Where Did The Wedding Breakfast Get Its name?

A wedding breakfast?

It’s a funny name when you think about it. Because we rarely see couples tucking into a bowl of cereal, or even eating before noon. So where did the wedding breakfast get its name from?

What is the wedding breakfast?

The wedding breakfast is a meal that can be eaten at any time of day and typically refers to something significantly grander than our everyday breakfast. It’s not quite the same as cereal or toast. It’s the meal typically tucked into after a couple has said ‘I do’. But where exactly did this tradition stem from? How did the name develop? Let’s take a look…

What does history tell us?

The first insight we can gage into this tradition comes from looking at the word breakfast itself. In precise terms, it means to ‘break-fast’, to eat again after a period of time without food. This makes sense. We all love the long-awaited food after the wedding pictures, and it can feel like it’s been a long time since we last ate! But there’s more.

Wedding ceremonies in the UK were historically part of what was known as Eucharist Mass and would take place after the Mass service. You might know the Eucharist better as Holy Communion or the Lord’s Supper. This rite is said to have originated with Jesus during the Last Supper (now it’s all about the civil partnership!). It is believed he gave his disciples bread and wine, which is where the elements of the Eucharist come from. Within this tradition, the bride and groom, and sometimes the rest of the wedding party, would fast ahead of the service. The wedding breakfast would then be the first meal the newlyweds enjoyed together. They were free to indulge and break their fast after the ceremony was complete.

After the nuptials, it was a tradition for the priest to bless the food and drink before passing round the ceremonial foods. Everybody was then free to enjoy the food. We can only imagine the relief!

The new tradition

With wedding speeches becoming popular before the meal, it could feel like a ‘blessing’ and with ‘anything goes’ food options for DIY weddings, who knows, you could be tucking into a full English if it’s what the couple want! But ultimately, the wedding breakfast gets its name from being the first meal the newlyweds have together as a wedded couple. So, we can see how it makes sense to call it breakfast, as traditionally, that’s the first meal of the day.

As the wedding breakfast appears to be a staple, that will continue to have its role in weddings for a long time to come, whether it’s in buffet form or a fish and chip van. Why not consider how you make this tradition reflect your tastes as a couple? The truth is that anything goes, so utilise the freedom a DIY wedding provides and make it your own. Pizza, wedding breakfast anyone?

There’s one thing for sure. The wedding breakfast has a fascinating story behind it, and we hope food is here to stay as part of the wedding day!

Call us on 01298 872591 to talk about your special day. We can even recommend food options for you if you wish. Or email us at info@hargate-hall.co.uk with the dates you’d like to book, and we’ll get straight back to you.