Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Dishes, Flatware and Glasses. What and How Much Do You Need to Rent or Purchase?

If I rent dishes, flatware and glasses, how many should I order?
Caterers add 10% of the total quantity (total number of guests) for every item ordered.  This also applies to determining the quantity of disposables to purchase.

List of items you will probably need, whether rental or disposable, for each guest. 

  • Dinner Plate
  • Knife, fork and spoon
  • Wine or Water Glass (I recommend using a large water glass, which can also be used for white and red wine)
  • Champagne glass (if you use disposables be sure and hot glue the bases to the flutes because they tend to fall apart easily)
  • Coffee cups and saucers  (Not everyone will drink coffee so this is one where you might want to make an educated guess.  I set up a separate coffee serving table to avoid the expense of placing a coffee cup and saucer at every place setting)
  • Cake Plate + Fork   (A good option for cutting costs, and cleanup time, is to use pretty disposables for your cake)
  • Bar Ware (All of my clients used disposables for beer and bar drinks served from separate stations.  Plan on at least 2 to 3 glasses per person) 
This is a minimal set-up.  If you are serving punch you might want punch cups.   I don't recommend using salad plates and forks if you are serving buffet style, it is difficult for the guests to handle so many items; which slows down the buffet service.

Just for Fun - Wedding Traditions That Have Changed and Why

I just read a blog about the tradition of guests showering the bride and groom with rice or other objects following the ceremony and decided to explore the origins of that tradition.  From researching the information  about wedding traditions available on the internet today, it seems that most agree that throwing foodstuff items at the bride and groom began as a fertility and prosperity wish. Seeds and grains are used for crops, and from the smallest seeds, large crops can grown. For some cultures, throwing rice or grains at the wedding was a blessing for the wish of a healthy and large crop so the couple could be prosperous. It might also have signified fertility, so the couple would have many children to help them work the crops.

The tradition has continued into modern times, with rice throwing the most common American tradition for closing a wedding ceremony. In other countries, the customs have included throwing dates and figs, for a fruitful union, and for the more romantic and scented send off, some couples have opted for throwing colorful rose petals instead.

By the time I became involved in the consulting business throwing rice was not permitted; supposedly because if swallowed by birds, it would expand in their stomachs causing them to become very ill, or die. While the theory sounds plausible,  the US Rice Federation and educated ornithologists both have repeatedly assured the public that throwing rice at weddings is not unsafe for birds. In fact, in the wild, birds eat rice from the fields all the time, and we don't see them dropping dead.
However, the bridal industry has definitely taken advantage of the rice throwing urban legend by marketing 'bird friendly' rice for weddings, which you can rest assured will cost much more than a bag of rice at the supermarket. Additionally, you will find bird seed baggies and dried rose petals and other items marketed as 'environmentally safe/friendly' to throw at weddings now.
 Actually, throwing rice at weddings is more dangerous to humans. Throwing rice at a wedding on a hard walking surface while most people in attendance are wearing dress shoes has resulted in many tumbles, falls and spills that have resulted in injury. Because of this and resultant lawsuits, along with the mess that throwing rice can make, many churches and wedding halls have now banned the practice of throwing rice after a wedding altogether. This doesn't even mention the pelting rice hitting the bride or groom in the eye either!

So, let's explore other options.

Candy Sprinkles -

I'm not sure these wouldn't be as dangerous as the rice, but they could tide you over if you are getting hungry .

Flower Petals

 I think I would use silk, rather than real ones, because they are less expensive and easier to clean up
I found a sample pack at Koyal of the 80 colors available (200 petals total) for $5.95 @
Most of their silk petals sell for about $20.00 per 1,000 - which is certainly reasonable.  Koyal also offers a wide variety of items for sure and browse around on their site.


 I think the little bottles of bubbles were the first replacement for the rice.  And they are still very popular.   I found a great formula for bubbles but when I went online to find empty bottles I came up with a big blank.  So, I am including the recipe because I know there are suppliers out there somewhere - I have seen the empty bottles in party supply stores.  
But, just in case, here is the supplier with the largest selection of filled bottles I have found on-line. 
They offer 195 varieties of bubble bottles so there is something for everyone.  They also offer an extensive selection of other DIY wedding and reception items.  When I joined their email notification program I received a coupon for free shipping and a $5.00 off coupon.  A variety of on-line coupons are available at

Bubbles Recipe

  •  Liquid dish soap - Dawn or Joy brands work best (don't use Ultra formula
  • Distilled Water (tap water is okay, but distilled water improves the quality of the bubbles)
  • Clean container with lid
  • Glycerin or white corn syrup
  • Small funnel
Measure 6 cups of water into a container.  Add one cup of the liquid soap and stir gently until liquids are combined.  Try not to let foam or bubbles form while stirring.
Measure 1 tablespoon of glycerin, or 1/4 cup of corn syrup to the soap mixture.  Mix until it is combined.  Note:  If you used "ultra" brand, double the amount of glycerin or corn syrup. 
This mixture works best if made ahead of time so it is an ideal for wedding bubbles.  To fill the bubble containers; fill a measuring cup with bubble solution, place funnel into the container mouth and slowly pour in solution.
Cap tightly with lid and then decorate the container as desired.

Ribbon Wands


These are so pretty and relatively easy to make.  To see instructions and more wand ideas visit
Or, you can visit and find someone to make them for you.   


Another popular option for evening weddings, which also creates some interesting photo opportunities, is to use sparklers.  Fireworks are not sold in many cities but now sparklers are available on line at 
Make sure you have someone that can organize the guests along the path to keep a safe distance between your guests and your veil. 

For awhile birdseed was very popular, but then was banned because eventually the seeds not eaten by the birds sprouted, and became plants.  Which required removal. 
Another item mentioned was feathers.....but I tried "throwing" a few feathers that I have on hand for a decorating project.  They floated so it would be difficult to direct them toward the bride and groom. When I tried to sweep-up the feathers they flew through the air. 

Are you going to follow this tradition?  What are you thinking of using?  I would love to know what appeals to my readers.  Please use the comment section below to answer.



What kind of Serving Pieces do I need for the Buffet?


1 comment:

  1. Wow! You have used several decoration elements in your wedding; but I loved this Flower Petals and ribbon bands. Can you please recommend your wedding suppliers number for my wedding Banquet Halls decoration?