14 Crowd-Pleasing Tapas to Serve at Your Wedding

Pass these bites to get the party started

Updated 05/07/18

Photo by Sara Lobla

It's no secret that food and drink are some of the most important elements of a wedding—for the guests, at least. You could go with a formal five-course meal or run back and forth to the buffet, but make sure there's something on the menu that allows your guests to mix and mingle (and maybe even dance!) while they eat.

You can do this with cocktail hour bites or mini desserts, or make like Pilar Deza and Sergio López and serve tapas! When the Spanish couple married in 2016 in a lavish ceremony—featured in the June/July 2018 issue of Brides—they wanted to capture the spirit of the La Rioja region where they held the celebration. Pilar and Sergio invited their 260 guests to a Spanish-inspired meal that included lobster, regional wines, and a range of tapas, of course.

Whether you're saying 'I do' in your parents' backyard or marrying in one of the best wedding venues in the country, tapas will keep your guests fed, satisfied, and on their feet. Pilar and Sergio's DJ cranked their custom indie rock playlist while guests sipped gazpacho, but you can serve any (or all!) of these bites to the beat of your own drum. To see photos of their stunning wedding and read about how they met, grab a copy of Brides' June/July 2018 issue (with cover star Chanel Iman!).

All recipes courtesy of our friends at Bon Appétit.

Summer Gazpacho

<p>appetizers, hors d'oeuvres, food, reception, menu tomatoes, chives, soup, bread, bowl, eat, veggies, vegetables</p>

Alex Lau

This version of the classic Spanish cold soup has a tomato, red pepper, and cucumber base. It's topped with fresh veggies and olive oil, and served with bread. Find the full recipe here.

Spanish Chorizo with Dates

<p>appetizers, hors d'oeuvres, food, reception, menu</p>

Keirnan Monaghan and Theo Vamvounakis

This spicy-sweet combo is served with blue cheese for a salty sharpness and drizzled with homemade vanilla oil for an aromatic sweetness the mellows the strong flavors into one harmonious bite. Find the full recipe here.

Spicy Lamb Meatballs with Raisin Pesto

<p>appetizers, hors d'oeuvres, food, reception, menu, mediterranean</p>

Stephen Kent Johnson

A minty pesto adds brightness to the heavy flavor of lamb, while plain yogurt cools the palate—a much-needed reprieve from the red pepper flakes rolled into these meatballs. Find the full recipe here.

Anchovy and Sardine Toasts with Chile Butter

<p>appetizers, hors d'oeuvres, food, reception, menu, bread, spicy, chile, plate, bite</p>

Chelsie Craig

This sounds like two competing flavors, but they work together so well. The chile butter cuts through the richness of the fish. The bread adds texture, and an easy bite to balance with your glass of wine while you mingle at cocktail hour. Find the full recipe here.

Maduros (Fried Sweet Plantains)

<p>appetizers, hors d'oeuvres, food, reception, menu, sweet, dessert</p>

Laura Murray

With all the deliciously savory items on your wedding menu, it's nice to include a sweet dish or two. These caramelized plantains aren't super sugary, but will almost be like eating your dessert before dinner. Find the full recipe here.

Red Snapper, Shrimp, and Watermelon Ceviche

<p>appetizers, hors d'oeuvres, food, reception, menu</p>

Heidis Bridge

This raw dish gets a kick of spice from thinly slice jalapeños and brightness from orange and lime juices. With the inclusion of watermelon, it's a bonafide summer dish. Find the full recipe here.

Clam Toasts with Pancetta

<p>appetizers, hors d'oeuvres, food, reception, menu, seafood, bread, broth</p>

Laura Murray

Perhaps one of the best things about a bowl of mussels or clams is soaking up the broth with a piece of deliciously crusty bread. This recipe takes it a step further by topping toasts with the tasty clams, letting their broth flavor the bread. Find the full recipe here.

Pan con Tomatillo

<p>appetizers, hors d'oeuvres, food, reception, menu, tomatoes, fresh, vegetables, veggies</p>

Peden + Munk

If you prefer your bread a bit crunchier but still want to top it with super-fresh ingredients, these simple but delicious tomatillos on toast with salt and pepper will be your favorite. Find the full recipe here.

Grilled Garlic-and-Black-Pepper Shrimp

<p>appetizers, hors d'oeuvres, food, reception, menu</p>

Peden + Munk

These shrimp are cooked on skewers, so you'll get those delicious grill marks that make seafood sing. It helps that this perfect balance of salt, citrus, and spice is brought to us straight from Gunpowder, an Indian restaurant in London. Find the full recipe here.

Marinated Goat Cheese with Herbs and Spices

<p>appetizers, hors d'oeuvres, food, reception, menu</p>

Alex Lau

Cheese-lovers, rejoice! This super-simple recipe takes your favorite goat varieties to the next level with the likes of coriander, bay leaves, citrus peels, and red pepper flakes. Try this out at the next cocktail party you host, and your friends will never want to leave. Find the full recipe here.

Shrimp Scampi

<p>appetizers, hors d'oeuvres, food, reception, menu, seafood, bread, broth</p>

Laura Murray

The most important part of this recipe is the marinading step. It only takes 30 minutes to an hour, but makes all the difference in getting the shrimp to absorb the garlic and salt. A second layer of garlic is added on when you sauté thin slices with red pepper flakes and white wine, then toss to coat. Optional parsley and mandatory warm bread round out the dish. Find the full recipe here.

Fried Squid with Aioli

<p>appetizers, hors d'oeuvres, food, reception, menu, seafood</p>

Michael Graydon and Nikole Herriott

Your wedding menu would feel incomplete without something crunchy and salty to eat. The batter on these squid slices is made with potato starch and arepa flour for a deliciously crispy bite. A lemony, garlicky aioli is perfect for dipping. Find the full recipe here.

Figs with Bacon and Chile

<p>appetizers, hors d'oeuvres, food, reception, menu, bacon, salty, sweet</p>

Alex Lau

This might be the best sweet-smoky combo yet. The ripe figs are caramelized and topped with thick-cut bacon. Juice from the figs is finished with a touch of sherry vinegar to create a syrup to pour over top, followed by a sprinkling of crushed red pepper. Two bites and you'll be back for more. Find the full recipe here.

Argentinian Beef Empanadas

<p>appetizers, hors d'oeuvres, food, reception, menu, hispanic food, latin food</p>

Alex Lau

A couple of nuances in this recipe give these empanadas distinct flavor and texture. First, green olives and raisins are added to the filling for a balance of briny and sweet. Then, once everything's wrapped in puff pastry, the empanadas are baked instead of fried. The edges are crispy and the rest is deliciously flaky. Find the full recipe here.

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