Wedding guests are always excited to join in on a fun day of celebration, but one of the things that can really make or break their excitement is a hungry stomach. Food and drinks really are a huge part of a wedding day, and you’ll want to be sure that you are providing enough sustenance throughout the event.
Depending on the schedule of your wedding day, you might be serving light hors d’oeuvres or a full, 7-course meal. Regardless of your food options, the time between the ceremony and celebration is a key time to provide guests with light snacks and spirits.
If you’re trying to decide what to serve, there are quite a few options that would be perfect for your guests whether they have a seasoned palate or a family of picky eaters. Consider the following inspired food and cocktail pairings for your wedding reception to make everyone happy.
Cheese Skewers & Wine
Wine is always a fan-favorite for many people, so it’s important to offer a snack that pairs well with both red and white wines. Not surprisingly, cheese skewers are the perfect option in this case, but try getting a little more creative and serving them in a more convenient way.
Create some cheese skewers by creating small blocks of different types of cheeses on a toothpick and serving them with pieces of apple or grapes. You can use lighter cheeses to pair with white wine and heavier or older cheeses for those who will be drinking red. If you’re serving a fairly fruity wine, you might even consider skewering cheese with pears, peaches, or cherries to bring out the specific flavors in the wine.
Not only is this a great pairing for adults, but you can also offer kids the same kinds of appetizer since cheese and fruit are a fairly popular snack for kids. If you can, consider skewering the children’s snacks on a pretzel so you can avoid the safety hazard of giving the toothpicks.
Sushi & Moscow Mules
If your wedding venue is located in a cooler room or climate, then sushi and Moscow mules are certainly a pairing you’ll want to consider! The cooler temperatures are important for keeping the fish fresh so that their flavors really pop and blend well with the beverage.
Moscow mules are made with ginger beer, vodka, and lime juice, so the similar flavors are perfect for pairing with sushi. If you’d like, consider offering a few different kinds of sushi to meet the preferences of your guests, and hand out the beverages in smaller glasses to match the portion sizes.
If you’re going with appetizers that include fish, be sure to let guests know about this in their wedding invitations. Sushi is an acquired taste, and you may need to have a backup option for some guests, like avocado rolls.
Caprese Salad & Aperol
If you’re embracing Italian-themed food options for your wedding, small Caprese salad appetizers are a must-have. This fresh dish includes ripe tomatoes, a fresh cheese, and basil leaves, drizzled with a sweet balsamic or salt. To make them more appetizer-friendly, use toothpicks to slide on a cherry tomato, a cube of fresh mozzarella and a small basil leaf. You can also drizzle them with sauce or offer small bowls for dipping.
The perfect pairing for this food is a light cocktail made with Aperol or Campari, or a small glass of rosé. Aperol and Campari have reduced alcohol content and a refreshing flavor that pairs perfectly with the light snack of a Caprese salad.
White Sangria & Fish Tacos
Nothing says a beach wedding like zesty, white sangrias and fresh fish tacos! This pairing is to-die-for, with the bubbly beverage complementing the soft fish and creamy sauces of avocado and lime. To ensure these flavors blend at their best, be sure to add lemons and limes to the sangria flavor and drizzle the lime juice across the fish tacos just before serving.
Caesar Salad & Bloody Mary Cocktails
Not everyone is going to want to drink wine all day long at your wedding, and pairing oysters with a Bloody Mary is a great option for people looking for dramatic flavor. For this inspired food and cocktail idea, fill a small shot glass with a spicy Bloody Mary, and top with a shucked oyster as both a garnish as well as a stylish appetizer.
The two pair well together because of the cocktail’s bright, tomato base, which goes well with shellfish. If you want, you can serve the oysters on a larger tray and opt for creating other fun Bloody Mary garnishes like celery, bacon, or spicy pickled vegetables, and decorate the glasses.
Sliders & Beer
If you’ve got a large crowd at your wedding, chances are a lot of them will prefer to have a cold glass of beer during cocktail hour. This can get tricky because of the wide variety of beers available, but there is one food pairing that you can’t go wrong with whether you’re offering a light, hoppy beer or a dark stout: sliders.
Win the crowd over by offering smaller glasses of beer, alongside a small slider with whatever toppings you prefer. With endless options, the slider toppings are totally up to you or the caterer. If you want to give more options, you might opt to have a “slider building bar” where guests can dress their appetizers how they’d like.
Regardless of the toppings, a burger and beer pairing is perfect for a laid-back wedding or a summertime event.
If you’re not sure what kinds of appetizers are best for you, you’ll want to reference a few factors to help you decide. Things like your caterer, venue, and theme can all help you to decide what foods will be the most fitting for your audience. For example, a traditional wedding in a boutique hotel might warrant older wines, aged cheeses, and cured meats, while a laid-back vintage theme might do better with spiked teas, biscuits, and tarts.
When it comes down to it, your personality should shine through your food pairings, so go with food options that you and your partner love.
Photo by Jessica Burke