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Bringing Southern Charm to the Table with a Potluck Party

Are you ready to entertain? Join us for a southern potluck party at home. We’re sharing ideas and inspiration to host the perfect gathering right in your backyard.

Honestly, I can’t call myself a true Southerner since I’ve only lived in the South for 15 years.

But I can say without a doubt, after growing up and living in the North for most of my life, that there’s nothing like the warmth and hospitality of the South.

Not sure what it is, maybe it’s the weather that makes people so happy.

The weather was one of the reasons I moved to North Carolina…to get away from the long dreary winters.

And I have to say I truly try to get outside every day.

I’ve created some great outdoor living spaces around our home that I love to spend time in with my family and friends.

So when it comes to entertaining I try to host my parties outside.

I mean is there anything better than getting together with your friends and family to enjoy delicious food!?

Come join us for a Southern Potluck Party!

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Welcome to Our Virtual Dinner Party

AnnMarie holding tray of glasses and pitcher of tea next to table outside on patio

You may be asking yourself what a virtual dinner or supper club actually is.

Back in 2021, we started this club with our friends Stacy, Rachel, Jen, and Michele.

We share ideas and inspiration for entertaining at home.

Since we live in different parts of the country (Texas, Nebraska, New Jersey, and North Carolina), we can’t get together in person.

Our virtual supper club is the next best thing to being together.

One day we hope to be able to do this together in person!

Each month we choose a different theme and share beautiful tablescapes, party decor, entertaining ideas, and recipes on our blogs.

And even though we call ourselves a dinner club, we’ve shared ideas for breakfasts, brunches, luncheons, and cocktail parties too.

We also invite a guest host to join in the fun every month.

This month we’re thrilled to welcome back Heidi from Eleanor Rose Home. She joined us last December for our Wine and Cheese Dinner party theme.

If you haven’t visited her website you’re really missing out on some beautiful decorating ideas and delicious recipes.

So be sure to go check out her blog.

This month our virtual supper club’s theme is a Southern Potluck Party.

We’re sharing our tablescape ideas today and delicious recipes on Saturday.

And just wait until you see all of our friend’s gorgeous tables at the end of this post!

Check out all of our virtual dinner club tablescapes and menus!

What is a Southern Potluck?

magnolia tree with flower beyond black metal fence

A potluck dinner is a gathering where each guest brings a dish to be shared with everyone in attendance.

Hosting a potluck makes it a bit easier on you as the host because all of your guests will be contributing the food for your party.

In the South, it can also be called a covered dish supper. No matter what you call it…homemade food is always the guest of honor!

A Southern potluck is all about a relaxed and comfortable ambiance that allows everyone to chill, chat, and, savor every bite.

It’s when time slows down for people to come together to share their creative homemade dishes and spend the evening with friends.

Where to Host an End-of-Summer Party

folding table covered in linen tablecloth on patio next to firepit before setting up for party

As summer starts to wind down with fall just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to host an outdoor party.

Everything was set up for this gathering on my patio right under our Magnolia tree.

Is there anything more Southern than a Magnolia?

I used a folding table that I covered with a pretty neutral linen tablecloth with a ruffled hem.

This table was where I planned to have the dinnerware, drinks, and some beautiful floral arrangements.

Set up a second or even third table depending on how many people you’re anticipating.

These additional tables will be used for your guests to place their dishes as they arrive.

How to Set a Buffet Table

table set up with plates, napkins, silverware and styled with flowers and vintage picnic basket

When it comes to setting your table think rustic charm as that’s the essence of a casual Southern outdoor potluck gathering.

This buffet table has all the essentials for guests to grab before heading over to the food table.

As the host, you’ll want to provide the plates, cups, and utensils for everyone to enjoy their meal.

Even putting out a few extra serving bowls or spoons on the buffet table may be helpful.

mason jar filled with silverware on buffet table outside next to stack of white plates

Mason jars are great for holding forks and knives and add to the rustic vibe of the potluck party.

You can also use a wicker, wood, or galvanized metal utensil caddy to contain silverware.

linen fringed neutral napkins folded in stack on buffet table outside

Easy-to-wash linen napkins like this fringed neutral option are an excellent choice.

However, if you’re having a big crowd then you may want to consider using paper plates and napkins with plastic utensils.

Disposable products also make cleanup a breeze at the end of the night.

Southern Potluck Outdoor Party Decor

old apple wood basket with succulent plant on firepit cover outside

You may not feel like you need a lot of party decor especially if you’ll be outside.

Just let the nature around you in the great outdoors be your backdrop.

Ya know kinda like how I set up my table in front of our beautiful Magnolia tree. LOL

If you do want to decorate your tables a bit then keep it simple because remember a potluck is all about the food.

Since it’s still pretty hot here we won’t be using our firepit.

I’m happy I finally got around to making a wood cover for the firepit.

Now we have an extra spot to place drinks or food when entertaining on our patio.

Doesn’t that succulent plant inside an old orchard bushel basket just go so well with the theme?

The plant adds a little something to the area but there is still plenty of room for guests to put their plates when sitting in the surrounding Adirondack chairs.

cut hydrangea in vintage basket style bucket with handle on table outside

We have three hydrangea bushes in our backyard but unfortunately only one of them bloomed this year.

The flowers were starting to fade so I clipped them to make this pretty floral arrangement.

I simply placed the hydrangea stems in an old harvest basket with a swing handle.

Not putting the flowers in water will allow the color to continue to fade while drying out.

Then I can use the neutral dried hydrangea stems inside when decorating for fall.

If you don’t have hydrangea bushes but you want the same look these faux hydrangea stems are highly rated and are available in a variety of colors.

glass jar vase filled with cut hydrangea next to vintage picnic basket on table outdoors

If you prefer to keep the color of your hydrangea then you’ll need to put the stems in water while drying the blooms out.

A jar of hydrangea next to a vintage picnic basket on the opposite end of the buffet table balances the decor across the table.

Do you love that old picnic basket?

Well, you may be in luck because I found a midcentury Redmon square picnic basket just like mine on Etsy.

What to Serve at a Southern Potluck Party

southern potluck tablescape set up outside on patio next to magnolia tree

While the ambiance of a potluck is casual and relaxed, a little organization can go a long way to be sure your party is a success.

As the host, you can either provide a theme or ask guests to coordinate dishes to avoid duplications.

You certainly don’t want to wind up with 6 dishes of fried chicken but no sides to go with it.

Here are a few ideas to bring to a Southern potluck dinner:

Check out our entire Southern potluck menu here.

tray with pitcher of tea, lemons and hobnob glasses on table

No Southern gathering is complete without a pitcher of sweet tea.

But remember this lady is originally from the North and loves her tea unsweetened so she can add her own sweetener.

If you prefer unsweet tea like me just be sure to provide plenty of sugar or stevia to help your guests make the perfect tea for themselves.

two hobnob glasses filled with tea and a lemon slice in front of basket of hydrangea

I served the tea in these fun hobnail vintage-style drinking glasses.

Lemon slices are a delicious addition to any glass of tea…sweet or not!

table set up on patio with cut hydrangea, plates, tray of sweet tea and glasses

Now are you ready to throw a spectacular end-of-summer party?

Just invite a few friends to host the best potluck party ever!

Shopping and Resource List

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collage of product images used to style table for a southern potluck gathering

Sources: hobnail drinking glasses | clear glass pitcher | set of white plates | wood tray with handles | linen tablecloth with ruffle | fringed linen cloth napkins | silverware set | wide mouth mason jars | faux hydrangea stems | set of white serving bowls | wood riser with handle

More Southern Potluck Tablescape Ideas from Our Friends

Be sure to click each of the blog names below the photos to get even more inspiration for your Southern potluck table.

If you’re a blogger and you’d like to join our virtual dinner club for a month leave us a comment below or contact us here.

Have you missed any of our previous tablescape ideas?

Just click this link for even more entertaining inspiration.

And if you have any questions or suggestions, contact me or leave a comment!

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