Front me a theme menu: Masquerade/Belle Epoque Party!
Right, I realize we're going with two different eras, but our tentative plan is (besides feathery masks) is to hunt down authentic absinthe, failing that enough champagne to keep the guests happy, and a hors d'orderves explosion, mini everything. Have suggestions? I want to do something along the lines of shrimp puffs, and lemon meringues, and we'll have a significant amount of vegetarians. Lot to process, I know, but if this moves anyone to speak, do! Thanks!
Mushrooms in a reduced cream sauce in patty shells. Patés, especially the highly-seasoned ones with cognac and smoked bacon. The mussels CDouglas mentioned would be great, as would cooked and chilled shrimp, peeled except for the tails, and oysters would be transcendental, if you can get them. Caviar goes without saying, but if you can't stretch for the good stuff don't bother with lumpfish, go for salmon eggs - with a little 50-50 cream cheese and sour cream on those little toasts, they're awfully nice.
I don't think I'd do lemon, or citrus of any kind - you're needing contrast, not competition, and I think any other sharp aromatic would tangle with the licorice whang of the pastis or whatever. A piece of KFC chicken would go better with a glass of Pernod than any sort of lemon confection would. In fact, that sounds kinda good...!