(Closed) Appetizer-only wedding, how many pieces should we serve?

posted 4 years ago in Food
Post # 2
3026 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

I honestly think their quote is about right as far 15-20 pieces per person. People snack a lot (especially my husband) when socializing at events and especially if there’s alcohol. Since there’s no main meal, people will look absorb whatever they are drinking assuming you’re serving alcohol. I would rather lean towards a higher estimate than not have enough and leave your guests potentially “hangry”. I wouldn’t do less than 15.

Post # 3
75 posts
Worker bee

Appetizer-only wedding at dinner time sounds like a bad idea to me. How can you expect people to stay from 7-10pm and only give them 8 pieces of appetizers? Bearing in mind that appetizers are, as their name suggests, a prelude to an actual main meal. Sorry, but you’re being cheap and not a good host. If you just want to offer finger food, a daytime wedding in the afternoon is still fine, but not at dinner hours. Be prepared for people to leave early to get real food. 

Post # 5
3026 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

Even so, it feels like you’re skimping on potentially making it enjoyable for your guests to save money. For most in my area, 7/8pm is a general meal time. I would have difficulty eating before then. Likewise, I have never been to many appetizer only events that heavily limited the amount per person. So, if there’s 180 people…I would be able to look at the amount of food and see that it’s minimal enough to feel awkward and not really “help myself” for the sake of other’s. Then, like PP said, I would probably leave extremely early to be able to get a real meal. 

I don’t know what specific appetizers you’re thinking of having but unless these are very hearty large sized appetizers then I’m not convinced 8 per person for four hours is enough.

eta: Yes, they’re there to celebrate you getting married. However, the reception is essentially your thanks for them taking the time and putting the money into attending. If you don’t want to properly feed them then it’s somewhat insulting.

Post # 7
1146 posts
Bumble bee

Personally I’d be very hangry going to a 7/8pm wedding and finding out I’m limited to 8 pieces of small appetizers. Dressing up takes me at least an hour, and depending on where your guests are, getting there is say 30mins-1hr. That means I’ll have to start getting ready at 5 and would have to fit preparing food and eating earlier. (3-4 pm?). I wouldn’t really be able to have dinner that early…

I’d prefer to honestly have a light dinner, but heavy appetizers will probably suffice. Your caterer’s count is more realistic, I would think. If you’re unwilling to have a proper meal or heavy appetizers for your guests, why don’t you cut down the guest lsit or make it an afternoon/brunch wedding not during meal times. If the parents expect a dinnertime wedding with that many guests, ask them to pay for it or deal with the reduced number of guests. Tell them you DON’T have the money for it. Don’t sit back and be passive about it.

Post # 8
3249 posts
Sugar bee

I think first and foremost, what kind of hors d’oeuvres are you talking about?

There’s a big difference between salmon salad on cucumber and chicken skewers. If you choose some with actual substance that can fill a person up: mini quiche, crab cakes, spring rolls, crab rangoons, caprese skewers, etc, versus celery sticks, carrots + ranch, you won’t need as much. 

My brother and SIL had a NYE reception with 175 guests, 8pm -12am, but also had an open bar. 

People ate. And ate. And ate. And the food ran out. Oh the look of disappointment when the only thing left was spicy wings. Now, to be fair, a large percentage of the guest list was young military, and with an open bar… sooooo well…

The stress is finally over, and people can relax (you too!), and people will eat. My sister in law didn’t even get one crab rangoon because they ran out before they could get some food. She still brings it up to this day. 

Count on 20 pieces per person, for at least the popular choices; people will gravitate towards them. And sprinkle some other stuff in there too. I would have at least 8-10 choices, but then again, you know your crowd, we don’t.

Post # 8
677 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2014

Like a PP said, 7-8pm is meal time in my area so I would feel really awkward attending an appetizer-only wedding during that period, because I’d expect to be fed a meal instead of just 8 pieces of appetizers. Is it possible for you to move the wedding/reception earlier, around 4pm-ish? The appetizer-only weddings I’ve been to were generally in the late afternoon, so hungry guests were able to just leave and have dinner after the celebrations. 

I would stick to the caterer’s suggestion of 15 pieces minimum. Food would not be wasted if you are willing to pack them away to take home.

Post # 9
1301 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2021 - City, State

View original reply
lelly7 :  “FIs parents haven’t given us anything and they’re super well off” and? they don’t need to give you a brass farthing. You’re not entitled to anything just because they have money.

id be entirely unimpressed to not get decent food at a wedding at that time of night, you’d be getting serious side eye 

Post # 10
755 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

I am all for having the wedding one can afford. But one shouldn’t compromise guests comfort for that. 

Option 1: Invite the number of ppls you can afford to feed

Option 2: Have your wedding outside the meal times. Host a cocktail hour reception late afternoon or opt for a brunch wedding. Do a tea party at 16-17. Don’t invite ppls over meal time without meal.

Post # 11
1309 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2015

People won’t have time to eat dinner first. You need to serve enough appetizers to function as a meal, which likely will end up more expensive than just serving a regular dinner. 

Post # 12
2141 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2017

ive never heard of this, im guessing it has to be american because theres no way a 12 hour british wedding could get away with just appatisers lol

but just from parties ive been too the big issue is making sure everyone gets something eadible… as a veggie there is usually only one or two veggie options and often meat eaters swoop in a take them all + you have to account for dietry requirments and even just peoples tastes, you can order 15 of each for each person but some thing will be WAY more popular than others and people will take more than one leaving others without

would a buffet not be cheaper? round here canapes are on average £1.70 each (if you need 15 per person thats £25.50 per person) and cold buffets can start from only £6 per person with options like sandwhiches, cakes and fruit

Post # 13
891 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

A lot of people are giving you grief, but I think you’re doing the right thing to not go into debt for a wedding. A generation ago, everyone had “cake and punch” receptions in the church reception hall after the ceremony, and it was no big deal! The wedding industry has changed everyone’s perception of what is appropriate.

7:30 or 8pm might be a better time, if you want to give people time to have a light dinner beforehand. I would be fine to grab a quick sandwich while I’m getting ready for your wedding, and then have 8 pieces of appetizer and some cake. The imporant thing is that you tell people ahead of time what to expect (light appetizers and cake). If cake receptions are common in your circle, then you’ll be fine!

Edited to add: Is there any way you could self-cater? You might be able to get more “bang for your buck” if you buy the food yourselves and ask a family member to serve it.

Example: A friend’s mom essentially catered her daughter’s wedding – she bought huge frozen trays of baked ziti from Sam’s club, along with making huge bowls of salad and garlic rolls. A bevvy of their church-friends volunteered to staff the kitchen and refill hot trays at the serving line. So they were able to serve a hot meal, at a tiny fraction of what catering would have cost. It was a lot of work, though.

You could also consider self-catering appetizers (such as making your own finger sandwiches, mini-quiches, brownie bites, etc etc) or buying trays of these from Sam’s Club or Costco. If you self-cater, you likely can afford to provide a lot more food for your guests, vs. how much you could afford with a caterer.

Post # 14
13996 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

Their quote is definitely pretty solid.  You don’t have other food (cake doesn’t count as food in this scenario) and people will defnitely get munchy.  DH could probably eat 15-20 pieces on his own in an hour, honestly.

People are going to be hungry, and unless you want people leaving your wedding to get McDonald’s on the way home, order enough food to feed them, and invite fewer people if you have to.

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