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Reception Ideas

Heavy hors d'oeuvres reception

Hi!  To corral some of our expenses, we're doing a heavy hors d'oeuvres reception for about 100 people.  We're having a little trouble figuring out how much to order - has anyone seen a good resource on this?  We'll be having the reception late and cluing people in with the website and reception invite not to expect a full meal - but I'd hate to underestimate hunger!!  But...I don't want to spend money for food people won't eat.  Any suggestions or equations (i.e. 5 pieces per guest?)
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Re: Heavy hors d'oeuvres reception

  • I think the running number is 15 pieces per guest.


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  • what time of day?  Average is non-meal time 6-9 pieces per person Meal time more like 12-15 pieces per person.
  • Are you sure that a heavy hors d'oeuvres reception will truly save you the money? You're probably looking at anything from 8-15 items per guest. And it takes a lot more work for a caterer to make 800 little individual hors d'oeuvres than 100 chicken dinners, so the price might climb accordingly. If you're going through a caterer, I'd ask them for price estimates before you commit to the hors d'oeuvres reception.Are stations an option for you? Something like a beef carving station could help fill people up. Maybe with little potatoes and veggies served with it. Or pasta stations with a choice of two sauces ... pasta is cheap (although having someone prepare it to order is pricier than a standard pasta plate) and VERY filling.
  • hollie - the only problem with your formula is some apps are more popular than others. Example people will eat 3-5 shrimp cocktail, but only 1-3 pieces from the vegetable tray. a 1:1 ratio is not always a good idea.  But it a start.
  • We had a heavy hors d'oeurves reception as well.  Our venue told us to constitute a meal you should have at least 10 pieces per person, so we ended up having about 15 pieces per person.  If you have that much then you don't have to indicate on the invitation that it's "cocktail reception".  If you want it lighter than that, make sure your reception starts later than say 8pm and you can serve 6-8 pieces per person, but then you would have to put on the invitation "Cocktail Reception" so people know to eat before they come.
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  • I agree that some apps are more popular than others, however I don't know that I would consider veggies a "heavy app".  IMO breads, crackers, cheese, and veggies should be standard and I would consider like meatballs, crudite, canapes, etc. as the apps that I would say purchase 120-150 of.  Does that make sense? We're having Guinness Meatballs but we know they are popular so we're serving double what we should serve for 100 people.  The formula was if you are catering yourself so I think it's a good place to get a rough idea.  I think most everyone is in agreement that a "rough" guide is 12-15 per person especially if that's all you're serving.Good Luck!  I'm surprised there isn't a menu board....
  • 15-20 peices per person depending on what the item is and how long If heavy items you need fewer.
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