brunch wedding decor set up

Brunch Wedding Tips, Tricks, and Tasty Tidbits

Nov 27, 2023
By Wedding Spot

Daytime and weekday weddings have become increasingly popular in the last few years. The trend of booking non-traditional event times really took off in 2021, as engaged couples scrambled to rebook the celebrations they postponed during the pandemic. Evening and weekend wedding availability went quickly—often for unaffordable prices—causing many couples to rethink their original plans. To avoid putting it off any longer, some duos decided to wed during the week or get married in an unusual venue. Other soon-to-be-newlyweds hosted a brunch wedding instead.

More than just a fleeting trend, out-of-the-box event times are likely here to stay, and in this post, we’ll show you why. From pricing and preparation to the pros and cons, we’re covering everything you need to know what a brunch wedding is and how to plan one. If you’re looking for timeline tips, menu ideas, or décor dos and don’ts, you’ve come to the right place.

How is a brunch wedding different from a traditional wedding?

Whether you get married in the morning, evening, or the middle of the night, all weddings have a few things in common: a committed couple, at least one witness, and a powerful promise. However, event timing can have a significant impact on how a wedding unfolds—who can attend and what you can do.

Brunch weddings stand out from traditional evening weddings in several ways, making them ideal for couples who want to do things a little differently. What sets them apart?

  • Time – Brunch weddings start much earlier in the day than most weddings. Instead of kicking off in the afternoon or evening, the ceremony occurs in the morning, with the whole event wrapping up by late afternoon.
  • Length – Brunch weddings are often shorter than traditional weddings, lasting between two and four hours. Evening weddings are typically five to seven hours long.
  • Atmosphere – Wearing a satin gown or flashy formal wear might feel out of place early in the morning, so brunch weddings tend to be more casual than evening events. While your wedding can be as formal as you like, the laid-back atmosphere associated with this meal is one of the things that makes it so unique.
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What’s the big deal about brunch? 

In addition to being trendy, there are several benefits to getting hitched in the early hours. If you’re working with a tight budget or on a short timeline, consider hosting a brunch wedding, as they are usually:

  • Easier to book

Popular wedding venues get booked up well in advance, making it difficult to find an available location on an ideal date. Booking outside of the most popular times can make it easier to find a place, especially if you open the search to include unique wedding venues. If you’re set on a particular wedding date (or a few select dates), but you can’t find an open venue, consider asking about brunch availability instead.

  • Less expensive

In addition to saving on venue rental, planning a brunch wedding helps budget-conscious couples cut other costs, like food and entertainment. Overall, breakfast fare is less expensive than dinner dishes, with eggs, pastries, and breakfast meat costing significantly less than popular evening entrees (e.g., prime rib or seafood). Attending an early ceremony may also help out-of-town guests reduce travel expenses, enabling them to book one night at a hotel instead of two.

  • Fantastic for family time 

Brunch weddings tend to wrap up by two or three in the afternoon, leaving the newlyweds plenty of free time. After the reception wraps, gather your close friends and family, and keep the party going at a second location. Hit the beach in the summer, meet at the bowling alley for a few frames, or head back to your house for leisurely outdoor lawn games.

  • Helpful for the honeymoon

Late-night receptions that turn into pre-dawn after-parties are fabulously fun, but they can be a pain the following day—especially if you have an early flight to catch. When you host a brunch wedding, you shouldn’t be too exhausted or hung over the next day, as long as you don’t overdo it the night before!


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Is there a downside to hosting a brunch wedding? 

While we love brunch weddings, the truth is they’re not for everyone. Before you book a date and pay deposits, there are a few details to consider.

1. You’ll have to wake up early 

If you’re not a morning person, brunch weddings may not suit you. Most wedding parties gather four to five hours before the ceremony to begin preparations, so keep that in mind when setting the schedule. Even if the ceremony doesn’t start until 10 a.m., you’ll probably see the sunrise. The day-of timeline for your brunch wedding might look something like:

05:00 a.m. – Start getting ready (hair, makeup, etc.)
10:00 a.m. – Ceremony begins
10:30 a.m. – End of ceremony, start of cocktail hour, break for wedding photos 
11:30 a.m. – Brunch is served (eating, speeches, etc.) 
12:30 p.m. – Dancing, games, and entertainment 
02:00 p.m. – Send-off

2. Lighting conditions are harsher

Hosting a brunch wedding may mean missing out on the “Golden Hour” wedding photographers love so much, as it only occurs twice a day, for one hour after sunrise and one before sunset. In the late morning and early afternoon, couples face direct sunlight, which can harshen lighting conditions significantly.

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3. Timeline trimming may be necessary      

Because brunch receptions are shorter, you may have to cut some traditional wedding elements to save time. Depending on the venue’s availability and time restrictions, it may be necessary to trim speeches, cut individual dances, or limit cocktail hour.

4. You might miss out on the party 

Our energy and enthusiasm levels fluctuate throughout the day, with most of us waiting until evening to let loose and unwind. Your guests might be more comfortable doing the Cha Cha Slide under the cool of night than right after breakfast, and you may miss out on dancing entirely, so keep that in mind.

Where to host your brunch wedding

Throwing a brunch wedding gives engaged couples more flexibility in event style and setup. Depending on the size of your guest list, budget, and vision, many different types of venues could accommodate the event.

  • Restaurants. Topping the brunch wedding list—of course—we have restaurants. While some eateries offer small event packages for meetings and private parties, others offer full-scale event services for corporate functions, holiday parties, and even weddings. Research establishments in your area to see who provides event services or wedding packages. Consider booking the entire restaurant for complete privacy or hosting the ceremony and reception in separate spaces, like a private banquet room and the patio.
  • Hotels. One of our favorite all-in-one wedding venues, hotels are fantastic options for couples dreaming of a brunch reception. With overnight rooms, catering, and event space, the right hotel can accommodate an upscale wedding with ease.
  • Gardens and greenhouses. Throw a whimsical brunch wedding in a greenhouse, community garden, or botanical museum. Say, “I do,” surrounded by lush greenery and exotic flowers, or host a garden party-style brunch outside under the trees, where you can feel the sun smile.  
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  • Parks. Contact the local Parks and Recreation Department or Town Hall to ask about hosting your wedding in community spaces like public parks, gardens, or event pavilions. Confirm booking policies, fees, and permit requirements (e.g., time, noise, attendee count) to determine which nearby parks fit your wedding criteria.
  • Your own backyard. Host a brunch-themed wedding in your backyard to save money, avoid venue restrictions, and maintain total control over your event. With a few tables, chairs, and thoughtfully placed decorations, you can quickly turn a spacious backyard into an adorable, comfortable ceremony space.

Brunch wedding ideas your guests will love

Planning a brunch wedding doesn’t have to break the bank. Host an elegant and refreshingly unique event with:

  • Personalized welcome bags. Set the tone for a magical and memorable day by giving each guest a welcome bag upon arrival. Include brunch-themed items, like commemorative coffee sleeves or personalized tea bags, and a program of the day’s events.
  • Post-ceremony power-ups. Although they are undoubtedly excited for you, a handful of guests will probably feel sleepy—with one or two still on the grumpy side. Before the reception, surprise guests with coffee carts and a post-ceremony pick-me-up.  
  • Fresh foliage centerpieces. Freshly cut flowers and lush greenery pair flawlessly with the sweet scents, bubbly beverages, and flavorful foods that make us all love brunch. Liven up any tablescape with eucalyptus centerpieces and fern accents, or create living décor using hardy succulents and vining ivy. Seek out low-cost florals and flower arrangements that are easy to maintain or make your own.
  • A soap bubble send-off. Encourage everyone in attendance to participate in an epic wedding send-off. As the reception ends, hand out bubble wands. Asks guests to form a path and blow bubbles as the newlyweds exit the event.
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Building a brunch menu that will impress your guests

Highlighting a delectable combination of classic breakfast dishes and heavier lunchtime ingredients, brunch has the best of both worlds. It also provides a lot of flexibility, giving couples room to experiment with their menu and reception setup. Whether it’s family style or a buffet stocked with your brunch favorites, it’ll be sure to be a hit.

  • Eggs Benedict

Impress wedding guests with eggs Benedict, a technically complex, deviously delicious dish with many variations. A brunch fan-favorite, classic eggs Benedict features poached eggs, asparagus, and ham atop English muffins doused in hollandaise sauce, but don’t be afraid to mix it up. Planning a wedding by the beach? Swap pork and hollandaise sauce for crab cakes in old bay cream sauce.

  • Chicken and waffle bites

An elevated, miniaturized version of chicken and waffles—the brunch staple—these finger foods are as dainty as they are delicious. Energize guests with these protein-packed appetizers from With Love Joey, or put a unique spin on the classic recipe with skewered Nashville hot chicken and waffle bites, complete with candied jalapeno.

  • Fabulous fruit displays 

From tangy citrus, like oranges and grapefruit, to pleasantly plump pomes, including apples and pears, fruit is a core component of any well-rounded breakfast. Create stunning, colorful designs using vibrant fruit slices, or arrange whole fruits in decorative bowls for attractive, edible centerpieces.

  • Food and drink bars 

Build-your-own (BYO) food bars streamline reception service, making it easier to serve guests and restock items quickly. Set up one large BYO bar for waffles, oatmeal, omelets, and other breakfast favorites, or arrange several smaller stations that serve one item each.

Smoothie bars: Smoothies are a sensational treat any time of day, but these blended beverages go exceptionally well with brunch. Invite guests to cool off while enjoying a fabulously refreshing fruit smoothie.

Oyster bars: Turn a canoe or small boat into a high-end outdoor oyster bar by filling it with ice and fresh, sustainably harvested oysters.

Cocktail bars: Cocktails and brunch go together like “I” and “do.” Mimosas, the quintessential brunch beverage, are fast and easy to make. Set up a mimosa bar with champagne and freshly squeezed juice, or select another signature beverage, like bellinis or Bloody Marys. If you go for tomato, encourage guests to get creative with out-of-the-box garnishes like miniature sliders, stuffed olives, and whole bacon slices.

Seven tips for planning a stress-free brunch wedding

Approach planning with the same energy you’d like guests to feel at the wedding: cheerful excitement. Stay organized, keep a detailed calendar, and follow these tips.

1. Consult with wedding VIPs. Before selecting a date, talk to close friends, family members, and potential wedding party members to make sure they can attend a brunch wedding. If you’re working on a short wedding planning timeline, send Save the Dates as early as possible to give invitees a heads-up.

2. Look for a venue with built-in décor. A well-decorated banquet room or ornate patio can add pizazz to the most straightforward wedding setups, which can help a tight decoration budget go further. Simplify your event setup and minimize preparation time by selecting a venue with stunning interior design.

3. Select a simple decorative motif. Picking a theme for your wedding can make it easier to craft an attractive event design, pick out decorations, and so on. Decorate the space with a simple citrus motif to create a welcoming, romantic atmosphere. Arrange lemon slices in a jar and place artificial flowers on the top to create versatile centerpieces that match both modern and rustic designs. Incorporate fresh flowers, citrus prints, and whole fruit into your tablescapes for elegant, low-maintenance wedding décor.

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4. Shop for in-season blooms. Save money on wedding flowers by opting for seasonal flowers. Research which wildflowers are in season year-round in your area, and pick your own, or ask local florists for seasonal centerpiece/aisle marker quotes.

5. Create the perfect wedding playlist. Booking a live band or DJ may be too overwhelming for a brunch wedding, so consider building a playlist instead. Work with your partner to craft the ultimate wedding day playlist, and work with the venue to figure out the best way to set it up.

6. If available, decorate the night before. You already have to get up super early to prepare yourself, so avoid leaving all the setup work until the big day. If the venue is available the night before, ask if you can complete a partial setup to make things easier the morning of your wedding. 

7. Limit boozy beverages. While you can certainly serve cocktails at a brunch wedding, we recommend stocking the bar a bit lighter than you would for an evening event. Because it starts and ends earlier, guests will have the evening ahead of them after the reception. Consider hosting a partially open bar instead of a fully open bar to minimize overconsumption. Give each guest two to three complimentary drink tickets they can exchange for mimosas, a Bloody Mary, or your brunch wedding’s signature cocktail.

Brunch wedding FAQs

What time do brunch weddings start? 

The overall event timeline typically dictates when brunch weddings begin. Generally, brunch receptions kick off sometime between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. The ceremony may start anywhere from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., depending on the length of the service, cocktail hour, and similar events.

What do you wear to a brunch wedding?

Most brunch weddings require casual or cocktail attire, as wearing formalwear early in the day feels out of place. Unless otherwise noted in invitations, brunch wedding guests should anticipate a relaxed atmosphere and casual or semi-formal dress code

Now you can decide if a brunch wedding is right for you

With all the perks, it’s easy to see why brunch weddings have become so popular. Now that you understand the ups and downs of planning one, you can decide if an early afternoon affair fits your style.

Still having trouble finding a venue with weekend availability? Consider getting hitched on a weekday. Next, we’re exploring the pros and cons of weekday weddings and why they’re perfect for some couples. 

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Wedding Spot

The Wedding Spot blog is designed to help couples navigate every step of the wedding planning journey. From before the engagement to after you say “I do,” our goal is to give you the tips, ideas, and inspiration to prepare for your big day — and all that comes with it.