What we do...

Plate Lady Admin

A party is a party, no matter the size! Whether at home or in a local venue, hiring is the easy and stress-free way to ensure it all looks great! It’s cheaper than buying new and you won't even have to wash it! You can collect or have it delivered; it doesn’t get much easier than that!

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Congratulations! Choosing us may well be the best decision you’ll make since deciding to get married. We stock all the basics to ensure the smooth running of the drinks and meal on your big day. Our dinnerware and cutlery are elegant and stylish and give you the perfect blank canvas on which to set your chosen theme.  Just no Greek weddings, please…

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Yes, we can! Corporate functions, breakfast meetings, coffee breaks or office parties (bosses optional). Our wares are stylish and have that all important professional look to impress your clients or business associates. Just get your people to call our people!

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We are aware that not all celebrations are happy events. If you need some last-minute catering items for a wake or a funeral, we will be ready to help you in a prompt and discreet way. It is best on these occasions to call us directly, or to send a text message to ensure an immediate response.

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Hints & Tips


This is what I like most – food, fun and fiesta! I followed a career in hospitality because of this but when family duties took over, I switched to entertaining at home. And with five children, there were plenty of Christenings, Communions and Confirmations to keep me busy! Slowly my own private stock of tableware started accumulating around the house. Always one to embrace a “project”, I decided to start hiring out what I had and thus The Plate Lady came to be.

Over these last 15 years I have developed lasting relationships with many outstanding caterers and venues. I thoroughly enjoy providing my services and expertise where required, no matter the size or location of the event. And the cost? Well worth checking!

So, whether yours is a small family gathering, wedding or corporate event you can count on us to deliver with the same care and commitment every time.

Just let me know how I can help!

Get in touch...

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Let's get the party started!

Plate Lady Admin

I love to entertain in my home! Whether it’s a birthday party, or just a fun night to get friends together, here are my top 15 tips to make your party a smashing success (FYI step 12 is the most important!)

  1. Pick a date. A few weeks from now is usually best! Nothing too rushed but not too long of a wait either. You can “vaguely” suss out your invitees as to their availability without spilling too many beans. Let it be a nice surprise for them when it happens!
  2. Pick a theme. Themed-parties are fun to organise and help tie all aspects of your party together – the food, the décor, and the entertainment! Throw a tried and trusted party (Italian Night or Mad Hatter’s Tea Party) or think outside the box for your unique theme! Look at my Photo Album for some fun ideas.
  3. Play to your strengths! Be realistic about your limitations, be they spatial or financial! Keep it simple, with a few special touches and success is guaranteed. Decide what you’re going for and stick to the plan – sit down meal, drinks & bites, a barbeque, the choice is yours.
  4. Write your guest list. More than likely you will immediately know who you want to invite, however, don’t be afraid to throw a few curve balls into the mix! Do you know someone new? Or someone who is the life of the party in any setting? Don’t be afraid to add them on! While it may be comfortable to host friends you know well, a party is always an easy way to make new acquaintances, and a few new faces make for a more interesting gathering.”
  1. Build excitement. Use social media to your advantage: create an event in Facebook, tweet about it with a customized hashtag or send out invitations via email. I personally still love to create and post invitations the old-fashioned way! There’s nothing better than receiving mail that’s not a bill, right? Just make sure to request an RSVP!
  2. Be creative. From invitations to menus to décor… let your creativity loose! When you have a theme, you’ll know which direction to follow. Need inspiration? Go online! There are infinite resources that you can cut and paste (literally!) to suit your needs. Add pictures to your invitations, have fun with the wording, and start visualising the party!
  3. Plan your food menu. In some cases, your menu can link nicely with your theme (e.g., Italian Night. But in other cases, a few décor and music touches are sufficient, no matter what’s being served. Again, keep it simple. Choose dishes you are confident with and ideally, ones that may be prepared in advance and re-heated on the day. And there’s nothing wrong with enlisting the help of your friends, with either salads or desserts, especially if you’re hosting a large crowd – it adds variety and saves on labour (and costs!). If you do go this route, however, assign, or find out in advance, what they plan on bringing, otherwise you’ll end up like me one time, with three identical couscous salads…
  1. Plan your drink menu. Beer and wine usually do the trick, not forgetting of course lots of water (still and sparkling), as well as some interesting non-alcoholic options too! Beyond that, your only limitations are your imagination and your credit card limit! In general, though, I find the fewer options the better, which is not to say that you can’t stretch it to include a welcoming glass of Prosecco, or the odd after-dinner whiskey after dinner. Cocktails can be a popular option too but perhaps not too practical for larger crowds. You can of course just choose one to add some panache to your gathering, especially if it complements the theme, without putting yourself under too much pressure.
  2. Plan your ambience. You don’t need to go overboard here, just a hint of decoration is enough to create an atmosphere. And think not only “objects” but colours and sound too!
  3. Time to be Cinders. Do as much as you can the days before the party. Shopping, clearing/cleaning, and decorating. Delegate tasks if you can and be systematic – entrance, party space and bathroom are a must. Garden too if the weather’s nice! It may seem like a lot of work, but chances are you have to do it anyway. I always find a party focuses the mind and gives you just the right type of encouragement to stop “leaving it for tomorrow”!
  4. Write your shopping list. Think about what you will be eating and drinking and check your cupboard/fridge as you do it, to avoid duplications. Don’t forget the non-eating items such as napkins or cocktail sticks, candles, firewood and of course… toilet paper!
  5. Call me! Again, think about what you will be eating and drinking and how you will be serving it. Will you need extra plates, cutlery, or glassware? Don’t even think about paper or plastic options, I know someone who can help with all your needs! 😉
  6. Get prepping. If possible, don’t be in the kitchen cooking the day of the party – that time is best spent in the hairdressers, I find! Start a day or two before the big day but make sure you have sufficient space in the fridge to store it! For salads, get the different components ready but don’t assemble until the day. Pastas and rice will have to be made last minute, but they don’t take too much time.
  7. Get yourself ready.You’ve worked hard this far, so now’s the time to enjoy the moment. Stop fretting and look forward to having a good time. Throw a last minute look around the area (and bathroom!) just in case and make sure any pets are outside or under strict control. Plan to be ready about 30 minutes before the starting time, turn on the music, pour yourself a glass, and be prepared to greet any early arrivals!
  8. Play host/hostess.It’s party time! You (and the place!) looks fabulous and the food smells great too! Make sure to greet all your guests and introduce them to each other if necessary. Give them a drink and relax, very soon the conversation will just take over. Don’t forget to serve your meal and be gracious in accepting all the compliments. Enjoy!

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Setting the table

Plate Lady Admin

This is a quite simple operation when you know how! I like to start by placing the chairs around the table as they dictate the area allocated to each setting (or about 2 feet from plate centre to plate centre).  For ease of reference, follow these steps and you should end up with something like the drawing below. (table setting popbox-party.co.uk)

  1. Place the charger plate or napkin directly in front of the corresponding chair, in the centre of the area.
  2. Arrange the cutlery around the plate in order of use, from the outside in. Forks to the left, knife, and soup spoon to the right (with knife blade facing the plate)
  3. Dessert cutlery go over the plate, handles outwards, spoon on top and fork below.
  4. Side plate to the left of the forks (or above them if space is at a premium) with butter knife on top.
  5. The cup and saucer go beside the knife and spoon, on the right side of the plate (or above them if space is at a premium).
  6. When serving several beverages, such as water and wine, the drinkware is arranged with red wine glass in the middle, white wine to its right and water glass above the dinner plate.
  7. Name place if using, goes above the dessert cutlery.
Table Setting

Variations on the theme

Despite the given rules of thumb, there are still plenty of adjustments that can be made to avoid very fussy and overcrowded tables. And let’s face it, to help save on unnecessary rental costs too (though I didn’t say that, of course!).

For instance, in some cases a separate tea/coffee station is preferred instead of setting individual cups and saucers on the table. After all, not every guest will want tea or coffee.

Usually, one utensil is enough for eating your dessert (though don’t let your Mum see you eat the cake with your fingers either!).

Two sizes of glass may also be sufficient, one for water and another for wine. Most guests tend to stick to the one type of wine throughout the meal, and for those who want to change, you can simply offer a replacement glass when doing so.

As for the charger plates, attractive as they may be, they are certainly not going to be missed especially when you’re keeping an eye on your budget!

As for napkin and name cards, the sky is the limit with so many beautiful and inventive ways to set them. If you don’t feel you’re creative enough yourself, go online - remember “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”!

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Is your room big enough?

Plate Lady Admin

Rubbing elbows may well be the goal of many parties, but don’t take it literally. Overcrowded and difficult to navigate spaces are neither enjoyable nor safe. At the same time, a venue that’s too big relative to the number of guests makes your event feel sparsely attended. So, you can see why calculating event capacity is such a critical step in planning!

Always consider the usable space available, not just to the overall dimensions of the venue. Don’t include the area behind the bar, for example, and exclude any other space that’s unsuitable because of table shape or poor sight lines. 

There are plenty of online event space calculators to help you with this process. I’ve included a table below to give you an idea of the space requirements for various scenarios. Just multiply this by your number of guests and add up the different space requirements to discover your event’s minimum space requirement. Consider any extra space available a bonus!



Sq. ft per person

Cocktail Party Standing Room


Head Table


Dining 8′ Rect. Table (8-10 per table) / Dining 6′ Rect Table (6-8 per table)


Dining 5’ Round table (8-10 per table) / Dining 6’ Round table (10-12 per table)


Seating theatre style (allow at least 30” from chair back to chair back and a 4’ central aisle)


Dancing (usually only about 30-50% of guests hit the dance floor!)

5 per person dancing

Buffet Table 8′

75 per table

Buffet Table 6′

50 per table


32 per member of the band

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Behind bars

Plate Lady Admin

Drinks are an essential part of any celebration, and I’m not just referring to alcoholic beverages here!  As always, a little advance preparation will ensure the smooth running of your bar, so follow these steps for your next shindig:

The Basics

  • Bottle opener
  • Corkscrew
  • Ice bucket and tongs
  • Ice (lots of it!)
  • Water jug
  • Cocktail shaker (if serving cocktails)
  • Small knife and cutting board
  • Garnishes for drinks (lemons, limes, cherries, olives, onions)
  • Cocktail sticks and stirrers
  • Napkins (small paper napkins are ideal)


Slim Jim (water, soft drinks, mixers, and beer)

1-2 per guest

Wine (red or white)

2 per guest


1 per guest


A rule of thumb is approximately two drinks per guest, per hour at your event.


Place your bar in a central location, with easy access from different points, and in a separate area to the food - you want your guests to keep moving and mingle, not create bottle necks (pun intended!). Place the drinks in the centre of the table, mixers, and ice close by and the glassware towards the edges. On that last point of course, common sense should prevail to avoid glassware being knocked over! Perhaps don’t place all the available glasses on display, instead keep some in their crates out of the way and add only when required.

Consider this…

  • When buying alcohol, wholesalers offer good value but may not take back your leftover stock.
  • Think of the time of day, year and type of party when making drinks decisions.
  • Older guests tend more towards spirits and wine. Younger groups will prefer beer, cider, or cocktails.
  • Everyone drinks less when food is provided.
  • Last but not least, the maxim “Enjoy alcohol responsibly” should be paramount to any host. And keep the numbers of your local taxi services to hand also, for your guests’ safety!

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