I've been told to plan 3-5 hors d'oeuvres per person for a cocktail party. Is that 3-5 per person for each appetizer I'm making or overall count?
Overall count, but I think, unless these are large hors d'oeuvres, the number should be more like 5-7.
Will there be other food served at the party, or is this an hors d'oeuvre-only affair? If there will be a light meal served, then 5-7 pieces per person is good, if a full meal, 3-4 is sufficient. If it's hors d'oeuvres, only, Daniel Bouloud recommends 6-8 pieces per person, per hour (http://www.foodandwine...), but I've also seen recommendations of up to 10-12 pieces per person. I personally always err on the side of caution - there's nothing worse than sending guests home hungry!
People love the snacks & hors d'oeuvres more than the food! since they are eating them first I would plan on at least 8 - 10 per person and always put out some other items as fillers such as dips, chips, or other snacks.
Thanks everyone! This is a huge help.