Tip: If you are providing the tableware for the event, you will want to make sure you have one of each item per guest and perhaps a few extra sets just in case. Doubling up on everything is excessive in most cases. Though, getting at least 50% or more in beverage napkins if you are providing a bar or having a dessert table wouldn’t be a bad idea. If at all possible, it is best to get even a general number of how many people may attend the event. There is no point in buying supplies for 300 people when you are only expecting 150.
Tip: Open houses are notoriously difficult to plan when it comes to buying supplies. Often people don’t say one way or another whether or not they will be attending and sometimes people show up that you didn’t even know were invited. Sometimes people who do show up don’t eat or drink anything. Again, if you can, try to figure out a ballpark number of people who you know were invited, that makes supply buying much easier. If you are still at a loss then it’s best to start with by figuring out how much and what you will be serving and buy according to those requirements. Let’s say you have “x” lbs of food that equals “y” number of servings which means you will need “y” number of plates plus a few extras. If it’s just a finger-food buffet, you probably don’t need to get dinner sized plates. The size of the plate usually dictates how much food a person can put on it. Though occasionally someone gets creative and is able to stack things in a manner that they can maximize the plate they are given, but they are the exception to the rule. Forks are generally the utensil of choice, as the more common dishes require them. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to have some spoons and knives available just in case, but that entirely depends on what you plan on serving.
Tip: Make sure to plan what you are serving ahead of time to make sure you have the proper amount of dishes and utensils for each menu item. The utensils in particular, it’s one of those things that gets overlooked.
Tip: If you are renting out a venue or using a caterer for an event, check to see if the tableware is included in the package.
Tip: Beverage napkins are primarily used for appetizers, desserts and beverages. Luncheon napkins are primarily used for larger meals and can be substituted for dinner napkins. Dinner napkins are for dinners, but are more typically used for formal occasions. Guest towels are a different fold of dinner napkins and can be used as such. They are commonly used in restrooms as well. Most people use the luncheon and beverage sized napkins for their events.
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Map out the layout you want for the event room at the beginning. Knowing the number of tables and their locations as soon as possible will help determine where and how many decorations you might need.