Selection of buffet food

How to cater for a party

For entertaining large numbers in your own home you’ll need to plan the perfect menu and get organised – follow our top tips for a smooth-running party.

Our catering experts and experienced food writers have plenty of advice if you’re planning a party or need to feed a crowd. Follow our simple top tips and read more in-depth guides for recipe ideas and practical advice such as catering quantities.

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1. Plan ahead


Whether it’s confirming guest numbers or shopping a few days before, the more preparation you can fit in ahead of time the more fun it’ll be on the day.

How to plan & organise your event

2. Decide on your menu


From canapés and buffets to easy entertaining, you’ll find plenty of recipe inspiration here at Good Food. We also have comprehensive advice from catering experts that will help you achieve the perfect balance of style and substance.

How to plan your menu

3. Use the freezer

Freezer with tupperware containers

Fridge space can be at a premium during the party season, so if a recipe is safe to freeze and reheat from frozen it can save space as well as time. Take a look at our freezer guide to Christmas and our top 10 canapés you can make ahead of time.

4. Check special diets


These days, it’s likely that at least one guest will have a special dietary requirement. Ask ahead so you won’t be surprised on the day.

You’ll find lots of recipes for special diets by searching on our website – here are some of our most popular guides:

Top vegan party recipes
The best vegetarian Christmas party food
Special diet Christmas hub
Healthier canapé ideas

5. Ask for help


When you’re short on time, ask your friends and family to bring a dish along and you’ll soon have a fantastic buffet spread. Plus, everyone is guaranteed to have something they like to eat!

Try these useful guides:
What dishes should I bring to a party?
5 ways to get the kids to help at Christmas
How to share the Christmas cooking

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Looking for more party guides? We think these might help:

Top 10 dinner party tips
Easy finger food ideas
Top 10 storecupboard canapé ideas
Best ever New Year’s Eve party food
How to host a Boxing Day buffet
How to throw a kids’ party