Rules of Thumb: How Many ____ of ____ per Person?

Today, I’m kicking off a periodic series of posts sharing rules of thumb for our craft and trade. As event planners, designers, and strategists, we are regularly asked all sorts of questions about standards and practices. To whet your appetite, here are a few randomly selected yardsticks by which you can measure your next event:

How many glasses in a bottle of wine?
5 glasses per bottle is a modest pour. 4 is a generous pour. (Picture Kerry Washington on “Scandal” with her balloon wine glass)

Bonus tip: If you are concerned about your budget, specify with the venue in writing that you expect their bartenders to pour 5 glasses from a bottle, and then have volunteers monitor to make sure they comply.

How many cups of coffee in a gallon?
22, six ounce cups.

Bonus tip: When was the last time you drank just 8 ounces at Starbucks? While the venue’s coffee cups may be small (or they may be 12 ounce paper to-go cups, which is becoming more common. If this is a morning start, expect each person to have 2.5 refills, and to drink even more throughout the day.

How many appetizers should I order per person?
If it’s a cocktail hour before dinner, 4-6 pieces per person.
If it’s a 2 hour cocktail party, 6-8 pieces per person.

Bonus tip: The more highly educated, and the more frequently traveled your audience, the less they will consume. They won’t load up on the cocktail shrimp, because they taste high caliber food all the time.

These are the types of questions we are frequently asked, and we will tackle the answers in future posts:

Space — How many people can fit in this room? What if there’s a dance floor and stage? In different configurations — theater, classroom, banquets — and how cramped or comfy will it be?

Time — Is this enough time to plan an event this size? When should we send the save the date? When should tickets go on sales? When should we expect people to buy their tickets?

Food and Beverage — When can I get away with skipping a salad with a main course to save money?  How many drinks will each partygoer consume at my gala?

Money — Can we really raise the amount of money we projected this event to earn? Are we charging enough or too much for our sponsorships? For our tickets?

People — How many volunteers do I need for registration? Greeting? Collecting auction pledges? Closing out the auction?

…and there are many more! Have a question for us? Email and we will answer it in our next post.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on LinkedInShare on Google+

Please sign up for our Kennedy Events newsletter: The Big Picture: Strategy, Systems, Success!