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Estimating How Many Plates and Cups You Need for An Event

Estimating how much tableware to buy can be a tricky business. On the one hand, you don’t want to run out, but on the other, you don’t want to overspend and get stuck with too many leftovers. To avoid a major a party foul, follow along with this helpful guide to estimating how many plates, cups, and napkins you’ll need for a party.

How Many Plates to Buy

If you’re serving a full meal, buffet style, we suggest ordering 1.75 times as many plates as you have guests. This will allow for people to go up for seconds and leave room for mishaps or last minute guests.

So how many plates does that make?

How Many Dessert Plates to Buy

Dessert plates are a little bit tricky because the type of food that you’re serving might change this number. But, as a general rule, we advise getting 1.25 plates per guest.

So how many dessert plates does that make?

How Many Napkins to Buy

At a big party napkins serve a lot of different purposes. Beyond just keeping your face and hands clean, napkins help clean up spills and allow guests to be proactive with clean up. We suggest having 2.5 times the number of napkins as you do guests.

So how many napkins does that make?

How Many Cups to Buy

If you’re having any sort of dancing or activity, you’ll need more cups than you think. Guests will constantly need refills on their drinks and might be prone to losing their cups around the room. We recommend ordering 3 times as many cups as you have guests.

So how many cups does that make?

How Much Cutlery to Buy

Cutlery is another metric that might change depending on what you’re serving. In most cases, forks are going to be your most commonly used utensil. Order as many forks as you do plates - this includes dessert plates. Spoons and knives aren’t used quite as frequently, normally you should be ok just to order 1.2 times as many spoons as guests. But, if you’re serving a dessert that requires a spoon, be sure to order 2.4 times as many instead. For knives, you should be set just to order as many as you have dinner plates.

So how many forks, spoons, and knives does that make?