It’s not that hard, but once you have your formulas down, you can order and entertain with ease.
Over Pesach, I had a lot of company. And while I sat down one day and concentrated to figure out what to include in my LuxeParty order (don’t forget to use code BCP15 for 15% off), it was choosing the colors that would look beautiful with each tablecloth that took the most brain space during that hour.
Choosing the quantities was less difficult, but that doesn’t mean I got it all right. But, we learn, and we adjust, and we share what we learn! So, here is a little guide about quantities you need when hosting or entertaining:
– For seated meals
– For meals where you know the exact quantity of guests, you can order just what you need, rounded up (and yes, you need those extras).
* For example, I ordered 30 dishes for each meal where I was hosting 25. However, even though those 25 would be eating over for 2 meals = 50 place settings, there still needs to be 60 dishes. If you are serving an appetizer and/or dessert, do the same.
* If all your desserts are in ramekins or miniware, less dessert plates will be needed, but still some (adults will want a dish, kids will take their dessert cup and run).
– For a kiddush or the types of meals or entertaining where you’re not quite sure how many will show up, order DOUBLE or even 2 ½ times what you think
* You think 100 plates is enough? Order 200 or even 240-260. If someone has a piece of kugel in the beginning, and some fruit or a piece of cake later, they’re not holding onto their dirty plate in between.
* If a lot of items are served in miniware or ramekins, double would be enough.
Small plates are less costly than large plates and it’s super embarrassing to run out of plates, forks, or cups in the middle of hosting. Been there, done that. Err on the side of abundance. What’s the point of all that food if they can’t eat it? We’ve all been to vorts where there were no spoons or forks left to enjoy the desserts. If I didn’t learn my lesson then, I learned my lesson when I ran out of all disposables when hosting my own kiddush. BH, my mother-in-law lives across the street from the simcha hall, so we could restock with her stash!
* Note: While it’s nice to have the same, the disposables you use for “replenishing” don’t have to be the same as the original ones you put out… it’s ok to buy cheaper ones as backup as long as you have that backup stash available.
– For seated meals
– For meals where you know the exact amount of guests, you can get away with rounding up, especially if you’re buying the type of flatware that comes with two forks, one knife, and one spoon.
* If you are serving fish for an appetizer, and the extra fork is actually needed, have extra forks on hand. People often need a second fork over the course of a meal; often flatware gets thrown out between courses.
* Have plenty of extra spoons on hand for dessert and tea. I like these mini spoons. Don’t assume they won’t use the spoon that’s on their setting, even if you’re not serving soup.
– For a kiddush or the types of meals or entertaining where you’re not quite sure how many will show up, it’s important to have tons and tons of flatware. Whether it’s forks or spoons depends on what you’re serving, but plan to have on hand 2 ½ times the amount of people you expect.
* Note: It’s ok for the “replenishing” flatware to be less expensive than the nice ones you put on the buffet originally.
– For serving utensils, it’s ok to plan the exact amount based on the number of items you’ll be serving.
* If you expect to be surprised with food (people sending platters, etc), have a couple extra in case. Serving pieces are often rewashed, or used for one salad, and then another.
– For seated meals
– For meals where you know the exact amount of guests, have 2 ½ amount the number of cups vs. people. Often, people use their cups for grape juice in the beginning of kiddush. They need a second cup for their drink. And, of course, kids take sooooo many cups.
* If serving wine, you’ll need a separate cup/glass unless your guests are not particular.
– For a kiddush or the types of meals or entertaining when you don’t know exactly how many people to expect, if only alcohol and water are being served, 2 times should be enough, but if there’s also soda, have 2 ½ times on hand. People often take a new cup with every drink.
– For coffee cups/hot cups, unless it’s the type of meal where you expect everyone to take a hot drink (i.e. a morning bris with coffee), for evening hosting, it’s ok to have 75% of hot cups vs. people on hand.
* For a morning event where almost everyone might make a cup of coffee, have 1 ½ times hot cups vs. people.
– This is one thing where people actually need and use multiple per meal. While it’s ok to have one per person of your “pretty” ones to set your table, you need at least 2 per person, plus more to put out with dessert. Estimate 3 per person, but those extras can be cheaper napkins. Cloth/”Real” napkins have a longer “table life,” and are more likely to last for the entire meal. Square luncheon-sized napkins are nice to put out for dessert, as the dirty cloth napkins will be cleared with the plates.
– For a kiddush or the types of meals or entertaining where you’re not quite sure how many will show up, have 2 ½ times the amount of napkins. You need an abundance, but the quantity here is closer to the amount needed for a dinner because people are spending less time and are less likely to get dirty.