Back to Basics…According to The Party Goddess….

Planning for just the right amount of disposables/drinks/food for guests at a party can seem like a chore. You don’t want to spend a fortune and overbuy, but the last thing you want to do is run out. Below are the figures I use when planning an event. But keep in mind, this is a general list. If your event is during the summer, you’ll want more ice and water and fewer bottles of the hard alcohol. Also, keep in mind the menu sometimes dictates the alcohol and drinks needed. Here goes!

Ice: Figure 2 pounds per person for serving and chilling. Get it delivered an hour or so before the party begins (at least! I don’t know about where you live, but our ice vendors are notoriously “a little late”.)  You want the ice in cubes or crushed, but not in liquid form so keep it out of the sun! I store the large bags in a cool place such as the shade of a tree or in a garage or basement if feasible. It’s also a good idea to line the ground with a trash bag to provide just a  little bit of insulation.

Wine: There are 4.5 glasses to a bottle. So, when you polish off a bottle over a long evening at home, you now know many glasses you consumed.  As for the party, as long as you’re serving more than just wine, figure 2 people will drink one bottle. These days you can buy equal amounts of red as you do of white. (Adjust this suggestion accordingly depending on your menu and your guests’ tastes, if you know them.)

If you have 40 guests, I would normally purchase 15 bottles of red and 15 bottles of white. Yes, you will have leftovers…Yes, I said you want to be pretty good with your purchases so you don’t have a lot of returns, however if you don’t know the preferences of the guests, it is best to still count on two people to a bottle (but you’re not sure which they’ll drink more of, red or white, thus the quantity I suggested). You can also figure that you will be able to utilize the wine left over for another event if the vendor won’t take back the extras. As always, adjust the wine selection to fit your menu. A couple of places to find that perfect bottle of wine are:

Liquor: Plan on getting 15 drinks from a 750ml bottle. These portions are generous, but the last thing you want to have to do is run to the supermarket in the middle of your party! Again, once the alcohol runs out, the party is over!

For your basic full bar, you want: vodka, gin, rum (light and/or dark), tequila, triple sec and whiskey. (BTW, our absolute favorite vodka is Stockholm Krystal. I also swear that you will be hangover free even after one too many Skyy Vodka cocktails.)

Disposables: Plan on 2.5 plates, cups, forks, knives, spoons, etc. for each guest. Guests will get seconds and there will always be that one unfortunate person who will drop their dessert (it’s usually ice-cream and it’s usually one of my kids.) It’s also important to provide 5 napkins for each person. That means 5 cocktail napkins and 5 dinner napkins for each guest. Don’t stress if you have too many, these products can store very easily and you never want to have more food than plates or forks.

Remember that the best training of all is experience. Even if you over or under buy this time around, you’ll make up for it with increased knowledge at the next event. Cheers!


Leading Entertainment Expert, Entrepreneur, TV Personality, Coach, Author and Sought After Speaker, Marley Majcher is CEO of The Party Goddess! and publisher of the Ezine, “How To Be A Party Goddess.” If you are ready to take your career or business to the next level, make more money and just be happier with your work life, then get your free tips at