6 Best Tips for Appetizers

Serving appetizers can be an essential part of keeping your guests happy. It can be easy for budget-conscious couples to try to skip the cocktail hour so that you can eat with your guests after photos. But there is nothing worse than keeping your guests hungry and waiting for you to arrive! Guests will actually leave early in search of eating something hearty instead of waiting for you to do your first dance. We’ve provided some tips to help you keep your guests happy instead of hungry!


How much food should you plan for?

If your Cocktail Hour, or your “Appy Hour” if you have a non-alcoholic reception, count on 2-4 bites per person per hour. So 2-4 bites per person for 1 hour, 5-6 bites per person for 1 ½-2 hours, 8-10 for anything longer than 2 hours. If you plan to replace a meal with heavy hor derves, then you’ll need 12-15 bites per person.


Length of Time

The health department recommends having food out for 2 hours or less. The temperature can turn things sour and the quality of food goes down. Simply put: keep hot things hot and cold things cold. Anything within 140-165 degrees are considered dangerous temperatures and are highly likely to host food-borne illnesses.


Food allergies

For most weddings, it is generally a good rule of thumb to stay away from foods that contain common food allergies, like nuts. However, if you just have to have some peanut brittle, it might be a good idea to have a list of ingredients for each dish on display. If you don’t think your guests will read the ingredients, then we recommend making sure the servers know exactly what ingredients are in each dish. If the guests’ allergens include not having their food around certain ingredients, then you might want to consider making a special plate just for them. This way ALL of your guests can enjoy your reception!



Options, keep in mind of guests tastes and lifestyle (vegan, vegetarian, etc.). This will make sure that there is something for everyone! Also consider when you want to have appetizers. A late night snack is a great pick-me-up and the guests will be excited to have treat while they’re dancing the night away.


Types of food

When thinking of appetizers, foods that are unique and unexpected are always a hit! Just make sure to keep it clean and easy to eat. Your guests will most likely be mingling with their plate and glass so they won’t want to have anything that will spill on their favorite outfit!



Heavy hor ‘derves instead of a full meal can actually cost more than a dinner! Appetizers are more labor intensive so you might have to open your wallet for intricate foods. To help battle the cost, try having a display or stations as an option. While you might think it looks elegant to have your food hand passed, you’ll also have to pay for the extra staff, extra supplies, and probably extra food.


Feeding your guests can be easy with just a few tips to help you along!  


Happy Planning


Photo by: Kristen Booth Photography


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