Wedding Cakes & Food Forum

Budget Help: Appetizers

Has anyone seen a "guide" for appetizers, as in how many you should plan on each guest eating? Whether it's a per person price, or item of food per person... trying to estimate and not sure where to start.


- AC

Re: Budget Help: Appetizers

  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    Are you using a caterer? I would ask them what they recommend. I think it will vary, depending on how many appetizers you have. I want to say our caterer recommended 2 of each app per guest, and we had 4 apps.
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  • This depends on a variety of factors - what time of day, what else is being served (is this just for cocktail hour or is this for the whole reception and serving as a meal replacement), and the variety you plan on having. 

    If you google appetizer calculator, you'll find lots of links, as well as a list of related searches you'll find helpful.  Or, as PP pointed out, your caterer should have lots of good insights and be able to assist...it's their job.  When I planned a surprise birthday party, the coordinator talked me out of ordering the number of fruit trays I planned (the brochure said they serve 20-25 and I was expecting 50) and talk me into ordering more of another appetizer because he knew that the fruit trays were huge and would likely serve way more than 25 and knew what was most popular based on his years of experience.  He was right.

  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    If you are talking about apps for cocktail hour 3-5 pieces per person total.  

    If you are talking about apps for a 2-3 hour reception with no meal then 5-7 pieces

    If you are talking about to be used as a meal the 12-15 pieces.

    If you are talking about a specific item it depends.   Like the PP said, fruit and veggie trays go a lot farther.  Depending on the place a tray of fruit for 25 can really feed 50 people.   However, the average person takes 3+ shrimp, regardless if there are other apps.  So if you have 50 people you will need AT LEAST 150 shrimp. More like 175.








    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. 
  • Thank you! This is really helpful. I will use your suggestions for initial planning and then work with my caterer to see how they'd recommend adjusting :)


    - AC
  • That would be helpful if there was a guide but your best bet is to ask your caterer what is typical for an event your size. We had about 150 guests including the whole BP and we had 5 light hors'devours for our guests which were served during cocktail hour. It also depends on the time of day, we served dinner around 5:30 which is pretty early so we didn't feel like our guests needed too much food during cocktail hour at 4. Good luck!
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