Sit down meals have not completely disappeared on the wedding planning spectrum, they have just become rarer. Because buffet style food service at wedding receptions is now so widely done, many brides find themselves looking for something new and different. Sit down dinners can be expensive and overly formal. Add that to forcing guests to choose their meal a month in advance and a formal sit down dinner is not the right choice for every couple planning their wedding. What other choice is there? A finger food reception of course!
A finger food reception differs from a buffet because everything can be eaten while standing for the most part. Almost any type of food can be used for a finger food reception, even things that seem unexpected. There are some simple tricks of the trade to make mingling easier for guests while they eat. Here is a simple and basic guide to hosting a finger foods only wedding reception.
It is important to provide tables and chairs- Regardless of how much guests want to mingle they will still want to set things down and have somewhere to get off their feet. The key is to keep them separate. Set a few tall tables by a window with just two or three chairs. Have a couple full sized tables on opposite sides of the room. A lounge type may also be a good idea. Guests need to be comfortable or they will get restless.
Miniaturize everything- The key to finger food is making it bite sized. Each item should be no more than one or two bites. Everything can be miniaturized. Bite sized egg rolls can serve as appetizers. Small meatballs tooth-picked to cheese as one of the more substantial items. Milkshake shooters and bite sized pieces of brownie can serve as a dessert.
Provide the right tools- Have forks and plates for those who wish to sit down and eat all at once rather than grazing. Provide extra toothpicks, napkins, dessert plates and anything else the items being served may require. Thinking ahead can make things a lot easier for everyone.
Keep it warm or cool to stay safe- Warm food needs to stay warm and cold food cold. Make sure food is placed on tables in small batches so what is there is easy to keep at temperature. Keep platters on ice, things in coolers or a refrigerator and warm food in warming trays. It can be tempting to put out all of the food at once so no one has to worry about refilling it. Small amounts help keep food in a safe temperature zone and keep food tasting the best it can.
Have variety for all courses- Everyone has different tastes. Just like with a regular sit down meal, guests should have a few choices for each “course”.
Keep the extras readily accessible- Just because food should be put out in small amounts doesn’t mean it has to be a huge production to get more out to the guests. Having foods pre-assembled and plated and on trays that are ready to be warmed or placed on ice will help make putting more food and drink out a breeze. Always have extra ice and extra warmers ready just in case.
Preparation is important- Have extra food ready to go. Have trash areas ready for plates and forks. Consider any food allergies guests may have and be prepared for spills and cleanup.
A finger food reception is a great idea for weddings and nearly any party. It lets the guests set the tone and allows the host to adapt the party as needed.