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The Ultimate Friendship Celebration Guide: FAQs

I hope you are enjoying The Ultimate Friendship Celebration Guide.  I get a lot of questions when it comes to planning at-home parties and so I wanted to share the most frequently questions I am asked because you probably have those same questions too!

How far in advance should I start planning?

A minimum of three weeks.

How much food and drink should I prepare per guest?

This involves figuring out appropriate portion sizes and quantities to ensure everyone is satisfied without excessive leftovers.

When I was a wedding and event planner, this was a question I heard so often! 

Alcohol:

You don't want to end up with a lot of alcohol leftover and it's hard to know who is going to drink what and how much.  Purchasing tip: When buying liquor, ask if unopened bottles can be returned.

My favorite way to calculate how much alcohol I will need is to use this very convenient drink calculator by Evite.  Enter your guest count and the type of drinker, the duration of your party, and what type of alcohol you will serve and let this calculator work its magic!

The rule of thumb is one drink, per guest, per hour.  But, I'm sure just as I do, you have friends that will drink much more and those who will drink much less.

In each bottle of wine, you can get 4-5 glasses; however, if you are heavy handed with the pour, this will be less.  Of course, one beer per person and for liquor, think 1-1.5 ounces per drink per person, but again, the heaver the pour, the less drinks you will get from the bottle.

Go to the Evite Drink Calculator

Bonus tip: Guests will always consume more during the evening than at night.

Food:

Guests will consume approximately one pound of food, but when you have a buffet, you can decrease the amount by 1-2 ounces.

On average, five to six appetizers per person and about six ounces of protein per person.

For sides, plan on one cup per guest.

What are some easy, impressive recipes that I can prepare ahead of time?

My favorite go-to quick and easy recipes are,

  1. Tomato, mozzarella, and fresh basil crostinis
  2. Baked spaghetti
  3. Creamy tortellini soup

An hour or less for each of these and they taste like you've been in the kitchen for hours!

Ssshhhh...don't tell anyone!

How do I accommodate guests with dietary restrictions or allergies?

The worst thing is to have this amazing meal only to find out that your guests can't eat it due to dietary restrictions.  The best way to handle this?  Simply ask!

What is the best way to set up a buffet for easy access and flow?

If you choose to have buffet for your celebration, the most important thing is space!  Your guests need room to navigate around the area.  Here are a few tips to make sure things flow smoothly!

  1. I've found that long tables work best when it comes to buffets
  2. Room size will determine if you should place the tables against the wall or to set them up in the middle of the room to allow flow around the table.
  3. For food placement, place plates and napkins at the beginning of the line, followed by appetizers, salads, sides, and main dishes
  4. Make it easy for guests to know what they are having my labeling each food.
  5. My personal preference is to have food placed in one horizontal line across the table, if at all possible.  I've seen too many times where a dish is knocked over trying to reach for something or a sleeve inadvertently lands in a sauce!

How do I ensure that the party ends at a reasonable time?

Unless you're having a sleepover, the party must end!  One of the true ways of knowing if your guests are enjoying themselves is that they don't want to leave.

Here are a few ways to help your event end at a reasonable time.

  1. Place an end time on the invitation
  2. Have a thank you speech at the end
  3. Start cleaning up
  4. Pass out your parting gifts

What should I do if something goes wrong?

Stay calm and flexible. Here are some common issues and solutions:

  • Food Shortages: Have a backup plan, like extra snacks or a quick takeout option.
  • Technical Difficulties: Test any tech equipment, like music players or projectors, in advance.
  • Weather Issues: If you're planning an outdoor party, have an indoor backup plan.