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Wedding Wednesday: what is a wedding breakfast?

We have chosen not to go for the traditional 3 course wedding breakfast as we want a slightly more informal meal to be more relevant to our children and the rest of the guests. I want to have lots of time to mingle with family that have traveled instead of being at a set table and feeling restricted. I’m hoping a buffet may encourage the kids to try a range of foods similar to my February food challenge!
But where does the tradition of a wedding breakfast come from and why is it called a breakfast when it occurs later in the day?

The tradition seems to be a peculiarly English one, dating back to the time before the Reformation when England was Catholic and the bride and groom had to fast in order to be allowed to have the sacrament during the mass. Food and drink were then given out to the couple and their guests so they were breaking their fasts.
However, the phrase itself has no evidence before 150 years ago so it is unclear if this meal used to have another name.
Others suggest that it is called a breakfast because it is the first meal of the new marriage in the same way a normal breakfast is the first meal of the day.

More modern weddings have new interpretations and have the wedding breakfast the following morning for the main party as an actual breakfast and conclusion of the celebrations. Some couples break with the tradition that it is bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the service and have a morning breakfast before the ceremony for the main party.
Did you have a wedding breakfast before or after the ceremony? Did you go for a 3 course meal or something simpler?


  1. That’s interesting to know, I love to hear about why certain things are called what they are. When I went to my cousins weddings in Canada they both had wedding breakfast the following morning were close friends and family gather at the brides parents house and opened there presents #bloggerclubUK

  2. I always thought it was due to being the first meal after getting married but it is quite odd to call it that eh? I barely ate anything at mine as was buzzing. So unlike me! Thanks for sharing with #bloggersbest x

  3. How interesting! We had a Chinese Wedding and according to tradition, breakfast is provided by the bride’s side for guests while awaiting the arrival of the groom and his posse.


  4. I think it depends on the time of your ceremony these days and how traditional you want to go. We didn’t have a wedding breakfast. Instead we had a BBQ wedding feast in the evening. I wouldn’t change a thing. Well… perhaps how tight my dress was, I could hardly breathe let alone eat :-O Thanks for joining us for the #Dreamteam x

  5. We had a cold buffet – cold meat, cold fish & lots of salads & fresh bread. It was delicious & very relaxed and informal. We didn’t have one set pudding either – we had lots of different cakes made by our mums & friends! #bloggersbest

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