I though this article was great. I've recommended potluck dinners before where guests each bring a plate which helps with the expense factor.
They suggest to choose a theme just as I would and also to assign guests a course to bring. So you'll have each course covered.. Here are their tips which I think are very useful:
A few tips:
- Have each guest ‘introduce’ their dish: ask them to quickly tell everyone what they made and why it’s relevant to the theme (if it’s not obvious)
- Have each guest email you their recipe, so you can send out an email to the group the next day with all the recipes in case anyone would like them
- Have your own serving ware ready when guests arrive and ask them to transfer their dish to one of your platters. Then, they can immediately rinse out their dish and pack it up, so you’re not scrambling at the end of the night to clean and send off people with their platters or having to keep track of pieces left at your place.
- Check out PlumParty.com and OrientalTrading.com for affordable and fun decorations that go with your theme.
- Have some disposable take-away containers on hand so you can handout leftovers to anyone that wants them.