This is going to be a series of three posts covering the three basic "food" parts of your reception, Cocktail Hour, Dinner, Desert.
Up first is Cocktail Hour.
Now, who doesn't love a good cocktail hour. Seriously, I think I do most of my eating during this part of the wedding. What can I say I'm a really big appetizer girl which means that cocktail hours are right up my alley.
Food: Most likely your caterer or venue will suggest items in which case head their advice, but ask for a tasting before the event. Go with things you love and that taste great. Often times people will say pick foods that compliment each other, but I'm going out on a limb and saying pick foods that are fun (and delicious). The cocktail hour is the time to pick foods that are fun!
Likely you will have either stations of food manned with wait staff, food on tables, passed appetizers, or some combination of all three.
If you are having manned stations you can include things that are made right in front of guests (great presentation). Items that work well on manned stations are pasta with different sauces, made to order sliders, quesadillas, mashed potato bars, sushi, and carved meat. Below is a great example of what a manned pasta station would like like.
Unmanned tables should include easy self serve good. Items that are great simply placed on tables crudites, seafood, antipasto, cheeses, and fruit. Below are images of a simple tables with appetizers that are very easy to self serve great for tables. Notice the use of height in the first image (such a good way to add something to a simple table).
images via Anne Marie Photography
image via Carla Ten Eyck
image via Kawartha Photography
Passed items that usually are fan favorites include pigs in blankets, mini potato puffs, sliders, bruschetta, and dumplings. The images below are creative and fun passed appetizers (I bet they taste good too!)
image via Laura Novak
You want to make sure all of your food can be eaten fairly easy, avoid very messy items and try to include at least one or two meat free options.
You may want to think about including regional foods that are special to you or your fiance. Marrying someone from New Orleans, Southern style grits, mini shrimp po-boys, etc. Love Mexican food think about including mini tacos or a quesadilla station.
Let's not forget the drinks!
Beverages & Alcohol: Each wedding and each couple is different. In general if you are going to do an open bar then guests will help themselves to what they choose. You could also have a few drinks to show off like a blushing bride or your grooms favorite beer, but please try to avoid beer can wedding pictures.
If you are not doing an open bar, but rather a few signature drinks this is a great time to show them off. Think about having a little fun. Infused vodka, margaritas, or spiked tea. Great presentation goes a long way think about large glass containers are always pretty and could be self serve. I'm not going really discuss cash bars. In my opinion if you are inviting people to a wedding you really can't do a cash bar. If you feel like you must then I would at least two beer and wine and then cash for only hard liquor, but really even then I think it's a no go.
Weddings without alcohol don't necessarily mean you can't have fun with your beverages too. Think about flavored lemonade, sweet tea, or cider. Again presentation goes a very long way. Below is a picture of a great non-alcoholic beverage presentation.
image via Ashley Garmon
Weddings are all about personalization. There are so many options when it comes to cocktail hour including having it before the ceremony.
What kind of cocktail hour are you planning?