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Why is it called a wedding breakfast

A question I’m often asked is why is a wedding breakfast called a breakfast, when it mostly happens in the afternoon, after the wedding ceremony. Obviously it is a tradition but one that dates back several hundred years in most Christian countries.

It is claimed that it dates back to pre-Reformation times, when the wedding service was usually a Eucharistic Mass and that the bride and bridegroom would therefore have been fasting before the wedding in order to receive communion. Thus the first meal as a married couple would be breaking their fast ! And also the priest or the minister would bless the food, which would be the first the happy couple would enjoy together, as husband and wife.

wedding breakfast table setting

Today wedding breakfasts are a celebratory meal, taken with family and guests at the reception. And of course they vary from couple to couple. Some choose a traditional format with fine dining and a carefully thought out menu, including seating plans and a top table. While others, decided upon an informal buffet and party, reflecting diversities within modern families today.

As a wedding photographer I try and capture the details of the wedding breakfast before guests sit down, the arrival of the bride and groom and then return to the room for any speeches. The wedding breakfast is usually an important part of the day for family, relatives and friends as it gives them all a time to sit and relax and talk with each other. Also it gives me a chance to have a little break as well, during, what often is a very busy day !

wedding breakfast food photography

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