9 Mess Free Serving Ideas for Big Parties

When it comes to catering for large scale events, events organisers are often left with something of a conundrum: how can you keep your crowd happy and their taste buds satisfied, without serving food which leads to sticky fingers, splattered shirt fronts, or the need for mountains of tissues? Nobody wants to wander around an events space making a mess with the treats they’re eating, and in order for us as events organisers to tick every box and avoid calamity, some innovative thinking is required.

At our catering partner Create Food, they’ve been faced with this conundrum more times than we care to mention, and we’ve seen plenty of minor messy disasters along the way. That’s why we’ve come up with this definitive list of nine trendy mess-free foods which are ideal for larger events, and which are sure to guarantee all-round smiles from your gathered attendees.

Lollipop S’Mores

Fun, funky, nostalgic and undeniably delicious, s’mores are an American classic childhood food that features in just about every family adventure movie of the 1980’s. The combination of toasted marshmallows, biscuits and melted chocolate is positively dreamy… and if you put the whole lot onto a lolly stick, you’ve got an instant crowd-pleasing favourite which isn’t going to cause any sticky fingers, too!

Lollipop S'Mores

Event type to serve at​

Lollipop S’mores are ideal for outdoor evening events, and those which involve your guests mingling and wandering from stall to stall.

Best Season to Serve​

This is an autumnal favourite - no doubt about it!

Event Theme to Serve at​

S’mores instantly conjure up images of campfires and open skies, so if your event is being held towards the end of the year, and has an Americana or nostalgic theme attached, we can’t think of many finger foods that would match better!

One Bite Paella

We’re seeing loads of great examples of ‘one bite’ savoury treats, which take classic recipes and transform them into tempting finger foods. Paella is a fantastic option for this: a base of a fried rice patty, topped with a slice of quality chorizo, and finished with a deliciously juicy prawn - it’s a taste of Spanish sunshine in every mouthful!

Event type to serve at

​Definitely ideal for the outdoors events, although as this is a more elegant finger food, it would also be great at receptions and conferences, too.

Best Season to Serve​

It’s a taste of Spain, so we can’t imagine eating this at any time other than the summer!

Event Theme to Serve at​

This would be an ideal mess-free finger food to serve at any event which celebrates European culture, or which is exploring new trends in gastronomy.

Mini Meatballs

There’s no need for meatballs to be messy! Everyone’s favourite hearty, homely meal can easily be transformed into a delicate and elegant taster, simply by serving your meatballs individually speared on cocktail sticks. It’s a great way to show off some superb flavours, and there’s no doubt your guests won’t be able to get enough of them.

Event Type to Serve at​

​This savoury snack would be perfect for coffee breaks in conferences, when your attendees need a little nourishment.

Best Season to Serve​

We always see meatballs as something of a winter warmer. Keep them for the colder end of the year.

Event Theme to Serve at​

Scandinavian chic is absolutely on trend at the moment, and if you’re planning any sort of ‘winter wonderland’ theme, this finger food is sure to be winner.

Lettuce Cups

Elegant, genteel, and completely waste-free, lettuce leaves are the perfect natural platter on which to serve a whole range of different savoury treats. They’re healthy, tasty, and neutral enough to allow the other ingredients to take centre stage.

lettuce cups - mess free serving

Event Type to Serve at​

This is really a mess-free food to serve at daytime events and outdoor afternoon lunches.

Best Season to Serve​

Fresh, crisp lettuce leaves are the taste of Spring and Summer, so the answer to this question is obvious enough.

Event Theme to Serve At​

The waste-free nature of this food makes it ideal for eco-conscious events, and those which want to make the most of their environmental credentials.

Satay Skewers

Everyone loves a bit of Asian spice during a big party. Satay skewers are simple yet oh-so effective; pieces of tender, barbecued, spiced chicken on a stick, accompanied by a rich and aromatic dipping sauce. Heaven!

chicken satay skrewers

Event Type to Serve at​

More casual, informal indoor events, or conferences which are in need of snacks.

Best Season to Serve​

This one would really work at any time of year.

Event Theme to Serve at​

Anything with an international theme, or some kind of Eastern romantic theme (Arabian Nights etc).

Devilled Eggs

Dainty yet fiery, elegant yet simple, devilled eggs are a southern states favourite which are perfect for making a big impression. Top them with classy ingredients like Parma ham, or asparagus for vegetarians, and they’re sure to seriously impress.

Event Type to serve at

Launches and receptions, more sophisticated events or garden parties.

Best Season to Serve​

Devilled eggs put us in mind of hot summers on the bayou, so it’s best to serve these when the weather is fine!

Event Theme to Serve at​

With their American charm and vintage feel, these would be perfect for a Great Gatsby / American Classics themed event.


We’re yet to meet anybody who doesn’t fall immediately in love with these aromatic Japanese dumplings. Served with a classic dipping sauce they’re utterly divine, and bring a sense of modern chic to any event.

chicken-mushroom gyoza

Event Type to serve at

Modern, creative, artistic events for a younger, style-conscious crowd. Definitely one for indoor evening events.

Best Season to Serve

Gyoza work best served warm, and would be ideal for autumn/winter evenings.

Event Theme to Serve at​

Any event which puts modern world gastronomy front and centre. Alternatively, these would be perfect for an event with a Japanese theme.


When it comes to sweet treats featuring plenty of whipped cream and sugar, there aren’t a whole lot of mess-free options out there to choose from. Profiteroles, however, with their sturdy choux pastry, clear up any worries of making a mess, and never fail to get crowds grinning with delight!

Event Type to serve at

Classic and classy events, receptions, or launches with an old school sophisticated feel.

Best Season to Serve​

Definitely in the summer, with some fresh British strawberries.

Event Theme to Serve at​

Classic British summertime or Parisian themes would be ideal.

Slider Burgers

Mini cheeseburgers are all the rage at trendy events right now, and it’s no surprise that this is the case. After all, who doesn’t love a great burger? These bitesize takeaway treats are perfect for making a great impression, and it’s easy to make veggie options, too.

slider burgers

Event Type to serve at

Youthful, fun, and informal conferences or gatherings

Best Season to Serve

Burgers are pretty much perfect from January through to December!

Event Theme to Serve at​

Hollywood Drive-Thru, 50’s Americana, Nostalgia events and more besides!

Mess-Free Delights For Seamless Event Catering

The best events are those which are the most dynamic, and which involve your attendees milling around and wandering between stalls and attractions. It’s at times like these that mess-free finger foods really come into their own, and are sure to make all the difference to your guests’ enjoyment. What’s more, they’re all easily adaptable and customisable, meaning you can really flex your creative gastro muscles with such foods!

Here at Mask, we’re always looking for ways of making our events pop. That’s why Create Foods, our catering wing, is constantly seeking out new foodie solutions for conferences, parties, receptions and more. If you’re on the hunt for event catering that stands head and shoulders above the rest, get in touch - we’d love to hear from you!