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Wedding Breakfast

A wedding breakfast is a morning meal that is usually served after the wedding ceremony. The term ‘wedding breakfast’ is a misnomer as it does not refer to a breakfast which is traditionally served in the morning.’ If the ceremony is in the evening, the wedding reception in the evening is also called as the wedding breakfast.


The nomenclature started during medieval times as weddings were usually held early in the morning. According to the Hardwicke Act of 1753, all weddings, except those of the royal family had to be completed in the morning hours of eight to twelve. As the church ceremony was held early in the morning, the bride and groom were usually fasting all night long and for the entire church wedding ceremony. Sometimes, the priest used to arrange refreshments for the newlywed couple in the form of sweetmeats, cakes and wine. Immediately after the church ceremony, the newly-married couple was feted with a lavish breakfast which was referred to as the wedding breakfast.

Nowadays, the church ceremony may be held in the morning. Immediately after the wedding ceremony, a short meal is arranged which is also called the wedding breakfast and which may extend up to 5pm. After this, wedding guests may relax for the evening reception. Caterers will arrange canapés and hors de ouvres from 8pm to 10pm and then follow that up with an optional wedding dinner. Dessert and coffee is served late at night.

Traditions of a Wedding Breakfast

The wedding breakfast follows the rules of a wedding reception. The bride and groom usually have a receiving line where they greet guests. The newlyweds also sit at a Top Table which seats the immediate family. The Top Table faces the guests who are seated at individual tables in front of the newlyweds. Traditionally, entertainment was not arranged for the guests as it was considered an honor to greet the newlyweds on their special day. However, nowadays, entertainment is usually arranged. A cake is also cut at the wedding breakfast after the toast to the wedded couple.

Typical Wedding Breakfast Routines

The exact dishes that are served at a wedding reception or a wedding breakfast will depend on the personal choice of the bride and groom. The newlyweds may opt for a sit-down meal which will have multiple courses. Most sit-down meals will usually start with a vegetarian or non-vegetarian soup, appetizers in the form of fish or vegetables, fish or meat main courses followed by a dessert. Champagne or wine is usually served alongside along with tea, coffee or port after the meal. A wedding breakfast buffet is also possible in which a range of chicken, lamb, pork and seafood dishes are served along with salads, roasted vegetables and bread. A separate dessert counter may be set up with a choice of candy or desserts.