How much food should be served at a wedding reception for 100 people?

Updated February 21, 2017

A miscalculated headcount equals wedding disaster. Knowing the accurate amount of food to serve at your wedding reception ensures that all of your guests have enough to eat, and eliminates the risk of you paying for more meals than there are people. For a wedding reception of 100 people, come up with an estimate of how many guests you foresee attending so that you know how much food should be served.


According to the Here Comes the Guide website, the rule of thumb when preparing for a wedding is that 80 per cent of your invitees will attend if you are having an in-town wedding. The percentage decreases from there if you are hosting a destination wedding. If you know for sure that you can expect 100 people at your wedding reception, do not plan for less on the off-chance that everyone who responded shows up.

Entrée Style

When figuring out how much food to serve at your wedding for 100 people, you must consider your entrée style. For instance, if your entrées will be plated, you can assume that each guest only gets one plate of food. However, if you are hosting a buffet dinner, where guests help themselves to the food, you should plan to have more food than the number of guests.


The standard cocktail hour lasts one hour long, giving your guests enough time to take advantage of the beverages being passed out at the bar. Depending on your guests' drinking habits, you can calculate that one guest will have one or two drinks within that one-hour time slot. So, for a headcount of 100 people, you should prepare to have enough alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages for 200 drinks. If you intend to offer beverages throughout the entire duration of the reception, and the average wedding reception lasts four hours, plan for three to four drinks per person.


Tell your baker that you are having 100 guests at your wedding. Talk to your baker about the cake sizes that are available. Some cakes are baked in standard sizes that range from 50 slices, 75 slices, 100 slices and up. Part of the cake estimation depends on whether you want to have leftover slices of cake. For instance, if you want your guests to each have two slices of cake instead of just one, then you need to double the cake size. If you want a little bit extra, and are also providing a dessert bar with other goodies, you might go up in size to a 125-slice cake to give guests the option of having more cake or enjoying other types of desserts.

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About the Author

Kyra Sheahan has been a writer for various publications since 2008. Her work has been featured in "The Desert Leaf" and "Kentucky Doc Magazine," covering health and wellness, environmental conservatism and DIY crafts. Sheahan holds an M.B.A. with an emphasis in finance.