Fete Formula

Originally published on splashpartyscience.com


With all the effort that went into planning your signature event, the last thing you’d want is for your guests to leave thirsty, hungry, or having felt overcrowded.

Part of planning comes down to numbers – if there isn’t enough to drink or eat, people will notice.

And while numbers may not seem sexy, neither is a bad party.

Assuming your guest list includes a fair cross section of party-goers, the following blueprint is a good starting point for planning a successful, well-stocked event.

Drinks
On average, a guest will drink two (2) drinks in the first hour, and one (1) drink every hour afterwards. Stocking the bar with extra liquor and mixers is always a good idea, just in case the unexpected guest shows up, or a party lasts longer than anticipated. Typically, 30% of guests will drink beer, 30% will drink wine, and 40% will drink hard liquor.

Liquor:  3 bottles per 25 guests

Wine:  9 bottles per 25 guests

Mixers: 12 liters per 25 guests

Beer: 60 bottles per 25 guests

If you’re not hosting the party at your place, most bars will charge for drinks:

$20-25 per hour for well drinks (including beer, wine & soda)

$30+ per hour for top-shelf drinks (including beer, wine & soda)

Food
2 hours or less, passed hors d’oeuvres with dinner: 6 pieces (3 pieces/hour/ person)

2 hours or less, no dinner: 12 pieces (6 pieces/hour/person)

Sandwiches: 1.5 servings per guest

Side dishes: 1.5 cups per guest

Ice
1½ pounds of ice per person for every two hours

Drinkware
If you are throwing a party at your home, most guests will need about three to four glasses per person.

Event Staff
1 bartender per 75-100 guests

1 cocktail server per 50 guests

1 coat check per 75 guests

Service Standards (Dinner with poured wine service)
Tables of 10: 2 servers for every 3 tables

Tables of 8: 1 server for every 2 tables

Buffet: 1 server for every 40 guests, 1 runner per every 100-125 guests

Security Staff
1 security guard per 75-100 guests

Space Requirements
Your friends are super close and don’t mind rubbing elbows: 5 ½ – 6 square feet per person

You’ve invited friends and foes: 7 ½ square feet per person

Ample Room and sporadic dancing: 10+ square feet per person

It’s also important to know your crowd. Season, age, gender, and whom the party is catered to are essential factors when planning a party. This is a guidepost of how much to order, but understanding whom you’re ordering for is vital. The amount of alcohol needed for a baby shower, for example, may be scaled back in comparison to your company’s holiday party.