(Closed) Cocktail Reception Question – Help appreciated!

posted 6 years ago in Food
Post # 3
2778 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

I don’t think I’m understanding what you are planning on feeding them?  This came up in another thread not long ago and my suggestion was this.  If you just feed them cheese, crackers and veggies people are going to leave quickly because they will be hungry.

I would suggest you serve things with protein that are cheap.  I’m not sure whats cheap and what isn’t but I would suggest things such as shrimp cocktail, hummus, pigs in a blanket, mini sliders, etc.  Along cheese and crackers (because why not!)

Post # 4
2281 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2012


@geekgoddess:  Darling Husband and I had a coctail party reception, and it was fantastic. There was plenty of food. In fact, we heard many compliments on how wonderful the food was. Like you, we had the ceremony and reception at a restaurant/bar. We had an hour of mingling before the ceremony, and then broke for the ceremony, and then went straight into dancing. It was fabulous. Our final headcount was 70, but I think with a couple of no-shows we had about 65 people including Darling Husband and me.

Here was our menu:

  • local sausage & roasted potato skewers with roasted garlic aioli (passed during mingling hour)


  • assortment of cheeses with sliced apple, house made crackers and seasonal fruits & sauces


  • antipasto including hummus, roasted mushrooms & peas, crispy chick peas, roasted carrots with onions & sage


  • housemade bread with kalamata olive tapenade


  • pesto roasted vegetable stuffed bread


  • grilled marinated artichokes

Post # 5
1627 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

I thought it was 20 bites total per person (5-7 per hour) if it replaces a dinner.  Could always Google it too. πŸ™‚

Post # 6
11272 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2012

when a cocktail party is in lieu of a meal there should be 8-10 choices of hor d’ouvres and each person will consume approx 2-3 of EACH item.  so between 16-30 pp.

it’s a good idea to have some passed and some stationary foods.  canapes and bite sized snacks are good for butler style and trays of veggies, fruit, dips, etc are good for stationary syle set up.

Post # 8
6892 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: March 2012

I think others have covered the amount per person issue for you, so I’ll just give you some ideas based on what we had. Btw, check this similar thread out for more detail: http://boards.weddingbee.com/topic/pictures-of-weddings-that-were-hors-doeuvres-only

We had a very casual early afternoon wedding with no dancing or alcohol.

Here is an idea of what we had – FYI I didn’t remember this, but I had a Word document saved! haha.

Fruit Trays with yogurt dip

Cheese Trays

Sandwiches: Cucumber, BLT, Turkey & Cheese, Pimento Cheese

Canapés: Chicken Salad, Shrimp Chirizo, the pepper one

Desserts: Chocolate Chip Cookies, Brownies, Tiramisu Bites, Apple Tarts

Our centerpieces were also edible, and they contained: “Reasey Pizza,” Cheesecake Brownie bites, roasted pecans and cinnamon tortillas.

We had sweet tea, lemonade, and water on a few different drink stations, also pictured.

Our wedding cake was white chocolate deliciousness and the groom’s cake was key lime. We also had a small diabetic-friendly sugar-free cake because several of our guests were/are diabetic.

We seemed to have plenty of food. We had around 85 guests attend (planned for food for 100, though). We had leftovers to the point where Darling Husband and I took plates with us when we left, haha. And plenty of left over cake, luckily!

Post # 9
2281 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

@geekgoddess:  Honestly, I left that to the restaurant. We agreed on the menu of hors d’oeuvres and I gave them the headcount, and they did the rest. But, when I plan parties on my own, I assume 2 pieces each of larger things (skewers, for example), and 3-4 pieces each of smaller things (like pieces of shrimp) for each guest. It’s overdoing it, usually, but some items are more popular than others, so that tends to cover it when everyone eats several pieces of the same thing.


Post # 10
5762 posts
Bee Keeper

Are they providing the food or are you? Do they have a menu from which you can choose or are you just using the space? If they are doing the food for you it would help if you could post your options so people might have some better suggestions for you. They would also be the ones who would help you decide on the correct quantities to provide.

We did one, but it was from 6-11pm, and included several meat and pasta stations as well as antipasto served family style (per table) passed,stationary and a raw bar.

Post # 11
13014 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

My caterer recommended 8-10 pieces per person, and that’s just our cocktail hour, with a full three course meal afterwards. 

I would talk to your caterer/bar staff.  They’ll know a good amount of food to put out!

Post # 13
3265 posts
Sugar bee

@geekgoddess:  You are hosting over the dinner hour. 3-7 means you will have to feed them enough to replace a meal. 

The food truck idea sounds good!

Post # 14
1856 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

If you’re able to bring the food in, you can definitely do this cost effectively. Others have advised about numbers of pieces and definitely any caterer (or catering department at a grocery store) can help you determine how many items and how much.

Since you mention it’s really low-key, have you thought about having a BBQ place cater? You could feed people a bit more of a meal for really low costs (I know in the areas of the south we looked, you could do it for less than $10/pp including sides). Just another suggestion in case you’re worried about feeding ‘enough’ for that time of day. I’m a bit undecided because my normal meal times definitely fall on the outside of your wedding hours for the most part, but some people eat supper at 5pm and might feel like they should be fed more given that you’re going until 7pm, you know?

Post # 16
3265 posts
Sugar bee

@geekgoddess:  Is 6:00 really an early dinner?  I think that is a pretty standard dinner hour. 

Do you have to do the clean up yourselves?  Or just be out of the room?

The topic ‘Cocktail Reception Question – Help appreciated!’ is closed to new replies.

Find Amazing Vendors