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Helpful Catering Ideas for a Small Party

Beautifully arranged hors d’oeuvres laid on slate platters for a birthday party in Brooklyn, NY.
Beautifully arranged hors d’oeuvres laid on slate platters for a birthday party planned, coordinated and designed by Luxe Life Event Design in Brooklyn, NY.

I’ve written and talked a lot about the major catering options for weddings and special events. However Luxe Life also plans and coordinates plenty of smaller parties and events where hiring in a food truck or on site caterer would be way too over the top, out of the budget, or logistically impractical. I’ve compiled some ideas that will keep you on budget but still give your guests something to talk about!

Kids Party Planning

For a kids party, consider one of the following options:


The obvious option in NYC, but there are some ways to make it a little bit healthier. Consider including a whole wheat dough with lots of veggie toppings, and include gluten-free or vegan options if needed.


If the party is at home or at a location with access to a grill, create an entire menu of skewers that are both hot (i.e. chicken, veggie, potato) and cold (i.e. fruit, raw veggie, cheese) with various dips and sauces as needed. Get creative and play into the time of day (i.e. pancake or waffle skewers, mini pb&j, desserts).

Fast Casual Restaurants

One of our favorite recommendations is to place a Shake Shack order (or your favorite equivalent that accepts orders). Usually you can call the morning of the party and request your order, just be sure to pick it up right before the kids and parents arrive so it doesn’t sit.


Social Party Planning

For an adult party, consider one of the following options:

Upgraded Platters

There are a lot of places in the NYC area that will do a small order (less than $500) for really great quality platters of cheeses, fruits, veggies, crostinis, meats, and small appetizers.

Favorite Restaurant

If your favorite local restaurant caters, order a few of your favorite dishes and serve on a buffet or hire staffing to plate and serve.

Hire a chef

A “made to order” option that can be budget friendly and requires nothing from you at the party is to hire in some kitchen help to prepare the food. Buy all of the food ahead of time and hire in some staffing to prepare and serve. Consider this for fun and less formal food like a Mexican spread, pizza night, fun appetizers, etc.

With all different sized parties you may be hosting, these simple options can help guide you to happy guests and a great party! If you are interested in hearing more about Luxe Life's event planning and design services, contact us today for any size party, we'd love to help!

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