What is a wedding breakfast?


Weddings are full of traditions. White dresses, floral bouquets, giving away the bride. When planning a wedding today, one of the questions many couples need to decide is which traditions to keep or, perhaps, which ones to modernise.

One of those traditional elements is the wedding breakfast. This fabulous feast is a key part of your day – the time when the ceremony is over and your friends and family come together to relax, connect and eat. It’s the part when you can bring in emotion and comedy moments and celebrate your first meal as a married couple.

The wedding breakfast normally takes place after the ceremony and therefore sometime in the afternoon. So, why do we call it breakfast, and is this a tradition you might like to vary?

Why is it called a wedding breakfast?

There are a few theories as to how the wedding breakfast got its name. Some suggest that this is because, back in the 17th Century, weddings would take place after Mass. The couple would fast until after the service, and so their first meal was literally a way to break their fast.

Another theory is that this was simply because weddings would take place early in the day, after which the couple and guests would move on to their morning meal together. Or was it because people generally only had two meals of the day, breakfast and dinner, it was normal to have the ceremony first and then break their fast together?

The traditional wedding breakfast

However it began, the celebratory feast following the service is the first meal that a newly-wed couple share together, so the term wedding breakfast is still appropriate. Traditionally this became a three-course meal, complete with silver-service, and followed by the speeches.

As with every aspect of your wedding, this is an opportunity to make your wedding your own. At Coton House Farm our Oak Barn is able to seat 120 guests, with full silver service and as many courses as you prefer. If you like the idea of a more formal meal, it’s a beautiful setting.

But if you prefer to go a little more relaxed, then why not?

Buffet style wedding breakfast

Buffet style wedding breakfasts are a great way to cater to lots of different food tastes and eating requirements. Gone is the formal plated service; guests can pick and choose the dishes they prefer from a range of options and take as much as they choose. After all, you rarely get the option for seconds in a formal meal.

Street food wedding breakfast

Something that is fast becoming popular in today’s weddings is a relaxed street food vibe. Hog roast, Indian, Mexican, Caribbean, fish and chips wrapped in (catering) newspaper. We have definitely seen an increase in requests for this option, and our Stable Courtyard and BBQ is purposefully designed to make the cooking an integral part of the entertainment.

The advantages of a street food style meal is that it’s far more relaxed. You can completely do away with a formal table plan, which means no worrying about who sits with whom, which family members won’t get on and who will be offended by being placed nearest the door.

Afternoon tea

When your wedding ceremony is held first thing in the morning, it’s understandable that your guests will need sustenance by lunchtime – especially if they are already perusing the cocktail list in the Pig Sty.

But if you’re planning an afternoon ceremony and a BBQ in the evening, do you even need to squeeze a wedding breakfast in as well? Afternoon tea on the Oak Terrace overlooking the horses lolloping in the meadow – what sounds more romantic and idyllic than that?

And as anyone who has enjoyed a full British afternoon tea before will know, all those little bites of triangular sandwiches and tasty cake selections are actually surprisingly filling. Not to mention, the modern afternoon tea definitely has less tea and a lot more bubbles.

The modern wedding breakfast

There is a lot of be said for tradition, of course. But there are plenty of elements in your day that you can choose to adjust or remove to create the wedding you want. Do you really need a formal receiving line, shaking hands with each guest as they enter the wedding breakfast? When your guest numbers are high, this takes up a lot of time you could spend mingling and chatting.

The wedding speeches are a chance to thank everyone for coming and share the emotions that brought you and your partner together. But who said only the men should do the talking? If the bride, or the Maid of Honour, or your favourite niece, are important too, why not give them a role in the speeches? Just remember it’s probably best not to just have an open mic though – the wine has been flowing by now.

Eating together is an important part of our social lives, bringing family and friends together. The wedding breakfast is a focal point of your wedding day, after the ceremony, of course. But that doesn’t mean you can’t shake it up a bit.

Just as with every other part of your wedding, this day is about you as a couple. You can pick and choose the elements you want. And because Coton House Farm is exclusively yours for the entire day, we can help bring your vision of your ideal wedding day alive.

Want to know more about the wedding breakfast options at Coton House Farm? Book an appointment and view our venue for yourself or call us today on 01543 432429 to discuss your requirements

Share on social

More inspiration…

Book A Visit

If you’re thinking about a wedding or event at Coton House Farm, please use the form below to book a tour with our Wedding and Events Coordinator.

Are you starting your wedding planning journey and looking for a beautiful country venue?
New couples 5pm – 8pm
Our friendly team will also be on hand to answer any questions you may have about your day!