BY ANNA SACHSE
From wedges of gourmet grilled cheese to an assortment of fresh donut holes, serving a late-night nosh is both a great way to fuel continued revelry and provide that "wow" factor that guests will really remember and appreciate after hours of drinking.
It's typically best to stick with foods that appeal to most people, such as "guilty pleasures" like mini-sliders with fries, milkshake shooters, mini-tacos, and ice cream or candy stations, says Bridget Pelster, a sales & catering manager for Butler's Pantry, in St. Louis. "You ideally want items that are small and easy to eat so that people don't feel like they're having a complete second dinner and can get right back on the dance floor."
Stefanie Wright, owner of Seattle-based Forever Events, is a fan of personalization, so she suggests serving snacks that have meaning for the couple, such as the bride's version of mac 'n' cheese in martini glasses, or cookies made from Grandma's recipe paired with shot glasses of milk.
You also can have your coordinator or caterer (or assign the job to a trusted friend or relative) order an array of local favorites. "Here in St. Louis we often have servers pass trays of White Castle burgers, or we bring in Imo's St. Louis-style pizza or Gus' soft pretzels," Pelster says.
Even if your style is more fruit, veggies and vegan dips (hummus, guacamole, salsa) and chips, Wright advises presenting the goods either an hour and a half or so after dinner or before the end of your party. The cost for caterer-provided food varies, but is typically a very affordable $5 to $7 per guest, Pelster adds. And because some people won't be hungry and others will have left early, you'll likely only need to provide enough for half your guest count.
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