Become a Top Wedding Planner – Plan a Cocktail Wedding Reception


After the the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s  Royal Wedding, Queen Elizabeth held an early afternoon wedding reception for 650 guests and served a selection of hors d’oeurves, champagne, a wedding cake and a groom’s cake. While your brides may not be interested in serving food such as “Pressed Duck Terrine with Fruit Chutney” or “Quail Eggs with Celery Salt,” the idea of an appetizer or cocktail reception, versus a buffet dinner or seated meal, might hold some appeal. The food can be lighter, and therefore less expensive.

An article in a recent issue of Meetings & Conventions magazine provided tips, by top New York caterer Alison Awerbuch of Abigail Kirsch, for selecting and serving hors d’oeuvres .

Here are 3 of the tips, I’ve altered them a bit to to work for wedding receptions versus business events:

1) Avoid selections that leave guests holding something

Food presented on Chinese soup spoons or soups served in shot glasses on silver trays look very appealing, but they leave the bride’s guests holding the spoon or glass when they are done. If the bride is set on doing this, a member of the waitstaff will need to follow along to collect the used items.

I would add that you need to plan well with your bride and her caterer when serving any foods that leave the guests with food waste in their hands. I’ve been to parties and receptions in which I was left with either a shrimp tail or a lamb chop bone when I was done – and no plate to put them on!

2) Use this opportunity let your bride’s guests try unfamiliar foods

Allow the caterer to suggest food that might be too exotic or expensive for a main course at a seated meal. This way a couple may be able to have a food they love that may not be right for everyone.

3) Divide up the time like a multi-course meal

Serve small, light hors d’oeuvres first, as if it was a first course. Next serve a larger, heavier and perhaps a bit richer, selection of food. Lastly, serve sweets, and like the Queen, serve the wedding cake. When the food is served in this order, guests may feel like they have had an entire three-course meal.

An additional tip from me – while you want your brides to offer a variety of foods that appeal to many guests, try to keep the number of different selections to a minimum. Many times people will try anything and everything that is served and the bride may end up paying as much for this type of reception as she would have for a seated meal.

Share this article


No Responses to “Become a Top Wedding Planner – Plan a Cocktail Wedding Reception”


Leave a Reply