The Ultimate Guide To a Canapé Party
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The Ultimate Guide To a Canapé Party

They say the best things come in small packages therefore the ever-rising popularity of canapés and bowl food at Wellingtons private parties and corporate events is easily explained. 

These exquisite little masterpieces don’t just look good and taste delicious, but, opting for finger food solves the problem of space and allows your guests to really enjoy a party, as they are able to freely walk around and interact with each other, while canapés are being passed around.

There is also a more varied selection of food on offer as opposed to a formal sit down meal, so you can be sure that none of the guests will leave your party hungry.

We are often asked ‘How many canapés to serve per person?’ Our answer - It really depends on the party you are hosting, therefore we thought this guide would come in handy to any party planners out there.

We would normally recommend around 4-5 canapés per person for the first hour followed by 2-3 canapés per person for each subsequent hour. Therefore a private party at home where no other food is being served we would suggest a minimum 10 canapés per person for a standard 4 hour party. We would normally recommend 8 savoury items and 2 sweet items. Another great way to ensure your guests are well fed is to serve a few manapes. At Canapé Company, Wellington this is our name for larger sized canapés or bowl food.. We would normally recommend around 8 canapés per person for the first 2 hours hours followed by 1-2 manapes per person. These can be set out as a grazing table or buffet style for your guests to help themselves to at their leisure. 

If you are catering a drinks reception after a wedding ceremony and a meal will follow, 3-4 pieces per person per hour will do just right. These quantities will surely tease the taste buds but won’t be enough to spoil the appetite of your wedding guests before the main meal.

If you would like to serve some canapés at a corporate work event, mid week, aim for around 4-6 canapés per person.



It’s always a good idea to have both cold and hot options. Please note that if you opt for hot canapés, they will need to be reheated or even cooked before being served. We will always provide you or our waiting staff with cooking instructions, prepared baking trays and garnished platters. When making your selection, make sure you cater for all tastes and preferences – have seafood, meat, poultry and vegetarian/vegan canapés. Think of allergies and include dairy and gluten free options as well. As Wellington’s leading canapé caterer,  we have designed a lot of our menus to suit all special diets. 


Tip: Try to find out prior to an event if any of your guests have certain food intolerances so you can make sure they are catered for.



So should you be brave and decide to cater yourself,  here are some ideas on how to serve canapés - 

Always check your kitchen cupboards and think out of the box on how to serve the canapés. Try picturing in your mind what that gorgeous tasty morsel will look like on that platter or board you have found.  

At Canapé Company, when we plate our canapés,  we always look at the beauty of the food and match it best with our selection of platters we have on hand. We find black works well and brings out the freshness of the food. Mirror looks stunning for the reflection of the food especially in a dimly lit room. Any wooden boards or slate trays will do a great job too. We would also recommend that you make sure that canapés are presented nicely and look beautiful. Fresh flowers mixed with herbs such as rosemary & thyme always look stunning on platters,  to add that extra lift on the plate. At Canape we very rarely tend to mix our canapés on the platters. We like to keep them all separate,  that way items don’t get mixed up, however this a personal preference and it is ultimately up to the host. If you choose to mix your platters we usually recommend to serve 1-2 kinds per tray and not to mix meat and vegetarian options. And last but not least, don’t forget about the napkins!


Tip: Think about the space available for the party. It might be a good idea to opt for smaller serving dishes, so that waiting staff are able to move around easily. If you are using toothpicks/sticks or Asian spoons for your canapés, its always a good idea to have a plate or a small bucket for the used sticks/spoons to be disposed of. If you are having waiting staff serve the canapés, always make sure they carry one in their spare hand.


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