Wedding Cakes & Food Forum

Food during cocktail hour

Ever since I've gotten engaged I've been trying to be mindful of wedding do's and dont's. We're having BBQ buffet for the reception meal but unfortunately the vendor catering is a mom and pop restaurant and only offer buffet catering (aka no option for hordurves). Our budget is very limited and our reception venue requires that we use a licensed caterer for any food that we bring in. Our only option would be to bring in a second caterer and I have yet to find one that is reasonably priced for just hordurves. The wedding starts at 3:30 and the buffet for the reception will be set up no later than 5. Given the time frames would it be ok not to serve hordurves during cocktail hour? There will be an open bar for beverages as well as sodas, water, tea and lemonade. Also being mindful of the kids I'm putting snack goody bags together for them to snack on just in case.

Re: Food during cocktail hour

  • You must serve food if you are serving alcohol.  Why not skip cocktail hour and simply go directly to the reception with dinner?  Or just have them at least put out cheese and fruit for cocktail hour.  

    If you can't afford food for cocktail hour, I would suggest doing a limited bar so that you can afford food for cocktail hour.
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    Not sure how many people you are having, but veggie, cheese and fruit platters from a super market will be fine for a cocktail party.  Maybe add some dips like hummus, guacamole with some breads.

    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • You definitely need to serve some sort of food if you'll be serving drinks. My suggestion would be to bring in nice fruit/veggie and cheese/cracker platters, except that your venue does not allow you to bring in food that's not from a licensed caterer.  I'd ask my venue if a couple of platters could be the exception- if not would they be able to provide this for you?  I've never heard of a venue that doesn't give a suggested vendor list - I'm surprised yours didn't give you a list of caterers they've worked with.

    Another option is scratching cocktail hour and go straight from the ceremony to dinner (lunch? depending on the time..)

  • edited January 2014
    You definitely need to have food if you're having the bar open.  I feel like guests will poach the kids' snack bags.  

    Either skip cocktail hour altogether, or if you'd like to have it (or need to have it so you can take photos), see about getting some platters of cheese and crackers, veggies and dip, fruit, etc.  Your BBQ caterer might be able to do that--they said they couldn't do hors d'oeuvres, but maybe they will be able to do the simple trays.  Or you could see if your venue will let you get trays catered from a local supermarket.  
  • OP - Do you HAVE to use the BBQ place you were going with? Is there another caterer that can do the BBQ Buffet you like and food during the cocktail hour?
  • lc07lc07 Sunny Southern California member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Could you provide veggie/cheese/fruit platters to the catering company who is doing your dinner and just ask them to bring them/set them out? They may not want to due to liability issues but it's worth a shot. 
  • RebeccaB88RebeccaB88 Figment of Your Imagination member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Anything you purchase from the grocery store should be acceptable to the venue. Fruit, cheese, and crackers, dip and chips shouldn't be difficult for someone to pick up and set out.
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