How to Plan a Dinner Party for 50

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When holding a party for a large group, good planning is always the key.

Things You'll Need

  • Party Supplies
  • Invitations
  • Party Planners
  • Party Decorations
  • Party Food
  • Choose a date for your event. If you plan to honor any special guests - or there are guests on your list whose presence you particularly desire - make sure the date is convenient for them.

  • Evaluate your space. Be sure you have enough table space and chairs in your home or reserve a space for the party elsewhere. If you have the party somewhere else, decide how you will provide the food (catered, picnic-style, using a rented hall's kitchen, and so on).

  • Decide on your budget. Large dinner parties needn't be expensive: with a little ingenuity you can make a meal for very little money. Make your own decorations instead of ordering expensive flowers. Consider a potluck, a picnic, or other alternatives to a sit-down dinner.

  • Choose a theme or plan table centerpieces and a color scheme.

  • Make sure you have enough place settings, serving bowls and platters, serving utensils and other needed items. Borrow or rent these items if necessary.

  • Extend invitations, either by phone or written invitation. Give clear RSVP instructions.

  • Finalize your guest list by following up on guests who do not RSVP.

  • Make all the arrangements for any space rental, entertainment (such as a band or DJ), catering, other hired help (such as cleanup staff), photographer, flowers, or other large expenses and commitments at least two weeks before the event.

  • Prepare a timetable for all other tasks, leaving as little as possible for the day of the event. Include space in your timetable for things that might go wrong.

  • If you're cooking, plan each dish and make an appropriate shopping list. (See "How to Cook Dinner for 50" for tips on cooking.)

Tips & Warnings

  • Be sure to let your guests know about appropriate attire for the evening.
  • If you have a potluck, have guests sign up to bring different types of food (dessert, main dish, salad, side dish, drinks), or assign them a category - you don't want to end up with 50 batches of brownies.
  • If dinner seems overwhelming, consider having a dessert party, tea party, or cocktail party instead of dinner.

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