Hosting a Summer Potluck is not just about having your guests bring their best recipes to your party. It’s about how you and your friends can celebrate summer without breaking the budget!
Follow our easy tips to host your summer soiree. It’s such fun to invite a bunch of friends and family over but let’s face it, the budget could take a hit if you are not careful. Follow our tips to host your summer potluck on a budget!
Keep It Simple Yet Festive
Don’t plan an elaborate menu, location or decor. Just keep it simple by hosting at your home, and using what you have for decor.
You’ll want to be sensitive to your guests budgets also so keep your menu fairly basic.
Summer Potluck Food Theme Ideas
- Summer Salads
- Taco Bar
- Burgers & Dogs
- Steak & Potatoes
- Slow Cooker Recipes
- Baked Potato Bar (cook them in Slow Cookers)
B.Y.O.S. or B.Y.O.M. Bring Your Own Steak or Bring Your Own Meat
We have been hosting a Steak and Potatoes dinner for the last couple of summers. We provide all of the Baked Potatoes and have our guests bring their own steaks. Folks bring their own sauces if desired and others sign up for salads and sides.
We mark the owner of each steak using toothpicks and tape. Simply fold the tape around the tip of the toothpick and write the persons name on it. Stick it in the steak once it is done. It isn’t fancy or cute but it is cheap and it works. Our master grill operator only cooks one family’s steaks at a time to avoid confusion.
Depending on how man folks you have invited, delegate each couple a specific part of the menu. Several for each; appetizers, entree, sides, dessert and beverages. Be sure your Theme includes dishes which will be easy to transport for your guests. Encourage the use of coolers for transport during the heat of the summer for food safety. Pasta salads are great but most require refrigeration and need to be kept cool for the trip to your party.
Never assign appetizers to anyone who is habitually late! Double check to make sure two people won’t be bringing the same dish.
Cut fresh flowers such as hydrangea and display them in any of your vases or even a Mason jar. If you don’t have live flowers in your yard, just ask a friend or neighbor to let you cut a few.
You can fill a Mason Jar with pretty much anything, sand, hard candies, aquarium rocks or dried beans and place a tea light candle on top or even stick small flags in for bright festive decor. Pictured above is a soup tureen with silk hydrangea I used for a quick and cheap centerpiece.
Shop the Dollar Store for supplies
Tablescloths and napkins from the Dollar Store are perfect and you won’t feel guilty about tossing them when it’s over for easy clean up.
Skip the Paper Plates
Use your real dishes. You can save a few bucks by skipping the paper plates and plastic forks and use what you have instead. Mixing patterns is perfectly acceptable and in fact can be fun eclectic decor. I mixed three different sets of dishes for the place setting pictured above. The napkins are from the Dollar Store and the flower in the cup is silk from my stash of fake flowers for decorating.
Ask Guest To Bring Their Own To-Go Containers
Pot Lucks are notorious for left overs which is great because it means you won’t have to cook the next day. Cha ching to the budget! Rather than provide to-go containers, ask your guests to bring their own. No one has to worry about returning dishes and there is no extra expense involved.
Use social media for your Invitations. You can easily create an Event on Facebook and invite your friends and family. If you are not familiar with it there is a site called Evite which allows you to create free invitations which you can email to your friends. They can RSVP back as well.
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Have some fun and plan a few games which are cheap and easy to pull together. Here are a few good ideas.
- Cornhole (have a friend bring theirs if you don’t own a set)
- How To Install A Ring & Hook Game
- 35 Family Friendly Game Ideas for Kids & Grown Ups
- Family Friendly Party Games
Have lots of fun! Follow our tips for hosting a potluck on a budget and spend more time visiting with your friends and less time fussing over decor and food!