Centuries ago, after the wedding ceremony and subsequent breakfast celebration, guests were sent on their way with little-to-no fanfare. Over time, however, weddings expanded into multi-day affairs and, with their evolution, began including day-after brunches.
Today, the day-after brunch has become a common component of many weddings. It’s not surprising that this is the case; everyone loves Sunday brunch; it’s yummy, includes food items not usually found on other menus and (most of the time) includes alcohol. Couples view it as a way to spend more time with their guests and send them off in style; guests view it as one last time to celebrate; hosts (if not the couple) view it as one last time to demonstrate hospitality.
We have a few recommendations regarding brunch:
First, remember that not everyone will come, but must be invited. This includes in-town guests. It’s proper etiquette.
Second, set a menu or make it a buffet (the latter usually works best). This avoids the lengthy time it takes to create individually ordered meals.
Third, if you decide to offer alcohol (it IS brunch, after all), limit your offerings to one or two drinks. Your budget will thank you.
Fourth, remember that the couple (i.e., you!) needs to show up for the whole or vast majority of the time. It’s okay to walk in a few minutes late (you will have celebrated late the night before, after all), but you must stay until almost all attendees depart.
Fifth, printed invitations are required, regardless of the brunch’s formality. Emails are insufficient.
Overall, the planning and operation of a brunch should be managed the same as the rehearsal dinner, but with one big exception: provide a timeframe and not a specific time. For example, brunch can be held from 9-11, not 9. The difference is that the former allows guests to come and go as they please, depending on their departure or sleep schedule.
However, hosting a brunch is also an additional wedding expense, and by no means is a traditional wedding component. Therefore, couples should not have any misconceptions that they must or are expected to host a brunch, advice that extends to the couple’s parents and other hosts. Although a kind invitation (who doesn’t appreciate a free meal?), throwing a brunch isn’t required.