27 Unexpected Cocktail Hour Hors d'Oeuvres

Mini Savory Crepes

Crepes are an elegant option that can adapt to any wedding budget. If you're on a smaller budget, offer simple, flavorful toppings like Gruyere cheese and sautéed mushrooms; for a more extravagant option, set out crème fraîche and caviar. 

Chips and Salsa

Chips and dips are a perfect — and fun! — hors d'oeuvre for a summer or fall wedding. Guacamole is a favorite upgrade, but it does brown quickly. 

Mini Shrimp Cocktail

Fill a miniature martini glass with cocktail sauce and loop a couple of shrimp over the rim of the glass for a sleek seafood appetizer.

Mashed Potato Martinis

The ultimate comfort food, mashed potatoes can easily be dressed up as an unexpected reception snack. Set out toppings like gravy, cheese, sour cream, and chopped bacon.

Asian Noodle Bar

Serve takeout-style noodles in a paper container, and prop up a set of wooden chopsticks inside.

Bite-Sized Grilled Cheese

For an extra touch — especially on a chilly day — serve the sandwiches with demitasses of tomato soup.

Fish and Chips

Fish and chips are a more substantial appetizer, and they're made portable when tucked into newspaper cones, just like in British chip shops. 

French Fries

Who doesn't love French fries? You could even match the paper cones to your wedding palette. 

Southern-Style Biscuit Bar

Let guests create sweet or savory biscuit sandwiches with cured ham, gravy, honey, butter, and jam.

Gourmet Pizza

Pizzas made with upscale, high-quality ingredients are easy to eat and to serve, and there will be an option for everyone.

Popcorn Bar

Set out spices, shredded cheese, melted butter, and candies, and let guests create a portable party snack. 

Build-Your-Own Grilled Cheese Bar

Let your guests customize their own grilled cheeses for an hors d'oeuvre that is sure to be a hit (and one that's very budget-friendly). 

Mini Philly Cheese Steaks

Tiny versions the size of cocktail hot dogs are much easier — and tidier — to eat than full-sized cheese steaks. 

Baked Potato Bar

Warm, hearty, and easily carried, a baked potato makes a great appetizer for a cool-weather wedding. Toppings like herb butter, crispy pancetta, and crème fraîche make a luxe offering out of an old favorite. 

Spaghetti and Meatball

This Italian classic takes a graceful turn with a tiny swirl of pasta balanced on top of a single meatball — no messy fork twirling required.

Soup Shots

Honor the seasons with a couple of colorful soups served in shot glasses or in demitasses. Summer calls for chilled soup — maybe a zingy gazpacho or a chilled berry soup — while hot soups — like a butternut squash puree or a creamy bisque — are better suited for winter. 

Mini Falafel

Vegetarian and vegan guests often find themselves questioning which appetizers they can and can't eat. Give them something they know is safe (and delicious) with falafel! An added bonus is that they can be served hot or at room temperature.

One-Bite Thanksgiving

If you're getting married in the fall, pay homage to Thanksgiving with a taste of favorite fall flavors. Use the classics (roasted turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing) in finger sandwiches or arrange them as a one-bite trio on large spoons.

Mini Burgers and Fries

Burgers and fries are easy to serve and easy to eat. They can also make great options for both your carnivorous and vegetarian guests. 

Soft Pretzels

Pair soft pretzels with an assortment of salty dips, like mustard or melted cheese.

Mini BLTs

Best with the freshest summer tomatoes, these simple finger sandwiches give you an excuse to include bacon in your big day. 

Well-Dressed Hot Dogs

Especially fitting at an outdoor wedding, these hot dogs would look be handsome in any color suit — match them to your party palette!

Build-Your-Own Taco Bar

A do-it-yourself appetizer ensures that all your guests — including picky eaters, vegetarians, and those with food allergies — get what they want.

Boozy Strawberries

Cocktail and hors d'oeuvre collide with a dropper of alcohol — try Champagne or another sparkling wine, or fill the droppers with a liqueur, like Grand Marnier. 

Mini Corndogs

Reminiscent of outdoor summer festivals, corndogs are informal and cheery. If you're looking to encourage a laid-back, lighthearted mood at your event, corndogs are a good place to begin. Serve them with a jigger of beer for a perfect pairing.

Roasted Shrimp

If you're looking to include a seafood option but don't want to splurge on a raw bar, roasted shrimp are a flavorful — and fairly reasonable — choice. Season them to your liking, roast them, and then spear them individually on forks for an elegant presentation. 

Fried Pickles

Try fried pickles for a Southern-style hors d'oeuvre that's both summery and fun. Serve them with a dollop of ranch dressing.