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Food and Cakes

Appetizer Servings

melbensomelbenso Hoth, apparently member
500 Love Its 500 Comments Third Anniversary First Answer
How many appetizer servings should I plan per guest?  Our ceremony will be at 4 p.m. Cocktails and appetizers starting at 5.  We plan to do a champagne toast once we arrive from pictures (6:30?)  followed immediately by dinner (6:45 or 7).  I want to make sure my guests aren't starving while they wait for dinner, but don't want them to fill up too much on appetizers.  How many servings per guest do you suggest for a cocktail time spanning about 90 minutes?
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Re: Appetizer Servings

  • We had a pretty similar schedule as what yours sounds like. We had passed apps during the cocktail hour (ours was between 1-1.5 hrs) and then dinner immediately when we arrived. If I recall correctly, I think we had about 5-7 app pieces per person.

    I would ask your caterer. Just tell them whether you have a "big eater" crowd or a tame bunch. They should be able to provide you with a ballpark figure based on that, the time of day, passed vs. buffet style apps, etc. 
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  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!) member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    Cocktail hour is my favorite part of a wedding.  I try and sample everything, and then go back for second (or thirds!) of whatever I like best.  Keep that in mind.  

    I also think you should let your guests decide on whether they want to "fill up" on appetizers and spoil they're meal.....they're adults!  I wouldn't cut the appetizers short because of this.....it will just look like poor planning on your part.
    ei34
  • melbensomelbenso Hoth, apparently member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments Third Anniversary First Answer
    You completely miss my point.  I am not trying to cut appetizers short.  I am trying to figure out how many servings per guest I will need so they are not hungry while waiting for dinner without wasting food.  (My venue won't allow us to take extra food home, so what isn't eaten gets trashed.)

    Obviously, I don't want my guests to be hungry.  But telling me that I don't want them to be hungry and they will figure out what they want to eat in no way answers the question of how many appetizers I should plan on per guest with a 90ish minute window from cocktail hour to dinner.
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  • I'm an event planner and here is the "standard" for apps based on a 1 hour cocktail reception.

    If full dinner is to be served after cocktails - 4-6 pcs per person
    If heavy stations or less than full dinner served after cocktails - 8-10 pcs per person

    If I were you, I would plan on the 4-6 pcs per person and then add a couple of stationary displays to supplement since the cocktail reception is so long. Maybe an antipasti display, Mediterranean display (with hummus, tabbouleh, pita and crackers) or deluxe cheese display including fruit, breads and some veggies. Check with your caterer to see how many the stationary displays will feed and ask for their recommendation.... 

    Out of curiosity is there any way to avoid a 90 minute cocktail reception? 
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  • melbensomelbenso Hoth, apparently member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments Third Anniversary First Answer
    Thanks @Kerigirl9!  I was planning on 90 minutes in case pictures ran long.  Ideally it will be closer to an hour, but just in case, I thought I should have enough food to fill the time.  I will flesh this out with my photographer when I meet with her to plan a picture schedule closer to the wedding.  We will have music playing in the background and many of the guests live far away and haven't seen each other in a while, so I doubt they will mind the extra bit of time to catch up.
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  • Agree with Kerigirl9. but  I think 6 pcs. (3 - 4 different kinds) passed with 2 stationary would be ideal. (cheese table and veggies are my favorite). Good luck.

     

  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!) member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    edited December 2013
    melbenso said:
    You completely miss my point.  I am not trying to cut appetizers short.  I am trying to figure out how many servings per guest I will need so they are not hungry while waiting for dinner without wasting food.  (My venue won't allow us to take extra food home, so what isn't eaten gets trashed.)

    Obviously, I don't want my guests to be hungry.  But telling me that I don't want them to be hungry and they will figure out what they want to eat in no way answers the question of how many appetizers I should plan on per guest with a 90ish minute window from cocktail hour to dinner.
    But you also said you don't want people to fill up on appetizers.  Our venue served apps the entire hour.  There was no limit.  If someone wanted to fill up on appetizers and spoil their appetite for dinner, so be it.  

    That said, what does your venue recommend?  They are the experts and surely this isn't the first time they are doing this.  Are they charging you per app?
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