Potluck Party Etiquette: What the Host and The Guests Need to Know!

Photo: Michael Le Grange via Four Magazine

Photo: Michael Le Grange via Four Magazine

Who doesn’t love a potluck party, whether at home or work? It’s a perfect theory. All who are invited will bring a dish for the feasting table, and everyone will get to taste something different!

We know the truth. Someone’s bound to bring the exact same dish as the other person, or will bring foods from different worlds that will just make the potluck party feast a little jagged. No one wants that!

We’ve got quick and easy rules for the potluck party host and guest to abide by, for a fuss-free time:

1. For Hosts: Settle on a theme.
As the host, it’s up to you to decide what type of cuisine you’d want served. Honestly, giving your guests a heads up of a theme will make things easier for them! Hosts, be specific about your theme. Is it a French theme? Fusion? Most importantly, make sure you check if your guests have the cooking abilities and the proper budget for your theme.

2. For Hosts: Sign up sheets are your best friend. 
Once you’ve settled on a theme, start an email thread to work on a sign-up sheet. You must be thinking, this is some tedious stuff. We’re telling you, a little preparation goes a long way. You wouldn’t want everyone to bring desserts and nothing savory to enjoy? Unless it’s a theme you’ve already set, work on the dishes your guests will bring. Trust us, it will make for a better potluck feast.

3. For Guests: Really think about what you want to bring.
We can relate. We’ve all gotten potluck invites, and wanted to bring something really out there for all to enjoy. In the real world, not everyone is going to be open to chewy animal bits so give your chosen dish a proper thought. Also, don’t hurt yourself and your host by bringing something that needs more than a plate. Your host might not have twenty bowls for everyone to use, so forget about your fancy plans or bring your own. Quick Tip: When in doubt, go vegetarian! A fresh, bright salad will be perfect as a side dish.

4. For Guests: Common courtesy goes a long way.
Have grandma’s recipe you’re dying for all to try? Only catch is that you will need to pop your dish in the oven. Well, there might be others who think the same. Most importantly, there might hosts who might not have such an equipped kitchen. Quick Tip: We might be an emoji generation, but call the host ahead. A quick phone call will determine if the oven is working, and if there’s space for your dish.

5. For Hosts & Guests: It’s not always about bringing home cooked food.
There are those who might volunteer their space as the potluck party spot, and might not be so hot about their kitchen skills. Then there are guests who might not even know what to bring. Guests can always volunteer to bring paper plates, cups and even utensils to ease the clean up. Alternatively, both host and guest can look through our awesome list of vendors who can hook you up with tasty treats that will make everyone happy!


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  1. I love hosting potlucks and agree that some advanced preparation and awareness of etiquette is crucial to have a successful event. Especially if you’re doing all the prep work yourself and not hiring a professional Party Planner. Thanks for the tips!

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