Good Morning, Sunshine
Some brides are getting an early start on their marriage with a brunch wedding.
To break tradition without breaking the bank a growing number of brides and grooms are hosting brunch weddings. Wedding coordinators are fielding requests for morning ceremonies, ranging from as early as sunrise to as late as noon, followed immediately by a brunch reception lasting until 2 or 3 p.m.
Tara Morris, co-founder of T. Alexander Event Management Firm in Hockessin, praises morning vows as a way to keep the piggy bank intact. As anyone in the throes of planning an evening wedding knows, costs rack up faster than you can say I do. But a combo breakfast-and-lunch meal proves cheaper than standard dinner fare.
"Brunch receptions can save a significant amount of money," Morris says. "A couple can go from spending $75 per person to $35 in some instances."
Embrace the morning and serve breakfast favorites at custom buffets. Imagine your guests traveling to different stations, where they can create their own breakfast. They can pick between omelets (will that be whole eggs or egg whites?), waffles (syrup or fruit?) or crepes (banana filling or peach?).
Even breakfast drinks can be easily spiced up-from Irish coffee to peppermint hot chocolate. In fact, drinks are a good place to indulge a little.
"[Guests will be] consuming a fraction of the alcohol that would normally be served at a dinner reception," Morris says, so feel free to make the drinks you do serve memorable. One festive way to update the predictable mimosa is to serve poinsettias, a mixture of cranberry juice and champagne.
Keep in mind that not everyone will be up for a drink before lunch, so have plenty of fruit juices, sparkling water, tea and coffee.
The early hour will influence your choice of cake, too. Instead of heavy red velvet and fondant, try serving something lighter. Guests love petit fours and cookies. But if you must have something to cut into, try a chiffon cake. The whipped texture is light enough that it won't overwhelm anyone, but still sweet enough to satisfy.
Another upshot of getting hitched before noon is that the super hot venue with water views might be previously booked on your wedding night, but it could be free that morning. Go ahead, early-riser. Get the worm by booking the venue of your choice.
If you're planning an early fall wedding, consider taking it outdoors. The weather in September-even October-is often nice enough to set a beautiful stage. "What a wonderful way to start your day as mister and missus," says Cyndi Funbar Savage, who coordinates events in Bethany Beach with Weddings by the Seashore.
Mary-Joe Hickey of
"The guests have shared the special day with the bride and groom, and then have the remainder of the day to enjoy the boardwalk, the ocean or maybe even some sight-seeing," Savage says. The newlyweds can then begin their honeymoon alone, while their guests may decide to stick around for a long weekend or even a full-blown vacation of their own.
Once the site is reserved, use restraint in decorating. Towering flower presentations might be stunning at night, but during the day they can seem as overbearing as a mother-in-law. Instead, think small. Barbei Williams of
Regardless of location, brunch receptions are usually shorter than formal evening weddings, so plan on scaling back the hours of dancing and entertainment you may be accustomed to at night. Mike Nielsen, a professional wedding harpist in
"In the prelude for a morning wedding, I tend to play music that evokes a feeling of nature awakening," Mike says. "Playing music that is a bit too lively in the morning is a bit like having Guinness for breakfast. Even good things have their proper place and time."
Stick with soft music played by a soloist instead of a full band, or create a light play list and broadcast it from your iPod. "Morning Has Broken" by Cat Stevens and "Danny's Song" by Kenny Loggins are great choices.
Don't forget to play a song or two for the little tykes. Brunch is a great way to get the entire family, including the youngest generation, together. Unlike late-night receptions that leave weary parents towing drowsy children, brunch weddings are kid friendly. The little ones are generally welcome, as they are less likely to be fussy during the morning and afternoon hours. Just be sure to let guests know that food will be light. "This way, people are prepared that there will not be a traditional sit-down meal," Morris says. Otherwise, you might have some cranky 6-year-olds letting the world know what they think of spinach omelets.
The other thing to tell your guests is a suggested dress code. Though the atmosphere at a brunch is often less formal than one starting at 7 p.m., some clothing choices are still not recommended.
"The code should still be at least upscale casual," Morris says. "No tennis shoes, jeans, T-shirts, etc."
In fact, some sites won't allow guests with jeans, no matter what time of day.
Given the chance to do it all over again, Hickey, the Maryland bride, says she would still choose 8 a.m. as her start time, adopting the philosophy that if you can't sleep anyway, you may as well get right to it. So embrace the early morning hours, and don't shy away from the possibilities that brunch weddings provide.
Remember that in the end, as Williams puts it, "The people in your life who really want to be there will come, no matter what time.