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Light and Simple: Suggestions for Your Cocktail Hour Menu

Photo via dyfoodie.com: http://www.djfoodie.com/Mini-Crabcakes

Mini crab cakes. Photo via dyfoodie.com: http://www.djfoodie.com/Mini-Crabcakes

By Britney Gross

It’s customary for the bride and groom to pose for pictures during cocktail hour, which immediately follows the ceremony. This time is reserved for guests to mingle and enjoy a libation or two while munching on a few hand-passed hors d’oeuvres.

But here’s the thing: Cocktail hour is for cocktails and light fare before dinner. Many guests struggle during cocktail hour because it’s hard to juggle a whiskey and Coke or glass of wine while trying to hold a plate of food and reach for that succulent shrimp being passed. Let’s be real, each guest only has two hands, and no one wants to spill their alcoholic beverage of choice. Most brides go overboard with the hors d’oeuvres. You’ve already spent a small fortune on dinner, so you don’t want your guests filling up on appetizers before the main course — not to mention that delicious wedding cake. So, keep the menu light during cocktail hour and reserve the more elaborate food for dinner.

Here are some helpful tips to ensure an enjoyable cocktail hour for guests without spoiling their dinner and better yet, dessert.

Keep It Light

Don’t overwhelm guests with heavy food choices. Variety is thoughtful to accommodate all guests, but keep the hors d’oeuvres to light, snack-like foods. For example, crudité arrangements, which consist of fresh fruits, vegetables, and cheeses with an assortment of crackers are an ever-popular option. Embrace your Maryland pride and serve crab dip or miniature crab cakes. If you’re planning a fall wedding, butternut squash soup shooters will compliment the crisp autumn air. Choose food that will make an impression and be remembered for all the right reasons.

Keep It Simple

Try to keep hand-passed hors d’oeuvres simple. Appetizers that require two hands to eat just aren’t ideal. After all, it’s cocktail hour, and the cocktail is the main concern. Choose small foods that are easily accessible to guests and can be eaten entirely with one hand. Finger foods are the most practical.

Be Accommodating

Provide a variety of light options for guests to choose from while your photo shoot is in session. This will accommodate any and all food allergies and preferences. You might have guests in attendance who are allergic to seafood, so shrimp or crab shouldn’t be the only appetizers served.

Be Creative and Use Your Resources

Talk to your caterer about hors d’oeuvre options, and don’t be afraid to make suggestions. Use Pinterest to generate ideas for more satisfying sensations.