Cocktail Hour Ideas: Hors d'Oeuvres Everyone Will Love

From classic favorites to quick snacks, these bite-sized treats will tantalize tastebuds.

Cocktail hour is a wonderful time to get creative with your wedding menu. If you've always dreamed of serving your favorite comfort foods at your celebration, but you don't want to offer mac and cheese to guests at a formal sit-down dinner service, dream up ways to convert your beloved foods into bite-sized treats to be tray passed at cocktail hour.

We've seen many cocktail-hour bites include small-sized versions of the couple's favorite foods, such as sliders, mini hot dogs, or French fries. It's also a good idea to offer lighter snacks to loved ones, including fresh fruit, shrimp cocktail, or your favorite vegetable or green wrapped in prosciutto. Crostini appetizers are always a snack welcomed by guests, and the toppings can range from meats and cheeses, to bruschetta, to any combination of your favorite ingredients placed on top of small slices of toasted bread.

Take a look at five popular categories of hors d'oeuvres below, and choose the option – or collection of options – that best fits your celebration.

1. Fresh Fruit
Incorporating fresh fruit into your list of wedding appetizers will instantly refresh guests and provide a healthy alternative to heavier hors d'oeuvres. Especially ideal for a daytime celebration or summertime fête, skewers of your favorite fruits or tea-sized sandwiches featuring fresh peaches will delight guests.
Peach and pecan sandwich appetizers
Photo by Steve Steinhardt; Planning & Design by Beth Helmstetter Events, Inc.

Fresh fruit skewer hors d'oeuvres
Photo by Brett Hickman Photographers

2. Classic Favorites
You really can't go wrong by serving bite-sized versions of classic favorites to wedding attendees. Personalize wooden picks with your initials or monogram and place them in miniature sliders to further customize the menu selections, or serve up your favorite tacos.
Mini burger sliders with personalized wood picks
Photo by Bob & Dawn Davis Photography

Miniature bite size taco hors d'oeuvres
Photo by John Solano Photography; Planning & Design by Alyson Fox, Levine Fox Events

3. Comfort Food
Cocktail hour is a wonderful chance for you to offer some of your childhood favorites – like mac and cheese – in a stylish, bite-sized presentation. Deep fry mac-and-cheese balls for a Southern wedding, or offer spoons topped with perfect portions dusted with herbs for a more-formal event.
Deep fried mac and cheese wedding appetizer
Photo by Vue Photography

Mac and cheese bite size spoon hors d'oeuvres
Photo by Elizabeth Solano Photography; Planning & Design by Alyson Fox, Levine Fox Events

4. Light Meats & Seafood
Since you don't want guests getting too full before dinner, consider offering lighter meats – such as prosciutto – and seafood prior to the formal dinner service. 
Arugla wrapped with prosciutto appetizer
Photo by Steve Steinhardt; Planning & Design by Beth Helmstetter Events, Inc.

Shrimp cocktail appetizer at wedding
Photo by Elizabeth Solano Photography; Planning & Design by Alyson Fox, Levine Fox Events

5. Crostini
One of the most popular hors d'oeuvres starts with a piece of toasted bread. Add your favorite sauces and toppings – such as flavorful pesto mayo and heirloom tomatoes – to give guests a quick bite of your beloved flavors.
wedding reception cocktail hour crostini hors d'oeuvres appetizer ideas on tray
Photo by Jenny Quicksall Photography; Planning & Design by Bluebell Events

Crostini appetizer on natural wood block
Photo by Laurie Bailey Photography; Planning & Design by Linda Howard Events

For more wedding catering ideas, click here. Discover creative ways to serve comfort food during cocktail hour, check out these recipe ideas perfect for summer entertaining, learn what questions to ask potential caterers, and find additional food and drink options in our photo galleries!

Authored by: Kelcy Christy