What is a Wedding Breakfast?

The wedding breakfast can be a source of confusion for those unfamiliar with the tradition. Despite its name, it has nothing to do with the first meal of the day. So, what exactly is a wedding breakfast, and how does it fit into the modern wedding celebration?

The history of the wedding breakfast

The origins of the wedding breakfast stretch back centuries, rooted in religious traditions. Back when wedding ceremonies were often part of a Eucharistic Mass, the newlyweds would typically fast beforehand. Following the ceremony, the priest would bless some food and drink, usually cakes and wine, which would then be shared with the couple and their guests. This simple act of breaking the fast became known as the “wedding breakfast”.

The modern wedding breakfast

Fast forward to today, and the wedding breakfast has undergone a significant transformation. Religious ceremonies are petering out and fasting is a practice rarely observed. The term “wedding breakfast,” however, has stuck around, albeit with a completely different meaning.

The wedding breakfast isn’t actually breakfast

In modern British weddings, the wedding breakfast refers to the celebratory meal served to guests after the wedding ceremony. This is typically the most formal and elaborate part of the wedding reception and serves several purposes. It provides an opportunity for guests to celebrate the newlyweds, mingle with each other, and enjoy a delicious meal. It also allows for some organised activities like speeches and the cake cutting, creating a sense of flow and structure to the reception
While the wedding breakfast is a well-established tradition in Britain, it’s not universally adopted around the world. In many cultures, the wedding reception might feature a buffet-style meal, hors d’oeuvres, or even just cake and drinks. The format depends on local customs and the preferences of the couple.

Modern twists on an old tradition

The traditional wedding breakfast has become more flexible in recent years. Couples are opting for a wider variety of cuisines, from international flavours to locally sourced ingredients. The formality of the meal has also relaxed, with some couples opting for a more casual sit-down dinner or even a cocktail reception with finger foods.

The future of the wedding breakfast

The term “wedding breakfast” may be a relic of the past, but it’s likely to remain in use for some time to come.  As weddings continue to evolve, the format of the post-ceremony meal will likely continue to adapt.  Whether it’s a traditional sit-down dinner or a more relaxed social gathering, the core purpose remains the same: to celebrate the union of the happy couple and create lasting memories with loved ones.

Tipis, stretch tents, and sailcloth tents from Events Under Canvas offer a stylish and versatile solution for hosting your wedding breakfast in any season. From large wedding reception banquets to more intimate post-nuptial dining experiences, our luxury marquees can be tailored to suit your exact wedding requirements.

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