The Wedding Breakfast
The “breakfast” is, in fact, lunch. It takes place after a morning or noon ceremony and may be served at tables—usually three courses—or from a buffet with a number of selections. Drinks may be served before lunch, in addition to wine with lunch and champagne at cake-cutting time.
A tea or cocktail menu, with the addition of a wedding cake, is appropriate. Make it as simple or elaborate as you want—from punch, pretty homemade open-faced sandwiches and wedding cake, to a catered repast of hot and cold canapes, choice of drinks, a buffet of substantial, elegant selections and wedding cake. Even on the tightest budget, it costs nothing to make everything appetizingly attractive. You can rent or borrow plates, but do not settle for paper ones.
Without a doubt, an afternoon wedding when no one expects substantial food can be the least expensive.
A fine and perfect wedding can be produced “on a shoestring” when friends help. In place of hired waiters or waitresses, preteen and early-teenage children of friends pass the platters of goodies. The youngsters, dressed in their best outfits, feel honored, and so do the guests. Some friends will contribute flowers; others will provide dainty sandwiches. Yes, it can be done beautifully though economically if need be. When friends band together to make the day special for you, their warmth does indeed make your unforgettable day even more exceptional.
A late-afternoon reception may be prolonged until a dinner or supper is served, either at tables or from a buffet. Today, people usually expect that a ceremony later than four o’clock will include dinner or a buffet reception, although this is an extra expense and not necessary.
A dinner requires arranging the seating with place cards. If the guest list is large, seating charts with names in large print are provided along with individual cards indicating table numbers at which the guests place themselves. The person in charge of the guest book distributes these cards at the reception. With a large crowd you may, of course, use individual place cards a daunting task! This detailed placing of guests is time consuming and not much fun, but makes each guest feel specially considered.
At a large dinner you might find it preferable to place congenial friends together, while at the smaller rehearsal dinner you intentionally intermingle your guests.
This is similar to the afternoon reception, following an evening ceremony. Frequently a late supper is served, especially if guests stay for dancing.
Music and Dancing
There need be no music at all at the reception, although this is the exception rather than the rule. If you want music, however, it can be anything from one piece a piano, accordion or zither to two dance bands. Popular recently are the less expensive DJs who produce amazing music and sound effects.
It should be noted here that if your reception is to be in a private home, there might be objections from neighbors over the loudness of the music. A safeguard against this, although not foolproof, is graciously to advise each neighbor of the wedding and the time you plan for the music to end. Some brides have even been known to invite every neighbor to come! Advising your local police department of the wedding and when it is planned to end is another nonfoolproof safeguard.