Most couples have spent a year or more planning their wedding, but then the big day itself ends up passing in a flash. Why not wrap up the festivities with a day-after-the-wedding brunch?
The nice thing about a brunch is that it has a more casual, less stressful feel than these other events.
“It also gives you time to have more in-depth conversations than the whirlwind hellos you typically hand out at your wedding, and it’s a terrific way to say thank you to your guests, especially those who had to travel,” says Krissy Tiglias, lifestyle director for TheKnot.com.
Whether it’s a catered feast or a rustic picnic in your own backyard, the bridal-brunch experts have some tips on how to handle the most important meal of the day after the big day.
Make it Tasty
Brunch is ideal for featuring local, seasonal and artisanal foods, says Chloe Fennell, managing partner of Eat Your Heart Out Catering and Events, Portland, Ore. Fennell’s company likes to make muffins with Northwest flavors such as Hazelnut Banana, Mountain Huckleberry and Corn-and-White-Cheddar made with cheese from local creameries. They also serve personal baguettes from favorite local bakeries accompanied by Oregon blue cheese and smoked salmon spreads, as well as house-cured bacon and gourmet sausages from regional charcuteries.
Although hearty is good, especially after a night of drinking, Fennell recommends avoiding greasy foods that will be too heavy, messy or unappetizing if they sit out for very long.
“Egg dishes like frittatas or casseroles are great for larger groups,” she says. “And the bride’s herb is rosemary, so rosemary-infused roasted new potatoes are perfect.”
Lighten things up with seasonal fruits, such as berries garnished with mint and accompanied with homemade granola and local yogurt. Round things out with a field greens salad.
Make It Affordable
Fantastic catered buffet brunches can be hosted at hotels or restaurants or in a scenic park.
But if cost is an issue, Fennell suggests serving a simple open house-style breakfast either at your own home or, ideally, at a relative or good friend’s spacious place. Lay out the food and beverages in the kitchen and then set up chairs and blankets in the backyard. No elaborate décor is necessary – you can even repurpose your reception flowers.
As to the menu, don’t think that you have to offer a giant spread, says Tiglias. Your tired, hungry guests will be thrilled even if you just serve coffee and bagels, pastries and doughnuts from beloved bakeries, paired with seasonal (i.e. cheaper) local fruit. You can also make it a family affair and have your grandmother bake up a batch of her famous muffins, or consider a pancake party if you have a small guest list and your new father-in-law is willing to man the pan.
Make it Extra Special
An easy to make your brunch extra fun is to incorporate alcohol. Tiglias recommends a Mimosa Bar. Serve champagne or prosecco with strawberries, blueberries, fresh orange juice, peach juice and a variety of syrups. Or literally spice things up with a DIY Bloody Mary Bar, says Fennell. Guests can select from a variety of spices and condiments to add to their basic Bloody Mary. Include unique ingredients like fresh Kaffir lime juice, pickled fiddlehead fern, peppery edible nasturtium blooms and fresh horseradish root with a grater.
Another clever idea is to have the honeymoon destination dictate the brunch menu.
“If you’re going to Mexico, feature a huevos rancheros casserole and authentic Mexican pastries,” says Fennell. “Or if you’re headed off to Italy, serve a frittata filled with seasonal produce and warm grape focaccia bread.”