Napkin Smarts: Large Group Entertaining!

Last week when the Varsity soccer team and their families came for dinner (in celebration of an incredible season and making it to the State Championship game!), I immediately thought about “time” and “space.” How would we cram 35-40 people into our home, and how could I make the eating process quick and simple.

I keep the largest pack of IKEA white napkins stocked in my pantry at all times; perfect for large-group entertaining.

As much as I love cloth napkins, sometimes you have to use what’s most efficient for the event, in this case paper napkins.

Wrap each fork (or utensils) with a white IKEA napkin and put inside a parfait bowl.
-Easy for the guests.
-Keeps the flow moving through the buffet line.
-Easy task for kids to help prepare.

Do you keep a stash of paper napkins in the pantry?

How do you display utensils for a large-group event?

(Wanting to remain joyful and to keep a right perspective this time of year, I want to introduce to you my friend Jami, mother of quadruplets, and her new blog Mom’s Flight School. She wrote a post called, Broken Dishes which I think you’ll enjoy.)

14 comments on “Napkin Smarts: Large Group Entertaining!”

  1. Thank you! Using this on Christmas Eve!

  2. I like using that parfait/trifle bowl to give some height to the utensils…

  3. Nikki, I was going to post the same tip. It’s so much easier to have those utensils at the end!

  4. Love this idea. And, for what it’s worth, I like to put the utensils at the END of the buffet line so that guests don’t have to figure out where to put their utensils while holding a plate in one hand and trying to serve with the other.

  5. Great little tip. We use something similar when we’re doing buffets, it works a treat.

  6. I do have a stash of pretty paper napkins, it is one thing that Ma and I like to give eachother as gifts and one of my favorite hostess gifts to give too. Always a great way to pretty up a table at the very last minute.

  7. Great idea, I will definately do that next time I am entertaining a large group!


  8. I stock up on napkins at the end of seasons when they are on sale…and I am with you, IKEA has the nicest, thickest napkins. I like putting my silverware in canning jars or in a caddy…Target has them every summer. This last year they had one at Pottery Barn that was white…so, I looked at Target and they had the SAME one. It is nice to have as much done in advance and having the silverware situation organized…sure helps with the flow of a buffet.

  9. oh, and for some reason, I don’t think I’ve ever used cloth napkins. I don’t know why, I guess I just never have.

  10. Great post. Napkins are the one thing I usually seem to not have enough of. I need to just invest in a large pack (ikea). I love your idea of wrapping the silverware in them and putting them in a parfait bowl.

  11. While this is a good idea and looks great. My wife and I decided about 10 years ago to go green. So with that in mind we began buying cloth napkins only in white, and have amassed 60 napkins. They are easy to wash, just stain stick them, bleach them and they come out great. Ironing them can be a chore but if you just do it as soon as they come out of the dryer it is not that bad. I know this is not for everyone, but we do entertain a bit, and wanted to do our part for keeping it green, and after the inital cost it is very cheap to use them.
    Blessings to you and yours
    Curtis & Sherrie

    • I’ve gone green many times. I have hundreds of cloth napkins :) But for this kind of event (and lots of boys) paper works the best. Don’t you think? LOL. I have a stack of cloth that need ironing … I’d better get on it! :)

    • assign it to the kids to do. and you are right there are times when paper would be great, but my wife just says NO….. and there are so many great paper napkins out there, some really pretty ones too!!

  12. Ok, why I haven’t I ever thought of this before? This is ingenious but so simple. Thanks so much for sharing this idea!

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