Want to throw a dazzling dinner party but only have seating for four? Then host a bustling buffet-style bash.
As with any type of entertaining, the trick to hosting a successful buffet is to plan ahead, keep it simple and have a good time. We've gathered these expert tips to help you host a memorable celebration for your next graduation, backyard bash or holiday buffet.
Pick your theme. What's your occasion? Are you having a bon voyage party, a graduation party or cocktail party? This will help you choose from a full-course dinner buffet or something smaller like appetizers only.
After you've picked a theme, set a date and send out the invitations. The sooner the better.
- Allow at least two weeks to plan your menu and gather supplies.
- Prepare any dishes that can be made ahead of time such as rice, cold salads and pasta.
- Plan your meal so there are options for your guests. While some people may pile their plates high, others will nibble.
- If you're throwing a party for a specific member of your family or friends, pick out their favorite dishes and add them to the menu.
- Add a party tray of cheese and crackers or vegetables and dip in addition to the main entrée. This way you can serve adventurous dishes and still be confident that there'll be something everyone will like.
- To make sure you have enough food, prepare one extra portion for every six guests.
- Let H-E-B help you as much as possible with delicious H-E-B Fully Cooked or seasoned turkey, beef and chicken selections, fabulous party trays and heavenly sweets.
- Consider locations of tables at your buffet. A buffet table near the entrance may cause a bottleneck.
- Consider these details: How long it will take for your guests to move through the buffet line? How many tables will you need—one table with two lines or several tables with different courses?
- Your buffet table may be set against a wall or in the center of the room. For six or eight guests, it's often placed with the long side against a wall; more guests may require both sides to prevent traffic jams. In that case, set up a double-sided buffet that people can get to from both sides. If you don't have the space, ask half of the people to go through at a time.
- Take advantage of the Texas sunshine and move your party outside for a backyard buffet. This is great for kid's parties.
Setting the Table
- When setting a buffet, be functional. Where are the plates? Where are the utensils? If your guests hold a plate in their lap, don't serve something that requires a knife and fork.
- Arrange the buffet in order of how people eat their meal (salad, appetizer, sides and then entrée).
- Place a stack of dinner plates at the point where guests start and a basket of silverware and napkins at the end.
- Make enough so guests may go back for seconds and have fresh flatware along with extra plates.
- It's a good idea to set an additional table away from the main buffet for coffee, juice, other drinks and desserts.
- Make it festive! Vary textures, colors, shapes, heights and placement of food.
- Be creative with decorations. Choose from balloons, flowers and creative holiday decorations at your H-E-B to convey the joy and excitement of your event.
Serving Made Easy
- Serve low-maintenance food. It's easier to serve bite-size foods that can be eaten with a fork.
- Carefully consider the utensils you're using to serve each dish.
- Use tongs to prevent spillage and avoid placing food trays two-deep on a table to prevent spilling into other dishes.
- It's also recommended that covered dishes be used, where possible, for hot dishes.
Once the date arrives and the doorbell rings, relax, enjoy the company of friends and make memories.
The preparation should pay off, and everyone should have a wonderful time.