Party--bigger than expected--your thoughts

noodlesportlandDecember 9, 2012

S and wife and now 10 month old live 4 hours away. All unexpected (pg, marriage) but now we have offered to give them a party in our home on the 22nd. Catering the food and now (thanks to the dollar store) have enough dishes and such.
Not sure about our space as we have never had more than 40 and we are now at 60 invites. (!) as DIL just added a bunch.
Overall, I feel it will be what it will be.
My question for all of you is this--the party is 5-8 on the 22nd. We will have white and red wine, sparking juices and sparkling water. We have no way to serve coffee and tea that makes sense. So have decided not to and if this is the lastest talk then so be it.
What are your thoughts--I like coffee at the end of an evening but if is not there I am not sure I would notice that early in the evening.

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Winter, wine, lots of people--I'd definitely find a way to do coffee and tea. Maybe you could rent a big coffee pot or borrow one from your church or a friend?

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 4:04AM
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It sounds like you're doing your best to put on a lovely party for them. I wouldn't stress about one small detail. If people want a coffee, they can have one at home!

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 4:05AM
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HA ha--thanks but now you are the two parts of my brain:)!

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 5:02AM
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I'm just a lurker so I probably shouldn't stick my nose in but here goes anyway ...

Your post doesn't sound like a 'do I need to find a way to incorporate coffee and tea into this party' kind of question. At least not to me. What I'm reading is that you are not entirely happy with the situation your son has landed himself in and you don't genuinely want to celebrate it.

Either that, or you are concerned that those invited will feel the need to disapprove of something - and if it's not your son and his impromptu family then it may as well be the lack of tea and coffee.

I think you'd do better to try to find room in your heart for your new DIL and grandchild than to worry about caffeine or the lack of it. If you love and respect your son and truly welcome his wife and child that will set the tone for the party.

However it came to be, this is YOUR FAMILY now. You can choose to concentrate on how that happened or you can choose to see it as a blessing.

Coffee and tea don't matter. Love does.

Please pardon me if I have presumed too much.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 6:31AM
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So much depends on the folk attending. Is it a young crowd or an older crowd. Problem is that those 4 beverages will not likely appeal to everyone. Your focus needs to be on abstainers and especially those driving.

I would rent a large coffee urn and make up one batch and have someone on standby to make up a second if required. Just use paper cups and sit it on a small table in a corner.

If you can manage the rest, you can manage this.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 8:10AM
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I would not worry about the need to serve coffee and tea. If you can borrow a 50 cup urn style coffee maker, then I would do that and serve hot mulled cider or cranberry tea. Without knowing your location or weather, I'd say if it's warmish out, don't bother with a hot beverage. If 40F or below, a warm beverage would be very hospitable.

I've even made mulled cider in my largest crock pot and served it hot - although it was for a smaller group.

You could make Kris Kringle punch ahead and serve it cold instead of the sparkling juices.


6 c. bottled cranberry juice, chilled
3 c. bottled apple juice, chilled
3/4 c. chilled lemon juice
1 1/2 c. chilled orange juice
2 (28 oz.) bottles ginger ale, chilled
Sugar to taste

Combine all of the above ingredients in a punch bowl except the ginger ale. When ready to serve, add ginger ale.

I would make cranberry juice ice cubes ahead to add to the punch to keep it cold. You don't have to serve this from a punch bowl - a large glass pitcher would work fine.


    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 8:18AM
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You seem to be asking only about serving coffee and tea, but you say you have no way to do it that makes sense? You also didn't say if your guests would be adults or a mix of all ages, but with 60 people being invited and the event being catered, it doesn't sound like it will be a sit-down meal, and I don't think you need a BIG coffee pot. If you have a regular coffee maker (10-12 cups), I'd at least put a pot on occasionally as needed! But then I'd also offer more drink options than red/white wine or sparkling juice/water! Given those choices, I'd try to find your coffee pot and make some for myself. :)

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 8:31AM
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If you are serving alcohol, then serve coffee and tea also. I'm sure you can find a space that will work. As others have mentioned, a large coffee urn will work. From someone you know, a church or the caterers. Age of the crowd doesn't matter. Young people drink as much coffee and tea as an older crowd. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 8:40AM
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You can make coffee ahead of time. Make lots and lots and keep in the refrigerator.

If you don't have room in the fridge, it may be cold enough to keep out doors.


    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 9:03AM
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I don't think it's absolutely necessary to have coffee or tea (though I would include a nice non-alcoholic punch), but it would be nice.
Surely the caterer could manage it?

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 9:06AM
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I think you are fine without coffee and tea. Don't worry about it. I would never expect either at such a party.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 10:16AM
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I agree that's it's not essential, but it is nice. If it's a cold, dreary, winter night, guests might be looking for something warm when they arrive, and again before they leave. Maybe even hot chocolate, too.

Even a 12 cup coffeemaker would work, if someone is tasked to keep it fresh. Or have a couple of coffeemakers, doesn't the caterer have one?

Use a festive coffee, maybe something with chocolate in it. And offer decaf coffee closer to 8PM.

Tea, not so important.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 11:19AM
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Why don't you put your coffee maker out on the table with the other drinks? I would have more coffee making supplies such as filters, coffee and a pitcher of water near by. Make the first pot and if it runs out, someone can easily make another since the supplies would be right there and handy. If all of those things are out and handy,it implies for the guest to feel free to make more if it is needed.
Another solution could be to purchase a thermos type pitcher. You could keep that full of coffee and guests can serve themselves. I use one of those when I have company.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 11:29AM
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I had a party last night and my guests didn't want coffee. So you never know. But I served hot mulled cider in a crockpot. Those coffee urns are very inexpensive and if you got a small one you might find you get a lot of use out of it. If you have a smaller coffee maker, you might do as some have suggested and just put a couple of smaller coffee makers out (borrow one or son could bring one) and put some coffee and filters out and folks could make their own. Depends on your hosting style. I am a "everyone is part of the family" type of host and so are my friends who end up being guests so we all pitch in to make sure everyone has enough to eat and drink. Most folks are not fussy. I also got one of those large thermoses that serves about 30 cups and I use it all the time for gatherings at my home, but again, your mileage may vary. And as some have mentioned, folks will much more remember the friendliness you showed to them as guest more than this or that food or drink item. Some of the best parties I have had have been impromptu "everyone bring whatever they can muster" type dos. It's the love that really counts! Don't sweat the details either way!

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 2:04PM
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Get a Starbucks Traveler for $15 approx, regular or decaf and it stays hot a long time. They will give you cups( get small ones), cream, sugar +faux, stirrers, napkins. It's all done and the necessary stuff comes with it. No shopping, no brewing, no excuses, no water supply, no person-maker, little space required. It has 12 8 oz. cups, and serves way more than 12. Leftover coffee reheats well for the next day. Gives non-drinkers another option.

If you are having it catered, even budget catering, this will fit in your budget. It is paper cups, but I guess you are using disposables for the crowd of 60. Get two Travelers for this size crowd.

I had a party November 10 and had the most inquiries about the Starbucks Traveler. My guests loved it.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 10:13PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

You can always do a dunkin donuts box o' joe which has 10 servings per box...some regular, one'll be all set.

Don't be fretful about the reception...there are so many weddings I know about where the baby is one of the attendees! Not how it was when I was growing up, but so much more common these days....

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 10:40PM
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I don't drink coffee at all and never have, but I think it would nice to serve it (especially if you are in a cold climate). I would definitely find a way to do it.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 12:32AM
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Well, first let me say a warm thank you for all of your great responses. I really needed to bounce ideas and you have just been amazing. We are going to go with the Starbucks plan as there is one close. We also have a way to put 1 or 2 in a cooler with one of those microwaved heaters as when my H asked they said it would only stay warm for 2 hours. We have 3 carafes that we will fill with hot water for tea. We will use paper cups for this but not anything else and that seems just fine.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 4:12AM
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