How Many Appetizers Per Person Wedding And When To Serve

If you’re unsure how many appetizers per person wedding, it depends on when you’ll be serving the appetizer. In this guide, you will see the estimates per person for each time throughout the wedding to help you ensure that everyone will be full. 

Furthermore, we’ll calculate the number of appetizers according to the size of your wedding. Then, we recommend reading how to cater your own wedding for additional information since it discusses everything regarding meal plans for your wedding.  

how many appetizers per person wedding


How Many Appetizers Should You Have At A Wedding Per Person?

Each person can have as many as 9 to 14 pieces of appetizers at a wedding because you’ll typically serve them during cocktail hour and before the actual dinner at the reception. However, do note that this number will change if you’ll be treating the appetizers as hors d’oeuvres, if the wedding will have no dinner, or if you’re replacing the dinner with appetizers. 

You’ll need more appetizers to keep the event flowing, especially while the guests are mingling. On the other hand, you may not need to order too many appetizers if you’ll be serving other meals throughout the reception. 


Are appetizers and hors d’oeuvres the same in weddings?

The difference between appetizers and hors d’oeuvres depends on when you’ll serve them. For example, the guests are typically led to the cocktail hour after the wedding ceremony. 

During this time, you’ll have servers walking around with items the guests can eat. These bites are considered appetizers because they are eaten before being seated or before the actual meal to complement the wedding menu. 

Hors d’oeuvres, on the other hand, are smaller and less filling because they’re more of finger food. You can serve them at the wedding separated from the meal or even before it. 

They don’t need to complement the main wedding meal, and hors d’oeuvres can be finished within one to two bites. 


How Do You Calculate The Number Of Appetizers Per Person At A Wedding?

  1. Determine if you’ll also serve dinner at your wedding; the number of appetizer pieces per person should be twice the expected amount if you won’t serve dinner at the reception
  2. Plan the number of appetizers you’ll serve; small weddings with under 50 guests can have up to 6 types of appetizers, while bigger weddings can serve only 3 types of appetizers 
  3. Typically, one wedding guest will consume 6 appetizers if there will be a dinner and 12 if it’s a cocktail-type reception; therefore, you can multiple 6 or 12 per guest then divide the answer by the number of types of appetizers you’ll have 


How many appetizer pieces per person per hour?

A wedding guest can eat 3 to 5 appetizers per hour. 


How Many Appetizers Do I Need For 100 Guests At A Wedding?

You will usually need 6 appetizers per wedding guest since wedding receptions typically have a dinner. That being said, you will multiple 6 appetizers by 100 guests, which means you’ll need 600 appetizers. 

On the other hand, cocktail-type wedding receptions without an actual meal mean each guest will consume up to 12 appetizers. Therefore, you’ll need 1,200 appetizers at a 100-guest wedding if you don’t have dinner. 

Note that these are only estimated because the number of appetizer types will affect the total appetizers you must order. If you have three types of appetizers at a wedding, then you must divide 600 or 1,200 by 3. 


How Many Appetizers Do I Need For 50 People At A Wedding?

If you have 50 guests at your wedding, you will multiple it by 6 or 12, depending on the setting. For example, if they have dinner, you’ll only multiply 6 appetizers per wedding guest, while it should be twice the amount if it will be their food during the cocktail-style setting. 

Then, remember how many types of appetizers you’ll serve. Since it’s a small wedding, it’s typical to serve as many as 6 to 8 types of appetizers, which means you’ll divide the total by 6 or 8. 


How Many Appetizers Do I Need For Cocktail Hour?

The cocktail hour happens between the ceremony and reception, which will also be before dinner. You’ll serve 4 appetizers per guest during cocktail hour, which is 45 to 60 minutes before the wedding dinner. 

But while it is the so-called “cocktail hour”, it can also last longer, so you can serve more appetizers if needed. This can mean calculating 6 appetizers per guest if the cocktail hour lasts for one and half hours to two hours. 

Consider reading about what is cocktail hour at a wedding to know the expectations regarding this time. 


How Many Appetizers Per Person For Dinner At A Wedding?

You can have 6 to 10 appetizers per wedding guest one to two hours before the dinner. But if it will be a two-hour reception and you’ll only have heavy hors d’oeuvres, it should be 10 to 12 pieces per guest. 

For a 4-hour reception and the appetizers will serve as the dinner replacement, it’s best to calculate as many as 15 pieces per wedding guest. This way, your guests will continuously have something to munch on as they party and mingle around. 



And that’s it! To recap how many appetizers per person wedding, it can be from 6 to 12 pieces per guest. 

However, remember when you’ll serve the appetizers and the number of kinds of appetizers you’ll have. If the wedding doesn’t have dinner, assume that you’ll need more appetizers. 

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