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Potluck Dinner Party: Recipes, Decor and Entertaining Ideas

By: Matthew Mead and Linda MacDonald
Enjoy good food, drinks and company, and revel in the ease and enjoyment of pulling together a successful meal.
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Everyone Pitches In

With careful planning, a potluck dinner can be a virtually stress-free approach to entertaining. By limiting the amount of personal food prep, you free yourself to focus on the fun stuff: table settings, flower arrangements and other personal touches (think signature drink, dessert station and party games) that reflect your entertaining style.

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DIY Invitations

Using your favorite fonts and design flourishes, mock up a custom invitation. Print out copies on scrapbook paper, trim and adhere to mini scalloped cardstock. Affix empty circle dots and alphabet stickers to the bottom of each invite to spell out the dish each guest should prepare – a friendly way to manage the dinner menu. Don’t forget to request recipe printouts from each guest! Punch a grommet through the top of each invite and thread a twine hanger through the hole so guests can display invitations in a prominent place.

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Easy-As-Can-Be Flower Arrangements

To create a stylish centerpiece, fill a compote with water and whole limes, and tuck flowers – stripped of most stems – in amongst the limes. Pinecones, ornaments or fresh, colorful vegetables like artichokes and radishes also serve as sturdy anchors for blooms. In addition to candle-filled votives set casually on the table, succulents placed in water-filled votive cups make charming tabletop decorations .

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Simply Elegant Place Settings

Casual is best when it comes to a potluck dinner table setting. Use what you have on hand; consider white or neutral earthenware and everyday flatware. Atop each plate, place a folded linen napkin and a small place card, nestled in a sprig of succulents. Other place card holders include flowers, ivy, a piece of chocolate, a crusty French roll or a candy-filled egg cup.

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