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Garden party: A Citrus Food Themed Potluck
I have wanted to host a garden party for as long as I can remember but with so much going on in the spring (ah-hem big Easter party of usually 20+), I wasn’t sure if I had the bandwidth to host another party.
But then the thought – what about a citrus party in the blooming garden where everyone brings a dish that has some type of citrus in it?
A potluck cuts down on hostess responsibilities and I can just set the table and create the fun (more on that later)!
So, when I had some friends over prepping for a different party, I just spit out my idea they said, “Let’s do it!” and pulled up their calendars and we picked a date. This post I’ll share the set up details, how to plan a potluck and some tips. Oh, and fun and games because it’s a must for every party I host!
I also can’t wait to share the high and low purchases of this set up because a few things are from The Dollar Tree mixed with higher end pieces like MacKenzie-Childs.
Paper lemon table accent (buy on Amazon) / Green bamboo cards: Caspari / Candles: MacKenzie-Childs (bee set / checkered) / Citronella candles in jars: MacKenzie-Childs / Black folding tables: Wayfair (sold out) / Metal chairs: vintage / Black white chair pads: Amazon
Low price point items: Cotton napkins (12 pack Amazon) / Lemon Ceramic Plates: Dollar Tree (must preorder online) / Glass taper candle holders: Dollar Tree / Rope candles: World Market / Green gingham runner: Laura Ashley at Tuesday Morning
You read right, those lemon plates were from The Dollar Tree! They had salad plates too but I liked the dinner plates!
It was a magical night, it really was filled with good food, deep and funny conversations around the fire, and lots of laughing. My friends enjoy one another and are very familiar with one another now with the gatherings I regularly host, and look forward to seeing one another. As a hostess this makes my heart happy when you gather your favorite people together and see them have fun!
I made this bouquet with Trader Joe’s florals! My nails are XOXO by Olive + June.
Dress: Anthropologie Floral Silk Twist-Front Midi Dress (old) / Pearl slides: Zara
I have 6 of each chair style so I have each side with a different chair – not every other because it makes it too jumbled looking. When I have to add 2 captain chairs I have these black metal chairs from the front yard I add.
The reason why my parties are usually at capacity to a certain number is truly the seating or how big or small I want my parties. I wish I could have a gala size every month but that’s not possible :)
Organizing the Potluck Menu
The first suggestion I would give about hosting a potluck party is to keep the guest list manageable- Like 12, so people don’t have to make a salad for 24 people.
I invited 12 friends the same ones I invited to my birthday party which are my closest friends I talk to regularly like all the time. In this case, 10 could make it, but then it was 8 due to life and guess what, it was PERFECT. It was even, I got to sit in the middle of the table instead of the head and I loved it small.
When it’s small like under 12, you can also manage what people are bringing. I gave permission to get store bought because not everyone is Martha Stewart. I may look like I am but not in the kitchen. *wink*
This was our citrus potluck menu –
- Drinks – mixture and lemonade (using True Lemon and Stevia) a hit!
- Shrimp Cocktail w Lemons
- Spinach Salad w/ Lemon Vinaigrette
- Ceasar Salad
- Lemon chicken w/ orange cranberry sauce
- Lemon Parmesan Pasta
- Lemon Bars
- Lemon flavor Nothing Bundt Cake
Here’s another tip. As the host, take care of the drinks and the main protein course. That way if a guest must cancel, you have the important aspects of the meal covered.
Desserts are a given, people will overload on the desserts.
You also need your super reliable friends who like to cook, help you fill the gaps right away and make the menu solid before the party – a main course and a salads. Then you are really set and everyone else who plans to swing by the grocery store to see what they can find made out of lemons will just be a bonus and you won’t feel stressed out wondering if the meal is substantial.
A QUIZ + Crowning a Citrus Queen!
The secret to a good party in my opinion is not just the company (but very important), is to have an activity. A quiz for prizes, or something just fun and creative (like my Princess Diana costume party show).
For this one, Benjamin came up with the ideas. He insisted on a citrus quiz and helped me with the questions. Then he wanted to award best dressed with a fruit hat. I mean it was ridiculous and I was laughing at the hat he found on Amazon (which also cost $70 not including a rush shipping!).
I decided to modify his idea and instead ordered a large yellow jeweled crown from Amazon and added little lemon beads on it. I crowned a Citrus Queen and the best dish was Lauren’s! She was Miss Lemon Parmesan Pasta! She was so hilarious when she won, we were dying laughing.
Lemon taper candleholder: Anthropologie / Candles: MacKenzie-Childs (bee set / checkered) / Baskets: Thrifted / Wedgewood serveware: Vintage eBay / Tablecloth: The Company Store / Orange place card holder: Hester & Cook
The idea was to pick your fruit and juice it and add it to your drink but I forgot to bring out a knife and cutting board but honestly the drinks I offered were a hit anyway! So the baskets of fruit were decoration.
My friend Brittany brought some lemons from her trees and the owner of Scottsdale Marketplace gave me 2 large bags of grapefruit, lemons, and pink lemons! The limes and oranges I had InstaCart deliver and I sliced them in half and used them as decor. I hear it keeps mosquitoes away too, not sure if that’s valid as I still had to have OFF! spray for my friends.
It was truly a magical night, great weather, laughter, and intimate and I’m so thankful for a lovely evening with friends before the summer heat kicks in. Until the next party, friends!
Thanks for reading and if you’re lucky enough to enjoy your summer weather, I hope you throw a citrus potluck party with your family and friends too!