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Heavy hors d'oeuvres reception option, what are your best and worst hors d'oeuvres?

We are getting married next October at the family walnut farm.  It will be an outdoor rustic event ending with a bonfire and s'mores.  I have to pick the menu for heavy hors d'oeuvres and I am LOST.  Suggestions would be so appreciated!  What are the best hors d'oeurves you've had?  Worst?  
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Re: Heavy hors d'oeuvres reception option, what are your best and worst hors d'oeuvres?

  • tammym1001tammym1001 Akron, Ohio member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    I absolutely love bacon wrapped water chestnuts (they have a name I can't think of right now). I don't know if that fits in with your theme. I also enjoy pizza as an appetizer. Worst appetizers are when they throw out a veggie tray and some crackers and nothing else. There isn't anything wrong with those things, but I need more food than that. I also love meatballs and caprese skewers.
  • I am not tied to a food theme....or so I say right now!  I plan to do meatballs, veggie tray, fruit tray, cheese tray, but I want many more hot varieties.  It won't be formal but I want it to be filling as the reception will go on for a while.  Thanks for the suggestions, will try them!
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  • Have you thought of doing brick oven pizzas?  At my younger brother's wedding last year, they had the welcome dinner at a rustic/rural house in the middle of California wine country (Mendocino though, more inland), and they actually had a caterer cater brick oven (or whatever they had that was mobile) pizzas.  It was AMAZING.  They had other hors d'ouvres, but I don't remember what they were (I think there may have been a giant salad of locally sourced greens and veggies, but all I remember was the great pizzas).  I'd consider this heavy hors d'ouvres, but it was probably a lot cheaper than having lots of "little" items.
  • Talk to your caterer and ask what their most popular options are for hot apps. Start there and keep in mind your budget. Then if you find recipes elsewhere that you love, see if they'd be willing to make them. Some ideas, there are literally thousands:

    - grilled cheese triangles with tomato soup shooter
    - grilled pineapple and teriyaki chicken skewers
    - mini quiches
    - bruchetta 
    - prosciutto wrapped bocconcini 
    - antipasto skewer

    Is your wedding during meal time? If so, you need to serve a meal or enough apps to make a meal. I would have at least 10 heavy options. 

    Just a thought: I went to a wedding that did this and screwed it up royally. Some lessons learned from their mistakes....communicate that "this is dinner" to your guests and have more than enough of everything. At the wedding I went to, they didn't tell people the apps were dinner so people didn't eat much - then when they realized there was no dinner, there was a mad rush for the apps and they ran out of food.

  • Best: things passed that are one bite, two at most.  They can be eaten one handed while holding a drink in the other hand and talking to other guests.  Things in spoons, on a small skewer, or in tiny glasses.  Things that are a treat--smoked salmon on a disc of cucumber, short rib, all things I don't eat often. Tiny crustless BLTs the size of a medallion.  I had tiny waffle medallions with a bite of fried chicken held together with a skewer that I was looking forward to.  Guests gobbled up deviled eggs and shrimp/grits spoons at my wedding.  The appetizer that appeared to go over fine, but not as much as others was a strawberry/brie/almond pop.

    Worst: things that are messy.  Wings with bones, things that have to be cut, sandwiches more than two bites, things that are drippy.  All hard to eat.  Also, things with runny, molten centers.  At an event a few weeks ago, I bit into what looked like a mac and cheese type pearl.  It was round, gumball size, and breaded.  Inside, it was a bone marrow and broth pearl.  It ran down my chin!  Embarrassing.  At least it wasn't on my clothes.
  • Best: 
    Anything wrapped in bacon - Seriously (I just had a lovely version that was a date stuffed with manchego cheese and mango chutney, and then wrapped in bacon and broiled). 

    I may be alone, but I actually like fruit and cheese skewers rather than fruit and cheese trays because inevitably there are certain varieties of each that people tend to gravitate towards and then all I'm left with when I'm at the back of the line is pepper jack cheese and honeydew melon.

    The best veggie tray I've ever had was actually grilled/roasted veggies served chilled with dip.  So roasted red onion, red pepper, zucchini, yellow squash, cauliflower, baby carrots (actual baby carrots, not the things they sell in the store as baby carrots), and a few other items.  Way tastier than the usual raw broccoli/cauliflower/celery/baby carrots.

    Anything in phyllo or puff pastry.

    Mini open-faced reubens were a big hit at the last function I went to (basically reuben fixings on pumpernickel or rye cocktail bread and broiled so the cheese on top was golden and melty).

    I actually really dislike those little soup/appetizer shooter things.  Unless you have constant waitstaff coming around to pick up the glasses, you just have your tables littered with all these little shot glasses.  I do make an exception for a bigger thing in a stemless martini/cocktail glass (like a caprese salad) provided each glass has its own fork so you don't have to keep track of your silverware, as most people aren't going to have multiples of something like that.

    Anything with bones (skewers are ok, but not bones).

    Again, I may be alone, but I greatly dislike bruschetta.  Unless it's exactly one bite, I feel like there is high probability of bruschetta topping falling off the second or third bite and being messy and I'm just not a fan.  Plus, unless you're in the height of tomato season with good access to vine-ripened, raw tomatoes are just not that appealing or flavorful.
  • I love spanikopita (phyllo wrapped spinach and feta). The most popular apps at my wedding were mini crab cakes with a touch of remoulade and mini brie targets with candied pecans and cranberry chutney. I agree with the PPs who said apps need to be 1-2 bites and served on a napkin, skewer or small spoon. We had a claim chowder shooter with a mini clam cake also, which was delicious, but I found out after alot of people passed because they were afraid of spilling it, which is understandable.
  • chibiyuichibiyui The Boring Part of MD member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    My faves are bacon wrapped scallops and mini crab cakes. Bones can get messy, H and I were at a party that had lamb chops on the bone. Delicious, but I did not look lady like eating it.

  • My least favorite are when the bacon isn't fully cooked/crispy... It has more to do with poor prep than anything though... And I hate to say I would rather have great tasting at a proper temperature foods than necessarily a particular type of food so go with foods you love and have a caterer provide them in abundance - I was at a wedding one time where they ran out of food about 75 guests from the end because the guests were hungry.. As for hot foods... meatballs... cocktail weenies... chicken strips... egg rolls... Shrimp... Silly to say, but French fries of some variety with different dipping sauces... And since you're having things on the Walnut farm - Honestly - have something to do with walnuts!!
  • peachy13peachy13 in my cubicle, doing very important work member
    Fifth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Here in New England, bacon wrapped scallops are a MUST. But actually if you pick anything wrapped in bacon, the people will be happy. Other popular ones I've seen have been lamb lollipops, stuffed mushrooms, any kind of crostini or puff pastry situation.

    The food that I usually avoid, as others have said, is the messy stuff. Things with a lot of sauce or things that are multiple items on a skewer. Things that look awkward when you eat them off a stick (meatballs). Wings = no.

    Also if you're just doing hors d'oeuvres and not dinner, finger sandwiches and sandwhich pinwheels would be a hit!
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