Wedding Ideas

Don’t Be Stingy With the Hors D’Oeuvres

Posted on December 08 by Phoebe Lett

Two hors d’oeuvres? Seriously?

People are still talking about this particular wedding in our group’s long-ago history, and this is not the way anyone wants their wedding to be remembered. Two hundred people standing around in the cocktail hour room, looking for servers like little lost kids look for their parents in a department store. When were the pigs in a blanket coming out of the kitchen? Wait…there’s the server. (Server gets mobbed by ravenous guests just ten feet into the room, the tray is picked clean, and the rest of us groan.) Yes, just two different appetizer options at that wedding…and far too few of them. Guests were eyeing the olives and maraschino cherries on the bartop, ready to grab them by the handful.

Now, maybe the banquet hall had a disaster back in the kitchen, with the ten other hors d’oeuvres unfortunately sprayed with pesticides or something, inedible, or scorched to a crisp in a malfunctioning oven. Or maybe the wedding couple just cheaped out – which is what everyone was thinking. But the reality remains…if you have too few hors d’oeuvres hand-passed, or a single hummus platter with saltines, and no other stations, there’s going to be mutiny. I’ve never seen more miserable wedding guests in my life, including ones that had to sit for ten hours on a boat that got mired in mud, with no more alcohol on board.

If you have to cut somewhere to make your budget, please don’t make it the food. My Aisle Files tip: Go overboard and provide too many options, in lots of different flavors, as a kindness to your guests. It’s a common mistake to fall in love with the idea of how your wedding will look, as opposed to what your guests’ experience will be. What guests eat makes their experience. So talk to your caterer, no matter what your budget is, to create a menu that provides lots of appetizers and station items. A great caterer will work with you to take traditionally inexpensive items, like chicken and pasta, and create an array of appetizers that impresses and still stays in your money range. You can often ask your site manager or caterer if you can make some trades, perhaps skipping a course for the dinner in exchange for an extra hand-passed appetizer option.

Move hors d’oeuvres higher on your priority list, and guests will love it. You start your celebration off with them being happy and festive, sated and sociable, which leads to a big success of a wedding day. And they’ll talk about how wonderful your wedding was, how wonderful you looked, and how much fun they had at your great celebration for a long time to come.

What food option did your guests rant or rave about? Share with us below!