Cocktail Party Influenced Wedding Appetizers – Tips, Tricks, and Trends for 2011

Today, brides are taking a tip from the days of simple elegance. The hottest trend in wedding reception fare is the supper-club style cocktail party. With the cocktail party styled reception comes the trend of pass-through appetizers, where hearty appetizers are “butlered” through the room on trays by serving staff.

There are many fabulous reasons to have a cocktail party styled reception. For one, guests have the opportunity to mix and mingle while snacking on cocktail bites instead of being forced to sit down through a long drawn-out dinner. Another bonus; being able to have lobster or another high dollar food item in smaller quantities makes your wedding reception fabulously lavish while saving you a ton of money. Biggest bonus: most newlyweds are so busy greeting everyone, stressing about cutting the cake and other ceremonial acts and do not have time to sit down and eat; having an “appetizer only” menu will help keep you from being famished by the end of your big night.

Amazing Appetizer Ideas

Lemon-Parsley Gougeres – Simple and filling, gougeres are great for and cocktail style reception. There are also several different renditions of this favorite. Get a fabulous recipe here.

Bacon Wrapped Barbeque Shrimp – Easy to make and always a favorite. Recipe here.

Stuffed Mushroom Caps – The best thing about stuffed mushrooms is that they are immensely popular and there are several different ways to make them.

Onion Tartlets – Whether you use this recipe or make it your own, these quiche-like tartlets are a fan favorite.

Beef Tenderloin on Baguette with Horseradish sauce – This recipe is always in style. Easy to serve hot or cold.

Tips for planning your menu

  • Appetizers should be hearty since they are replacing a full meal.
  • Offer variety in your menu including seafood, meat selections, finger food, canapes, hot and cold dishes.
  • Although sweets are not characteristically considered cocktail party food, try to offer a few sweet treats toward the end of the reception or offer bites of wedding cake. This way, you can go with a smaller cake and save a little more money.
  • Don’t know how much to serve? Plan on serving approximately 6 bites per person, per hour for a two hour party, when you will not be serving dinner.
  • It is always better to overestimate than underestimate the amount of food you serve. You can always send guests home with leftovers or take some for the road.
  • You can go as casual or formal as you like. “Appetizer only” menus are very budget friendly. Don’t be afraid to ask your caterer about more expensive items. The pricing may surprise you.