Wedding Breakfasts: Complete Guide to Having the Perfect Wedding Breakfast

What is a Wedding Breakfast?

Celebrating your wedding together with your loved ones is one of the best days of your life. You create everlasting memories that will  be cherished by everyone. Depending on the type of wedding you decide to have, there are different customs and traditions with it comes to it. Undoubtedly, a wedding breakfast is part of the traditional wedding most brides opt for. But what exactly is a wedding breakfast and what are the things you need to take into account when preparing yours? In this article, we'll dive deep into the meaning behind a wedding breakfast, where the ritual comes from and how to plan yours.

The wedding breakfast is the meal that follows your wedding ceremony and it is shared with your close friends and family. Naturally, your wedding venue will play an important role in helping with the provision of the catering service. You can plan the dishes and the beverages that you would like to have during your wedding breakfast. 

Why is It Called a Wedding Breakfast - The History Behind It

The wedding breakfast could go back as far as the early 1800s where it was first mentioned. The tradition implied that the couples would get together during a Eucharistic Mass where they would receive from the priest the sacrament of the Holy Communion. They would need to fast before their union and after the ceremony, the newlyweds would receive the wine, cakes and other Confectionery from the priest. This was considered the ‘break-fast’, which the actual wedding breakfast originates from and it is supposed to be the first meal a newly married couple takes together with their family.

What Time does a Wedding Breakfast Take Place?

Since it is your wedding, you can decide which time is best suited for your own wedding breakfast. It will also depend on the time your ceremony takes place. Take into account elements such as all the people you have invited and how far away the venue is from the place your ceremony, how much time they need to settle and so on, how long do you plan your photo shooting session to be. Usually, ceremonies are 20-60 minutes and everything else after that is up to you to plan it. Some people decide to have their ceremony at 2 pm and then plan to have their wedding breakfast at around 5 pm.

What Does a Wedding Breakfast Include?

Although you are free to customise your wedding breakfast the way you want it, the meal will follow a traditional pattern. There will be the starter, a main and a dessert, along with any drinks of your choice. During this meal  you can expect speeches from your friends or family and this the reason why champagne usually accompanies this meal. We always recommend that the couple should discuss any special requests with the wedding venue in order to ensure the wedding breakfast will go as planned. You can go full bespoke or let the venue take care of the structure. 

Types of Wedding Breakfast

There are many types of wedding breakfasts as we have mentioned, it all comes down to your taste and budget. Regardless of the budget, the wedding breakfast will tend to reflect the style of your wedding. Most often, wedding breakfasts are structured as a normal sit-down three course meal, which is considered to be a formal approach embraced by most people. Another alternative is the buffet option, which is usually an option which requires a little bit more budget.  


The traditional wedding breakfast is composed of the usual three course meals. Everything about the traditional method is just as you might be thinking already: neat impeccable tables, with royal undertones, this type of breakfast alludes to the old-fashioned regal wedding breakfasts. The overall atmosphere is reminiscent of aristocracy and the presentation of the food is simple yet elegant. This event will feel like a  special occasion cropped out of a fairytale.  


For those couples who would prefer a more relaxed atmosphere, the informal wedding breakfast might be exactly what they were looking for.  The informal type gives your guests more variety in terms of what they are meal choices and there is also the possibility of having a buffet if your budget allows. The overall atmosphere is more laid back than the traditional type which means that less staff will be needed to attend the event. In terms of the actual meals served, you will have a wide selection of cuisines to choose from, Mediterranean and middle eastern, being the most popular. 


If you’re opting for a rustic themed wedding in a country barn wedding venue or a rural setting, then a country-style wedding breakfast could fit right into your plans. BBQs and hog roasts are very popular. Budget wise, they won’t be too expensive and you might want to have that during the summer days to add to that party-like atmosphere. 

country-style wedding breakfast


Those wedding breakfasts that fall under the unusual types might include the vintage-themed weddings. An afternoon tea party would be something that you might want to sonder, with late 20s vibes governing the weddings breakfast. Vintage china teapots, laced tablecloths and scones with jam are only a couple, champagne and prosecco are only some of the elements that are part of the bigger picture. 

unusual wedding breakfast

Ideas on a budget

Any wedding breakfast can be adapted so it falls within your budget. We have put together some tips for your to consider.

-A great tip is to have your starters served on a shared platter. This also lets the guests interact with each other more;

-Same goes with the cakes - consider having them served on a shared platter;

-Another idea is to incorporate foods from your childhood that have been recreated in a more unique way: mash or chips, sausages fish, they can all be recreated in a way that is not very costly;

-Ask everyone to bring a home-baked cake they really enjoy - this also contributes to that personal aspect to your event; 

The Author

Kate Smallwood

Kate Smallwood is a journalist and presenter specialising in weddings. With a career spanning over 20 years, she has worked for some of the UK’s most prestigious consumer bridal titles, hosted tv shows and national exhibitions, launched ground-breaking websites and advised some of the nations most elegant wedding venues.

01746 716 021

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