Trying to figure out how much you’ll need for various elements of your social can be a huge stressor – but it doesn’t have to be! Unfortunately whoever you ask about how much juice or chips someone had at their social, each answer you get will be different, and the reason for this is that every single crowd is different. It is honestly impossible to guess the exact amount that will satisfy your crowd, but hopefully this guide will help you get close. Will you run out? The honest answer is, maybe! Will it matter? Not so much. It depends when you run out, what you run out of, and again, it depends on your crowd! If you run out of chips at 11, but are serving your late lunch at 1130, then it doesn’t matter! My suggestion is to OVER BUY. It is of course better to have too much than not enough. Make sure you keep your receipts so you can return everything that is unused. So take a deep breath, follow these guidelines and every little thing will be all right!
How much of a float should you have for the night? First consider how many people you are expecting. A crowd of 250 will need a much smaller float than a crowd of 800. Next to consider are your prices for prizes and drinks. If you avoid drink prices that end in .50cents then you won’t need any quarters. If most of your ticket packages are worth $20 then you might need less of a float than what is suggested. You will need a float for your front door, 50/50 and Texas Mickey. Most 50/50 and Texas Mickey’s are arms length and go for $5 or $10, and people use their change from buying drink and prize tickets for 50/50 and Texas Mickey. Throughout the night your float will be “recycled” back into the pot and available to you should you need it! For a social of about 300 people, the following should be plenty: Forty 10’s = $400; Forty 5’s = $200; 2 rolls of toonies = $100; 4 rolls of loonies = $100; total of $800. Remember to adjust according to your expected crowd numbers!
I won’t go much into this because the numbers are readily available for you to use on the liquor mart website. Plus you can head into any liquor store where the staff are very knowledgeable on what types, brands and how much alcohol to order. Remember you do not have to buy the most expensive brands. People will buy alcohol tickets no matter what you are serving.
This one is always a big guess! How much orange, cranberry and clamato juice to buy?! A good point to consider is how much vodka you are buying. Most people only mix vodka with those three, so for a social of 300 people, you will likely have about 8-10 bottles of vodka, with about 17 drinks per bottle, so 136-170 drinks of vodka for the night. There are about 4 cups per litre of juice, so you will need 34-42 litres of juice. I think orange juice is the most popular of the three so I’d go with approximately 17-21 litres of orange juice, followed by 8-10 litres of cranberry and 8-10 litres of clamato. Are you still with me? Make sure you round up, and even buy extra if you don’t feel like you have enough. Remember that you can return what you don’t open!
Don’t forget with clamato you’ll want worchestershire sauce and hot pepper sauce (tabasco). 1-2 bottles of each should be enough. Garnish is completely up to you and not always necessary. People will really enjoy wedges of limes and lemons, and even celery for their ceasars, but this is optional! You will need at least 40-50 limes and lemons each, assuming each is sliced into 10, and that would cover about 400-500 of your drinks for the night. You could slice them into more than 10, to get more bang for your buck, but again, garnish is completely optional!
This is what you are going to put out on the tables throughout the night, (and make sure you have someone to top them up!) These table snacks can vary from chips, popcorn, pretzels, cheezies, munchies, or anything else you can think up. Chips, like mix, can be returned if unopened, so choose if you’d rather buy big Costco size bags, or smaller bags from Walmart or wherever you can find a sale. And do that! Wait for a giant sale on chips, and don’t be afraid to buy no-name, most people really can’t taste the difference. If you are buying the big Costco size bags, you’ll want about 1 bag for every 20-30 people. 10 giant bags should be enough for a social of 300 people. The smaller size bags are about 1/3 of the Costco size so you’d need 30 bags for 300 people.
So much of this depends on how you are selling prize tickets, 50/50 and Texas Mickey AND how many people you are expecting! How many packages are you putting together for the prize tickets and at what prices? It is hard to guide you on what to do for this one because of the varying circumstances. You’ll have to calculate how many tickets are in a roll/package, how many people you are expecting, and what you think your crowd will buy. Most people will buy full wing span for 50/50 and Texas Mickey so make sure you have a least 2 rolls for each of those for a crowd of 300 people. For the same amount of people, you’ll need about 1200 drink tickets based on the liquor mart’s guide on how much alcohol to buy. (If the rolls come in 1000, one roll would probably be enough.) Your prize tickets are very individualized so your calculations will be based on what packages you are offering for both your regular and grand prizes. The cheapskates and big spenders in your crowd will also help you determine how much to get!
Most halls provide pop, ice, cups and other bar service items with your rental fee. If not, you can calculate how many cups you’ll need based on the amount of hard liquor you are purchasing. (Beer comes in a bottle so you do not have to include that in determining how many cups to get.) Verify which types of pop are being provided. If you are serving gin as an option for alcohol, you will need tonic and most halls do not have that included in their pop supply.
Plates, napkins and other food service items are another option to consider only if they are not being provided by your caterer. Try to negotiate to have those items included when you are ordering food for your midnight snack so it is one less thing to think about. Easily enough, you won’t need much more than the amount of people you are expecting. If you are expecting 300 people at your social, I’d add 10-20% and purchase 330-360 plates and napkins for the midnight snack.
In the end, what you have will be what you have. If you run out, there is nothing you can do about it, so don’t sweat it! Running out of cranberry juice will not ruin your social, I promise you. I hope this guide takes a little bit of the stress off of you and that you have a fantastic social!