Need help hosting

Ever wondered about how much food to order for a party?
How many bottles of wine to stock up?

You’re throwing a party and you want to know how much food and drink to have on hand, right? With a little help from these guidelines throw a magical party.

A quick rule of thumb is to budget for two alcoholic drinks per person during your party’s first hour and then a drink per person per hour.
A four hour party will mean 5 drinks per person.

Appetizers/Hors d’oeuvres
If you’re serving appetizers before other food, plan on about 5 hors d’oeuvres per person per hour for the first 2 hours of the party and 3 per person per hour for each additional hour. If you’re only serving appetizers, you’ll want to up the quantities a bit.
We suggest a minimum of 5 servings per guest at a drop-in event, 8 servings per guest at non-meal periods (after dinner, late night, etc.) and 12-15 servings per guest at meal events.

If preparing for a wine and cheese event then plan on  approximately 3-5 ounces of cheese per person and 2 bottles of wine for 3 guests.

Chips, crackers, and other crunchy stuff
Since chips and crackers don’t spoil quickly, buy several bags and boxes; it’s better to have too much than too little and you can always send unopened (or partially-finished) bags home with guests.

Dessert servings depend on the kind and variety of desserts being served. In general, if you’re serving cake, pie, or pastries, allot 1 slice per guest. If you’re serving something creamy (ice cream, mousse, parfait, or pudding), plan on about half a cup for each guest. If you’re offering a variety of desserts or adding fresh fruit, portion sizes can be a bit smaller, as guests will try multiple items.

Meat, fish, and poultry 
For a dinner party, plan on about 6-8 ounces of meat per diner.

Non-alcoholic beverages
When you’re buying non-alcoholic drinks (punch, pop, juice), 3 people per litre is a good rule of thumb.

Plan on about 3 slices per person. Of course, if you’re serving lots of other stuff you may drop this to about 2 slices per person, and if you’re serving nothing but pizza to a football team, you’ll want to budget a bit higher.

If you’re serving salad, plan on 1 8oz cup per guest.

A few extra tips:

  • When in doubt, it’s better to have too much food than not to have enough, so round up. You can always send guests home with leftovers or fill your freezer with extra food.
  • If you have many different options (6-10 appetizers, for instance), make the portions smaller than you would if you were only offering a few choices; guests are more likely to try one of everything offered when there are many options.
  • Plan for a mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarian appetizers and account for any guests with dietary restrictions (such as gluten-free diets or allergies), by asking your guests about their needs up front, or providing guests with the basic outline of your dinner menu.
  • Keep filler items (like nuts, party mix, olives, etc.) on hand for simple food choices that require no preparation, but will feed lots of guests.

Bon appétit!