By Heather Lee
Photo by Volvoreta
Go ahead, play with your wedding food! A guaranteed way to impress your guests at your reception is by serving mini cocktail hour food pairings—and yes, you read that correctly. Believe it or not, your cocktail hour is an opportunity to really have fun with your menu options, so take it to the next level by offering bite-sized versions of your favorite food and drink combinations. Mini tacos? We’ll have three. A tiny Bloody Mary? Don’t mind if we do.With Finger food to munch on and pint-sized beverages to guzzle back, your hors d’oeuvre selections will be the talk of your nearest and dearest long after your wedding day. Plus, if you’re hosting this festivity before the wedding ceremony, mini cocktails and light bights ensure no one will be stumbling down the aisle. Here are a few delicious (and unexpected) pairings that are sure to make stomachs grumble and mouths water at your cocktail hour.
1. Fried Chicken + Rum and Coke
Serve up some good old comfort food in style—scaled-down, that is. Go all mini everything, from the chicken itself to the Coke bottles to even the straws. Squeeze in a dash of rum and you’re all set. This is finger food we can all get behind.
2. Fried Clams + Bloody Mary
For a seaside-inspired cocktail hour, all it takes is a little downsizing to completely revamp your nautical menu. Serve petite glasses of Bloody Mary, paired alongside mini fried clams in decorative oyster dishes. Stick a toothpick inside this cuisine for easier (and cleaner) consumption.
3. Tacos + Margaritas
Don’t let size fool you—bite-sized tacos pack just as much of a punch, especially with a side of mini margarita to wash them down. Good luck limiting yourself to just one of these Mexican menu staples
4. Roast Beef Sliders + Beer
Photo by Olivia Leigh Photographie
To ensure your favorite guilty pleasure meal goes from bar snack-status to truly glam and reception-ready, pair perfectly petite burgers with corresponding beer flights. A slider of mini proportions means a more efficient, mess-free way of getting your grub on. We’ll have seconds, please.
5. Cotton Candy + Champagne
Nothing beats a sweet and bubbly combo, especially in perfectly pint-sized proportions. Guests can raise their glasses to toast to the happy couple at cocktail hour, but only after enjoying a small sugar fix. Bottoms up, mini fluffs of cotton candy and all.
6. Coffee + Doughnut Holes
Photo by Love & Light Photographs
Bite-sized treats shouldn’t be limited to just the reception—they can even make an appearance at post-wedding brunch, as well. Definitely don’t skimp out on hefty coffee portions (especially for guests who took a little too much advantage of the open bar), but do toss in a few doughnut holes served on decorative sticks. This pairing takes everyone’s go-to cup of joe and favorite round confection to new heights.
7. Baby Burgers + Bourbon
When you’re dressed in your finest, the last thing you need is a sloppy sandwich. Enter the mini version, like this one from D.C.-based Occasions Caterers, with all the flavor, none of the mess. Chase down the burgers with shots of your favorite bourbon or whiskey.
7. Sundaes + Soda
“I like to shrink favorite iconic foods to bize-size treats”, says New York City based caterer Peter Callahan. To make petite banana splits feel ice cream parlor authentic, he serves them in footed glass dishes. Pair with a classic fountain drink (and add a shot of liquor for a boozy version).
8. Mini Pops + Prosecco
Take a cue from L.A.‘s Hungry Bear Catering and serve a boozy, grown-up version of Popsicles at cocktail hour. It’s both your dessert and your drink, all in one. Added bonus: The champagne flutes catch any drips.
9. Hot Dogs + Pickles (+ Beer!)
Small versions of foods like hot dogs feel sophisticated and personalized. “We customize menus based on the couples favorite foods”, says San Francisco caterer David Zlatchin of Betty Zlatchin Catering. For the drink, go with a classic American IPA or other light, crisp beer.