Spice Up Your Menu : Tips from Orlando Wedding Planner

Today we're breaking down how to spice up cocktail hour! While you're smiling for pictures during golden hour, your guests will be getting the party started!

Quality food is rated as one of the top three priorities of 98% of our Orlando wedding planning couples. There may seem to be endless options within those catering menus, but with our tips, we will help you narrow it down and think beyond the boring chicken or fish.

Variety, Presentation & Seasonality

Variety, enough said.

If you are choosing 5 passed hors-d'oeuvres, mix it up. Consider one of each... vegetarian, seafood, beef, chicken and of course a cheese option!

Photo credit: DREAMTOWN Photo Co

Photo credit: DREAMTOWN Photo Co

Passed only hors d'oeuvres: Plan on 3 different appetizers for 50 guests or 5-7 different appetizers for a guest count over 125.
Stationary and passed hors-d'oeuvres: Think about having 3 or 4 passed in addition to that cheese and fruit display

Don't completely forget about your reception entree when selecting cocktail hour provisions, you want a cohesive meal from start to finish - cocktail hour to the cake! If you are serving a risotto ball at cocktail hour, skip the risotto cake as a side with your let and crab cake dual entree. As your Orlando Wedding Planner, we can help direct you to make great cohesive selections to please many palates!

It's all about presentation, am I right?

Are all your choices served skewer style? Think beyond the stick: tomato soup shooters with grilled cheese bites, mini tacos served on a lime wedge, shrimp & grits on an edible spoon....I could go on forever, yum!
Let reality set in....those shrimp and corn fritters are likely not the best option for a passed app, as they may be soggy once 1 - plated, 2 - passed and 3 - grabbed.

Make it easy for your guests to nosh! They will be juggling a purse and a cocktail, so go for one or two bite snacks that don’t make a mess. And don't forget to provide some hightops and lounge seating to help them continue mix and mingling comfortably!

Shop local and consider the season.

Getting married in May? Choose that watermelon and tomato checkerboard salad from Arthur’s Catering.
Love a local dairy farm and like to support small businesses? Farm to Table is one of our favorite Orlando wedding trends! Use cheeses from a local farm on your charcuterie board.

Are you having a winter wedding? Choose hot options, to warm up your guests, like a brie and caramelized onion tartlets. Or is it an alfresco summer soiree? Mix it up and serve a balance of both hot and cold options. How about a roasted tomato crostini, along with shrimp & chorizo skewers.

Still feeling overwhelmed? Ask your Orlando wedding caterer for suggestions of their most popular menu choices!

Make it more personal & memorable!

Photo credit: Sivan Photography

Photo credit: Sivan Photography

Want to give your guests a little-added something during cocktail hour or even dessert? Consider an “action” station! What about a little fire show, did someone say flaming donuts or bananas foster?
You and your fiancé go together like chicken & waffles! Why not try these fun pairings:

  • Tacos & margaritas
  • Beer & sliders
  • French fries & milkshakes
  • Tomato soup & grilled cheese

Is your fiancé an over the top baseball fan? Go ahead and add those gourmet mini hot dogs! Love New England oysters (best in the world, I may be biased though!), but getting married out of state? It is your lucky day! Island Creek Oysters in Duxbury, Massachusetts will mail you sacks of their famous oysters. Sold in sacks of 100, you can count on three to five oysters per person, which balances out for those who are not the shellfish eating type. Did you meet your ancé in Italy while studying abroad? Perhaps you visited the Parmigiano Reggiano factory in Bologna, Italy and are still daydreaming about it? (I clearly am!) Create a personal meat and cheese plate with DOP prosciutto, Parmigiano Reggiano and balsamic, salute!

Photo credit: DREAMTOWN Photo Co

Photo credit: DREAMTOWN Photo Co

Having a destination wedding? Choose iconic dishes of the area: mini cubans in Miami, lobster tacos in Kennebunkport, deep dish pizza bites in Chicago, steak & cheese sliders in Philly.

Hungry yet? Next up we will give you deets on dinner, for now - Cheers!

Want to know our favorite Orlando wedding caterers? Stuck not knowing what questions you should be asking when interviewing potential caterers? Leave us wedding planning questions & comments below.