ATB-Celebrate 575 x 525

At All The Best we help throw hundreds of great parties every year, so I asked our catering experts for some advice.  Whether you’re planning a dinner for 8 or a party for 80 here are some tips they came up with to help make your party a success …and save you from stress overload.


1. Make a plan

Plan ahead. Decide on date, time of day and guest list. For large events and very special occasions send out your invitations two to three months ahead.

2. Plan your menu
Reception (3-4 hours) allow 5 to 7 bites per person. Over the dinner hour allow 8 to 10 bites per hour. 
Offer both hot and cold bites and keep in mind any dietary requirements. Offer a selection of vegetarian options and dishes that do not include shellfish, pork and nuts.

3. Be aware of trends
Keep in mind your guest’s good health. Offer fresh, light, tasty fare.

4. Organize your beverages
Most guests will drink two drinks in the first hour and one drink every hour after that. Keep it simple. Offer one good red and white wine and one or two beer choices. Always offer still and sparkling water. Make sure you have de-caffeinated coffee on hand.

5. Consider the space for your event
Provide enough room for your guests to be comfortable. A stand-up cocktail party requires approximately 2.5 sq ft per person. A 60-inch round table will seat 10 guests and requires a 10-foot square area. Plan space for coats and boots in winter.

6. Time your event
Allow at least an hour for guests to deal with coats, make introductions and enjoy the first cocktail before the meal.

7. Get extra rentals
Plan to have extra glasses and such on hand, in case of breakage or unexpected guests. Order your ice from the rental company who will deliver large amounts with the rentals.

8. Staff up
The shorter the party the more staff you will need. For a cocktail party arrange for two waiters per thirty guests. At a sit down dinner, one waiter can serve fifteen guests. You’ll need a bar tender to handle a party of up to 80 guests. Professional staff will leave your kitchen tidy and sparkling… an added bonus!

9. Find the right venue
Get help from a professional caterer to find the ideal venue that will match your taste and budget for special occasions.

10. Relax
Have fun and enjoy the party!

Happy Holidays!

Jane Rodmell for All The Best

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