Most weddings have mediocre food, for some inexplicable reason – even when the couple has paid a lot of money for a fancy caterer. I think this tradition should end, and it’s much easier and cheaper to do at a DIY wedding. Food needn’t be fancy to taste good, and wedding receptions need not serve a full sit down meal, or even appetizers. Depending on the time of day the wedding and reception are held, serving only cake and punch is perfectly acceptable. (You just don’t want to hold your guests hostage for a cake and punch reception during lunch or dinner time or they might be starved and cranky.)
Because wedding logistics can be intimidating and the day revolves around a potentially scary life-changing commitment, couples shouldn’t try to do too much. Spending the entire morning of the wedding preparing food and the entire reception plating/serving the food might not be so enjoyable unless you have social anxieties that make it preferable to interacting with your guests. Appetizers are a great option for receptions for several reasons. They can be filling or light, they can be hand held and allow guests to mingle, they’re potentially inexpensive and easy to make, and they can offer a variety of tastes to please nearly everyone. Lots of wedding magazines and websites suggest recruiting friends and family to help with food prep and serving (among other wedding tasks) in order to save money. Please do this with caution. People’s time is worth something. Even if they do volunteer to help, please try not to overload them with tasks and take several opportunities to express your gratitude.
There are more options for appetizers than I could ever list. In this instructable, I’ll go over a few basics that I hope will help you solidify your ideas and choose what will work for you. I’m grouping these by delivery mechanism to hopefully encourage you to experiment with different options. The flavor combinations I chose to include are relatively common. They work well together and are generally well accepted.
Step 1: Sliced and Toasted Baguette
Crostini (little toasts) can be topped with just about anything you can imagine.
Brie cheese is made entirely of win. When it’s melted and combined with something sweet like fig preserves, the win molecules rearrange themselves to form epic win molecules.
Using a sharp serrated bread knife, slice the baguette on the bias; keep your slices thin. Spread them with a thin layer of fig preserves, then top each with a piece of brie. Place the slices on a cookie sheet in a 400 degree oven for a few minutes until the brie is melted. Lining the sheet with parchment makes cleanup easier; sometimes the brie oozes down the edges of the bread. These can be assembled ahead of time and baked right before serving.
Brush baguette slices with olive oil, toast in the oven, rub with garlic, and top with chopped tomato (heirloom if you can get them in your budget) and fresh basil
Drizzle slices with honey, top with thin pear slices and crumbled gorgonzola, and bake.
Toast slices, mix some mascarpone (mas-car-POH-nay, NOT MARS-cuh-pohn!) or cream cheese with honey to taste and spread it on the bread, top with sliced strawberries, crack on some black pepper and drip on a small amount of decent quality balsamic vinegar (not the $100 per bottle stuff, but check the label to make sure it’s aged and made with grape must; Cavalli makes a good condiment version for not too expensive).
If you have extra bread left over, you can add some balsamic vinegar to some extra virgin olive oil in a dish, sprinkle on some salt and pepper, and dip the bread. The cook needs nourishment, too.