How to Plan a Successful Buffet For large gatherings, check out your local rental place for dishes, glassware, flatware, linens and extra chairs. For less-formal gatherings, visit a party- or paper-supply store for festive paper plates and napkins. Stores offer a wide variety of colors and bridal-themed patterns. You may also want to purchase plastic champagne flutes so guests can toast the bride-to-be. If you don’t have room to seat everybody at the table, serve food that can be easily eaten by those who will be holding their plates on their laps. Select recipes that can be made ahead so you’ll have more time to socialize with your guests. Expecting a large group? Divide each dish between 2 smaller serving bowls or trays so one can be refilled while the other remains in the buffet line. Set up a separate small table for beverages and/or desserts to avoid congestion at the main buffet table. To keep the buffet line running smoothly, place the plates at the beginning of the line, followed by the main dish, then sides. Place flatware and napkins at the end. Fold or roll flatware in napkins so guests can pick up both at the same time. Decorating Tips Arrange a buffet centerpiece in spring colors that match or coordinate with the bride’s colors. Light some candles – they can be a nice touch, even for a daytime event. Wrap flatware in napkins and tie with satin ribbon to match. Make fabric covers for folding chairs with lengths of fabric and ribbon – or rent fabric covers. Consider providing a specially-decorated chair for the bride.