Low Budget Cocktail hour?

We are really tight for money and have already racked up a bunch of bills planning our wedding. I know we should have a cocktail hour between ceremony and reception since that will be our picture taking time but all this sure adds up quick! Any ideas on inexpensive foods for the cocktail hour? I'm at a lost on what even normally gets served there!

10 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    the two (and a half) best money-saving tips i have heard to do with cocktail hour are these:

    cut down the cocktail "hour" to 45 minutes. if the wedding is at the same venue as the reception, just let people mingle for a while. with cold water available but dont start serving drinks for a while, unless someone has a bit of a habit of drinking they wont notice that they arent available straight away. you would be surprised how much people can drink in 15 minutes, all combined! also, if you are supplying the alcohol, have limited options. you will save money if you only have to buy ingredients for one cocktail, and have one or two beers available and one red wine and one white.

    second, serve more snacky, finger food during the cocktail hour and skip the entree. people will fill up while they are drinking and usually you will save money by skipping a course. you would have to work this out depending on what hors douvers you want to serve (for example crackers with cheeses would be fine, but something a bit more costly this might be bad for your budget)

    as for food, you should speak to your caterer (if you're using them for cocktail hour) once you've booked them (or are thinking or booking them) they should have plenty of options, and let them know you're budget conscious!

    if you're doing it yourself, a great idea would be to set up a table (or a few tables around the area) and find a food wholesaler. buy nice cheeses (camembert, brie etc) and a whole bunch of crackers, mixed nuts and dried fruits, cheese biscuits, chips... if you have access to an oven you find heaps of frozen finger foods, such as samosa's, spring rolls, pies and sausage rolls, cheese puffs and anything snack sized. some people might think these are tacky, but in the end its what you want and can afford! so if that sounds good to you, go for it.

  • 5 years ago

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    Low Budget Cocktail hour?

    We are really tight for money and have already racked up a bunch of bills planning our wedding. I know we should have a cocktail hour between ceremony and reception since that will be our picture taking time but all this sure adds up quick! Any ideas on inexpensive foods for the cocktail hour? ...

    Source(s): budget cocktail hour: https://bitly.im/DfWxt
  • 1 decade ago

    You only really "need" to have a cocktail hour if your wedding and reception are at the same place. Otherwise just have the time of the reception in with the invite and people will make their own way there. To me the biggest expense of a cocktail hour are the cocktails. You can either have a cash bar (not the best idea, but doable), or have very limited options, like a white wine, a red wine, light beer, regular beer, and a signature cocktail you create just for you. Along with water and the standard non-alcoholic stuffs of course. As for food, some people go way insane with this, but you really only need some canapes and/or hors d'oeuvres. Cheese and crackers, little sandwiches, meat skewers... Just something to put in their belly before the reception.

  • 4 years ago

    Cocktail Hour Ideas

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  • 1 decade ago

    Why have a cocktail hour, just take your pictures before ceremony which I personally do not like or after the wedding and let guests make their way to the reception area while pictures are being made, not more than an hour. Guests usually do not start eating until the happy couple arrive. But wine, iced tea, lemonade, water would be passed around while guests are waiting and most people would not mind waiting. This is the old fashioned way. They socialize and talk and the time goes by fast.

  • Me
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    I have been to lavish cocktail hours (raw bars, multiple caving stations, etc) and simple ones. The best ones have one thing in common, food presented in a nice way. I could be as simple as cheese and crackers with some fruit and nuts. You don't have to go overboard as long as you have enough for everyone.

    If your cocktail hour is outside please make sure the items are protected from flies. I was at a wedding with a lovely cheese table. Unfortunately it was covered with flies. Not the bride's fault but it was kinda gross and disappointing. After a 3 hour drive to the wedding and an hour in the church we were hungry, but no one wanted to touch the fly covered food.

  • 1 decade ago

    It doesn't need to be much of anything. Even something as simple as mixed nuts and mints would be fine. However, a lot of people like veggie trays for this, because they're inexpensive and if you're doing it yourself, you can just use whatever is in season and then add a couple options for dipping. Another popular option is a cheese platter. Just look for sales on blocks of cheese and set out some crackers. .

    It doesn't need to be fancy at all, nor is it a disaster if you run out.

  • 1 decade ago

    If you just keep it to simple finger foods, everyone will be happy and your wallet will get some relief. Things like cheese and cracker trays, veggies and dip and/or swedish meatballs with toothpicks are great, inexpensive crowd pleasers. You should serve them buffet style with a few scattered tables so people can serve themselves to save money, instead of paying for waiters to pass everything around on trays.

    Stick with non-alcoholic soda, juice, water, etc for the beverages. It's only going to be an hour, so you can keep your guests hydrated, but people can wait until dinner to start drinking wine, etc.

  • 1 decade ago

    Keep it very simple. White wine, red wine , one table with a vegetable tray, nuts, one or two blocks of cheese and basket of assorted crackers. There are very, very few musts in weddings any more. However, you don't invite people to a party and then ask them to pay for their own drinks. You will hear arguments on that, but a cash bar is a big NO.

  • Amanda
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    Bruchetta is normally a good option. and its inexpensive at most places.

    of course you'll want a variety, so talk with your caterer about what they offer, they may be able to even cut you a break since you'll be having a dinner through them. I know for our hall the dinners are $30/person (plated), but since we did that we can have buffet hor'derves for only $8/person instead of the normal $20/person.

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