27 Unexpected Cocktail Hour Hors d’Oeuvres Slideshow

Appetizers with bite!

Mini Savory Crepes

Elise Fallon

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

The Party Dress

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

Weddings by Lilly/Jo and Sue

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

Weddings Illustrated/Kristen Gardner

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

Style Me Pretty/Diana M. Lott Photography

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

Bite-Sized Grilled Cheese

Weddings by Lilly/Fresh Tart

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

Fish and Chips

Veranda Weddings

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

Style Me Pretty/Jade + Matthew Take Pictures

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

Southern-Style Biscuit Bar

Elizabeth Anne Designs/Amalie Orrange

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

Gourmet Pizza

Style Me Pretty/onelove photography

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

Popcorn Bar

Pen n' Paperflowers

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

Build-Your Own Grilled Cheese Bar

A Beautiful Mess

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

Hardly Housewives

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

Baked Potato Bar

Alexan Events/Jackie Berkery

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

Weddings by Lilly/Peter Callahan

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

Pure Joy Catering/Vinson Photography

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

Babble/Kathy Patalsky

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

Simple Bites

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

Style Me Pretty/Melani Lust Photography

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

Fête à Fête

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

Mini BLTs

Return to Sunday Supper

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

Good Housekeeping/Mark Lund

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

Rex and Regina/Food & Wine

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

Above All Catering

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

Style Me Pretty/Katie Stoops Photography

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

Style Me Pretty/Love Me Do Photography

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

Annie's Eats

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