Image: Wedding Chicks
The wedding breakfast will be the culinary heart of your big day and will provide everyone with the opportunity to sit down together to share a beautiful meal and some excellent conversation. Your wedding breakfast should match the tone of your drinks reception so that your day contains some continuity, however it should feel a little more formal so that your guests understand that this is the main event!
Traditionally the wedding breakfast would begin with a receiving line which is where the bride, groom, the bride’s parents, the groom’s parents and other members of the wedding party are given the opportunity to personally greet and thank everyone in attendance. The receiving line would then be followed by the meal itself, the father of the bride’s speech, the groom’s speech and the best man’s speech. Alternatively, the speeches can take place before the meal if you have any very nervous speakers!
Unless you’ve decided to book a marquee or backyard wedding, almost all wedding breakfasts will take place inside your venue, usually in the largest and most ornately decorated room. They tend to involve a minimum of a three course meal and a choice of wine which is served to your guests by the venue’s or your catering company’s waiting staff. I’ve got to say that a formal sit down meal is my favourite way of enjoying a wedding breakfast. It is a true celebration of such an important event, and I just love to see the bride, groom and their guests being spoilt with a delicious menu and some fine wine. If you do opt for this type of wedding breakfast you need to bear in mind that whatever you serve, someone will decide that they don’t like it. Try not to worry too much about this because it’s almost impossible to please everyone, and try to minimise any upturned noses by including a dietary requirements card in your invitations to be returned with the RSVPs.
While formal sit down meals are lovely for marking this special occasion, I have seen tons of creative ideas for relaxed and alternative wedding breakfasts including British classics such as fish and chips, pie and mash and a hog roast. Again, it all depends on your theme. If you’ve gone for a festival-style wedding then serving individual pies with buttery mash and gravy would fit perfectly, and serving this type of food can sometimes save you a lot of money. And who doesn’t enjoy pie and mash anyway!
If you’re on a really tight budget then why not get involved in the obsession with afternoon tea and serve gorgeous little homemade finger sandwiches, cakes and scones with cups of tea and glasses of champagne? If you’re venue will allow it you could ask your guests to contribute baked goods and have the venue staff stack them, along with slices of your wedding cake, on tiered cake stands. A well designed and constructed dessert display really can double as décor and will finish off your reception room perfectly.
A fantastic way of saving money on your wedding breakfast is to serve your wedding cake for dessert. All too often the wedding cake doesn’t get enough attention and some of your guests may be so full of wonderful food by the end of the wedding breakfast that they just can’t manage a slice of cake. This is a real shame as so much creative inspiration, hard work and money goes into producing a wedding cake, so it really deserves to be centre stage on the day. Obviously if you want to serve the cake during the wedding breakfast it will need to be cut a little earlier that is traditional. I would suggest that you cut the cake following the receiving line so that the venue staff have time to slice it up in the kitchen before serving it for dessert.
Finally, if you would like to say grace before your wedding breakfast then make sure you inform your venue of this in plenty of time. If the religious official who conducted your wedding will be present at your wedding breakfast, then it is customary for them to say grace. If you will not have an official present, then the task of saying grace would fall to whomever you choose.