There are some things you’ll never forget; like the first time you saw your soon-to-be spouse. For an unforgettable wedding reception, harness the power of a great first impression and welcome your guests to a memorable cocktail party.

We asked Steve Guagliardi, Director of Catering & Event Design, Rich’s Catering & Special Events, for his insight on creating a memorable first impression. Here are his tips for what to serve, how to serve it and how to keep it all on budget.

MYM: Why are hors d’oeuvres an important part of any event?

SG: The cocktail hour is the first impression guests will have of your event. Everyone notices the first impression; it’s the most special part of the wedding reception. Good food at the beginning of the event is a great way to showcase what the night will entail.

MYM: What is the most budget-friendly way to serve hors d’oeuvres?

SG: There are two main ways to serve appetizers, hand-passed or stations. Believe it or not, passed hors d’oeuvres are more cost-effective than stations. While giving the impression of an elevated event, passed hors d’oeuvres allow us to control the quantity and flow of the appetizers and maximize the spend on this portion of the event.

MYM: How do you determine what kind of catering services a reception requires?

SG: The length of the event should guide the catering needs. A cocktail party lasting one to two hours requires only passed hors d’oeuvres. If you’re doing a longer cocktail party, for two to three hours, small plates are ideal. Small plates are like a mini version of an entrée, each plate includes a starch, a protein and a vegetable. Any event over three hours should include a full meal.

MYM: What’s your favorite hors d’oeuvre on Rich’s menu?

SG: That may change soon as we’re revamping our menus for the 2020 season, however, at the moment I love our White Truffle Arancini with fried shitake and béchamel. This app is featured in our Emerald and Diamond wedding packages and it’s always a hit with guests.

Let Steve, and the event management team at Rich’s Catering & Special Events, help you make a memorable first impression, call 716-878-8422.

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