Planning Your Party - how to get started

Invitation lists and how much you need to buy

Planning Your Party

Figuring out the guest list:

If your goal is a loud, crowded, mingling party, then the guest list is simple – invite everyone you can think of! Including your neighbours, so they won’t protest the noise. Find a guest who will volunteer to act as a DJ, and stock up on paper plates and other disposables to limit your cleanup.

If you prefer are more intimate gathering, such as a dinner or potluck, start by counting your sitting spaces. When you send out your invites, you can typically go 20% over your number of chairs to account for people who won’t be able to make it. Use a free service such as to manage your list and allow for easy RSVP-ing.

Typically guests like to bring hostess presents. You can simplify your planning and cut down on your purchases by declaring a theme to the evening such as “Bring your Favorite…” Wine / Cheese / Dessert / Dip … In addition to giving guests a great selection of item to sample, it can also provide a focus to help start conversation.

How many drinks do you need?


For a Lunch
1/3 of a bottle per person works out to about two glasses each. When served along with food, this quantity should still allow people to continue with their day.

For a Wine & Cheese
wine – The average guest will drink about three glasses of wine in two hours – which amounts to 1/2 a bottle of wine.
cheese – A quarter pound of cheese per person or more. Ask at your cheese shop, as some varieties are heavier than others, which will affect the quantity consumed. Remember to label them all when you put them out! A variety of crackers is always nice – looks for boxes which contain smaller sealed packages. Instead of putting them all out at once, only put out one pouch of each at a time, so you won’t be left with a lot of stale crackers at the end.

For a Dinner
1/2 a bottle of wine per person, served at the table along with the meal is the standard yardstick. If you are having a long party, this does not include any liquor consumed before with appetizers or after dinner aperitifs.

Make sure you serve plenty of munchies as well – it’s too easy to get drunk quickly on an empty stomach.

• Allow three drinks per guest.
• A 750 mL (26 oz.) bottle yields approx 17 standard drinks.
• For every 750ml of alcohol, you will need 2250ml of mix (triple the quantity of spirits).
• Check out our handy Drink Recipe page for ideas.
• Remember to add extra juice and pop for designated drivers and underage guests!

Breakdown by type, as suggested by
• 30% Canadian Whisky
• 20% Vodka
• 20% Rum
• 10% Scotch
• 10% Gin (more popular in summer)
• 10% Float or something unusual (e.g. liqueurs or Schnapps)

Check out their handy party calculator, to help out with your quantity and cost estimates:

and take them shopping!