Plan Your Party, Serve the Right Amount of Food

By: Priya Krishna
Related To:
98845056

98845056

A table set for a summer garden party, close-up

Photo by: altrendo images ©(c) altrendo images

altrendo images, (c) altrendo images

One of the most stressful parts of planning a party is deciding how much food to buy and make. You don’t want the food to run out too quickly and have lingering hungry guests, but you also don’t want your fridge to be teeming with leftovers. We took popular summer parties — like a barbecue or a cocktail hour — and broke them down into every element to help you determine, from drinks to condiments, exactly how much of everything you need to buy for the perfect shindig.

Rules to Plan By

Each adult will consume 1 pound of food total; children, about 1/2 pound. The more options you have, the less you need of each; decrease the main course portion sizes by 1 to 2 ounces if served on a buffet.

Guests will always eat — and drink — more at night than during the day.

Cocktails

When stocking your bar for a cocktail-centric party, you can either create a few mixed drinks to be served punch-style, allotting one gallon for 10 guests, or provide a do-it-yourself array of alcohol and mixers (one 1-liter bottle of alcohol will make up to 22 mixed drinks). For those guests who prefer something lighter, allow for one bottle of wine per eight guests, taking into account white's popularity over red in the summer. Typically, guests will consume two drinks in the first hour, and one drink every hour after that. Don't forget ice and garnishes. Buy two pounds of ice per guest and a large number of lemons and limes.

What about appetizers, main dishes, condiments and desserts? Check out the rest of our tips in our Party Calculator, part of Food Network’s Summer Parties guide.

Keep Reading

Next Up

These Food Floats Are Exactly What Your Pool Party Needs

Is there anything more relaxing than floating on a giant doughnut?

How to Indulge on Vacation Without Losing Sight of Healthy Habits: Melissa's Bare-Minimum Plan

Hear from Melissa as she shares her five-part plan for keeping indulgences in check while balancing her tried-and-true healthy routines.

Bending the Rules on Summer Vacation

Since we're on vacation, we are bending the rules. Find out how we spent our summer vacation and browse through photos.

Warm Weather Trick: How to Keep Fruit Down in Sangria (VIDEO)

Watch this video to find out how Alton Brown keeps fruit down in sangria.

5 Must-Haves for a Healthy Summer Fridge

Here are my top five food items to add to your healthy and lean fridge this summer.

8 Juicy Ways to Eat Peaches Before They're Gone — Summer Soiree

We wait all year to bite into juicy peaches, and now is the time they're at their peak, just waiting for you to take them home by the truckload.

Strategies for Packing a Fuss-Free Beach Lunch

Packing a meal for the beach or a picnic doesn't have to be stressful.

Choppedsicles: 5 Outside-the-Basket Ice Pops

Food Network Kitchen developed some fun, summery flavors sort-of-inspired by Chopped baskets, working savory flavors in where we could.

5 Healthy Ways to Dress Your Hot Dog

Get creative and healthy ways to dress up your hot dog.

On TV

The Pioneer Woman

9:30am | 8:30c

Girl Meets Farm

12:30pm | 11:30c

The Pioneer Woman

1:30pm | 12:30c

Chopped

3pm | 2c

Chopped

4pm | 3c

Chopped

5pm | 4c

Chopped

6pm | 5c

Chopped

7pm | 6c

Chopped

8pm | 7c

Chopped

9pm | 8c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Chopped

10pm | 9c

Chopped

11pm | 10c

Chopped

12am | 11c

Chopped

1am | 12c

Chopped

2am | 1c

Chopped

3am | 2c