Ideas and Tips For Planning Your Next Potluck Party  

The season of celebration is upon us, and it’s time to start planning all of those fabulous parties. Whether you are on the committee that plans work parties at your office or you are hosting your girlfriends for a festive get-together, you will want to know how to plan the best possible party without breaking the bank.

At Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona, we have everything you need to put together a last-minute party for the most affordable price. These tips will help you with planning and executing the perfect potluck party.

Step 1: Pick a Party Theme

Before you begin searching for recipes and purchasing decorations for your party, you are going to want to pick a theme that everyone can build on. This is particularly important when you are planning a potluck party and everyone will be contributing something to the spread.

Some popular party themes right now, particularly for work parties and other gatherings with lots of different people, are:

  • Decades Party — Choose a decade that everyone knows and loves, and create an entire party based on it.
  • Destination Party — When everyone would rather be traveling somewhere else around the world, create a party that brings the vacation destination to them. You could go with a tropical beach theme or a historic European city theme. No matter what you choose, people are sure to love feeling like they escaped for just a little while.
  • Glow Party — These are becoming increasingly popular, particularly among young partygoers. Glow parties are hosted in the dark with plenty of glow elements, such as glow tape, glow sticks, black lights and more.

By deciding on a theme early in the planning stages, you will give everyone plenty of opportunities to search for recipes and dish ideas to bring to the event. Some of these themes can inspire some pretty creative potluck ideas, so your guests are sure to have fun even before they arrive for the party.

Step 2: Make a List of Suggestions for Dishes to Pass

Once you have settled on a theme with the rest of the group that will be planning the party, you are going to want to start working on a menu of sorts. Naturally, with potluck parties, each guest will be bringing their own dish to share.

However, some people may find it difficult to come up with recipes or potluck ideas, so it’s always a good idea to have some suggestions on hand that you can share. By offering suggestions, you also will be able to better balance the spread — ensuring that there are enough different elements to create a full meal for everyone.

As you are coming up with recipes and food ideas, you will want to keep in mind the following:

  • Make sure to suggest a variety of dishes that will cater to various tastes and preferences. Potlucks are great because there are so many options to choose from, but you will want to make sure that everyone finds at least one dish that they love.
  • Keep in mind any food allergies or restrictions that your guests may have. Some people have severe food allergies which makes it difficult to participate in potluck celebrations. Others avoid certain foods due to religious purposes. It’s important that you keep in mind everyone’s dietary needs in order to create an inclusive and enjoyable potluck party.
  • Try to keep hygiene in mind when planning dishes. Avoid suggesting meals that involve people using their hands to pick up a particular piece of food. Finger food ideas can work, as long as people can easily select the portion that they want without disturbing food that other guests may consume.

Step 3: Search for Cheap Party Supplies

Now that you are in full party planning mode, it’s time to start searching for those cheap yet amazing party supplies. One of the best places to shop for party supplies is Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona. On any given day, you may find the following types of party supplies:

  • Platters and Serving Dishes — You are going to need so many different types of platters, trays, bowls and serving dishes for your potluck party, and it can be very expensive to purchase all of these items from a big box store. At Goodwill, we have beautiful secondhand serving products that are truly one-of-a-kind. You may find something that looks identical to a salad bowl, pitcher or serving tray that your grandmother once used. These unique items add interesting detail to your overall event.
  • Tablecloths, Napkins and Utensils — You can often find tablecloths and napkins that suit the theme of your party while also falling in line with your budget. This allows you to create a banquet-style party for the price of a potluck event.
  • Decor — No party is complete without festive decor, but it can be expensive to purchase brand-new items from a party supply store or a home decoration shop. Instead, head to Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona, where you will find unique household decor products that will complement your theme and allow you to transform your party for an affordable price.

Remember, cheap party supplies don’t mean tacky. There is nothing wrong with sticking to your budget and doing a little treasure hunting in order to find the perfect touches for your work parties this season.

Step 4: Spread the Word About Your Potluck Party

With all of the plans in place, the next thing you need to do is generate buzz about your potluck party. Some ways that you can invite people to the party and share information about the event include:

  • Designing a traditional invitation. There is something to be said about the tried-and-true method of inviting people to a party. A paper invitation is a way to create a sense of formality about your event, and it’s also a fun way to spread cheer. People rarely receive anything other than bills in the mail anymore, so a paper invitation is a welcome gift in the mailbox.
  • Sending an e-vite. Electronic invitations that are delivered via e-mail combine the beauty of a traditional invite with the convenience of modern technology. They also are the most sustainable way to spread the word about your party.
  • Creating a flyer to share on social media. If you are planning to invite a large group of people to the potluck party, consider designing a flyer online and sharing it with a specific group of social media. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are all great platforms to contact a large number of people in a quick and efficient way.

Potluck parties are designed to be a quick and easy way to gather with the people that you love and enjoy that time together. When you are brainstorming potluck ideas and food ideas for your work parties, remember that you don’t have to spend a fortune on party supplies and decorations to make your event great.

At Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona, you will discover amazing products to buy for the best possible price. Visit one of our stores today to see what we have available.

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