Whether you’re planning a small cocktail party for 20, or a large reception for 250, it can be confusing to decide how many napkins to have on hand for your guests. Never fear, we are here to help you avoid running out of guest towels in the powder room or ending up with boxes of extra dinner napkins.
For cocktail hour, we estimate 3-4 cocktail napkins per person. Place stacks on the bar and near any finger foods, and have wait staff carry when serving passed hors d’oeuvres and drinks. If you are serving a sit down meal, plan on 1-2 luncheon napkins for a daytime event or 1-2 dinner napkins for an evening affair per guest. Err on the higher side if you are serving especially messy food, such as barbecue or lobster. Guest towels can be used as hand towels in the powder room, or as buffet napkins. Either way, plan on 2 per person.