Before you stock up your grocery cart like a supermarket spree contestant, know how much you really need to buy.
Apps: Three to four pieces per person is plenty. Pair cheese with olives, fruit and mixed nuts to bulk up the platter.
Salad: Plan on 1 to 1½ cups of lettuce per person, especially if you’re adding nuts, dried fruit and cheese.
Sides: Allow ½ lb. per person of a fresh, uncooked vegetable. If you're serving two vegetable sides and one potato side, start with 3 lbs. of each vegetable, which is enough to serve six people on its own, and keep the potatoes at the same ½ lb. per person. With rice, grains and pasta, estimate about 2 oz. per person.
Drinks: With wine, have one bottle for every two guests. Serving a signature cocktail? Have at least a gallon for 12 people and add a sprinkle of edible gold leaf to each glass for extra sparkle. ($26 for 100 mg, surlatable.com)
Dessert: One cake will serve 12 people.
Tip: Make mashed potatoes and biscuits (partially bake first) and put in the freezer one month ahead.
Please everyone with a Picky Eater-Proof Menu