Wedding Finger Food Reception
Why Choose a Finger Food Reception?
A finger food menu is desirable and attractive for several reasons, depending on a couple’s reception plans.
- Cost: Generally speaking, a selection of finger foods – even gourmet hors d’oeuvres – will be less expensive than a fully catered meal. Couples can save even more if they choose to make many of the finger foods themselves. Finger foods also save money on rental china and cutlery as well as less labor to serve. Couples should note, however, that extremely elaborate hors d’oeuvres can be more costly than simple full service meals.
- Formality: Finger foods can be suitable for either a formal or a casual wedding, depending on the exact menu selection. Cheese and crackers is great for a casual event, while more exotic pates may be best for a formal affair.
- Timing: Finger foods are best for receptions that fall between regular meal times, such as late morning or early afternoon events. They are also the perfect choice for shorter receptions, which may in turn lower rental costs for the location.
- Variety: By opting for small finger foods, a couple can offer a greater selection of culinary treats for their guests to sample, rather than selecting only two or three main dishes. This can be especially valuable for a large reception with many diverse tastes, as well as multicultural celebrations that can introduce new foods to everyone.
No matter why a couple may choose a wedding finger food reception, it is important that they subtly inform their guests about the type of food that will be served at the celebration. Many guests may expect a full meal at a reception, and finding only finger foods can be distracting and frustrating. Hungry guests may even choose to leave the reception early in search of a full meal.
The timing of the reception can offer one clue about the types of foods – a shorter reception placed earlier in the day strongly indicates that only appetizers and hors d’oeuvres will be served. Couples can also discreetly print “finger food reception to follow” or “hors d’oeuvres reception to follow” on their invitations so guests will know what to expect.
Wedding Finger Food Menu Ideas
From succulent dishes to savory sauces to sweet treats, there are dozens of options for delicious finger foods suitable for a wedding reception. Popular choices include:
- Individual desserts such as cookies, petit fours, cream puffs, or fruit tarts
- Cupcake wedding cakes to continue the finger food theme even with this all-important dessert
- A selection of sliced breads, breadsticks, or rolls
- Attractive fruit trays with chocolate, cheesecake, or whipped topping dips
- Fondue stations or chocolate fountains for dipping
- Deli trays with assorted meats and cheeses, either for eating or to make cold cut sandwiches
- Small snacks such as pillow mints, chocolate candies, or nuts
- Wings, either with a hot buffalo glaze, barbeque sauce, or other favorite flavor
- Popcorn chicken or popcorn shrimp
- Shrimp cocktail
- Mini quiches, stuffed mushrooms, or vegetable rolls
- Sushi or pate
- Assorted cheese and cracker trays with mustards or other sauces
- Meatballs with assorted savory sauces
- Dainty tea sandwiches, such as cucumber, chicken salad, egg salad, or other flavors
- Deviled eggs, stuffed celery, or other picnic favorites
- Self-serve beverages such as punch or soda
When choosing a finger food menu, the couple should always consider the varied tastes of their guests by providing a wide enough selection so anyone with unusual diets – vegetarian, lactose intolerant, diabetic, etc. – can enjoy the wedding feast. Furthermore, offering both classic, comfort foods and more exotic gourmet treats gives everyone the opportunity to enjoy their favorite food as well as sample new dishes.
Catered or Not?
Many finger foods can be easily prepared, and couples may wish to save money by creating the reception food themselves. While this is possible, it can be difficult to estimate the amount of food necessary for a large guest list – caterers, in fact, frequently prepare ten percent more food than the proposed head count in order to account for varied appetites and unexpected guests. In general, if the couple is having a smaller reception and opts for simpler foods – deli cheese trays instead of individual quiches, for example – they can easily create the menu themselves. If they have a larger number of guests or prefer more exotic hors d’oeuvres, a caterer may be the best option.
Decorating a Wedding Finger Food Reception
The food may be the centerpiece of the reception, but how it is displayed can make even the simplest finger foods seem like luxurious appetizers. Consider these decorating tips:
- Decorate the buffet table to highlight the individual dishes.
- Vary the heights of dishes with a multi-level display.
- Arrange foods attractively by varying color contrasts and types of food as well as the patterns different foods make on their individual trays.
- Garnish individual dishes as well as the table as a whole for a coordinated look.
- Choose more expensive linens, cutlery, and serving dishes for a more elegant appearance.
- Arrange foods so they are all easily accessible without guests needing to stretch, which could increase the possibility of spills.
- Choose edible centerpieces such as chocolate or ice sculptures, frozen punch bowls, and carved fruits for even more elegance.
A wedding finger food reception can be delicious, economical, and beautiful all at once. With a wide range of dishes to choose from as well as many options for display and luxury, a couple can enjoy a complete menu of finger foods to celebrate their union without condemning their budget with an elaborate gourmet meal.