Hosting summer get-togethers is a great way to reconnect with friends and family that you were unable to see during the year. During the year, most people are busy with school and work and often find it difficult to pry themselves away from that. Organizing potlucks and parties in the summer is perfect, as most people find themselves much more free. Schools are on vacation, work is far less demanding than other times, and it’s a great opportunity to see your friends and family, once again. If you’ve never hosted a summer potluck, however, there are many teeny tiny details that go into a great potluck to make it a fun and enjoyable experience for yourself and your guests, so below is a guide to hosting the best summer get-togethers yet!
Planning ahead is probably the most important part of planning out almost any sort of event, potluck, party, or get-together. First, consider a date or range of dates in mind and ask those closest to you when they will be available. Try to be accommodating and choose a date that fits the time of most people you actually want present at the event. Choose a time, like whether you want it in the afternoon for a brunch or lunch event or if you prefer for it to be in the evening for dinner. Send out the invites and keep track of all those who will be attending. Be sure to stay on top of the guest list and every now and then, text or call those who have yet to respond to your invitation. Make sure you have a finalized guest list at least a week before the event to make sure you know how much of everything is needed for the event.
CREATE A COZY ATMOSPHERE
Choosing the perfect spot and creating a welcoming atmosphere is also a very important part of planning the perfect summer event. If you plan on hosting at your own home, then you can ignore this part. Otherwise, choose a good venue like an open park or even the beach if that is an option for you! Just be sure to check with local ordinances to make sure that you’re allowed to use the area as a public space whenever you want. Next, it’s important to add some ambient lighting and comfortable blankets or pillows. Be sure to consider your guests’ access to clean restrooms as well as seating and shade (if outdoors).
PREPARE A GREAT MENU
The next most important thing, which will probably be the most memorable part of your guests’ experience at the event, is the food! Prepare a variety of different delicious foods and drinks to ensure your guests will leave with a full belly. Consider a diverse menu while also considering dietary restrictions for your guests. Take in mind any allergies or specific diets people may be on (like vegan restrictions). Decide how many courses you want in your meal and choose what to provide during each course. Pick out some easy-to-eat finger foods to avoid too much of a mess and provide napkins and utensils for easy clean up. Consider even having a barbecue-style potluck, so everyone will pitch in or bring side dishes of their own, easing up the workload on the host!
BE MINDFUL OF SAFETY AND SUSTAINABILITY
Lastly, in the whole process of planning and setting up your event, it’s important to consider sustainability throughout the event. Try to use reusable tableware and utensils, and use items you already own so as not to spend too much money or create too much waste. Set out recycling bins or compost bins for guests to dispose of their waste properly. Also, encourage carpooling or the use of other sustainable transportation (like the bus or a bike) to attend the event. Also, pay attention to safety and follow all local ordinances if hosting in a public space. Be mindful of hygiene and provide water, soap, and towels (or even hand sanitizer) to ensure that everyone washes up before eating. If swimming or public playing areas are available, be sure to monitor those as well to make sure everyone stays happy and safe!