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The cocktail hour is one of the most exciting parts of a wedding. It’s the time when the friends and relatives of the bride and groom come together to reconnect, celebrate, and relax, taking the edge off of their hunger with delicious appetizers that will tide guests over until the sitdown dinner. Many people love cocktail hours so much that they actually look more forward to them than they do to the dinner itself. Cocktail hours have a light, festive vibe that helps get people into the mood.

The Perfect Cocktail Hour Bite-Sized Snacks

Putting out the right types of bite-size appetizers can make all the difference. You want your guests to keep hunger at bay with easy to eat treats that are delicious enough to remember but don’t ruin their appetites. Here are a few options for exquisite cocktail reception foods that will keep your guests happy without making a mess.

Puff Pastry

Delicious, savory filling wrapped in puff pastry is one of the most delicious, mess-free ways to enjoy a scrumptious bite at a cocktail reception. The filling can be made with just about anything, including chicken, sausage, seafood and vegetables. The pastry itself can be wrapped in a creative way to give it an extra fancy look for the occasion.

Mini Meatballs

Set them with a toothpick, and meatballs are one of the easiest, tastiest, mess-free foods that you can serve at a reception. Serve spicy beef meatballs, tender chicken meatballs, or meatballs made out of plant-based ingredients for your vegan or vegetarian guests.

Skewered Meats

Skewered meat, spicy and savory, is easily one of the best foods at a cocktail reception. The skewers allow the guests to eat the delicious fare without getting their fingers messy, and the right recipe will have people coming back for more.

Wrapped Figs

The delicious, fruity meatiness of figs paired with fillings like blue cheese, honey, and bacon create a delicious appetizer that tantalizes all of the senses.The mixture of savory and sweet will entice just about every taste bud, and toothpicks help prevent messes.

Gourmet Sliders

Everyone loves sliders, thanks to their savory, delicious meal-in-a-bite appeal. Go a step further and upgrade this tiny burger by serving bits of filet mignon sandwiched between tiny brioche buns. The tender juiciness of the filet mignon and the lightly toasted sweet softness of the brioche bun make this a tantalizing, delicious crowd pleaser.

Dim Sum

There’s a reason that dim sum is so popular. Dim sum is a popular Chinese culinary feast served in an array of small plates, perfect for the bite-sized, ready-to-eat deliciousness served during cocktail hours. From fried wontons to savory dumplings, filling your cocktail reception menu with dim sum options will enchant any palate.

Cocktail Shrimp

Cocktail shrimp is one of those foods that you simply expect to see at a cocktail reception. It is a delicious, easy-to-eat food that adds an elegant touch to just about any reception. Add a light twist of lemon to give it a little extra zing, and give your guests tiny, individual cups of cocktail sauce so that they can double dip to their heart’s content.


Sushi is always a crowd pleaser, and it always comes in bite-sized pieces. There are so many beautiful options out there, and there are even vegan sushi options for your guests who don’t eat meat. Set up a sushi station complete with a sushi chef for extra flair.


Flatbread is one of those amazingly delicious foods that you can top with just about anything. From spinach and mushroom to a pear, caramelized onion, blue cheese and aged balsamic vinegar combo, the topping possibilities are endless.

Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed mushrooms are another cocktail reception favorite. They can be stuffed with just about anything, from blue cheese to crab meat. Guests love them because they’re delicious and easy to eat.

Serve Your Friends a Feast at Windows on the Water

Windows on the Water is a spectacular tent wedding venue located in central New Jersey and surrounded by water on both sides. We can handle every bit of your wedding from the walk down the aisle to the cocktail hour to the final “I Dos”. The backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean and beach provides stunning views that captivate and enchant.

Reach out to us at (609) 208-9475 so that we can answer any questions you may have, or contact us via our contact form.