The cocktail hour portion of the wedding day serves multiple purposes. It occurs after the ceremony and provides an opportunity for guests to mingle and have fun as the couple finishes taking photos, and the setup of the reception space is completed. A staple of this event is serving hors d’oeuvres (or appetizers) and drinks to guests as they socialize. While couples often have a pretty good idea of what they’d like to see served for the main meal, it’s not uncommon for them to ask for help in determining the best options for cocktail hour. Here are some tips on some things to think about as you decide on what to serve your guests:
#1: Don’t get your guests full before they even have dinner!
Remember, cocktail hour is for tiding guests over until the reception. Be sure not to order so many appetizers that your guests barely want to touch the much more expensive entree that you will be serving for the main meal. Just as unfortunate is if a lot of hors d’oeuvres go uneaten due to guests trying to save their appetites for dinner. Either of these equates to money down the drain that could be used elsewhere! Generally speaking, 3-5 selections is plenty.
#2: Select hors d’oeuvres that are easy to handle.
There are few things worse at a party than trying to juggle difficult appetizers with drinks, purses, and your date! Choose foods that are sufficiently small in size to handle easily and finish quickly.
#3: Stay away from messy appetizers!
In the same respect, you do not want to serve appetizers that make a mess when bitten. Not only will it make your guests self-conscious as they eat, but it could make a mess on their clothes.
#4: Have something for everyone.
Make sure there are options for all your guests and their varied diets. Some guests may be vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, etc. Ask your caterer for options that would address these restrictions. While you’re at it, make sure it is not only diet that is covered, but the tastebuds as well! Serve a variety of savory, sweet, salty, and bitter. This way everyone can find something they like.
#5: Try it out before you decide.
Be sure to request to try the appetizers you’re thinking of having during your food tasting with the caterer. Pay close attention and put yourself in your guests shoes as you try each one. Think about not only how it tastes, but how comfortable you feel eating it.
As always, have fun with the process!