(Closed) How many hors d’oeuvres per person?

posted 9 years ago in Food
Post # 3
4485 posts
Honey bee

Are you having appetizers only or are you having lunch or dinner afterwards? Also, what time is your reception? That plays a huge part in the big picture. No one eats a full meal or the equivalent of one during a non-meal time. Lunch is always lighter than dinner. If you’re having lunch following the appetizers, most caterers recommend 3-4 per person. For a cocktail hour before dinner, they may up that to 4-5 per person but 3-4 is still fine. 15 per person is only if you are having a cocktail hour during the dinner hour. Actually, 6-8 pieces of heavy appetizers (carving station, coconut shrimp, etc) is the equivalent of a standard plated meal. Your venue is trying to rip you off bigtime. You are absolutely correct that people won’t have room for their main meal afterward but there are alot of caterers who actually don’t care because all they want is your money. That’s one of the reasons why NY weddings for example have such huge cocktail hour spreads that people can easily make 2-3 meals alone from and the caterers/venues still require that you have a full 3 course dinner afterward even though most people don’t have room for it (and then throw in a lavish dessert spread after that even). Your know your guests best so don’t waste food and money if you don’t have to.

Post # 4
45 posts
  • Wedding: April 2010

Wow…. 15 per person? That’s craziness, especially if you are having a dinner to follow. The typical suggestion is 3-4 per person. My coordinator said that since it’s only about 45 minutes for cocktail hour, to just have something like a cheese display on a table, so that’s what we’re doing since we’re having a 4 course meal to follow. She also told me that people are typically full of excitement and buzzing about with each other about the wedding that by the time they calm down about that it’s time for the reception anyway. Don’t spend a lot of money on hors d’oeuvres!

Post # 6
7174 posts
Busy Beekeeper

Yes, 15 sounds WAY too high.  The norm is 3-4 choices, maybe at most 2 pieces per choice.

Post # 7
314 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

Our caterer suggested 12 per person but I’m not fighting that. We’ll probably be away taking photos for 1.5 hours and I’m soooo worried about our guests getting sloshed and/or bored. If a little extra food keeps them happy and sober, I’m all for it!

Post # 8
426 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I was recently at a wedding where about that many hors d’oeuvres were passed.  While it was interesting and there were many choices for the guests, I was full from sampling so much.  While food is very important, I do think that you can have too much.  15 pieces (particularly per person) is too much (food AND money!)

Post # 9
1901 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

There is no way that I could eat 15 pieces and have ANY room leftover for dinner. Plus, there is no way I could eat that many in 45 minutes. If you do the math, that means each person is eating one piece every 3 minutes for the entire 45 min.! You would literally have to be standing next to a tray shoveling them in to accomplish this!

Post # 10
813 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2018

My caterer recommended 6-8 per person for a one hour cocktail hour. 15 seems quite high! I personally would eat two or three pieces, and I’m sure a someone else might eat a few more to even it out a bit. But 15!? If I only have 3 pieces, someone else would have to have 27 pieces to even it out!

Post # 11
523 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

As a caterer, you want to make 6 pieces per dish per person, if there is no other food. If there is other food you do 3 to 4 pieces per dish per person.

You have 5 dishes so I would recommend 12 to 15 pieces. Now you can go smaller and tell them you want 10 pieces per person, but that is what makes appetizers so expensive, everything is made by hand and the smaller the pieces the more work you have to do and presentations on small pieces are more time consuming.

I wouldn’t go past 10 pieces per person for that list of food, that essentially is 2 pieces of each appetizer. And, be prepared to run out of certain things at that level of pieces as well.

Post # 12
153 posts
Blushing bee

@TPHoliday:  that makes a lot of sense.  Thanks for the instruction!  @RecessionistaBride:  Do you think that if you want to do fewer apps then you should have less selection?  Maybe knockout one of the 2 lobster items?

Post # 13
576 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

My vendor said rule is 3-5 depends on if your doing a dinner or a all appatizer dinner.

Post # 15
681 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2018

The wedding I went to a couple of weeks ago was on a Friday evening with the ceremony beginning at 7 o’clock. It was around 8 by the time we got to the reception venue and cocktail hour began. Because of the timing my fiance and I were very hungry. We were some of the first to get to the reception so we had lots of time to munch but I think we each had 3 to 4 pieces. 15 seems WAY too high.

Post # 16
48 posts

I think 15 sounds high. However, at a lot of fancy weddings I’ve been to there have been a lot of passed apps. Like 8-10 per person and 10 choices. I think you could ask for less, but maybe add another option.

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