Today we are talking about one of my favorite things...FOOD! I personally love to graze and nibble on items and trying a few different things rather than eating one large entree. In fact, I would love to have a simply hors d'oeuvres party any night of the week!
When planning a menu with the caterer, I suggest starting with the "Meat of the Menu" not in the literal sense, but figuratively. It's like choosing an outfit, start with the pants and shirt, or the dress, then move on to accessories, shoes and undergarments to complete the look. In food, select the entrée, and move your way up to second course, then first course and finally the appetizers.
TIP 1: Appetizers should compliment the meal, for example, if you have chosen a beef entrée, include some seafood, vegetarian and chicken options for the appetizers. I also suggest combining some hot and some cold hors d'oeuvres, to mix it up a bit.
TIP 2: Select 4-5 pieces of appetizers per one hour of cocktail reception for your guests. Some caterers include a few (2-3 pieces) per hors d'oeuvre so double check total quantities.
TIP 3: Combine 1 or 2 stations and 3 or 4 passed appetizers, that way a few bite size nibbles are brought to those guests who cannot break-away from a conversation, and there is always the opportunity to visit a (cheese, charcuterie, seafood, hummus) station and plate up some deliciousness.
TIP 4: Hors d'oeuvres should be BITE SIZE. Ensure that these nibbles are in fact nibbles and can be consumed in 1 bite or maximum 2. Guests are oftentimes holding a cocktail and perhaps a purse or some other personal item, so having hands free is necessary. Typically caterers will serve appetizers with a cocktail napkin too, so that will take up some fingers. There is nothing worse than taking a bite of something while having a conversation and it becoming cumbersome / (borderline embarrassing) to have to chase after the appetizer because it is gooey, hard to eat, or falling apart. The appetizer station is a great placement for larger size appetizers, where one can plate up what they want and eat from a plate rather than try to fit something big in the mouth at once.
TIP 5: Ask for a tray of assorted appetizers to be brought to the just married couple, since they will probably join cocktail reception later, if at all. Sometimes caterers can bring a platter during pictures (making sure the wedding party does not engulf it), or save it to be served when the couple is done with pictures and joins the reception.
TIP 6: Ensure that any skewers or toothpicks or discards are promptly picked up by the catering team, after passing the item, so that guests are not left 'trying to figure out' where to dispose of the item(s) once finished.
TIP 7: Have FUN! The hors d'oeuvre hour is a time where you can customize your cravings and personalize your tastes. You can 'break the mold' in this area by creating some fun favorites such as mac-n-cheese tarts, fig in a blanket, mini pizzas, chicken fingers, etc.