celebration party...

melihaJanuary 16, 2009


I'm planning a party in celebration of a special event.

We currently have about 30 potential guests on the guest list, and we plan to have the party in our home. With everyone so earth-conscious these days and since it is a special occasion, I'd prefer to serve on regular plates (instead of paper plates) and use regular silverware.

A few questions:

1) We only have 12 plates and silverware in our regular dish set and don't have a special set of dishes for "buffet serving" at this time. I'm ok with spending SOME money (I also found sets of forks only on BBB (http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?order_num=-1&SKU=104425&RN=505)...

Does anyone know of where I can get a good deal on plates only (not whole dish sets)/silverware (mainly forks only)?

2) We would prefer to serve a real meal instead of "munchies" and snack items--how do I keep the meal warm during the party OR should I say on the invite that dinner will be served at a specific time? (We have done dinner parties before, but they were on smaller scale, just 2 or 3 families at a time.)



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Definitely use real dishes and flatware, not disposable, and not only for environmental reasons; it makes your party seem much more "special occasion."

Consider renting dishes and silverware (and glasses, although you didn't mention them). If you buy, you have to wash them (or hire someone to do it, and there goes any saving) and also find a place to store them after the party. Other people on this forum have reported that it is different in their cities, but here in central Ohio the company I have used lets you return everything dirty (and they deliver and pick up). If you do buy, look for a restaurant/catering supply company, if there is one in your area, or check out places like TJ Maxx. Finally, do you have friends or relatives who would loan you dishes?

It's hard to answer your other question without knowing how you plan to serve. Will this be a seated meal, or a buffet? Inside or outside? Brunch, lunch, dinner? A buffet might be easiest, either with tables ready for people to bring their plates, or else more casually having people take their plates to sofas or whatever.

You could use chafing dishes or hot plates, but I would choose foods that still taste good when they aren't piping hot or that hold their heat pretty well.

Have fun planning!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 5:43PM
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The Dollar Tree store has stacks of plates for $1.00 each....white china or glass.
I have bought plates at a Mikasa outlet in a plain white china for about $1.50 each....and I have found plain white corell plates at the Corell outlet for $1.00 each.I would look for something that sort of goes with your regular dishes....white if that's the background...or glass is always good.
For the flatware, I would go to Sam's or to a kitchen supply place and look for very utilitarian sets of stainless. They come stacked in a box about 25 for about $10. They are not "fine" in any way but are a lot better in every way than plastic!

Over the years I have collected stacks of plates which I have found at household sales. I gave one stack of 12 to my daughter when my cupboards were getting crowded! I have easily 20 plain white Bavarian and Havaland dinner plates a stack of 30 or so smaller 9 inch white havaland...plus a set of 24 plates and mugs bought as a premium with register tickets at a drugstore.
And, I kept my eyes open at sales and have 16 sterling forks, all different for an average price of $1.25 each....alas those days are gone forever!
Actually almost any place will have plates available without other pieces....but you want nice for cheap....for that you will have to shop well!
Linda C

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 5:55PM
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I'd ask friends or family members to see if they have stuff you can borrow. I'd check re-sale shops. Around here Goodwill and Salvation Army sell dishes, serving stuff and flatwear for a song. Rental is also a good idea. And can be a good idea to see what sorts of sizes and arrangements and what not you like before you commit to really buy.

If you buy 'real' dishes, only to use them a couple of times then get rid of them, I'm not sure how much better it would be for the environment. Now, if big entertaing is or will be a reoccuring thing for you, it wouldn't be an issue. But there are few people who entertain that much.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 6:07PM
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Thanks for all the great advice so far, I'll look into it. (I agree with the comment about special occasion--it adds a little class to the party.)

We entertain smaller dinner parties (like I said before) about once a month and then larger parties about once every 4-6 months, so I don't have a problem buying real dishes since I think they'll be used again.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 8:25PM
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I just bought some today for $107/12. Not cheap. I did see that Crate & Barrel has 6/$35... The plates I bought were from a restaurant supply place and are Churchill China and supposedly won't chip or crack. They are 10". I think they are probably a better quality that Crate & Barrel's but I'm not sure whether I needed that quality...

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 11:44PM
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