How many hors d’oeuvres do you need for a wedding?

Answered by Antonio Sutton

When it comes to planning the catering for a wedding, one important aspect to consider is the number of hors d’oeuvres you will need to serve. The number of hors d’oeuvres required can vary depending on the duration of the event, the time of day, and whether you are serving a full dinner or not. Let’s break it down:

For a cocktail hour or a shorter event lasting around 30-60 minutes before dinner, it is recommended to have 2-4 pieces per person. This allows guests to enjoy a few bites while mingling and getting ready for the main meal.

If your event is around 1.5-2 hours long, and you are not serving a full dinner afterwards, it is suggested to increase the number of hors d’oeuvres to 5-6 pieces per person. This ensures that guests have enough to eat to replace a meal and keeps them satisfied throughout the event.

For a longer event lasting 2-4 hours, where hors d’oeuvres are the main focus and there is no dinner planned, it is advisable to have a more substantial amount of hors d’oeuvres. Aim for 8-10 pieces per person to ensure everyone can indulge in a variety of bites and flavors.

If your wedding is a true cocktail-style reception lasting 4 hours or more, and you plan to forgo a traditional sit-down dinner, it is recommended to provide enough hors d’oeuvres to serve as a dinner replacement. In this case, plan for 12-15 pieces per person to keep guests satisfied and energized throughout the evening.

Remember, these numbers are just guidelines and can be adjusted based on your specific preferences, budget, and the overall theme of your wedding. It’s always a good idea to consult with your caterer or event planner for their professional advice.

To give you a better idea of how these quantities translate into real-life situations, let me share a personal experience. At my cousin’s wedding, which was a late afternoon event with a cocktail hour followed by a sit-down dinner, they opted for the 5-6 pieces per person rule. The cocktail hour featured a variety of hors d’oeuvres such as mini quiches, bruschetta, and sushi rolls. This allowed guests to enjoy a range of flavors while socializing before the main meal.

The number of hors d’oeuvres you need for a wedding depends on the duration of the event, the time of day, and whether or not a full dinner is being served. By considering these factors and using the suggested guidelines of 2-4 pieces for a short cocktail hour, 5-6 pieces for a longer event without dinner, 8-10 pieces for a heavy hors d’oeuvres event, and 12-15 pieces for a dinner replacement, you can ensure that your guests are well-fed and satisfied throughout your special day.