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How to Cater a Holiday Party for 50



To host a memorable holiday party, there's one must-have detail that kindle bonds around the table: food.  It brings us all together to share laughs and celebrate the holiday season with family at home, or with co-workers outside of the office. 

Learn more about DiningIn Catering Buffet solutions


We know it can be overwhelming to be an event committee member or the sole party organizer for a large group gathering. So we spoke with Nancy P., Customer Experience Representative at DiningIn, about the essential steps for entertaining a group of 50 and ensuring a smooth party planning process this holiday season.


How to Cater a Holiday Party for 50
Credit: Weber Grill Restaurant, Chicago

Pick a Theme

Parties are about creating an experience, which is why every great party has a theme.

Choose something you know everyone will enjoy whether it’s a holiday cocktail party, a New Year's Eve bash with the extended family, or a Yankee Swap extravaganza at the workplace to keep everyone engaged.


Play around with the party décor, lighting, and color scheme according to the how formal or casual you want to keep the overall atmosphere.  Dress code requirements are entirely up to you.


How to Cater a Holiday Party for 50


Choose a Date and Time 


Select the best day and time for throwing a party or hosting the gathering.  Be mindful of any holiday trips your family and friends might be making, as well as any crucial, end-of-the-year deadlines your co-workers may need to meet.


Related Blog: How to Host the Perfect Dinner Party


It’s important to send the invite 3-8 weeks in advance depending on the formality of the event, giving you enough time to plan ahead.  


Communicate and advertise the date and time effectively to your friends, family, or colleagues. Require RSVP via email or phone to those attending to get a final head count.  Plus, take into account how many family members you know will most likely bring a surprise guest.


How to Cater a Holiday Party for 50


Set a Budget. And Stick to it.

After deciding on the theme and having a final attendee list, make an estimate of your total budget including delivery tips or additional fees.


Tip: Consult with a DiningIn representative to assist you with the financial aspect of your event.


A good way to break down the costs is to decide how much money you’d like to allocate for the entire party or per each person.  *Average party costs for 50 guests range from $900 to $2,250 total, or $28 to $45 per person.


How to Cater a Holiday Party for 50

Decide on a Cuisine

You can go for anything from your traditional Italian main dishes, to French cuisine appetizers, and American-style desserts.  Keep in mind any dietary restrictions or food allergies when deciding on the menu. 


Tip: A DiningIn Customer Experience Representative can help you with restaurant selections, complying with any special requests or last-minute order changes.


Related Blog: Staff Picks: Cookout Food Without the Cooking

When placing your order, remember that you would rather have leftovers than not enough food for everyone attending the party just in case you’d like to accommodate extra guests, colleagues from the other departments, or people going up for seconds. 


As always, bring enough water, drinks, alcoholic beverages if appropriate, and lots of ice. 


How to Cater a Holiday Party for 50 

Find a Venue

Location is always key when preparing a party for a large group. A family member’s home, a private banquet room, or even your boss or co-worker’s house may be ideal for a change of scenery.


Tip: DiningIn Drivers can help you set up if you need an extra helping hand.

Setting up a self-serve or buffet station on a roughly 10ft. table  will makes things easier for you and your guests.


How to Cater a Holiday Party for 50


Credit: Le Colonial, Chicago


Happy Holidays from the DiningIn team!