No matter the theme or type of event you’re organising, there’s a high chance that you’ll be serving food. Food is so closely entwinned with meeting up, celebrating, and even saying goodbye to a loved one that it’s nearly always the centre piece of the event.
If you’re looking to feed your guests, then you may well be wondering about the crockery that you’ll need. Even a simple dinner party at home needs careful consideration with this area. We want to share our decades of experience and create a helpful guide for you.
Below you’ll find some of the key areas to consider with a simple checklist at the bottom. If you still need help after that, and of course if you need to hire crockery for your event, then please do get in touch here.
We’ve set this out in a question format, much like we’d use when you enquire about catering hire for your event when you phone or email us.
Will you be having a buffet or a stand-up meal?
The type of meal and the way that you’ll be serving it make a big difference. You might be having a sit down meal for 20 or a stand up ‘help yourself‘ buffet for 200. This will change what you’ll need.
Clearly, you’ll want plates for everyone, and with a sit-down meal you’ll need cutlery, glasses, and napkins to go with them.
Deciding on this part first will affect the rest of the questions, so get this part established first.
To give you an idea, here’s what some of the styles of events will need in the way of crockery for a buffet meal:
- The main crockery can be a 10”, 11” or 12” dinner plate for your guests to load their food on to.
- Depending on the size of the event you may also need some serving plates, but larger events will opt for a large chafing dish to serve the hot food from.
- If you have sauces then you’ll need a gravy boat or milk jug.
- Vegetables can be presented in a vegetable bowl and the salad in a salad bowl.
- Salt and pepper mills are usually left on the tables.
Other items you might want to consider are tea and coffee cups (saucers are recommended), and of course glassware for your drinks. You can find a full list of glassware on our drinking glasses blog here.
Are you having two or three courses?
A sit-down meal will require a little more thought for the place setting and the first question to ask yourself (as we would do for our clients) is whether you’re having a two course or three course meal.
And then, are you having starters or dessert?
This is the first step.
Then you’ll need to choose your food options, and only then will you be able to choose your food.
It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people try to order it back-to-front!
- Three courses? Starter and dessert.
- Two courses? Main and dessert? Or starter and main?
What are you having as starters?
There’s a big difference between a pâté and a soup and this will all affect your crockery choices. Soup plates or an 8” starter plate are the obvious choices here unless you go for something a little more exotic that might even require some glassware to serve. Don’t forget that if you’re serving bread with the soup then you’ll need a side plate and extra knife, too. You’ll also need a butter dish and a bread basket for each table.
What are you having for main course?
Main course crockery will depend once again on your food choice and as there are so many options, let’s list some for you to have a think about:
- 12” dinner plate – for most meals on the menu.
- Or pasta bowl – for the pasta cuisine option.
- Or a bowl for rice or other bowl food options.
- Vegetable dish – for communal vegetable serving (usually two per table of 10/12).
- Gravy boat – for gravy and other warm (or cold) sauces.
What are you having for dessert?
Serving a pudding? Great, what is it? (We always have room for pudding!)
As above, think about the choice here as you’ll need different crockery for your tables and guests. A slice of cake works best on a small round or square plate, but with a sauce to go with it you may opt for a bowl.
Cheese and biscuits? Yum! Opt for a side plate and a large plate or cheese board to serve with a basket or similar to serve the all-important cheese biscuits.
Will you be serving teas and coffee?
Pretty much all the events we hire catering equipment for have a tea and coffee course and a sit-down meal may well have two servings (some at the start and the end) so bear this in mind with ordering quantities, as you won’t want to (or be able to) wash up for the second sitting.
What about other food like cake or canapes?
At the start of your event or maybe just for the entirety you might be opting for canapés. This option requires a different approach to crockery from the serving point of view and the consuming.
Canapés and bowl food crockery can range from a small rice bowl to oval, round, or square platters to serve finger food.
Serving a cake? Displaying it might involve a cake stand, and eating it will need the right number of small serving plates and some extra forks to accompany it. Not forgetting the cake knife!
What food will be served in the evening (if the event is a wedding or similar)?
Wedding or a party with evening guests? This will usually involve the buffet list above with plates, cutlery, and chafing dishes or large plates to serve.
Evening coffee and tea might well feature and the dessert course or cake serving often happens then too, so get yourself plates, jugs for the sauce, cups, saucers, and the correct cutlery for that occasion, too.
Phew! What a lot of crockery…
Once you know the type of event, the menu, and the number of guests, you’ll be ready to hire your crockery for your event. It’s pretty obvious but we’ll say it anyway – the type of meal hugely affects the crockery so you need to decide on this first and then think about the crockery you need to serve it in.
To help you decide which crockery to hire for your event, here are some helpful questions:
- Are you having two or three courses?
- Are you having starters?
- Will you be serving teas and coffee?
- Will you be having a buffet or a stand-up meal?
- What about other food like cake or canapés?
- What food will be served in the evening (if the event is a wedding or similar)?
The style of event you’re holding will determine the crockery that you need to hire so make sure you have a good handle on that before you start to compile your hire list.
We’ve been delivering and collecting crockery for hire in Birmingham, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, and Oxfordshire for over two decades.
You can rest assured we know what we’re doing, and we’ve learnt that to give the best service, we need to ask the right questions. We’d be more than happy to help you through the process.
Browse the main areas of our crockery for hire section and place them in your quote. Then submit your quote to us and we’ll contact you. We can amend your order after you’ve submitted it or simply have a conversation where we can discuss your specific needs.