How to Host a Family Reunion Potluck

When hosting a family reunion potluck, it can oftentimes be stressful and overwhelming. However, with these simple steps, it can take away any stress!

To host a family reunion potluck, it is essential to know how many people will attend, the location and time of the potluck, your family’s allergies, and the theme of the potluck. In addition, providing your family with a sign-up sheet and popular dishes they may bring is helpful.

Below are very helpful tips for hosting the perfect family potluck. These tips will make all your family members want to attend!

Decide who you are inviting

Deciding who you are inviting is a crucial step to any potluck. Thankfully, this step is already partially covered as you know already know your guests will be family.

When deciding who to invite for a family reunion, remember to invite extended family. Reach out to family members you may not have seen in a long amount of time, and take the time to invite them. Everyone at the reunion will be grateful for this as chances are, they have not seen them recently either.

It goes without saying that as you plan your potluck you account for each individual in the family rather than just the number of families attending.

Have a sign-up sheet

Having a sign-up sheet is great after formally inviting your family members to your reunion potluck.

A sign up sheet should include three things:

  1. A section to RSVP
  2. A section with which foods to bring
  3. A section with a list of allergies

For convenience, have the sign-up sheet be a mobile one, on a platform such as Excel or Google Sheets. Make sure to give all of your family members access to the mobile sign up sheet, and they will be able to see changes as they are made to the sign-up sheet.

Family members being able to see the changes as they are made will allow for them to be aware of which family members are attending, which foods still need to be brought, and what foods not to bring due to allergies.

Decide when and where

Deciding the location and the time of the family reunion potluck is crucial. When deciding when and where try to make it as to whereas many people as possible can attend. If it is during a holiday, chances are many will be able to come as oftentimes family members will be together for the holidays anyway.

When deciding where to host the reunion, there are many possibilities. For example, you can have a reunion at a community center or a church. These two places are great, especially when having a large potluck. When hosting, however, heavily consider have it at someone’s house. Having it at a house reduces costs and makes it more comfortable for your family.

Another cheap option would be to hold your pot luck at a park. This would need to take place at a warmer time of the year such as during the summer. Holding a pot luck at a park provides plenty of space and activities for your family.

However, if you decide to host pot luck at a park keep in mind there often isn’t a kitchen area to keep food warm. Be sure to give family members a heads up if this is the case.

In addition to deciding the venue of your family potluck, consider where many of your family members live. If you are hosting and your house is much further away from many other family members, consider asking another family member if you can host the potluck in their home. Having a reunion at a location near many of your family members will increase the likelihood of people attending.

As said before, ensure that the timing of your family reunion potluck is convenient for a majority of those attending. Take into consideration their calendars and try to plan the reunion potluck accordingly.

Make sure to plan your family reunion potluck ahead of time. Do not spontaneously invite your family members over to your house and then expect them to be able to come.

Give your family members plenty of notice for your family reunion potluck, and this will give them time to put this event in their schedule. If your family members are given a considerable amount of time, then they will likely be able to attend.

Keep allergies in mind

When having a family reunion potluck, making a list of allergies is essential. To prevent allergic reactions, ask each family member about any allergies or food intolerances. This can be done when formally inviting them through the use of the sign-up sheet.

On the sign-up sheet, make sure there is a special section dedicated to listing allergens. This will make all of your family members with allergies feel welcomed and safe at your potluck.

Have a theme

Having a theme is a great way to make your family reunion potluck more fun. Having a theme is not essential, however, it can make it more enjoyable.

A theme for a family reunion potluck influences the food and decorations. The food and decorations should relate to the theme, which is why picking a good theme is essential.

Below is a list of themes that can be great for your potluck:

  • Childhood favorites
  • Night in the city
  • Five ingredients or less
  • All one colored food
  • Luau
  • Movie night
  • Fiesta.

These are all great themes to spice up your family reunion potluck and will make many of your family members want to attend!


When hosting a family reunion potluck, make sure certain supplies are being provided. These supplies include silverware, plates, bowls, napkins, and cups.

When providing these items, ensuring there is enough but not too many is often the most difficult task. On average, try to have at least two plates, bowls, cups, and sets of silverware for each person, and five napkins per person.

Having too many and too few of these items are a problem. As a rule of thumb, however, it is better to have too many as opposed to running out. Plan on having enough supplies so you do not run out, even if that results in having an excess amount.

Popular dishes

Having a list of dishes on the sign up sheet is great for those family members who want to come to the reunion but do not know what they want to bring for the potluck.

Below are a list of ten dishes that your family members are sure to love!

  • Chips and salsa
  • Baked garlic parmesan puffs
  • Ham and swiss buns
  • Taco salad
  • Baked spaghetti
  • Enchiladas
  • Potato salad
  • Chocolate chip cookies
  • Fruit salad
  • Brownies


Drinks are an essential part of a family reunion potluck. Your family members are sure to want beverages throughout the reunion and during the potluck.

Make sure to have water on hand, however to make it more fun also be sure to have sodas available for your family members!

The amount of soda needed will depend on the amount of family members that are planning to attend, which is another reason why having a sign up sheet is a great time saver!

Below is the amount of two liter sodas that are needed for your group size, assuming the event is three hours and each family member drinks one eight ounce serving per hour.

Group sizeDuration of eventSoda sizeAmount needed
Five peopleThree hoursTwo liter sodaTwo
Ten peopleThree hoursTwo liter sodaFour
Twenty peopleThree hoursTwo liter sodaEight
Fifty peopleThree hoursTwo liter sodaEighteen
One hundred peopleThree hoursTwo liter sodaThirty six
Amount of two liter sodas needed per group size

It is a good idea to have each family bring one of their favorite drinks to help save money and to be sure there are enough drinks for everyone.


Being part of a really big family, cooking for big groups of people is just how we do things. Cooking, baking, and outdoor cooking have all been huge parts of my life, and I love sharing what I've learned with you.

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