Start off on the right foot.

Lemon Sherbet Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting
Credit: Hector Manuel Sanchez

Easter celebrations don't have to be fancy occasions. Take some pressure off the hostess this year, and throw a fun, laidback potluck-style gathering for family and friends. Potlucks are a great way for all guests to participate in the meal prep and provide a wide variety of foods for everyone to enjoy. Just because it's a more casual event doesn't mean that manners are thrown out the window. As a guest, review these dinner party etiquette tips, and as the hostess, keep these seven suggestions in mind when company comes over. To take the stress out of delegating menu items, try our Elegant Easter Potluck menu. Ensure your Easter celebration is all fun and no frustration by following a few simple guidelines, and throw a potluck party that earns Mama's stamp of approval.

For the guests:

  • Don't show up empty handed. No one wants to be that guest.
  • Bring your designated menu item in the dish or vessel that you will serve it in. The hostess's kitchen will be hectic enough, so don't show up expecting to use any of her dishes or serving utensils.
  • Don't bring extra guests. The hostess designed the menu and its portions according to how many people she's expecting, so bringing a few extra mouths could throw everything off.
  • Don't set aside a portion of your food to save for later. It's great that you brought a delicious dish you're proud of, but let the other guests enjoy it. You can make it at home any time. On that note, you can't take home leftovers either.
  • Offer to clean up afterwards. Extra hands will make the cleanup process much faster and enjoyable.

For the hostess:

  • Don't be a lazy hostess and ask your guests to bring too much. Plan out a menu, and delegate dishes equally to the partygoers.
  • Make a Google Doc or sign-up sheet so guests know what others are bringing. You don't want a spread of six desserts and only one main dish. Be clear about portion guidelines as well so there's not too much or too little food for everyone.
  • Encourage guests to label their dishes so others will know what they brought and if it contains any allergy concerns.
  • Return guests' serving dishes and vessels in a timely manner. Yes, a year later is too late.
  • Have fun! Potlucks are meant to be laidback, casual gatherings where everyone shares the cooking duties. Enjoy the variety of food on the table and the wonderful company you are with.