5 Ways to Get the Cocktail-Hour Waitstaff to Come to You

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: The Kitchn)

There’s a certain type of person who never has to wait for a drink at a party. For some reason their mere presence causes any bartender or cocktail waiter in a close proximity to hop to attention, like James Bond for instance — I’m pretty sure he’s never had to flag down a bartender to order his signature martini. And waiters with hors d’oeuvres probably flock to him with trays of cocktail hot dogs.

You too can possess this magical allure at all of your friends’ weddings this season. Here’s how.

1. Stand where you can be seen.

If you’re partly hidden behind a large floral arrangement or standing smack in the middle of a big cluster of people, the server won’t be able to see you or get to you. Try to position yourself in a clear spot and make eye contact (in a non-creepy way!) if you see someone carrying something you want to eat.

Note: Some people like to stand near the staff entrance, so they can catch the waiters on their way into the area when their trays are full. But that’s not really ideal, as they have to mingle around the room. Do not attack them as soon as they appear!

2. Make decisions quickly.

No one wants to hold a tray for 30 seconds (those things can actually get heavy!) while you hem and haw over whether or not you want to eat a mini taco. When presented with a tray, make a split-second decision. If you take something and realize you don’t want it, someone in your circle will probably eat it. And because you (painlessly) took something this time, the waiter might be more likely to come to you when he’s got a new tray. After all, it’s his job to get rid of the stuff.

3. Don’t snap or whistle.

Can you say rude? They’re working. You don’t want someone coming to your workplace and whistling at you, do you? Make eye contact and give them a casual head nod.

4. Be polite.

You’ll be surprised how far a please, thank you, and a genuine smile will get you. You’re having a good time; they’re working, so remembering your manners will make you one of their favorite guests. Appreciating the fact that they’re making your night a lot more enjoyable will certainly go a long way.

5. Tip!

Sure, weddings can be costly for guests (with hotel rooms, travel, and gifts) but you’re most likely eating and drinking for free. If there’s a tip jar out during the cocktail hour, throw a couple of dollars into it.

Do you have any other strategies for getting those sliders, candied bacon sticks, and all the other passed snacks?