Each year our group of long time & dear friends get together for a small christmas party (about 10-12 of us total, including spouses). In previous years, we've met at a good restaurant, but with mixed results. One year the restaurant was too crowded, and we couldn't move about & talk. Last year one of our group leased a private room at a good restaurant, but when we got the bill, we were a bit suprised - $180 per person, when our friend told that it would be a bit less than $100.00 per person.
This year we seek to have it catered at one of the friends house, so we can eat, drink, & socialize at a leisurly pace - something we've not done before, so I have a lot of questions & need for recommendations, as we are all having a bit of a debate:
Have the food delivered and set up & serve ourselves, or have staff come in and do it? My preference is to keep our labor to a minimum, and have a couple of people to set up, serve, pour wine, and take it all away at the end.
We are generally wine lovers, and some want a mixed drink. should we get a bartender, or simply pour & mix ourselves?
What should we expect for charges for food? Are things such as plates, chafing dishes, usually extra rental (I assume so)
We are planning on buying the alcohol ourselves. Would going to a wine shop and getting recommendations there be a good idea?
Any recommendations about making this catered affair more successful would be greatly appreciated.