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Party help?

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I'm hosting a party in two weeks for my husband's birthday. I've invited his family, college friends, work friends, etc. (ended up around 70-80 people.) The party is on a Saturday afternoon, starting at 3:00 (because some people have to drive.) I'm having it catered by a bbq place; they needed a final head count so I told them 45. I've gotten 25 RSVPs...what's so hard about RSVPing?? I already know how horrible his family is at RSVPing, as we just got married last summer and basically were calling every one of his relatives to see if they were coming.

The meal is bbq pulled pork and brisket, with 3 different sides, and we're having dinner roll sized rolls instead of full sandwiches, so we'll get more 'meals' out of the meat. Party is also starting at 3:00, which is between-meal time. I know there will be additional munching, however, especially as the dinner hour approaches. I'm planning on getting stuff for a veggie/dip platter and making a fruit salad, as well as either getting or making cake, and buying additional buns to make sure we don't run out. Do you think I should get additional food as backup? Some of his cousins have reputations of big appetites, but they also have reputations of not staying that long at parties/family gatherings (one of his cousins, who was an usher, didn't come to our wedding reception because he was...get this...going to a demolition derby that occurred at the same time. They're a classy bunch.) If you think I should get more food, are there any suggestions? Meat and cheese tray? Chicken salad? Something? I really don't want to be stuck with 5 bags of leftover chips, but am willing to take that chance as long as nobody goes hungry.

45 was the approximate number if every single person in both our families came, which I know they won't. I have enough beer/soda/bottled water for everyone (if the number is at 45-55) to have 3+ drinks each (and I know not everyone will have 3 or more drinks so I'm hoping that if there are more guests there will be plenty.) Our tap water is pretty grody, even my husband who's not picky about that kind of thing won't drink it, so that's not an option. One of his friends is also notorious for bringing along his own case of beer to events--not that I'm counting on this or anything but am thinking about it a little. I've already spent about $90 on liquid, but do you think I should get more? Or make a bunch of lemonade or something? We're in the upper midwest, so hopefully the weather should be warm but not horridly hot or humid (although it was a record 85 degress on Monday.)

Anyway, this is my first surprise party planning attempt and I'm hoping it'll go off without a hitch! Can anyone offer any more advice? Thanks!

I would have some iced tea, lemonade or punch of some sort.  Here it would be tea, either sweet and unsweet or with lots of sugar around. 

Are they generous with the sides?  It's hard to say if you have enough, since every place's idea of enough for one person is different.  It sounds good to me though.


It sounds like there would be enough. If you want to be absolutly sure, you could always get a bunch of munchies for snacking--like the chips you mentioned--to have out after the other food has been consumed or taken away. Pretzels, nuts...stuff like that. Sounds like a fun party!

Don't have too many salty snacks (nuts, pretzels, chips) if beverages are a concern - there is a reason bars give those out for free - they make you thristy!

Crudite (cut fresh veggies) is cheap & easy to do yourself.  Hummus makes a good dip for it as there is not dairy or mayo so it can sit out for hours and not go rancid.  Leftovers can be frozen and used in cooking.

Cold cuts & cheeses can be frozen if left over, so also a nice choice if you are concerned about having enough food but don't want to waste leftovers.

Potato salad & macaroni salad don't have long shelf lives, but are super cheap & easy to make - $10 worth of ingredients would make more than enough of both to feed all your guests, and go with the BBQ menu.

Have lots of ice - it makes beverages last longer.

Here's fun & super affordable decorating tip - put framed photos of your DH throughout the room.  If you have (or can borrow from his parents) framed stuff like diplomas (that he won't wiggout over if you removed from home) or old artwork from when he was a child, playbill from his high school play, old trophy's, etc put those out too. is offering free shipping on orders over $25 for the next few days and prints are very affordable.  Interesting frames can be gotten for super cheap at garage/yard sales (just remove the artwork that comes in them!  And remember a $5 can of spray paint can refresh just about any frame!)
It adds a really personal touch to a space and creates great conversation starters if there will be a mixed guest list.

Sounds like a lovely party, good luck!


There are also some lovely non mayo based potato salads you can do as well, which sit out better. I've had some with a oil and vinegar based dressing, lots of herbs, onions and crumbled bacon which were very nice. 


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