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Jan 8, 2012 10:26 AM

Birthday cocktail party for 60 downtown?

Hello Chowhounders! I need some help!
I am planning a cocktail party for my Mum who is turning 80 in May.
We are expecting the guest list to be around 50-60 people, needs to be readily accessible by transit (as there will be multiple seniors attending) and I am wondering if I am better off to :
1. rent a venue and decorate, hire a caterer etc etc, or
2. book a restaurant which will include everything?
I am thinking budget to be max $3000, though please let me know if that is unrealistic?
Any and all suggestions are appreciated. Downtown central is great, Summerhill/Rosedale area even better!
Thanks in advance!

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  1. It is possible to do this for 60 ppl which is $50 pp all so you'll need to be very careful. I would suggest you plan it on a slightly off time - for instance maybe to happen from 4 to 6 p.m. It would limit the amount of alcohol folks will drink as well as the amount of food. If most of the guests are closer to 80 years old than say 40, in my experience you'll need less food. Maybe six pieces per person and 1.5 drinks per person over that time span – if the group skews younger, you’ll need more food and drink for sure. If you could cap your numbers at 50 guests it would give you a little more wiggle room but you’ll still have to make smart choices.

    I don’t think you could rent a venue, bring in rentals and hire a caterer for that price point unless you just want cold app’s that are on large platters and can find a very cheap (or free) venue. Most of the nicer venues I have worked with min $1K for the room rental with a half day min.

    Have a look at the link for the Pangaea hors d’oeuvers menu to give you a sense of what you can get. It is also right at the Bay Subway station so a great location in that regards. With this menu you could do six pieces per person for $24 pp and then have the other $26 for beverages, tax and gratuity. If this is too fancy you may want to approach maybe Globe Earth and see if they could accommodate.

    In terms of the bar, keep it simple. One red, one white, a beer or two buy the bottle and then juice and sparkling/flat water.

    3 Replies
    1. re: JennaBean

      Hi JennaBean, I really appreciate all the info. It looks like I am going to have to rethink this. As you mentioned, renting a venue and bringing everything in adds up QUICK, and most restos have to cover their costs by renting out to a private party...I think we may try to use my Mum's house and do the food ourselves- just have to present it to her in such a way that the thought of all the work involved to ready the house does not overwhelm her! Thanks so much!

      1. re: amsuka

        If you need suggestions for a caterer, I can make a recommendation. I have used Stars Catering ( in the past and have been extremely happy with their prices and food. For my Mom's 80th, we did a sit down dinner at my home and I had the meal catered by Stars and arranged for wait staff to plate, serve and clean up also through Stars. Everyone raved about the food and the wait staff (one was actually a chef) did a terrific job. They are located in Leaside. Since you noted an interest in the Summerhill/Rosedale area, I thought to mention Stars as they are not too far away.

        1. re: shpToronto

          Appreciate all the suggestions. Unfortunately we are putting her party on hold due to (her) ill-health.

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