Can hors d'oeuvre be served before brunch? Is this improper etiquette? The brunch is a holiday brunch to be held on New Year's Day, and non-alcoholic champagne will be served.
We do not believe it is ever improper to be kind and hospitable. We consulted the works of some of the mavens of etiquette Letitia Baldridge, Amy Vanderbilt, and Judith Martin and found nothing to indicate that offering a little tidbit to your guests on New Year's morning will cause even the stuffiest of them to storm off in a huff.
At a cocktail party or similar gathering, hors d'oeuvre may be the only food offered. At a luncheon or especially a dinner, however, they are offered to keep your guests from starving while socializing and while the cook (quite possibly you) manages last-minute meal preparations.
In the case of your brunch, modest hors d'oeuvre may be the order of the day. There may not be a lot of time between the arrival of your guests and the start of brunch, and you don't want them to fill up on the appetizers. And, as appealing as many appetizers can be, you also don't want them overshadowing your brunch courses. Miss Baldridge says a platter of crudités and bowl of nuts is perfectly suitable for hors d'oeuvre for lunch or brunch.
But however elaborate or modest the food you serve, no one will be able to accuse you of flaunting the rules of etiquette.