Large parties are a lot of fun but can be a headache for the host. Between securing a venue, choosing a menu, sending invitations, and tracking RSVPs, there is a lot to be done to ensure the event runs smoothly. Follow these five tips to save your sanity when catering for large parties.
One key to hosting a large party is to stay organized. Dedicate a notebook or a spreadsheet on your computer to the event and make a list for each aspect of the party. Here are some essential lists to make:
- Timeline Countdown. Designate which activities need to be completed by a certain date and break it down by month. So, “Three to Six Months Prior” will be one section, then “One to Two Months Prior”, “One Week Prior”, and “Day Of Event“. Don’t forget a list for “After the Event” as well; there will be some following up to do.
- Food List. Determining the amount of food needed for a large party is tough. Work closely with a caterer who has experience in this area. Figure out appetizers, the main course, side dishes (including soup or salad), and desserts. Don’t forget beverages either. From non-alcoholic drinks to beer, wine, and coffee, you’ll need to be sure to have enough.
- Guest List. Keep track of who you’re inviting and whether or not they RSVP. For a large party, specifically sit-down affairs, you’ll also need to know who to follow up with if they forget to RSVP.
- Figure out your budget early in the process and stick with it. Creating a budget will also help you if this is an annual event so you can compare the numbers from previous years.
Create a Menu
For large parties, a simple menu is best. You certainly don’t want hungry guests, but you also don’t want a lot of leftover food either. Your caterer is the expert in this field and through their extensive experience, they can help you determine how much of each type of food to order. Also consider who your guests are; teenagers will likely eat more than adults, while small children will eat less. Some foods are more popular than others, so be sure you have plenty of mashed potatoes on hand, for example, vs. a green salad.
Experiment a Little, But Not Too Much
A large party is the time to stick with the tried-and-true. Work with your caterer to choose foods that you know will taste good, be filling, and will please everyone. If you want to have one or two new things, such as a signature cocktail or an interesting dessert, make sure you have plenty of traditional food and drink in case too few people enjoy the new item.
Keep Your Space in Mind
To ensure your guests have an enjoyable experience, keep your venue space in mind. For example, don’t host a buffet if you have a small room – there just won’t be enough space for guests to get their food and find a seat. Be sure there’s plenty of access to the bar, food, and seating.
Roll with the Punches
Anyone who’s ever planned a party knows that unexpected things will happen, no matter how carefully you plan and prepare. Go into the event knowing that there may be a gaffe. And also realize that it’s unlikely anyone will notice if a mistake is made during the event.
Always remember that preparation and organization is the key to saving your sanity when catering for large parties. The party is only as successful as the host lets it be. Sit back and enjoy your event, and your guests will too. Contact Woodman’s today to learn more about large event catering and how we can help you plan for an unforgettable party.