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Food and Drink

By: Kelly-Rose Bradford - Updated: 23 Apr 2013 | comments*Discuss
Food Drink Catering Guests Themes Budget

Choosing the right type of food and drink to serve at your party will depend on a number of things:

  • Type of party
  • Time of year
  • Theme
  • Age of Guests
  • Budget
  • Venue

Type of Party

A children’s birthday party is obviously going to be catered for in a much different way to a golden wedding Anniversary. However the principles for party catering are the same, whatever your type of event.

Time of Year

The time of year is important to take into account. Summer parties can spill out into the garden and the food can be as simple as a BBQ or picnic. Winter parties can be slightly more difficult, with hot dishes being more welcoming than the usual cold buffet platters. Jacket potatoes, soups, hot quiches and pizzas can always be added to traditional party buffets to bring in that ‘warming’ element!


The theme of your party might also come into play when you are planning your catering - a Halloween party for instance will call for imaginative type nibbles that can be turned into fun ‘blood and guts’ novelty foods, and an retro party, say, a 1970s disco, might be heavy on the fish paste sandwiches and cheese and pineapple on sticks!


The age of your guests is also a consideration - the very young and the very elderly being of greatest concern. Be aware of dietary needs, be those on Religious or health grounds, and aquatint yourself with the advice on the needs of pregnant women and the elderly on foods like soft-ripened cheeses and seafood.


Set your budget early on and try not to deviate from it! Save money by buying drink duty free or check our discount supermarkets like Lidl, Aldi and Netto for party basics like crisps, snacks and soft drinks. In the months before your party, look out for coupons, buy-one-get-one-free offers and multi-buys - if you have the space available to stock up in advance, it can save you a lot of money. Be realistic as to how much food will actually be eaten - it’s not unusual to end up binning a third of your party food at the end of the event, or trying to palm it off on the guests to take home.

One way of preventing over catering is to have a look at professional caterer’s websites and check out their ‘per head’ costs for parties. These usually list what is provided for each person, i.e. six canapés, ten buffet items, two dessert items - it’s an easy way of working out what you’ll need per person for your event.


Your venue may also have a bearing on your food. If it’s already catered, then you’re sorted, but if you are providing your own food, then there’s a few things to take into account: Will you have access to a kitchen to heat things up? Do you need to bring your own cutlery for cake cutting etc? Will they provided glasses and crockery? Will they lay the food out for you, or will you have to arrive ahead of the party and do that yourself? Can the food be dropped off on the morning of the event?

And finally…

Don’t get sucked into the non-essential needs of your guests! If John doesn’t like garlic bread, he doesn’t have to eat it; if Jenny only eat sandwiches with the crusts cut off, give her a knife with her plate and let her get cut them off herself!

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