Yeah Weddings
cocktail hour food ideas

Delicious & Creative Cocktail Hour Food Ideas

When planning your wedding reception, you can’t forget the cocktail hour. This part of the celebration typically involves mingling over cocktails and snacks, so you’ll need some delicious cocktail hour food ideas for guests to enjoy.

Here are some of our favorite cocktail hour foods to serve at your wedding!

cocktail hour ideas

The cocktail hour is a time before the reception where guests socialize. Some brides decide to have an elaborate cocktail hour with lots of food stations, and some like to have a small cocktail hour with small hors d’oeuvres being passed around.

Whatever type of bride you are, there are lots of amazing food options to choose from!

Use our favorite cocktail hour food ideas to keep guests well fed before dinner!

Food Station Idea

cocktail hour food ideas

A good idea for your cocktail hour is having individual food stations. Food stations are very entertaining for guests as well as being a fun, delicious appetizer before your reception.

Allowing your guests to enjoy the experience of customizing their own appetizers gives your wedding a fun start. You can also consider food stations as an alternative to a sit-down dinner at the reception!

Tomato Soup Shooter With Grilled Cheese

tomato soup and grilled cheese

Serve tomato soup with grilled cheese at your cocktail hour for a delicious treat and guests can eat standing up. At your cocktail hour, finger foods are best because sometimes seating is limited and guests want to socialize.

Offer the tomato soup in a shooter glass so guests can drink it while biting into the delicious grilled cheese. 

Mini Shrimp Cocktail

shrimp shooters

Shrimp cocktails are usually served on a buffet with lemon wedges and cocktail sauce. Shrimp cocktails could be in mini glasses to make it easier for guests to carry around while socializing at your cocktail hour. Mini shrimp cocktails are the ultimate food to serve at your cocktail hour!

Charcuterie Board

cocktail hour charcuterie

The newest trend in the culinary world is elaborate charcuterie boards. Using different types of cured meats like prosciutto, salami, and pepperoni, you can create a tasty treat for guests.

You can decorate your fancy charcuterie board with different fruits, jams, and cheeses to make it enjoyable for all your guests. Make sure you add crackers or bread to complete the charcuterie board bites.  

Mac N Cheese Bar

From your older guests to the children at your wedding, guests of all ages will love a mac and cheese bar. Allow your caterer to set up a mac and cheese station where guests can add just how much cheese they want mixed into their pasta. You can also add yummy mac and cheese complimenting toppings like bacon or broccoli. 



Oyster bars or raw bars are always a hit at weddings. Guests will love the selection of seafood for your cocktail hour.

Giving your guests this experience at your wedding gives them something they probably don’t get everyday, making your celebration even more special. Place oysters or other raw seafood on crushed ice and have a catering assistant man the food station. 

Veggie Platter

veggie display

For a healthy snack that will please all the vegetarians and vegans at your wedding, try having a veggie platter. Fill the platter with all of the classics like carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, sugar snap peas, and even cauliflower. Add dipping options like ranch or a delicious green goddess dressing. 


bacon wrapped dates

Bacon is one of the most popular foods out there because it just tastes so good! Try serving wrapped scallops, bacon wrapped asparagus, or even bacon wrapped chicken. Anything with bacon is sure to be a hit at your cocktail hour. 

Rustic Pizza


Try serving rustic oven fired pizza at your cocktail hour. Guests will love the salty, savory snack and pieces of individual pizza are perfect for easy consumption.

You can also choose to serve mini pizza bites if you want a smaller size than a full slice per guest. 

Mashed Potato Bar

Similar to the mac and cheese bar, mashed potato bars are surprisingly popular at wedding cocktail hours. Instead of pasta, use mashed potatoes and allow your guests to choose from traditional toppings. Things like bacon (once again!), chives, sour cream, cheese, and butter all go wonderfully with mashed potatoes. 

Sushi Station

sushi bar

If you and your partner are fans of asian food, serve some delicious sushi at your wedding. A sushi bar is a delicious and fun way to add some asian flair to your cocktail hour.

Different styles of sushi that aren’t just raw fish will please all kinds of guests. Rolls like California rolls, avocado rolls, or Philadelphia rolls are delicious! 

Bread Station

bread basket

Serve lots of bread at your cocktail hour to let your guests have a selection to choose from. Types of bread like sourdough, ciabatta, seeded whole grain, and focaccia will make sure every guest has something they will enjoy. 



Lobster is the ultimate luxury food. Serving lobster in several different forms is sure to win over your guests and create the ultimate wedding experience. Serve hors d’oeuvres like mini Maine lobster bites or a lobster roll bruschetta to bring a little opulence into your cocktail hour. 

Chicken Kebab

cocktail hour kebabs

Chicken on kebabs is the ultimate on the go snack. Serve these fun foods on a stick so guests can nibble on your appetizers while exploring your cocktail hour and interacting with other guests. Layer chicken with grilled vegetables to make your kebabs colorful and tasty.

Prosciutto Caprese Bites

caprese bites

For some Italian flair at your cocktail hour, wrap caprese bites with prosciutto. Caprese is a popular Italian appetizer of tomato, mozzarella, and basil. It is a fresh and summery appetizer that is perfect for a cocktail hour when it is wrapped in cured prosciutto for a delicious bite. 

One Bite Taco

mini tacos

Everyone loves tacos! Why not serve mini ones at your cocktail hour? Guests will love the novelty of a mini taco while enjoying a delectable Mexican treat.

Serve different types of tacos like chicken, beef, fish, and vegetables to make sure every guest can enjoy them. 

Fried Chicken

fried chicken bitese

Serve fried chicken at your cocktail hour for a crispy, crunchy appetizer that will delight guests of all ages. You can’t go wrong with serving fried chicken appetizers like mini chicken and waffles, plus they are adorable when they are being plated.

Popcorn Bar


If you just want to give your guests a small snack before the reception, rent a popcorn machine and serve different types of toppings that your guests can put on top of their popcorn.

Toppings like different flavored butters, or different types of powdered seasoning will make your guests feel like they customized their own snack. 

Pasta Bar

Similar to the mac and cheese bar, a pasta bar will be a favorite among guests. A pasta bar is perfect because it will allow guests who are vegetarian to have a meatless option that is still filling. Serve different flavored sauces, meat toppings, and cheese as options to put on top of the pastas.

Lettuce Wraps

lettuce wraps

For a healthy option, serve delicious cups of lettuce with a variety of different meats and meatless options. A common option is chicken lettuce wraps. This is good for guests who may have dietary restrictions. 

This page may contain affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, we'll earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you.

Caroline Kinsley

Caroline Kinsley is a recent graduate from the University of Delaware. With a degree in media communications, Caroline’s passions are marketing and journalism. Caroline has always loved the wedding planning process, being the daughter of an event planner. In addition to contributions to Yeah Weddings, Caroline Kinsley has published articles in Delaware Today Magazine, Her Campus, and YOUR Magazine.

Add comment