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5 Tips For Throwing A Successful Potluck Supper Club Dinner Party

Looking for a fun and inexpensive way to throw a late summer dinner party for family and friends? If so, a potluck dinner party is a perfect solution. Today’s tips will include the meaning of potluck and its origin. Plus, here are some cheap potluck ideas to make your event affordable.

Whether you’re hosting a small gathering or a large event, these 5 tips will help you throw a successful potluck supper club dinner party.

What Does Potluck Mean?

First, the meaning of potluck has changed over the years. The origin of potluck dates back to the 16th century to describe providing food for uninvited guests.

However, the meaning of potluck changed during the Great Depression in the 1930s. Family’s came together for communal meals where everyone brought their own food.

Today’s Southern Potluck Supper Club Series celebrates a more modern take on Potluck.

When you host a supper club, you provide the main dish and divi out the other dishes to guests. This helps to reduce the cost of entertaining, and everyone benefits from cheap potluck ideas.

Origin of Potluck - How to throw A potluck dinner party in the greenhouse

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Supper Club Series

Today’s tablescape is part of our monthly Supper Club Series.

If you are joining us for the first time, we are a group of friends who love to entertain, and when entertaining in person wasn’t recommended, we started a virtual supper club in January 2021.

We are from different areas of the country, and it’s always fun to see each person’s interpretation of the monthly theme. Meet the Supper Club Hosts.

  • Stacy Ling, Bricks N Blooms from New Jersey
  • Michele, Vintage Home Designs from Texas
  • Jennifer, Midwest Life & Style from Nebraska
  • Anne & AnnMarie, Simply 2 Mom’s from North Carolina
  • I’m also from North Carolina.

We are excited to have Heidi from Eleanor Rose Home with us today. Heidi is from Massachusetts, and I know you will love her Southern spin on a Potluck Dinner Party.

5 Tips For Planning A Successful Potluck Supper Club Dinner

Here are 5 tips that will guarantee a successful potluck dinner.

  • Determine a party theme
  • Invite guests with an early RSVP deadline
  • Plan menu and assign each guest a preferred dish for the dinner
  • Provide a casual table setting
  • Set up with separate beverage and buffet areas
The meaning of potluck dinner party ideas for supper club

Potluck Dinner Theme

When planning your potluck dinner theme, consider what types of recipes will work best within the theme.

This month’s Supper Club Series theme is Southern Potluck Dinner Party. Therefore, the menu should include typical Southern cuisine such as Shrimp and Grits, Fried Chicken, Potato Salad, Collard Greens, Etc.

This month’s main dish is Southern Shrimp and Grits with Country Ham and Red Eye Gravy.

Southern style shrimp and grits recipe with country ham and red eye gravy

Plan Menu and Assign Guest Dishes

Once you know the number of guest attending, it’s time to plan your menu and assign each guest what to bring. The idea of a cheap potluck dinner party is to spread the cost among all the guests.

Examples of assignments:

  • One or more signature cocktails
  • Appetizers
  • Main Dish (Provided By Party Hostess)
  • Side Dishes
  • Desserts

You, as the hostess can provide additional beverages such as water, tea, wine, or soft drinks. Or you may also assign someone to bring these beverages.

Potluck ideas for cheap allow you and your friends to entertain more often without breaking the bank.

Casual Potluck Dinner Party Table Setting

Next, it’s time to set the dining table. Most potluck dinner parties are casual affairs, and keeping the table setting simple is a must.

I am hosting in the greenhouse/she shed for today’s Southern Potluck Party.

The long 8-foot table provides enough space for both dining and the beverage bar.

5 Tips For Throwing A Successful Potluck Supper Club Dinner Party

The late summer table is awash with hints of autumn, with wood tones, rustic earthenware pottery, and dried gourds lurking in the background.

5 Tips For Throwing A Successful Potluck Supper Club Dinner Party

Harvest tones of blushing purple figs, a handcrafted dough bowl, and rustic blue and brown dinnerware contribute to a casual late summer Southern Potluck Supper Club Dinner Party.

faux figs in handcrafted wooden dough bowl for cheap potluck ideas.

The foundation for the table setting is a green and white buffalo check tablecloth which adds a late summer outdoor picnic spin to the greenhouse setting.

The tablecloth coordinates with the DIY Custom Fringe Napkins, adding interest to the casual tablescape.

The napkin is folded to enhance the fringe detail, while white porcelain thrifted napkin rings add a touch of country elegance to the blue, green, and white table theme.

DIY fringe napkins on earthenware pottery dishes for a rustic supper club tablescape.

The Place Setting

Continuing with the potluck ideas of cheap entertaining, I used existing dinnerware and thrifted finds.

For the casual place setting, I began with textured thrifted woven plate chargers that I found while thrifting in Wilmington, NC, over the summer.

Next, I add blue earthenware pottery dishes I’ve had for at least 43 years.

The dinner plate is topped with an ironstone dessert plate providing a space for the DIY Cloth Napkins.

Rustic pewter cutlery and thrift store blue glass water goblets complete the early fall table setting.

Blue earthenware pottery dishes on woven thrifted placemats for a potluck dinner party.  Origin of potluck

A Cheap Centerpiece

When planning any dinner party, the centerpiece can lead to extra expenses that you may not have considered.

However, I look for cheap or free alternatives when possible.

Fortunately, my hydrangeas are still in full bloom. Since they are located beside the greenhouse, I quickly gathered a supply and added them to my large ironstone vessel.

hydrangea flower arrangement in a white ironstone vessel for table centerpiece.

Insider Tip

Look for free alternatives for creating table centerpieces.

  1. First, check your garden and landscape for free blooms.
  2. If you are limited, look for evergreen foliage. You can create a lovely greenery centerpiece for cheap.
  3. You can also consider wildflowers if you lack blooms in your garden.
  4. Use dried flowers such as hydrangeas or zinnias.
  5. Purchase flowers or plants that you plan to add to your landscape. Place in pretty containers until after the event.
  6. Finally, if all else fails, pull faux flowers from other areas of your home to create your centerpiece

The shades of blue and green hydrangeas are a stunning addition to the tablescape color scheme. In addition, you will see more hints of early fall with touches of faded purple in the blooms.

A trio of vintage brass candlesticks is a safe option for adding a warm ambiance with battery-operated flicker candles.

Buffet and Beverage Stations

Finally, it’s important to create a reason for guest to circulate around the room.

The best way to do so is to separate the food table from the beverage station.

There is room for the beverages at the end of the dining table.

A vintage copper boiler is filled with iced-down wine bottles, and the wine glasses are displayed on a vintage milk glass cake plate.

5 Tips For Throwing A Successful Potluck Supper Club Dinner Party with cheap potluck ideas for tablesetting

In addition, the DIY Potting Table is a perfect spot to add food as guests arrive.

If you don’t plan to formally set your table, you can add plates, napkins, cutlery, and water glasses to the buffet table.

The vintage garden decor can be slid underneath the table as the food is added.

Insider Tip

Although many dishes will arrive with the guest, I like adding cake stands and risers to the buffet table beforehand.

This will make the food table more accessible as all the menu items are added.

Late Summer Southern Supper Club Dinner

Late summer is the perfect time for entertaining and bringing family and friends together, and these tips will help you to plan a potluck idea for cheap.

You don’t have to spend much money when everyone contributes to the meal. Even the tableware and other decorations are budget-minded.

You, too, can create a stylish table setting with potluck ideas for cheap entertaining.

green and white buffalo check tablecloth with blue dishes and blue goblets, brass candlesticks and hydrangea arrangement.


Late Summer Cheap Potluck Ideas for Dinner table.

More Table Ideas for Supper Club

Supper Club Series

Now it’s time to check out all the other supper club ladies and see how they decorated their tables for a Southern Pot Luck Dinner.

Stacy At Bricks N Blooms / Heidi At Eleanor Road Home / Michele at Vintage Home Designs

Jen at Midwest Life & Style / Anne & AnnMarie at Simply 2 Mom’s / Rachel at The Ponds Farmhouse

Pin It To Remember It

Did you find some great ideas you’d like to save for future reference? Hover over the images you’d like to save and pin to your favorite Pinterest Boards when you see the PIN button.

5 Potluck Ideas for cheap table setting and supper club ideas.


Tuesday 29th of August 2023

Rachel, I love your pretty table. And the she-shed is the perfect place to host a cozy and casual potluck party. Your no-sew DIY napkins add the perfect touch to the casual vibe and I love the color of your dinnerware. Pinned!


Wednesday 30th of August 2023

Jen, I really appreciate all your comments. Thank you for your encouragement.

michele - vintage home designs

Friday 25th of August 2023

Such a great Southern table set up, and I love the setting of the greenhouse!


Monday 28th of August 2023

Michele, Thank you so much.

Stacy Ling

Thursday 24th of August 2023

Rachel! Your tablescape is amazing and those ship n grits look delicious!


Thursday 24th of August 2023

Stacy, I really appreciate your comments.

AnnMarie | Simply2Moms

Thursday 24th of August 2023

Love your pretty table, Rachel. The colors are just perfect and that green buffalo check tablecloth is so charming. Pinned!


Thursday 24th of August 2023

AnnMarie, I'm so glad you like it.


Thursday 24th of August 2023

Rachel, I love your southern potluck! You provided so many great details on how to host a potluck! I love your fringed napkins (I might have to steal that idea), along with all the textures on your table. Thank you for including me in this month's supper club. You ladies are always inspirational!


Thursday 24th of August 2023

Heidi, Thank you and we were so happy to have you along.