Thinking about hosting an after-wedding brunch? A next-day brunch is a great way to extend the celebration. Luckily, the etiquette for this event is a bit more relaxed. You have a little more room to play with everything, including the post-wedding brunch invitations, dress code, and menu. While there are no hard and fast rules, guidance is always welcome. We've created a straightforward guide to who to invite and how to plan your first brunch as a married couple!
Which Guests Should Get Post-Wedding Brunch Invitations?
If your budget allows it and you want to invite all your wedding guests, awesome! But it's by no means necessary or expected. There are a few key groups of people who should get an invite no matter what, including:
- immediate family
- the wedding party and their plus-ones
Beyond that, use your discretion and be consistent. If you're going to invite extended family members (aunts, uncles, and cousins), do so for both of your families. If you want to add some of your friends to the list, it should be all your friends on both sides, as well as your mutual friends. Just like when you’re making the guest list for your wedding, picking and choosing some friends or cousins over others can result in hurt feelings, so consistency is totally key. Of course, if you start to open up the guest list to make sure everyone is fairly represented, you might as well just invite everyone!
If you're keeping the guest list small, either include an insert in the invitations that are destined for only the guests in question, or send out an e-vite to more easily track RSVPs. Not inviting everyone? Then don't put the brunch on your wedding website. The rest of your guests might assume they’re also invited, or will be hurt to find out there’s more to the party and they’re not included. If you’ve got a room block at a hotel with a restaurant, don’t host your brunch in the main dining room. Instead, opt for a private room or have your brunch off-site to avoid any awkward moments when those you didn’t invite show up for breakfast and are dining at the next table.
Host a Post-Wedding Brunch on a Budget
Extending the post-wedding brunch invitation to everyone is a good way to play it safe, but another meal for 100 or more can be expensive, so be selective with offerings to keep the cost low. If your aim is a quick hug before everyone heads to the airport, limit the choices to coffee and tea, juice, pastries, and fresh fruit that your loved ones can easily grab (and even take with them in the car).
For a sit-down meal that’s a little more hearty, that buffet can be tasty without being totally over-the-top. Scrambled eggs, potatoes, and bacon are crowd-pleasers, and no one will miss the omelette station or freshly made waffles. Skipping the alcohol (sorry, no mimosas!) will also help you limit the costs. If your venue has a bar and offers brunch cocktails, guests could head to the bar to purchase drinks themselves.
When and Where to Hold Your Post-Wedding Brunch
Most post-wedding brunches begin at 11 a.m. or noon and last about two and a half hours, allowing guests to stop in at their leisure. If your wedding is a late-night affair, consider holding your brunch from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. so your guests can rest in the morning.
As for the setting, you can rent a restaurant, hold it at your wedding hotel or, of course, in a house. Pick a site that allows you to collaborate with an event planner who can help you personalize the menu and decor.
"The aim of a brunch is to delight the eye and refresh the body," says Serena Bass, founder of Serena Bass Inc., a New York City-based catering and events company. For Bass, the basis of a beautiful brunch is the decor. At a springtime party, for example, moss-covered boxes containing fresh, flowering bulbs are the perfect centerpieces, each table boasting a different flower and color, such as purple hyacinths on one, and pink primroses on another. Using votive candles with subtle scents, such as green apple, will give the space a glow and leave the room smelling fresh.
Meet the Expert
- Serena Bass is the founder of Serena Bass Inc., a New York City-based catering and events company.
- Carly McGarry is the catering manager at the Omni Rancho Las Palmas, a resort in Palm Springs, California.
Consider Going with a Buffet to Make the Meal Interactive
"Buffets are a great choice for a post-wedding brunch because they're fun and interactive, and they tend to get guests mingling. It's also a good way to get people to try a variety of foods, and really make the meal an experience," says Carly McGarry, catering manager at the Omni Rancho Las Palmas, a stylish resort in Palm Springs, California. "About 80% of our brides are opting to have a post-wedding brunch. It's the perfect way to end a magical weekend and celebrate the bride and groom while sharing one final meal together."
"Introduce an element of luxury with items like salmon from Scotland and mascarpone from Italy," suggests Bass. For the refreshments, Bass recommends incorporating fresh fruit and festive beverages. Try greeting each table with a tray of raspberry Bellinis: champagne with a splash of fresh berry purée. Display several glass bowls that each contain one type of sliced fruit, such as mango, watermelon, papaya and grapes; the bright bursts of color will pop. Made-to-order omelettes are also nice to have, she adds.
An omelette station offering a variety of cheeses and vegetables will satisfy many palates. Bass also likes to leave a few special treats on each table: "Little shots of pink grapefruit juice, or white-chocolate brioche rolls are perfect."