Hors d’ oeuvres for Cocktail Reception Hors d’ oeuvres Count for 100 guest wedding reception

I know everyone says that it’s my day and ultimately everything is up to me because I am the one hosting the wedding. That being said, I really need someone to give it to me straight. I will be having my cocktail hour and reception for 100 guests at a four seasons hotel. In addition to an open bar all night long, my guests will have a four course dinner plus cake & ice cream, as well as some late night snacks (mini burgers, fries, etc.). I am wondering how many hors d’oeuvres I should serve at cocktail hour. The ceremony will be at 6pm lasting about 35min, and cocktail hour will be directly after lasting no more than an hour while I take pictures. Should I have passed hors d’ oeuvres, stations, or a combination of both? Does it look cheap/tacky to only offer 3 different choices of passed hors d’ oeuvres at 1.5 pieces per person? The hors d’ oeuvres here are very expensive like an average of $7 per piece. Someone told me that I shouldn’t waste my money on hors d’ oeuvres because everyone will be drinking. What do you think? What does proper etiquette suggest?

Thanks in advance for the advice, I really appreciate it!

Brittany Allen, Executive Wedding Planner of Beautiful Beyond Dreams, LLC

Congratulations on starting this new chapter of life! In my honest and best judgement, I do recommend you have a cocktail hour. It is perfectly fine to have 3 choices and because you have limited choices having passed hors d’ oeuvres would be best. The fact that you have a four course meal plus late night food, you don’t want to waste money on food. Your guests will eat but because you have a lot of food for the reception and after and because it is an evening wedding, you do not need a heavy appetizer hour. A little food teaser will be perfect for cocktail hour and this will allow your guests to enjoy their dinner and not be full prior to dinner. Too much food usually means wasted food, which means wasted money!

Also, if your late night food is served after the wedding reception so to speak, that’s great; because dancing tends to make people hungry. So, spend less during cocktail hour! Hope this gives you some clarity on what will be best for wedding guests & your wedding budget! 🙂

Brittany Allen
Beautiful Beyond Dreams, LLC

Joyce C Smith, MBC, President and owner of Weddings Unlimited, Inc.

Don’t go overboard on the cocktail hour. Too much food will spoil the four course dinner. I suggest a combination of passed and stationed. Your decision sounds reasonable. Congratulations.

Amy Rubins, Fete Perfection, Professional Bridal Consultant certified by the Association of Bridal Consultants, Certified Destination Wedding Specialist

I completely concur – three hors d’oeuvres preceding a four-course meal is just right. Otherwise you run the risk of over-stuffing your guests and wasting a ton of food. And no to a buffet or food stations in lieu of butler passed. Then you’re providing too much food.

Deborah McCoy, President, American Academy of Wedding Professionals™

Hi… Here’s my take on your reception plans. First, your ceremony isn’t until 6 p.m., which means that your guests, who have not eaten dinner, will be ravenous when they get to the cocktail hour at approximately 7 p.m. For that reason, you need to have adequate hors d’oeurvres, or about six per guest.

Second, butlering (passing) hors d’oeuvres, only, is not always a good idea since the people closest to the kitchen doors get the goods ☺. It’s better to have platters of crudités, cheese and crackers and fresh fruit for guests to munch on, besides butlered hors d’oeuvres.

After the cocktail hour, you are serving a heavy meal plus cake and dessert. In my opinion, you don’t need the late-night mini-burgers and fries, which I consider to be a waste of money.

Put the money in the cocktail hour and make your guests happy!

Good luck!