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Planning to host an exquisite event soon? 

“There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality, and then there are those who turn one into the other.” 

-Douglas H. Everett

Stack of white dinner plates

Whether in a social or corporate setting, Curated Events can make your dream event a reality. However, determining the appropriate number of plates to buy or rent for a large gathering can take time and effort. But you don’t have to break a sweat, as we’ve got you covered.

This article provides all the guidelines for estimating the number of plates to have at your party. 

How Many Plates Should I Order?

For most large gatherings, the rule of thumb is that the number of plates should be your total number of guests multiplied by three. 

Stacks of plates with desserts

But there’s no one size fits all. You’ll want to satisfy all your guests, ensuring they have enough plates to serve their food.

Hence, you could have other factors to consider when determining the number of plates at your event. They include the following:

Your Guest List

The number of guests will determine the number of plates to rent or buy for your event. As stated earlier, it’s best to multiply the number of guests by three when estimating how many plates to order for your event.

But how do you know the exact number of attendees?

Firstly, how many invitees have confirmed their attendance? And will they all show up? 

Woman writing a guest list

In many scenarios, guests confirm their attendance but don’t show up. And others might show up unexpectedly due to a change of plans.

So, it would be best to have an extra bunch of plates since you can’t tell the exact number of guests attending your event. Plus, you can stock a few more plates for uncertainties, such as plates breaking, unexpected guests, or kids.

The Event Type and Menu

Every event will call for a specific kind of food serving. For instance, guests expect full meals at a corporate dinner or wedding.

On the other hand, birthdays, baby showers, and cocktail parties involve a lot of snacks. Hence, depending on your food menu, you’ll have to estimate the number of plates. And you can let your guests have a separate plate for each dish.

For instance, guests can have three plates (dinnerware) at a formal corporate dinner. On the other hand, three appetizer plates (plus drinkware) would be ideal for each invitee at a cocktail party. Also, 2.5 dinner plates, two appetizer plates, and 1.5 dessert plates are preferable per guest for a buffet dinner.

Your Budget

The budget significantly determines what you’ll incorporate into your event. As such, the amount of money you’re willing to spend will determine how many plates to rent or buy.

Ceramic plates or China will be perfect if you plan to go all out and wow your guests with your exquisite tableware. However, the number of plates will also depend on the length of your guest list.

China dinner plates

Another option would be to rent ceramic plates. And you don’t have to go far. We have a vast collection of China patterns, premium-quality flatware, and plates to match your preferences and event style for hire at Curated Events.

However, you can also go for disposable plates if your guest list is over 200 and you want to avoid splurging, though it will definitely not make the same aesthetic impact.

How Many Plates do I Need for 100 Guests?

300 plates will be ideal for 100 guests if you want to be on the safe side. 

Most event organizers advise clients to multiply their guest composition by three to get the necessary plate number. Therefore, 300 plates would be enough for 100 attendees. On the lower side, you can have at least 200 plates available at your event. But, this would only be applicable if your guests use the same plate for a second helping.

Hence, 200 plates for 100 guests wouldn’t work in a buffet or a stand-in party. That’s because guests usually use more than one plate, moving from one food bowl to another. And they might use different plates for their second serving.

How Many Extra Plates do I Need for a Buffet?

Order 10-20% extra plates for a buffet to ensure you have plenty of spares. 

As mentioned earlier, guests use more than one plate during buffet parties. It would help to have extras to avoid scrambling on event day. Therefore, order at least 10 extra plates for every 100 guests. Or you can rent or buy 20 extra plates if you expect 200 people at your party.

In addition, events with buffets will have several dish options. Therefore, guests can serve multiple plates, depending on their food preferences. For instance, visitors can have three plates: an entree plate, a salad plate, and a bread plate. 

Depending on your menu, visitors may require a soup (or pasta) bowl and a dessert plate. 

How Many Plates for an Event with a Buffet for Around 250 People?

625 plates would be enough for 250 people at an event with a buffet.

A buffet and a large gathering call for many plates to avoid mishaps. Hence, you can multiply the number of guests by 2.5 to estimate how many plates to have at your event.

However, multiplying your guest list by three would be the safest option to factor in any unexpected scenarios.

For example, many event planners must include supporting personnel at events, including DJs and MCs. Therefore, it helps to have extra plates for these people.

In addition, consider what types of foods you’ll have at your party. For example, you can incorporate some dessert options into your food menu. And that means a guest might choose one or more dessert types, depending on the number of dessert bowls.

It takes a different formula to determine the precise value for dessert plates. For instance, you can use 1.75 dessert plates per person if you plan to serve more than one dessert. So, you’ll order 265 plates for 150 guests.

Final Thoughts

Determining the number of plate sets needed for an event might make you somewhat anxious, but you should err on the side of caution. First, estimate the number of guests expected to attend your party to be safe. Then, consider other factors, such as your budget and food menu. In addition, ensure you have enough serving dishes, platters, bowls, drinkware, and other utensils for all your guests.


How Many Plates do I Need for My Wedding?

The goal when organizing a wedding reception is to have more than enough plates for everyone who will be there. Hence, you can prepare three times the number of plates as the composition of your guest list.

The formula for calculating how many plate sets you’ll need for a wedding reception is similar to other outdoor events. Hence, each visitor needs two dishes, one for the main entrée and the other for the side dish.

Wedding table setting outdoors

You can also have extra plates for soup and dessert—at least two plates for each visitor. Additionally, it’s essential to remember that if you’re offering alcohol, you must provide additional plates per table. And that’s because people prefer to eat more when free drinks are available.

I’m Expecting 50 Visitors; How many Plates do I Need?

For each guest, get two plates in addition to some extras. As a result, you need 120 plates for 50 visitors.

You should be willing to have extra plates on hand to avoid having insufficient plates on your special day. Multiplying the number of visitors by 1.75 will give you the anticipated number of plates to rent. 

In addition, guests prefer to use more plates at an event, as they’ll pick a new plate and pick up a new one for each food serving. Plus, people tend to eat more if you serve alcoholic beverages at your party. Hence, it’s essential to provide extra plates to meet their needs.

Additionally, the quantity of plate sets might be more if you choose to serve dessert at your party. Hence, each guest can receive three plates for serving the dessert of choice. So, you should order 150 plates if you plan to host 50 people at your event.

How many Dessert Plates will I Require for My Event?

Two dessert plates per quest would be ideal in any event.

But you can have up to three plates serving more than two dessert types. 

The number of dessert plates to order mainly depends on the number of guests and your dessert options. Therefore, the best way to estimate the number of dessert plates is to order enough extras to serve half the number of attendees.

For instance, you might have three desserts for your wedding reception. In this case, you can get three dessert plates for each guest. However, you can still get 50 extra dessert plates if you’re serving 100 guests.