooking of your own – a minimum of planning is required to ensure your guests' attendance at your potluck. Write a potluck invitation and get ready to enjoy a bounty of food.
Determine whether you’re going to have a planned potluck or a mystery potluck. With a planned potluck, you choose what quantities of each food item you would like -- such as appetizers, salads, entrees and desserts -- and let guests sign up to bring specific items. With a mystery potluck, where each person brings whatever she wants, there is no need for guests to contact you except to RSVP. If you want guests to sign up to bring specific foods – which can ensure you don't have one appetizer and 15 desserts, for example – make a note of that on the invitation. Write: “Please tell me what kind of food you will bring when you RSVP.”
Write the location, date and time of the potluck on the invitation. Include information about whether the invitation is solely for the recipient or whether the recipient may bring guests. Clearly state whether children are invited to the potluck.
Include details if you’re asking guests to bring food according to a theme. While the purpose of a potluck is to let guests choose their contributions, giving them a framework such as “Mexican Extravaganza” or “The Luck of the Irish” ensures everyone is on the same page – and plate.
Add a note to remind guests to bring their own containers and serving utensils, especially ones that go specifically with the dish they’re contributing.
Ask that guests who will need to use your kitchen facilities let you know before the potluck so you can schedule everyone's arrivals appropriately. This will ensure that four guests who each need to reheat a dish do not arrive at the same time.
Close the invitation with RSVP information, such as your phone number, an email address or an Internet survey you created for guests to electronically record their RSVPs. Include an RSVP deadline date so you receive responses in a timely fashion.