Arrange your appetizer tables to facilitate easy eating and socializing. Hot and cold appetizers are both good to feed a hungry crowd. You can separate the different types of appetizers, or put a little of both on different tables. The most important part of arranging the appetizer tables is taking care that the food is easily accessible and easily refilled. Don't make your guests wait to fill their plates; be sure to always have an extra platter of food ready to go on the table.
How to Set Up an Appetizer Table
Things You'll Need
Set up several tables around the party space for appetizers. This will stop the buildup of people around one appetizer table and keep the flow of people moving around the room.
Place a platter of food in the middle of each table to serve as your centerpiece. There is no need for a fancy floral arrangement or other display; let your food shine through as the centerpiece of the appetizer table. Make sure to have napkins, silverware and plates on each appetizer table. You do not want your guests to have to go hunting when they are hungry.
Place the smaller plates or bowls of appetizers on the tables closest to the kitchen or ovens. This will allow for quick refills as the appetizers get eaten. Place your larger platters that won't empty so quickly further away from the kitchen.
Clear an end of one of the appetizer tables for empty plates and cups. Guests need a place to put their dirty dishes without walking all the way back to the kitchen, so be sure there is plenty of room. If you have a large tray, place it on the table; when it gets full, simply carry the tray back to the kitchen, unload it into the sink and place a clean replacement on the table.
Make place cards with the names of the dishes on them and place them in front of each different food. Your guests may be willing to try new and unusual foods, but they might want to know what it is to begin with. You can also list ingredients if some of your guests have food allergies.