Delicious Wedding Appetizer Ideas to Keep Guests Satisfied Throughout the Celebration

From bite-sized treats to gorgeous food stations, see some exciting appetizer ideas for cocktail hour and beyond.
Three wedding appetizers
Photos, left to right: MNC Photography, Samm Blake, B&G Photography
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by
Shelby Wax
shelby wax headshot
Shelby Wax
The Knot Contributor
  • Shelby is a contributing writer for The Knot covering all things weddings.
  • Shelby is a freelance writer for publications including Vogue, Over the Moon and Allure. She previously served as Senior Editor at Brides and Editor at Lonny Magazine.
  • Shelby graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from Scripps College.
Updated Jan 23, 2024

As you are building out your menu for your nuptials, you definitely should put lots of thought into what you choose for your wedding appetizers. Whether enjoyed during cocktail hour, to start a reception meal, or at the after-party, wedding hors d'oeuvres can keep guests fueled for the festivities and also add a fun culinary boost to your celebration. When working with your caterer, chat about some of their classic choices to serve up to guests, as well as some exciting trends to step up your selection. Don't forget to ask questions about unique ways they can present your bites, too. Unique food stations, food trucks, and passed appetizers can all be integrated into your contracts.

Want some amazing wedding appetizer ideas to your wedding caterer? Read ahead to get inspired for your celebration's menu. Pro Tip: If you're still searching for a great caterer, start your search on The Knot Vendor Marketplace.

1. Cheeseburger Sliders

Cheeseburgers are a comfort food classic that can definitely find their way to your wedding cocktail hour. Just make sure to serve them as mini sliders so guests won't spoil their appetite ahead of the reception.

2. Oyster Raw Bar

Raw oyster bar
Photo: Emily Wren Photography

If you're hosting a coastal affair or just love seafood, serve up oysters at a raw bar for your guests to enjoy. Make sure they are pre-shucked or have a professional shucker present so they are easy to enjoy.

3. French Fries

Is there anything better to snack on at an after-party than french fries? Place this salty app in cups filled with ketchup or your favorite dipping sauce for a yummy late-night bite.

4. Charcuterie Grazing Board

Charcuterie grazing table wedding appetizer
Photo: Hannah Bryerton,Catering: Avvino Restaurant

One classic appetizer option is a charcuterie spread. Filled with delicious cheeses, cured meats, fresh fruits, and plenty of crackers, guests can graze and fill their plates with their favorite selection of nibbles.

5. Individual Charcuterie Board

Instead of serving charcuterie during cocktail hour, consider making it the first course of your seated dinner. Individual boards for each guest will be an absolute hit.

6. Charcuterie Cones

Charcuterie cone wedding appetizer
Photo: Caitlin Gilbert Photography
,
Catering: The Hillside Catering

Want your charcuterie options to be easy to carry around cocktail hour or a late-night after-party? A cone is a perfect vessel for your appetizing selection.

7. Passed Brick Oven Pizza

Passed brick oven pizza wedding appetizer
Photo: Mary Costa Photography
,
Catering: The Urban Oven

Pizza is always a hit, but make sure you step it up if you're serving it at your wedding celebrations. Fresh slices straight from a brick oven set up at your venue will add an elevated touch to the treat.

8. Sushi Bar

Sushi bar at wedding
Photo: Person + Killian Photography,
Catering: Catering by Andrew

Not only is sushi the perfect bite-sized appetizer, but it also can look very pretty set up as a spread at your wedding. Be sure to have a few fish options, along with some vegetarian options so guests can mix and match.

9. Pretzel Bar

Pretzel bar at wedding
Photo: Koman Photography and Cinematography
,
Catering: Lobo Castle Catering

Serve up a salty treat and create a fun design moment with a hanging pretzel bar. Make sure to pair them up with mustards and dipping sauces so guests can have an even more savory snack.

10. Fried Chicken and Waffle Bites

Want an appetizer featuring a pairing that's just as perfect as your relationship? Serve up fried chicken and waffles for a sweet and savory treat.

11. Dim Sum Bar

Is dim sum a date night favorite of your and your spouse-to-be? Create a station for guests to grab a great selection for their appetizers.

12. Dumpling Take-Out Boxes

Mini dumpling take-out boxes wedding appetizers
Photo: Vue Photography,
Catering: Peter Callahan

If you don't want to create a station, consider serving up dumplings or other savory treats in fun takeout boxes. Bonus points if you add your monogram to the design.

13. Spoon Crudo

Want to serve a delicious crudo that's not a hassle for guests to eat during cocktail hour? Serve it up on spoons where they can savor the flavors in just one bite.

14. Mini Tacos and Gazpacho

Hosting a wedding in Mexico (or just love tacos)? Serve up petite tacos paired with glass bottles filled with gazpacho for a delicious pre-reception appetizer.

15. Tuna Tartare Cone

These petite tuna tartare cones are perfect for an elevated wedding cocktail hour. The shape of the cones can even allow them to be creatively put on display.

16. Dip Bar

All your guests will love a spread of delicious dips. Consider serving them in unique vessels like bread bowls for a rustic touch.

17. Steak Frites Bites

Get creative with your pairings when creating appetizer bites. These steak frites are a unique take on a classic duo regularly served as an entree.

18. Crab Cakes

Crab cakes are a classic choice wedding appetizers. Consider passing mini versions at cocktail hour or slightly larger ones as the first course of a seated dinner.

19. Hummus Bites

When building out your appetizer menus, consider if guests have any dietary restrictions. These hummus apps on cucumbers are an excellent vegan and gluten-free option for your wedding events.

20. Fast Food Favorites

Fast food wedding appetizers
Photography: Briars Atlas

Not every appetizer has to come straight from an elevated caterer. If you and your partner love a certain fast food snack, serve them up as snacks to hungry guests.

21. Biscuit Sandwiches

If you're hosting a midday wedding, you might want your reception menu to mimic a brunch. Consider serving delicious mini biscuit sandwiches for a daytime treat.

22. Petite Tarts

Don't forget that baked goods don't have to be sweet. Savory tarts can be a great addition to cocktail hour bites.

23. Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

Tomato soup and grilled cheese wedding appetizers
Photo: Summer Leigha Photography

You don't need a huge portion to get a taste of this classic combo. Mini grilled cheeses can be dipped into small containers of tomato soup for a satisfying hors d'oeuvre at any wedding event.

24. Mini Lobster Rolls

If you love seafood, you definitely should consider serving lobster rolls at your celebration. Petite rolls make it easy to serve them ahead of your reception without filling up your guests.

25. Caprese Skewers

Skewers are a perfect handheld appetizer for your guests at cocktail hour. A simple combo of tomatoes and mozzarella is sure to be a winner.

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