Anyone in the event planning business will tell you, if the opportunity presents itself, people will eat. When you plan on guests at your event eating, a bushel of questions come up. Will the caterer’s recommendation be too much? Will people like the food? Did I order too much? Are there enough plates and silverware?
Have no fear, OSU Extension event planning is here! Below you will find tips and tricks to make sure everyone is fed.
Keep People From Dying
The easiest way to determine what you need to avoid is adding a box in your registration asking if there are any food allergies. Food allergies can range in effect from a mild irritation to severe hospitalization. Best to keep away from every scenario and ask upfront about food allergies.
Don’t Let People Starve
A general guideline is to purchase a bit too much food. Remember, 10% of your guest list will probably not show up, but you can always have unexpected walk-ins and guests eating more than anticipated. Generally, the expectation is each person will eat six pieces of the appetizer, if there is a full meal being served, and 12 pieces each if not. Next, guests will have one and a half servings of the main dish and one and a half cups of the side dish. If there is a fruit or vegetable tray, two large platters for every 25 guests is average. When it comes to desserts, account for each guest to have one and a half servings.
Let People Drink
If you intend to serve alcohol at this event, be prepared for each guest to have one and a half drinks per hour. Along with that you should be serving non alcoholic drinks as well, allotting two gallons for every 25 guests. However, this will change based on the nature of the event. If you are planning a wedding, expect guests to drink more alcoholic beverages (typically). If there is no alcohol at your event, you will probably need four gallons of beverage for every 25 guests.
People Need Plates
One plate, fork, and napkin per person will not cut it. Account for an extra 30% of each serving item. If you think you will only need 100 bowls, get 130. When it comes to cups, tack on 50% to avoid running out. Putting a cup down and walking away from it is too easy, so most will solve the problem of their missing cup by getting a new one. Until we can stop this madness, plan for extra cups.
Overall, you know your guests. You know if alcohol is appropriate or not and what foods will do well. Trust your gut and judgement. However, if your gut is telling you to purchase the weirdest appetizer on the caterer’s menu, listen to Pinterest instead.