What is a Wedding Breakfast: Your Guide

Why in the world is it called a wedding breakfast? We share the history, the meaning, and our expert tips on how to plan yours.

If you’re at the beginning of the wedding planning process, you’re probably coming across terms, and traditions you’ve never even heard of before. Which is totally understandable if you’re tying the knot for the first time. It can certainly be confusing, knowing your A-line from your ballgown. Your bouquet from your boutonnière (buttonhole). And then there’s the wedding breakfast… Is it the avocado and eggs on toast the brides and bridesmaids eat hurriedly while they’re getting ready? Or maybe there’s another meal we all have together before lunch? Do I need to serve bacon at my reception?!

Fortunately, the truth is, the wedding breakfast is just the name of the meal you have after you tie the knot. It’s the main meal of the day, and usually takes place early to mid-afternoon. But really, it can happen anytime.

Eggs or no eggs, this is still a very important meal, and needs careful thought if you’re to pull it off successfully. Today, we’re going to guide you through exactly why it’s called a wedding breakfast, while also sharing all the vital details, and inspiration you’ll need to make yours a success.

Why Is It Called a Wedding Breakfast?

If you’ve ever looked at the word ‘breakfast‘ for longer than a few seconds, and considered what the etymology of it might be. You can probably guess why it’s called a ‘wedding breakfast’.

The term dates back to the 17th century, when wedding ceremonies were typically part of Mass. Prior to the service, couples would fast in the hours leading up to it, and so the meal they shared after the ceremony literally broke their fast.

These days, of course, we would strongly encourage you to eat before your ceremony, and actually have breakfast. Otherwise, you might risk feeling a little faint during your vows! But as a concept, the wedding breakfast still exists because it is the first meal you will eat, and share as a married couple.

What Time is Wedding Breakfast?

As we hinted at above, this is your wedding, and the ‘breakfast’ can be served whenever you like. However, couples tend to have a drinks’ reception following their ceremony, which helps to break up the day. And during this time, canapés are normally served to stop tummies rumbling. Then, after a few glasses of something sparkly, and some tasty snacks, the wedding breakfast is served.

You can see from this that the time of your wedding breakfast really depends on your schedule. The earlier you have your ceremony, the earlier you’ll have your reception meal. As a guide, roughly 2 hours after your vows is usually about right.

Where is the Wedding Breakfast Served?

This really depends on where you’re tying the knot, and what style of celebration you’re having. For those couples seeking laid-back vibes, you could have a BBQ in the garden, or pizza trucks serving fresh slices on the terrace. But if you’re looking for something more formal, you might wish to have five courses, sit down style, within a reception room. It’s really up to you.

At The Abbey, we can work with whatever style of wedding breakfast you desire. However, our couples tend to prefer eating theirs in our spacious ballroom. A stunning, and stylish space with chandeliers, wooden floors and plenty of space for up to 200 guests. And our in-house catering never fail to impress! With dishes such as Irish Beef Fillet, Bantry Bay Salmon, many delicious vegetarian options, and mouthwatering desserts – your guests will certainly feel like they’ve had a feast on your big day!

Wedding Breakfast Ideas

If you’re not drawn towards a classic wedding breakfast style, then maybe consider something a little outside the box.

— If you like the idea of everyone sitting down together, but want to remove some of the formality. Why not lay your dishes out family style? You can arrange to have lots of shareable plates on the table, and suggest that everyone just helps themselves. Make sure though that there are options available at hand for those with dietary requirements.

— Delight the inner child in your guests, and serve them some satisfying classics. Sausage and mash, fish and chips, Colcannon. Dishes that you know will raise a smile, and ensure those bellies are lined for all those post-wedding breakfast drinks at the bar!

— Make a thing of your desserts, and create some scrumptious looking tablescapes full of sweet treats! Whether your wedding cake takes pride of place, or you’d rather a doughnut wall was the star of the show – create somewhere your guests can graze on. And that looks spectacular.

We hope we have inspired your wedding reception planning, and answered a few burning questions you had about the wedding breakfast! It would be a pleasure to guide you further, and introduce you to our lovely wedding venue in Co Kildare. The Abbey is only an hour away from Dublin, and has a 18th century chapel on-site, a stunning ballroom, multiple events spaces and 38 contemporary style rooms.

Please feel free to have a browse of our wedding venue online, and if you like what you see, you’re welcome to get in touch via our contact page to book a viewing. And while you wait for your visit, you can find out a bit more about us via our online brochure.

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