Impress Your Wedding Reception Guests … Serve the Meal in Shooters

  • veg for inset at topTrying to figure out what sort of meal service you want at your wedding reception luncheon or dinner can be a challenge.  For example, do you want a sit-down dinner, a buffet, or hors d’oeuvres only? If want your guests to be impressed with your creativity, consider serving some or all of the food in shooters, especially if you are DIY-ing some or all of your reception meal. It really is easier than you might think!

Some key points to keep in mind …

Serving your guests in shooters can add a “wow factor” to your reception and it is likely to be less expensive than the other options. For example, if you want to serve shrimp, you would need to have quite a lot of it to amply fill a large bowl that your guests will likely hover around! They can end up eating a lot of shrimp! By putting one or two shrimp in a shooter, you will likely see that you can buy less shrimp and still keep your guests happy!

If you decide to serve your guests a meal using shooters, you will need a variety of foods choices and they will need to be substantial enough to be seen by your guests as a meal rather than as hors d’oeuvres.

If you and your friends/family are catering the meal yourselves, I think you will find it a lot easier to create a beautiful buffet if you use shooters. Unless you are experienced in setting up buffets and making food look attractive, it can be a challenge. However, when you use shooters, you are already on your way to “wow-ing” them because the shooters themselves create a lot of interest. Just place them on lovely trays such a mirror and bamboo, or cover a tray in fluffy lettuce and nestle your glasses in it. A fresh orchid adds a lot of pizazz, as well. Oh, and when setting up a buffet table be sure to put risers (can be a stack of books, boxes, etc.) under the tablecloth so your food will be on various levels.

You’ll need to decide if you want glass or plastic shot glasses and if you want to buy them or rent them. Plastic is much less expensive to buy than glass and party stores sell them for around inset photo soup$8.00 for 100. Bed Bath & Beyond is one of the stores that carries a variety of glass shot glasses. Do a search and compare prices. I found a lot of options using “shot glasses” and “plastic shot glasses” as the search terms. Of course, don’t forget to compare prices for buying vs. renting.

Shot glasses come in a variety of sizes and shapes, so choose what works best for the recipes you have planned. Having shooters in the right shape can make a big difference in the presentation. For example, in the first collage, first photo in last row, notice how the shrimp and shot glass fit perfectly together.  Raw vegetables do particularly well in a shape that is more narrow at the bottom and wider at the top. This way it is easy for them to stand up because they are crowded at the more narrow bottom, but at the top there is plenty of room for celery leaves, broccoli florets, etc.

In this post I’ll give you ideas on how to create …

  • Shrimp Shooters
  • Soup & Sandwich Shooters
  • Vegetable (Salad) Shooters

I’ll cover dessert and beverage shooters in a future post.

[Click each collage once for an enlarged version … twice for a humongous version!]

Shooters iimage for top of pageShrimp Shooters: In the collage below I’ve included several ideas of how you can serve shrimp in shooters. Some of the dishes show cocktail sauce in the glass but others show a combination of shrimp and another food such as in the fourth and fifth photos of Bloody Mary with Shrimp and Shrimp with Gazpacho.  The last two images show a unique way to serve the shrimp with a cracker on top of the glass … in this case it is a tortilla.

As you can see in the collage, you can serve shrimp in shooters as simply as putting some cocktail sauce in a shooter glass and adding one or two boiled shrimp. If you go this route be sure to add a little something extra, such as a piece of Romaine Lettuce or Italian Parsley to dress it up a bit.


soup for insetSoup & Sandwich Shooters: I think everyone loves soup and a sandwich. It is comfort food and sends a good vibe and most of you can probably make this without even looking at a recipe. The key is the presentation and the collage below shows you several ways to cut the sandwiches and to create the soup/sandwich combination. And for a different twist on it, the last photo on the 2nd row features Tomato Basil Soup with a Brie sandwich, rather than plain tomato soup with a cheddar or American cheese sandwich.


veg for insetVegetable Shooters: Putting vegetables in shooters will likely be a lot easier than creating a fancy vegetable display. I don’t know about you but I have noticed that most people don’t even eat the vegetables in a large display. I’m not sure why that is! But I do think that having a “cute” little cup with dressing at the bottom with a few fresh vegetables just makes it more inviting. Small tomatoes, shown on the top row, add visual interest. And make sure to include vegetables in a variety of colors and textures. Asparagus adds a nice touch as does a celery heart with its leaves. The first photo on the 2nd row shows a different approach to the vegetable shooters by including an exotic Baba Ghanouj as the dressing.


And one final tip … I found an idea on the Host the Toast blog that I want to share with you. It’s a perfect garnish for your recipes served in shooters:
“Slice your green onions vertically in half, and then halve them again, and again until they are very thin. Then drop them in a bowl of ice water, stir them around a bit to separate them, and then place the bowl in the refrigerator. … Remove the bowl of green onions from the fridge. Garnish with the ones that have curled up to your liking, and serve immediately.”

More shooter meals can be found on our dedicated Pinterest board.

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Photo Sources:
Shrimp: [1]Fine Cooking [2]Circle of Moms by Pop Sugar [3]ADCT Catering [4]Jersey Girl Cooks [5]A Food Centric Life/Photo by Kent Cameron [7]Dupree Catering [8]Host the Toast [9] & [10]Apron Strings Blog – Soup & Sandwich: [1]United With Love [3]Colin Cowie Weddings [4]Tori Spelling [5]A Spice of Life Catering [6]Red Shallot Kitchen [7]Windsor Ballroom [8]Bride’s/Top Knotch Catering – Vegetables: [1]Saint Germain Catering [2]Skinny Taste [3]My Baking Addiction [4]Kashi-Summerfresh [5]Ege Palas Catering [6]Marnie Craig James via Pinterest [7]Amy Ann Photography [8]The Culinary Artist –
and Host the Toast Blog.



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Comments (3)

  • Yvette Clark

    I like your ideas for a wedding!

    June 3, 2016 at 2:03 pm
    • Exclusively Weddings

      Hi Yvette and thanks so much for stopping by the blog! I’m glad you like my ideas.

      Best wishes!

      June 3, 2016 at 7:20 pm
  • Billy

    I love the idea of putting meals in shooters, it makes everything so much more convenient and aesthetic. Things need to be easy to grab and easy to eat at a wedding. Thanks for sharing!

    July 20, 2017 at 5:03 pm

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