Catering for your holiday party can either be a process you love or hate. It can be very difficult to remain stress-free when there are so many party activities to coordinate. There will be a million things that seemingly have to be done; however, if you follow these holiday entertaining tips, you will be able to cater the perfect Christmas party. Never fear, the catering planning list is here!
Determine Your Guest List
The first step is to determine how many people you would like to invite and whether your holiday party will be seated or standing. Keep in mind that if you want to invite 12 people, you’ll need to cook enough food for 15-18 people since some people will not eat very much and other people will go overboard. Send your invitations three to four weeks before the event. Of course you want to ensure everyone RSVPs the event so you can have accurate numbers, but there are often a few friends who will bring friends with them. If you want to avoid the situation of unexpected guests, state clearly on the invitation that it is for the recipient only. Bottom Line: You want to cook plenty of extra food, but then who doesn’t love the leftovers over the next few days? You won’t have to worry about making dinner and you know you’ll love enjoying them on your own with some peace and quiet.
Establish a Party Budget
Create a budget and then stick to it. Regardless of what your budget is you can make it work. First, decide how many courses you want to serve at your party. For example:
- Finger food
- Main course
Now you may decide not to serve everything on that list. Once you have decided on the items, list the menu ingredients for each dish, assign a cost and then estimate how much money you will need. If the amount is over your party budget, take a second look and choose dishes with cheaper ingredients.
A really great way to save money is to get your friends to bring their own dishes for a potluck holiday party. As host, you provide the main dish and coordinate with your friends to ensure that they are bringing an equal amount of appetizers, side dishes and desserts. That way, everyone has plenty to eat while you have less work in the kitchen. You can always create a theme if you want to take your party up another notch. A few entertaining tips for a potluck party include:
- Make sure your guests are bringing a balance of hot and cold dishes
- Ensure there are some vegetarian dishes on the menu
- Have enough serving dishes and utensils available
- Have disposable containers on hand so guests can take their food home
- Ensure soap and towels are handy near the sink so guests can wash their hands before serving food
- Ensure there is enough room in the refrigerator by storing beer in a bucket of ice
- Arrange a separate table for drinks and ice to avoid congestion around the buffet table.
Get Help Catering Your Party
If you are preparing the party on your own, you may need help. Keep in mind the following party planning tips:
- During the party, dishes will have to be cleaned
- The sink will have to be monitored so that it doesn’t pile up
- Using plastic or paper plates is a great way to help the clean up process
- Keep a garbage can available so guests can discard paper products.
Depending on how large your party will be will also determine how much help you will need. If you are having 10-15 guests, then you could get away with getting your close friends to help out. However, if you are having a party of 20 or more guests, it starts to get hectic. You can hire event staff for a few hours and pay them by the hour. There are many services online that can help you find the staff to give you peace of mind. Just make sure to factor this into your budget.
With careful planning, your party should be a success. Happy holidays!
About the author:
Feast Your Eyes! Catering and Event design is a catering in Toronto company that has over 10 years of experience. Check out our blog for more tips and suggestions with catering.
Great points you raise about catering a dinner party. Very nice blog by the way.
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