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18th party food for 180 people where/how do i start?
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# 1
jaxxy00
Old 11-11-2006, 5:43 PM
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Default 18th party food for 180 people where/how do i start?

While im on here i may as well post this which has been really bothering me for so long now, its getting nearer the time though and i know it needs facing but it just seems a far too big thing.

My daughter is having her 18th birthday joint with a friend (6th Jan 06 which falls in middle, as my daughter is new year baby and other girl 14th Jan). We are sharing the costs of hall, disco etc and so far just paid deposit on hall. The hall is 150 (includes bar and staff), disco 130 (bit cheaper than usual as a dad of daughters friend). I asked the club (it has a bar etc with the function room on side) how much they would charge for food and they said 2.50 per head which i didnt think was too bad at all. Then when i realised how much it would be in total, 450 , it made me think, well surely we could get an awful lot of food for that sort of money so it would be best to do it ourselves.

I have no idea where to start, what amounts to consider, how to present it, on what erc etc. It has given me many sleepless nights and i need to start getting some advice. I havent spoken to the other girls parents yet as i want to have some ideas before doing so. So please help me!!

Some of the questions i have although im sure theres probably more:-

How do i decide on amounts of food? (i thought whatever im doing i would allow an amount per person and work on that, but then realised not everyone will like the same thing so allowances must be made for that. Is there a formula for this?)
How soon can i prepare things and what? (I can bake etc)
How close to the party starting do you take food to club?

Sorry but minds gone blank and cant think. Any advice, hints tips most welcome though. I have looked through other threads about weddings etc which has helped a little but i need to know where to start.

I spotted in Tescos the other day a party range which is all 1.50 per box which i looked and and thought maybe a good idea. I dont know if anyone else has seen them but you get for example 25 mini choc eclairs, 20 indian snacks, 50 rosti selection, 20 chicken satay sticks, and more but cant remember.

The other girls mum is a dinner lady at the school and i think my daughter said she is going to cook bits n bobs there. Also other girls nan going to do stuff. Also what do you think to having a chocolate fountain on the go and a candy floss machine? Theres going to be smaller kids so i thought this may be good for them.
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# 2
Lillibet
Old 11-11-2006, 6:18 PM
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TBH 450 for 180 people & no headaches sounds like a good deal to me! I have commercially catered (my mum is a party caterer) and it will be hard for you to get any enjoyment out of the evening if you spend the preceeding week in the kitchen, and I doubt it'll come in much cheaper.

That said, what kind of food does that allow for? 2.50 per head is very very cheap so I'm guessing not much & not of any quality! If you are going to do it yourself, for that age group & assuming you can get them all cooked, I would suggest you stock up on stacks of pizzas. Serve ready cut with napkins. No plates, knives forks or any of that nonsense. Don't faff with garlic bread or salad, they'll eat it if it's there but won't miss it if it isn't. Would be cheaper still if you can prep from scratch but would be a nightmare to transport so I'd go with ready made ones, the 3 for 4 kind that Tesco do, based on half a pizza er person that would come in at 120. And I think a Chocolate fountain & candy floss machine would be fab at a 18 birthday party

But most of all, don't do so much that you can't enjoy yourself. Your daughter will only have one 18th
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# 3
lynzpower
Old 11-11-2006, 6:39 PM
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My dad also did catering too lilli

It is a lot of work and rather dispiriting to see the waste ( partic salads my dad used to do were lovely but who can be bothered balancing them when drunk?. Bearing in mind when theres booze involved, the last thing you can by mithered with is a waldorf salad or a HM coleslaw, especially for 18yo girls etc. Id just hang around the crisp bowl

Pizzas are a great idea I think, & if theres catering ovens there? Maybe some big bags of curly fries/ wedges or similar? Nachos & range of dips that should do it. Suitable for all ages & easy to cater for the vegetarians.

Dont stress yourself, at 18 yo party youll be needed to make sure people dont drink too much, not "not eat enough"
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# 4
london_saver
Old 11-11-2006, 7:23 PM
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There are plenty of things that you can do for a party:

Mini sausages
Baking - mini muffins/ brownies (you can batch bake the day before)
Quiche
chips and salsa dips
Humous and breadsticks/vegatable dips (cucumber, celery etc)
Borrow/ buy (only 15) a chocolate fountain - supply fruit and marshmellows
mini pizzas (make your own bases, size of a coaster and put tomato and cheese topping)
chicken wings are cheap to buy, mariande then the night before and mass cook them in the oven
Sausage rolls are easy to make yourself
Salads/ pasta/ potato

Ok, it will take a lot of work, but it may work out cheaper in the end. Some things you can pre-prepare like baking etc

Good luck!
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# 5
CLARABEL
Old 11-11-2006, 7:29 PM
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if you are really hell bent on doing it yourself, ask for some qutes from supermarkets to get ideas, they'll tell you what's provided for your size of party which should help with quantities.

personally, i would keep it simple. ie

a vat of chilli / curry

a vat of veg chilli / curry

loads of french sticks

a salad


this is far easier to do than a hundred different items, we did this for the joint christening of my ds and my niece and it worked a treat. see if you can borrow some catering pans from a school/church...or something!

if you want more varety look at delia online for ideas, type in party to her search

clara .x
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# 6
bobsa1
Old 11-11-2006, 7:31 PM
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Hot dogs, mini burgers and pizzas, candy floss and chocolate fountain would be my advice. Hot dogs are easy to do and eat, mini burgers a bit harder but would probably go down well. you could get the pizza with a range of topings to order from asda, but contact them beforehand to let them know you are coming in and then you can get toppings of your choice. Those pizzas would probably feed 4/5 so I'd get about 30 (i think they are about £3.00 so less than £100) plus hot dogs etc. I would imagine would cost £300 all together.

I don't imagine 18year olds would appreciate all the effort you had put into a buffet so I really would keep it simple (and cheap)
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# 7
piglet6
Old 11-11-2006, 9:27 PM
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My mum catered for the evening party at my wedding (300+ people) and as OH and I were only 23, there were an awful lot of students/young people there, so I guess it wasn't so different from your daughter's 18th. Mum took advantage of special deals at the supermarket, combined with her chest freezer - lots of pizza/quiche, plus cold meats, jacket potatoes, bread rolls and salad, sausage rolls, mini sausages, crisps, etc. Most of these were bought when on special offer, then defrosted and cooked closer to the time (mum involved various friends and their ovens to help out - don't know if that is an option for you...could aunts/cousins/friends take a couple of pizzas to cook and plate, etc?:confused.

Having said all this, I do rather agree with others above - at 18, probably making sure that people don't drink too much is going to be more of an issue than the food - I suspect that plenty of pizzas, sausage rolls, bhajis/samosas and crisps will more than satisfy the crowd re: food, so I wouldn't worry too much about the variety (and like others have already said - skip the salads and stick to the finger food!).

If you do decide to go with the "party food" options, remember that all of the leftover special packs of Christmas party foods will be reduced in the new year, which will work in your favour price-wise...so don't buy them this side of Christmas/New Year!

Whatever you decide to go with, I hope you have a great party, and your daughter has a fantastic birthday!

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# 8
jaxxy00
Old 11-11-2006, 10:53 PM
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Thanks very much everyone for your replies so far, made me feel a bit more like its manageable now.

Yes theres lots of people to help out with cooking etc its more a case or orgainising the timing etc. I like the idea of sticking to a select few things rather than doing the full range of everything normally at a buffet. Also although i would like to do all the fancy stuff (fancy trimmings, pinwheel sarnies, watermelon fruit bowl (see this online, looks very good)) from what you have all said i realise it wouldnt be appreciated and my efforts would be wasted.

I dont think there are cooking facilities so serving hot food wouldnt be an option. If i done the choc fountain how do you stop the cut fruit pieces going black?

I think the thing whats worrying me is about 2 year ago i went to an 18th and got food poisoning. I was quite bad and wouldnt wish it on anyone. It was helibactor (spelt something like that). Thats why im very nervous about the meat side of things etc.

I assume that the club doesnt have fridge facilities either because when we looked round he told us that we could use the cellar/chiller room for the trays of food until they were needed as it was chilled in there. He said we could lay them all out on top of the barrels that were being used.

Something else im also wonderous about is how to decorate the place. He said we are not allowed to use drawing pins to put balloons up, only to use blue tack. I just want it to be really wow!!! and im kinda so excited but at the same time nervous. Im sure it will all go fine and like ive seen on some of the wedding threads people have had little do's in a pub etc and the guests have said it was such a great time etc. I suppose it just natural to be nervous though.

Just had another thought i could take the popcorn machine and they could have popcorn!!
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# 9
tanith
Old 11-11-2006, 11:06 PM
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At a family 21st they got a local fish and chip shop to supply individual boxes of fish or chicken and chips there were also burgers and chips...... it went down very well and I understand they got a very good price... they just supplied rolls , ketchup vinegar etc and a big birthday cake.... you could ask around local chippies...
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# 10
sal
Old 11-11-2006, 11:22 PM
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Hi,

I wish I'd thought to post a message like this at this time last year.

My son had an 18th birthday party at a local football club. They provided the bar and disco for a fee and we opted to provide the catering.

The party was just for his mates and about 100+ turned up. It was a great night.

We totally misjudged the food.

I spent the week shopping and cooking on the day, reheating supermarket pizzas, quiches, sausage rolls etc. Then we arranged with a local indian take-away for a huge amount of pakoras, samosas, bhajis etc to give them what 'we' thought they would eat, well that's what they eat on a normal Friday night out!

We provided paper plates and serviettes.

I should have listened to my son when he kept telling me not to fuss, no-one would bother with the food anyway! He was very nearly right, the only food to dissappear was the cheapo pizzas - and I think the same lad ate the lot! Hardly anyone ate a thing, they were too busy dancing, drinking and flirting. The rest of the food had to be gathered up at the end and distributed to helpers to fill their freezers. We ate samosas for days.

One thing we did do as a surprise for him which went down very well was photos. We scoured the old albums for 'embarrasing' and endearing photographs of him throughout his life and put them together in several collages which we put up around the room. They gave everyone a good laugh especially if they could pick themselves out as well. No-one was offended.

So please don't fret about food, buy bog-standard pizzas and serviettes as was suggested earlier by another poster, stand in a corner and enjoy the night (feeling very old).

I was very proud to see him with his friends, the food suddenly seemed totally irrelevant.

sal
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Last edited by sal; 11-11-2006 at 11:24 PM.
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# 11
chardonnay
Old 11-11-2006, 11:36 PM
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i remember at my friends 18th helping to take loads of leftovers up the road. the fun stuff like choc fountain/ popcorn machine sound good. don't go overboard unless there are going to be loads of oldies expecting certain things. asda pizzas sound good
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# 12
chardonnay
Old 11-11-2006, 11:43 PM
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just remembered at another friends 21st her mum got the caterers and spent 5 pounds a head. we had lasagne and things like that. to be honest i think it was mainly the older relatives who ate this and there was loads left. the teenagers will be too busy getting drunk / not spilling food on their party clothes to bother. at my 21st it was in a proper nightclub and there was no option of a buffet and we all had an excellent time. the food will be the last thing on your daughters mind. keep it simple and enjoy the party.
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# 13
Uncle_Cuddles
Old 12-11-2006, 12:22 AM
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We have quite a few parties, but not on that scale (probably about half). We tend to buy a lot of pre-cooked/fresh food from Asda. Snack type things like sausage rolls (large ones, cut into two), cocktail sausages, savory mini-eggs, pork pies (cut in two), mixed chinese/indian snack (mini spring rolls, onion bahjis, samosas etc.). We buy cooked sliced cold meats from Makro (beef, ham and turkey/chicken usually), and the only things we cook are roast chicken drumsticks and pork/bacon ribs (can't you tell we're from up north!), but you can even buy them freshly cooked from our local Asda and they will cater for parties if you give them enough notice. We also prepare a couple of salads, maybe a tuna and sweetcorn pasta, some baked potatos, bowl of grated cheese and onion, lots of sliced bread rolls with butter pats, sliced french sticks (or garlic bread - its the future!), lots of dips, bread sticks, crisps, nuts, etc. Finally a fresh salmon usually goes down well, but maybe ott for a teen party! And don't forget the veggies! Oh and gateaux and trifles for afters (with squirty cream or pouring cream).

A couple of other things - make sure you don't cater for too many. Are 180 people invited, 'cos you can probably knock 30 who won't turn up, or who will turn up too late for the food. And if you are doing it yourself, don't forget you have to clean up afterwards!

We once paid a caterer for a big party, similar amount to you, then when we added up the "certainties to arrive" we had more than we were catering for, so we paid the caterers more to cover them, and then quite a few didn't turn up. I wouldn't mind but the caterer just made more chicken drumsticks and ribs, and they were still there at the end of the night!
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# 14
sal
Old 12-11-2006, 12:30 AM
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Another thought.

We bought his cake from Asda, they do large sponge cakes at the bake counter that you can have one of your own photographs copied onto. We've used them a lot for different occasions and they go down really well.

We used a photograph of him that we knew he was particulary keen on, a footie type of style and banged lots of candles around, he loved it. Plenty to go round with relatives etc, didn't bother to cut it at the party, just blew out candles and sang after a quick speech, again we had realised by then that no-one was going to eat it there and then!

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# 15
TheRehn
Old 12-11-2006, 1:03 AM
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Snack bowls dotted around the place with cheap food from lidl and some pizza slices with napkins as previously suggested is all you are gonna need.
Chocolate fountains/fondues go down quite well, but people might be concerned about getting messy. You could have some packs of crisps and things at the bar for people to help themselves to, but really I don't think much food will be wanted, chat to your daughter and her friend tho' after all they will know what their friends will like best.
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# 16
Lillibet
Old 12-11-2006, 8:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaxxy00
Th
I dont think there are cooking facilities so serving hot food wouldnt be an option. If i done the choc fountain how do you stop the cut fruit pieces going black?

Use wedges of satsumas, strawberries, grapes, etc. Things which you don't need to cut.

I assume that the club doesnt have fridge facilities either because when we looked round he told us that we could use the cellar/chiller room for the trays of food until they were needed as it was chilled in there. He said we could lay them all out on top of the barrels that were being used.

A chiller room will be as good as a fridge

Something else im also wonderous about is how to decorate the place. He said we are not allowed to use drawing pins to put balloons up, only to use blue tack. I just want it to be really wow!!! and im kinda so excited but at the same time nervous. Im sure it will all go fine and like ive seen on some of the wedding threads people have had little do's in a pub etc and the guests have said it was such a great time etc. I suppose it just natural to be nervous though.

How about helium filled balloons? They look much more classy than bunches stuck to the walls IMHO. You can buy a small canister of helium for about 30 IIRC & fill ordinary balloons yourself, they don't have to be posh shiney ones at 4 a pop! Weight them with rice in cellephane tied with a curly ribbon to look professional, add bunches of curly ribbion or streamers hanging off the balloons to fill out the displays & use less balloons/helium.

Just had another thought i could take the popcorn machine and they could have popcorn!!
Fab idea, nice & cheap too if you get the big bags of kernals in Holland & Barratt!


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# 17
bobsa1
Old 12-11-2006, 11:32 AM
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I really would not do any desserts at all. Even at the best of parties (ie for older people like me!) these get left. 18yr olds really will not eat this.

I like the chippie/indian idea!
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# 18
Bogof_Babe
Old 12-11-2006, 2:41 PM
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I once went to a party in a village hall, and the food was just huge slabs of cheese cut into generous chunks, tubs of butter/spread, dozens of french sticks cut into thick slices (or let people cut their own, to save it drying out), and a big bowl of apples. Suitable for veggies & non-veggies alike, no fuss, minimal waste and good blotting paper for the booze. Bowls of crisps will make it look more buffet-like too.

If you wanted to do something really simple like this, you could add bowls of pickles, pickled onions, coleslaw, potato salad, cherry tomatoes. Paper plates from a Pound Shop, pack of plastic knives and forks, stack of cheap paper napkins - sorted! (Don't forget a couple of bin liners for the clearing up.)
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