How to Plan How Much Food to Buy for a Graduation Party

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A teenager's graduation party signifies the long-anticipated completion of high school and the beginning of a new journey into adulthood. The graduation party, or graduation open house, is a time for friends and family to get together and congratulate the new graduate. Some type of food should be served at this event, and calculating just how much to provide can be tricky. A few simple tips can help you to ensure that there is plenty of food on hand for everyone.

Things You'll Need

  • Guest list
  • Estimate how many guests you will have at your graduation party. For many graduation parties or open houses, friends and family will simply drop in for a few minutes. RSVPs may not be required. If you have not heard a definite "no" from anyone on the guest list, assume that all of your guests will show up and plan accordingly.

  • Select a menu that will make appetizing leftovers for your family. In the event that your party ends up much smaller than anticipated, you can avoid too much waste by saving the leftovers for use as snacks and lunches. A typical menu for a graduation party would consist of a variety of appetizers and small snacks as well as a few choices of beverages. However, you can serve a full meal or buffet if you prefer.

  • Determine the duration of your party. This will significantly impact the amount of food that you need to supply.

  • Calculate approximately five appetizers per person for the first two hours of your party. For each additional hour, add another three appetizers per person. Do not plan to set all of this out at once. Prepare several trays of each item so that you can replenish the food as it is consumed and provide fresh appetizers at all times. If you are serving a full meal, plan to have about one and a half pounds of food per person.

  • Consider the tastes of your guests. You do not need an equal supply of each item. If you are serving mostly teenagers, casual finger foods will probably be a bigger hit than fancier hors d'oeuvres. Provide at least one vegetarian item to accommodate all tastes, especially if you are not intimately familiar with all of your guests.

Tips & Warnings

  • When calculating the amount of food to serve, you may be tempted to reduce the amount to accommodate guests who will only drop in for a quick hello without eating much. While this should be taken into consideration, keep in mind that hungry teenagers on the other end of the spectrum may stay around for the whole event, chatting with their friends, and will likely munch the entire time.

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