How to do a Cocktail/Appetizer reception for 100 people under $300!

wedding lunch on a budget

wedding reception for 100 for less than $300

Wedding Menu- How to do a Cocktail/Appetizer reception for 100 people under $300

One of the easiest wedding menus to pull off is the appetizer and cocktail wedding reception menu. This is best for wedding receptions that are held between 2p.m.- 6p.m. Any time before or after that falls into lunch and dinner territory. 

This type of menu needs some preparation and can be done by you or by friends and family for fairly cheap. Plus, many of these can be made ahead of time (no more than three days, though) and stored in the refrigerator until the wedding

Tips

 For appetizers and cocktails, you should create the illusion that your guests are eating more food than they really are. To do this, serve the food and drinks on smaller plates and in smaller cups. Do not use red, orange, or yellows because those are colors that make people think they are hungry. Neutrals or cool shades work best for the dining ware, and patterns make plates look more full. This will trick your guests into feeling full and satisfied until they are able to have dinner on their own.

The style of your wedding should be reflected in the type of appetizers you serve. A casual wedding can do pretzels in a bow, while a formal wedding will need pinwheels and cream cheese spreads to give in a more sophisticated feeling. 

To really get the most out of this type of wedding, serve an array of different appetizers, from fruit trays to chips and dip, crackers and cheese to finger sandwiches. Arrange these on platters of various sizes, shapes, heights, and styles to give it a funky look, or keep the platters the same shape and color for a more chic appearance.

Portion out the appetizers to make serving plates look fuller and only make enough of one appetizer for twice the amount of guests you expect. For instance, if you make cucumber sandwiches and you;re inviting 100 people, make 200 small sandwiches. To make sure you prepare enough food for everyone, do your final headcount one week before the wedding and account for at least 10 additional guests. 

Do an appetizer bar and make it flow. Place all of the needed utensils, plates, and napkins at the front of the bar and then scatter smaller stacks of the dining ware throughout the bar in case someone needs an extra plate. Serve your cocktails and all other drinks at another bar so that the line flows smoothly. 

Appetizer Menu:

These are just a few of the great appetizers you can choose to serve at your cocktail and appetizer wedding reception. 

* Pinwheels (choose three different kinds and make handmade labels for them for each platter)
* Veggie Tray (this can be bought the day of and arranged on a large serving platter)
* Fruit Tray (this can also be bought the day of the reception)
* Bread basket (serve with butter on the side)
* Chex Mix (make your own signature wedding blend)
* Chips and Dips (this is something that can be picked up a week before the wedding and stored. Serve the dips in cute bowls or portion out the dip in plastic containers to make it easier for guests to serve themselves)
* Pistolettes (these meat filled rolls are great to cook right before the wedding reception and serve well with dipping sauces)
* Little Smokies (throw them in a crock pot and place a basket of rolls next to it for guests to make small little sausage sandwiches)
* Cheese and cracker trays (can be bought the day of and arranged nicely on platters)
* Bacon wrapped Jalapenos (these are harder to make ahead of time, so ask someone you trust to make them right before the wedding) 

Cocktail Menu:

Choose only three types of liquor to serve, and five drinks that are non alcoholic to give the cocktail bar plenty of options. For a real treat, make your own signature wedding cocktail and serve that in bulk, but offer older guests the option of another liquor or ask them the bring their own bottle if they don;t drink what you will be serving. Toast your guests with our signature drink. 

On-hand, offer:

Chilled bottles of water
Sweet and unsweet tea
Coke
Sprite
Juice (especially if you have children attending the wedding) 

Have you been to a wedding that had a great menu on a budget? Share it with me in a comment.

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