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.
Table of contents
- What Does Potluck Mean?
- 5 Tips For Planning A Successful Potluck Supper Club Dinner
- Casual Potluck Dinner Party Table Setting
- Late Summer Southern Supper Club Dinner
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.
(Posts on The Ponds Farmhouse may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. See the full disclosure details here.)
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
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.
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
- Main Dish (Provided By Party Hostess)
- Side Dishes
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.
The late summer table is awash with hints of autumn, with wood tones, rustic earthenware pottery, and dried gourds lurking in the background.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Look for free alternatives for creating table centerpieces.
- First, check your garden and landscape for free blooms.
- If you are limited, look for evergreen foliage. You can create a lovely greenery centerpiece for cheap.
- You can also consider wildflowers if you lack blooms in your garden.
- Use dried flowers such as hydrangeas or zinnias.
- Purchase flowers or plants that you plan to add to your landscape. Place in pretty containers until after the event.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
More Table Ideas for Supper Club
- Luau Party Table Ideas
- 5 Things to Know About Hosting a Low Country Boil
- Memories of Mom Mother’s Day Tablescape
- 4th of July Outdoor Table
- Fall Outdoor Table Ideas
- How To Set An Outdoor Dinner Table
- Backyard BBQ Setup
- 5 Inspired Picnic Table Ideas
- Best Ideas for A Spring Fling Party
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.
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.