Before you can decide how much food to prepare, you need a good idea about how many people will be at the party. Formulate your list and send out invitations about a month before the party date. That leaves plenty of time for responses and menu planning.
The Invitations: Clearly state on the invitation that dinner is part of the evening's events and the kind of dinner it is: barbecue, buffet, sit-down dinner, potluck, progressive, or other type of meal. If your guests know exactly what to expect -- and what to wear -- everyone will be more comfortable. If guests are unclear about the party details, they may help themselves to more appetizers than you expect or make other dinner plans before or after your party.
Based on your guest count, plan to serve a mix of dishes for your appetizer course. Use this list to estimate the number of appetizer selections you need:
- 10 or fewer guests = 3 appetizer selections
- 10-20 guests = 5 appetizer selections
- 20-40 guests = 7 appetizer selections
- More than 40 guests = 9 appetizer selections
Use our Appetizers Quantity Guide, available below, to identify the right mix of appetizers for your party size. It includes both the recommended number of appetizer selections and the appropriate number of servings of each. Then go to the next page for ideas to help you select and serve your party appetizers.
Continued on page 2: Serving Appetizers at the Party