Wedding Venues

Throw a Cocktail Reception

Check out these ideas for a posh niddles-and-nosh party

Diminutive dishes artfully presented give your party a trendy-restaurant hipness.

Go global.

With a menu made up of many hors d'oeuvres rather than just three or four courses, variety is important; your selections can come from a few styles of cuisines. Be sure to offer hot and cold options, plus vegetarian picks, just as you would for a traditional reception.

Surprise with stations.

Passed hors d'oeuvres are always appropriate, but interactive stations or themed displays are a fun, unexpected offering—and because guests help themselves, the party can flow smoothly. Some of our favorites: a ceviche bar, sushi display or made-to-order pizza station. Some caterers are also serving small bowls of risotto or individual-sized cheese plates from tiered stands.

Vary the vessels.

A contemporary party style calls for serving pieces that aren't the standard silver trays. Try soup in glass votives, casseroles in mini pans, salad on Asian soup spoons or assorted vegetables and dips in sleek porcelain dishes. For optimum chatting and minimal mess, foods that can be eaten in just a few bites work best.

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