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how to make sure there's enough food at a cocktail reception

If you're not planning on serving a sit-down dinner, but hors d'ouevres instead, how do you make sure people aren't ravenous?  Nibblies and champagne always seem so much more social, but I don't want people starving and thinking we're cheapskates.

Also, how do you make sure everyone gets enough without having to wash dishes or hand over your firstborn or a kidney?

Re: how to make sure there's enough food at a cocktail reception

  • ivonneeivonnee member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_food-cakes_sure-theres-enough-food-cocktail-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:23Discussion:9ee4a5ae-87ea-4d03-8008-f05d45bf5f6dPost:dabbece0-ec6b-42c5-ba48-d55b4ddcfd9d">how to make sure there's enough food at a cocktail reception</a>:
    [QUOTE] Also, how do you make sure everyone gets enough without having to wash dishes or hand over your firstborn or a kidney?
    Posted by lkschaffnit[/QUOTE]

    This made me giggle, cause I asked the very same question of my event coordinator when I did the final walk-through at the reception site last week. A simple solution we arrived at was to have menu cards placed on all tables, and have the appetizers "passed" to all the guests for the first hour. After that, the guests can help themsleves. This makes sense because wait staff control portions and for the first 30 minutes of that hour the bridal party, family, myself and my husband will be having photos taken, greeting guests, etc. And the best part, it doesn't cost me anything extra to have access to the wait staff at the hotel. So I say if you have access to a venue that can provide waitstaff, take advantage of it. Makes your life easier and turns simplicity into a more elegant affair. Best of luck to you on your day.
  • UDscoobychickUDscoobychick member
    Fifth Anniversary 500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Plan on 20+ "bites" per person if you're only serving hors d'oeuvres.  6-8 pieces per person per hour is another rule of thumb to go by.  HTH!
  • LasairionaLasairiona member
    edited December 2011
    If the reception is during a non-meal time, you serve 3-5 pieces per person. But you must serve substantial food if you are serving alcohol, otherwise you will have drunk sick guests immediately. If the appetizers are served during the dinner hour (which you can do, despite countless people saying otherwise), you serve 20+ pieces per person of heavy appetizers. A full plated meal is actually the equivalent of 6-8 pieces per person, so you are definitely not starving anyone by serving appetizers only during the dinner hour. If anyone does go home hungry, you are not to blame. Also, contrary to popular belief, heavy appetizers are not fruit platters, cheese trays, finger sandwiches, etc. They are heavy items like you find in the frozen section at Costco, such as chicken strips, coconut shrimp, eggrolls, carving stations, etc.

    As far as price is concerned, you have to ask on your local board and shop around in your area. Since this is an international board, prices will vasry dramatically for the same items in two or more geographic locations.
  • danieliza1127danieliza1127 member
    10000 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    If you want to serve enough to constitute a meal, you need to serve 15-20 pieces per person.

    if you want to serve enough to just be light appetizers, not enough for a meal, you can serve between 6-10 pieces per person.

    Anything fewer than 6 pieces per person and you'll have some hungry guests that don't stay as long so they can leave and get some dinner.

    If you do the lighter option, be sure to put "Cocktail Reception" on your invitation so guests know to eat before they come or to at least not expect a full meal.
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