It is possible to throw a stylish event if you learn how to cater your own party. The most important elements of a party are good food, good music, and good company. As the guest list goes up, so does the head count. Catering is easily the most expensive cost when throwing a party. Don't strike anyone off the list, because you can cater your own party with little fuss and optimal style. No one will ever know the difference.
- First things first, have a plan of attraction. Make a list of everything you need and keep it somewhere prominent in the kitchen. You should have a list of grocery needed, recipes to be served, and a list of paper products. Mark everything off as you go. This way you can be assured on the day of the party that not only do you have everything needed, but that it is prepared and ready to go.
- Figure out how much food is needed based on the number of people attending. For an evening event with dinner plans, each guest will eat three to five pieces. Have enough of the entree to serve five to seven ounce portion sizes per person. Include two to three sides with four ounces per person for salads and veggies and only two ounces for more filling beans and pastas. If you plan to have pastries or cake, have enough for everyone to get an average sized slice. People go through a lot of beverages at a party so plan for three drinks per person.
- Appetizers should be appetizing, so choose colorful offerings that are meant to be served cold. Prepare more than the amount you need throughout the course of the party the day before. Make initial platters, attractively garnished, and set them out ten minutes before the guests arrive. Do not set them all out at once. There should be enough for late guests and the offerings should not become stale. Keep refills labeled and easily accessible in the fridge to freshen up the plates.
- Opt for a buffet for the main course. The set-up allows for mingling and takes pressure of the host. Everything you need from chafing fuel to keep the food hot and serving trays are available at wholesale and grocery stores. Use attractive name cards to let guests know what they are being served and to let your helper know where everything goes. Choose dishes that can be made ahead of time in large batches, making sure all food groups are represented.
- Save room in the budget for a wow factor. Perhaps it is an edible fruit arrangement to add punch to the tablescape, or a party tray from a favorite delicatessen. Renting a chocolate fountain is relatively inexpensive for the day and is usually set up, cleaned, and broken down for you.
- Enlist the help of a niece or trusted friend to help work the party. Offer to pay them a few dollars for their services. They are saving you a lot of money, and it will help keep them on the job. Have them come before the party and show them where they can find all the food and utensils. If you planned everything properly, they should not have a problem following the game plan. They should make sure all the appetizers stay filled, and the buffet table is fresh and clean. They should be able to work with limited supervision and ideally, stay to help with clean up.