How Much Dinnerware Should You Rent for Your Event?

March 19, 2020
By: Marquee Event Rentals

Need to rent dinnerware for your next event and not sure how to determine how much you’ll need? Rest easy! Running out of plates, glasses or cutlery won’t happen if you follow these best practices from our event rental consultants. Read on to learn exactly how much dinnerware to rent whether you’re hosting a big family get-together, or a massive fundraising gala.

Our #1 Tip - Always order more than you need
Order a minimum of ten extra plates, glasses and flatware settings so you’ll have plenty of backups. Extras ensure you’re covered for forgotten guests (such as the DJ or videographer) as well as any kitchen mishaps. If your event is larger than 100 people, order 10 to 20 percent extra. 

How Much Dinnerware and Flatware Should You Rent? 

The amount of dinnerware and flatware you need depends on the type of event. At a cocktail or garden party, you may only need drinkware and small plates, whereas a formal dinner requires at least three plates per person. Here’s what our experts recommend:

Cocktail party (or other event serving only finger food) - order three appetizer plates per person plus drinkware. Check out our guide on how to choose a bar and beverage service to ensure you have the right number and type of glasses.

Formal dinner dinnerware - each guest needs three different plates: a bread plate, salad plate, and dinner plate, and charger plates. Depending on your menu, guests may need a bowl for soup (or pasta) and a dessert plate and fork. You’ll also need three glasses per guest, one for water, a mug for coffee or tea, and a glass for an adult beverage.

Formal dinner flatware - rent one set of silverware for each guest plus ten additional sets (or 10 to 20 percent extra for an event with over 100 guests). Since not everyone drinks coffee, you’re safe ordering exactly as many teaspoons as you have guests.

  • Don’t forget the steak knives if you’re serving meat
  • If soup is on the menu, we recommend 1.5 soup spoons per person

Buffet dinner - calculating the right amount of dinnerware and flatware for a buffet requires a bit more math. Our experts recommend:

  • 2.5 dinner plates per guest
  • 2 appetizer plates per guest
  • 1.5 dessert plates and 1.5 dessert forks per guest
  • 2 forks, 2 dinner knives, 2 appetizer/salad forks
  • 1 steak knife per person 
  • 2 soup spoons per person 

We’re happy to share our expertise, just contact us for a complimentary consultation. Marquee can also provide chargers, serving pieces, buffet equipment, tablecloths, tabletop accessories (such as salt and pepper shakers), and other essential items.

Top 3 Reasons to Rent Tableware, Glasses and Silverware

1. Save time and space - choosing, storing and transporting all the plates, glasses and cutlery you’ll need is time-consuming. Let an experienced rental company like Marquee handle the details while you focus on your guests.

2. Professional appearance and on-trend styles - we have a massive inventory to complement any event theme. Here are a few popular choices:

  • Gold-rimmed dinnerware with rose-gold flatware adds romantic flair to any wedding
  • Dishware with a scalloped design paired with Aztec gold flatware - for a seaside or beach-themed event
  • China with metallic accents evokes sophisticated urban chic
  • Mason jars and mismatched plates create a charming country-cozy feel

3. The eco-conscious choice - Plastic cutlery can’t be recycled, and a recent study found compostable “plastic” can be just as harmful as single-use plastics.

Marquee makes it easy to ensure you’ve got your tables covered. Contact us for a complimentary consultation - no event is too large or too small. Our helpful event experts in Chicago, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio are standing by to make your event planning a breeze!