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Cocktail-Hors d'oeuvres Wedding Receptions: Don’t Be Duped!

Updated on December 10, 2015

Don't Let A Catering Manager Take You to the Cleaners!

Everyone wants to save money these days on their weddings. And if that’s the case, the cocktail-hors d’oeuvre reception may be the answer to your prayers. But the pitfalls can override the benefits if you don’t know what you’re doing. Follow these tips to host a successful cocktail-hors d’oeuvres reception.

Catering properties, hotels and clubs, etc. are not too receptive when it comes to cocktail-hors d’oeuvres receptions. Their profit margin is cut considerably versus what they’d make if they catered an all-inclusive dinner reception, for example. 

Catering managers will tell you that you should not have seating for all, since the idea of the cocktail-hors d’oeuvres reception is to keep people up and mingling. Hogwash! What are guests supposed to do for four hours, balance food and drinks while standing against a wall? If there's NOT seating for all, your guests will leave early on your wedding day. The last thing you want on the most important day of your life!

Photos Before the Ceremony...

There is no cocktail hour at a cocktail-hors d’oeuvres reception, so the bride and groom must have their photos taken before the wedding. This is not as bad as it sounds for those who oppose the idea.

The bride, her family and bridal party can have their photos taken before the wedding. And then the groom can do the same. Once the wedding ends, they pool together for a few minutes for joint families’ and “together” shots. It’s then off to the reception.

"Displayed" hors d'oeuvres.
"Displayed" hors d'oeuvres.

"Must Do" TIPS for Success!

* Have seating for all at the cocktail-hors d’oeuvres reception. If the caterer or catering director bulks at the idea, explain to them that they work for you. If you don’t have enough seating, guests will leave.

* Keep the hors-d’oeuvres varied and flowing! Have them butlered (passed) and displayed. Order enough hors-d’oeuvres to keep your guests happy and satisfied and keep them coming until the wedding cake is served. If guests are hungry they will leave your wedding reception.

* End the reception with a heavy cake, like carrot or chocolate. You want your guests to leave your wedding reception feeling full and happy.

* You may need to host this type of reception on an off-night in an off-season, since catering properties, etc. may not be receptive to the idea of a cocktail-hors d’oeuvres reception.


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      Charles Dickerson 7 years ago

      What are some of the top hors d'oeuvres to serve