Tips for Hosting a Casual Summer Potluck Party

Tips for Hosting a Casual Summer Potluck Party

With Memorial Day serving as the unofficial kick-off to summer, it’s time to start planning all those fun and festive summertime activities from vacations to pool, BBQ or potluck parties. When it comes to the latter, a little preparation allows for the host to have as fun and relaxing a time as the guests! Traina Home Grown® shares some easy tips for hosting a casual summer potluck party.


Send Out Invites Early — With kids’ camps and travel plans, summer is a busy time and people’s calendars book up very quickly. So be sure to get that invitation in the mail, send that evite or even just fire off a quick group text at least three to four weeks prior to the big event, with a follow-up reminder (via email or text) about a week in advance of the party. 


Be Clear About the Request — When hosting a potluck party, the host generally prepares the main dish (or dishes), then asks guests to bring along an appetizer, side or dessert. It’s also a good idea to ask people for specific items (if there is a theme to the party) or ask guests to respond with that they are bringing so the party menu doesn’t end up just being a bunch of chips and dips. The host can even encourage a theme such as tropical, fruit-forward (imagine a pot luck table full of fruit-inspired dishes!), ethnic and more. 


Keep it Simple — When it comes to party planning, keeping every element — from the guest list to the party decorations to the menu itself — simple and easy is key for the host to actually enjoy themselves at the party and not feel stressed about “pulling it off” or feeling overwhelmed with hostess duties during the party. With a potluck theme, it’s easy to encourage guests to help themselves. Setting up a beverage station with pre-made cocktail mixes, and a cooler of non-alcoholic beverages lets guests take the reins when it comes to wetting their own whistle too!


Raise the Stakes — Adding an element of friendly competition is great way to “up the ante” for any potluck party and will encourage guests to really go all out when it comes to their dish. The host can create a theme such as chilis (think all bean, no bean, chicken and more), salads, unusual hot dog or French fry toppings or keep the theme open to guests’ favorite dish. When there is a prize (or cash!) on the line, people are likely to go big on their entry, so putting up a little money for a prize pot will ensure the pot luck table is filled with winning dishes.


Think Outside the Box — While people love classics and traditional foods, there is nothing wrong with getting a little creative for the sake of a one-of-a-kind and truly unforgettable potluck dish. So don’t hold back in the kitchen! Adventurous eaters will be excited to be the first in line to try something new!


The Traina family invites readers to take a fruit-forward approach to their party planning and everyday eating this summer with Traina Home Grown products! For more ideas, tips, and recipes, visit