I’ve always been a big fan of cocktail hour (and not just because I enjoy a good specialty drink), but it sets the stage for the entire evening. Cocktail hour typically begins as guests start to file into the reception venue and are anxiously awaiting the bride and groom’s arrival. As they wait for the celebration to kick off, it’s always nice to treat your guests to a preview of the menu to come. It’s a great way to get the party started and, let’s face it, who doesn’t love being greeted by servers with trays full of delicious appetizers! I’ve rounded up some of my recent favorites that are very fitting for a spring/summer affair!
Image by Serena Grace
Fish and Chips via Adeline and Grace Photography
Lasagna Cupcakes via Quick Dish
Mini Wine + Cheese by Peter Callahan
Mini BLT Bites by Sunday Supper
Antipasta Kebobs by The Hungry Housewife
Chili Lime Shrimp Cups by Inspired Taste
Okra Cornmeal Cakes by Annie's Eats
Mini Grilled Cheese with Avocado and Bacon by Jana Laurene
Image by Karen Wise via Style Me Pretty
Wedding season is upon us and for all of you Spring and Summer brides looking for the perfect tasty libation to welcome your guests, look no further! We’ve rounded up plenty of options. Charleston, Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach are blessed with the beautiful Lowcountry landscape that lends itself way to jaw dropping wedding venues that offer one-of-a-kind views on the water. These coastal spots will naturally put wedding guest into a celebratory mood, so your choice of food and beverage needs to share the same spirit. Welcoming your guests with a killer specialty drink will get the party started!
Blood Orange Margarita
Recipe via Creative Culinary
The Brooklyn Beauty
Recipe via Crepes of Wrath
Raspberry Beer Cocktail
Recipe via A cup of Mai
Pineapple Mint Rum Punch
Recipe via Love Food Eat
Recipe via White On Rice Couple
Meyer Lemonade with Rosemary
Recipe via White on Rice Couple
Blackberry Sage Cooler
Recipe via Scaling Back
…and who could forget our favorite Lowcountry specialty?
A John Daly – Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka and Lemonade
Image via Love Life Images
While my husband and I were in the midst of planning our wedding, we had some issues seeing eye-to-eye on what was acceptable food to be served at our reception. He wanted to make sure his guy friends we’re going to enjoy their options and wouldn’t be stuck munching on dainty finger sammies. One of his grand ideas was treating our guests to a hot dog eating contest. I kid you not…I can’t make this stuff up. I literally had to pick my mom’s jaw up off the ground when she first heard of his plan. So, after nicely refusing to serve up Oscar Mayer weiners, we compromised on serving late night McDonald’s double cheeseburgers…we had the catering staff pass them out and people went crazy! They still talk about it. So, in honor of all the grooms-to-be who are set on hot dog eating contests or lord knows what else, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite food items that the men on your guest list might enjoy. Let’s face it, if you treat the boys to some hearty food and good booze, everyone’s bound to have a good time.
Spaghetti and meatballs hors d’oeuvre. I’ll take two!
I would never have thought to serve meatloaf at a wedding but these meatloaf cupcakes with a mashed potato ‘frosting’ and a bite sized, bacon wrapped loaf sound pretty amazing.
Bite sized bacon cup baked beans. Get out of town.
Fried pickles and mini tacos with tequila shooters.
Oyster Shooters – the perfect Charleston treat
The guys will love these comfort food stations…and who wouldn’t. A potato and BBQ bar?! Heaven.
For the bar…
Check out this awesome beer bar complete with fun glassware and the couples favorite draft selections.
Custom beer for your bar, favor or escort cards? Yes, please!
Was there every a more Southern beverage station than a Bourbon Bar? Um…no. I love this one designed by Calder Clark. What a fabulous way to involve your guests in creating and tasting their beverage of choice.
Is it just me or does mini food taste better? Bite sized hors d’Oeuvres are the perfect sized morsel to serve your guests during cocktail hour. They’ll leave your guests with a taste of Lowcountry cuisine and have them begging for more by the time the main course rolls around. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite appetizers to kick off your wedding reception and even a few late night snacks. Jazz up your menu by adding a few of these options and your guests will be raving about it for years to come!
Open faced Roast Beef Sandwiches via Jai Girard Photography
Sliders and Fries via Pizzazzerie
Milk and Cookies via Audrey Magazine
Image via Bridal Bar
Key Lime Pies via My Sweet and Saucy
Spinach Dip in Mini Bread Bowls via Picky Palate
Miniature Pies via Project Wedding
BBQ Sandwiches via Martha Stewart Weddings
Fish Tacos and Tequila via The Knot
Ham and Cheese Sandwiches via The Girl Who Ate Everything
Doughnuts via Think Splendid!
French Toast via Creative Party Place
Veggie Crudite via Simple Bites
Miniature Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup via Fresh Tart
It might have a little bit to do with my past experience in catering but my favorite part of a wedding is ALWAYS the food. How I see it, a wedding can be absolutely exquisite but if the food is blah or just flat out bad that will be the only thing guests take away from the evening. On the other hand, if the food is out-of-this-world and they can experience items differently, either by presentation or taste, I can promise they will be raving about your big day for years to come. I always love dreaming up menus that put a fun twist on an old favorite, so recently when I was snacking on a soft pretzel at a USC baseball game, it hit me…I love pretzels (of all shapes, sizes and flavors!) and I’d die for a late night pretzel station. This is what I’m thinking…
Image via Loewen Images
Image via Sprinkles of Parsley
Pretzel bites or miniature pretzels served warm in a variety of flavors like: original (all nice and buttered up!) cinnamon sugar, garlic or even stuffed like a little pizza with pepperoni and mozzarella. For sauces: mustard, marinara, cheese and chocolate. Present them in cute baskets (below) and have cups or pretzel bags available (that you can coordinate with your wedding colors) to allow guests to move freely around while snackin’ and dippin’!
Image via Della Chen
Most importantly, don’t forget include some chocolate covered pretzels!