The reception experts at My Wedding Reception Ideas.com, a leading online resource for brides seeking unique wedding favors, decorations and supplies, offer these tips for calculating how much you’ll need of key reception items:
All that dancing and celebrating means your guests will be working up a thirst. A good rule of thumb is to plan for one drink per person per hour. The makeup of your crowd will determine the bottom line. Lots of kids? You’ll need less alcohol and more soft drinks. Plenty of adults who love a good party? Adjust the amount of alcohol accordingly. Here are some averages to give you a starting point:
- Beer: three to four beers per person.
- Champagne: two glasses per person (mostly for the toasts).
- Wine: three-quarters of a bottle per person. One bottle of wine or champagne yields about six to seven glasses.
- Soft drinks: three to four servings per person. A 2-liter bottle holds seven to nine servings.
Limit the cocktail and hors d’oeuvre time to an hour or 90 minutes. You don’t want guests filling up before the main event. Estimate three hors d’oeuvres per person per hour – roughly five per person for the entire time. If your reception will be a cocktail/hors d’oeuvres event without a sit-down dinner, increase your calculations to 12 pieces per guest. If you’re serving a sit-down dinner, one plate per person per course should be your starting point. Ask the kitchen/caterer to keep extras on hand in case a guest requests seconds or last-minute guests arrive.
Your baker will recommend the size of wedding cake you’ll need based on how many guests will attend. As some guests might want seconds or bring friends to the party, estimate more servings than invited guests. If you serve desserts other than cake, estimate one to two servings per guest.
Personalized or plain, linen or three-ply, wedding napkins are a wedding reception must. It’s hard to imagine going overboard and providing too many napkins, but it could happen – and if it does, you’ll be using those napkins at your first anniversary celebration. To ensure your napkin buying is on target with your needs, follow these guidelines:
- Two to three cocktail napkins per guest for the bar area.
- One cocktail-sized napkin per guest for the cake table.
- One and a half dinner or luncheon napkins per guest at the meal table if you won’t be using linen napkins. For example, for 100 guests, plan for 150 dinner napkins.
This one seems obvious – one favor per guest. In reality, however, you need to allow for breakage (what if someone drops a box of favors on the way into the reception hall and several shatter?) and guests who ask to take a favor home for a relative or friend who wasn’t able to attend. Increasing your favor purchase by just 10 percent won’t cost much more, but allows you to send guests home with an extra favor or two.
– Courtesy of ARA Content