If there’s one thing everyone knows about you as a couple, your single favorite weekend activity is brunch. You love the ambiance, the energy, and of course, the morning buzz. Since you early birds and love birds could live in a happily-ever-after nest built on breakfast food alone, why not think outside the menu and consider surprising your guests by centering your nighttime wedding reception around breakfast for dinner fare?
Brent Bogan, Wedding Sales Manager at The Chicory Venue in the Warehouse District, has seen an upswing in the play on breakfast for dinner and noted that it’s met with great enthusiasm by wedding goers.
“Guests are expecting the regular late night things, but when they see breakfast food they go crazy,” said Bogan. “It’s something they’ve never seen before.”
As opposed to a seated dinner, he suggests keeping the menu items fresh from the grill to your guests with ideas like passed fried green tomatoes and stations set up with shrimp and grits, chicken and red velvet waffles and mini breakfast sandwiches or tacos. Or, consider a Pain Perdu made colorful with figs and star fruit displays.
Bogan notes the importance of balancing the sweet and the savory for your menu.
“You don’t just want pancakes and syrup when you’re drinking,” said Bogan, noting the importance of balancing the sweet and savory. “A made-to-order eggs Benedict station with different types of hollandaise is all still brunch friendly, but not completely off the wall to have at night. It’s good mood food and it’s all fun to see.”
Bogan said breakfast is a fun and viable option for couples on a tighter budget.
“Breakfast is more budget-friendly than a regular dinner because the cost of breakfast food is way lower than anything else,” said Bogan. “But you could also go bigger and add a raw bar with oysters on the half shell and a smoked salmon display to make it more high end.”
Chef Slade Rushing of Brennan’s, who has seen everything from passed petite Gruyere and ham quiches to lobster scrambles served to seated guests, also recommends this type of service as beneficial for a couple concerned with cost.
“I really believe that you can go above and beyond pleasing your guest within a tight budget,” said Rushing. “Breakfast options can help your budget stay manageable, and guests are always thrilled with the comfort food that breakfast and brunch offers.”
Further, Rushing sees the idea of breakfast fare as a way to bond guests and create a conversational atmosphere.
“I think couples want their families to mingle and celebrate together more easily, and breakfast [or] brunch fare really allows this to happen,” said Rushing. “Breakfast for dinner is a casual tradition that people love, so creating an elegant version of this tradition seems to always heighten that casual, mingling and social mood that needs to be present for a memorable wedding reception.”
Recognizing that the bar can also come in handy when encouraging mingling, Rushing recommends incorporating traditional cocktails that pair well with breakfast items.
“Specialty cocktails like mimosas and Brandy Milk Punch can take the edge off and brunch food is simply more comforting and fun to enjoy. It can provide a level of casualness to a reception that makes people feel comfortable.”
Aaron Shaffer of 12 Seasons Catering believes that setting up several themed food bars can not only create flow for the event, but also help with avoiding a line.
“So many of the bars and action stations take a little longer to service,” said Shaffer. (For action stations, think omelettes.)
He recommends setting up a variety of stations or buffet presentations for guests to float in between like waffle bars with whipped cream and berries or Southern biscuit bars with extras like country gravy, BBQ shrimp and grits, or poached egg with creamy hollandaise.
Wyeth Metz, Catering Sales Manager-Wedding Connoisseur at the Royal Sonesta Hotel, says a breakfast after dark menu makes for a fun camaraderie throughout the festivities.
“Enjoying breakfast and brunch foods at a wedding is such a new experience for guests that it encourages conversation and engagement at the interactive food stations,” said Metz.
She notes concepts like New Orleans omelette and eggs-any-style stations, make-your-own breakfast taco bar with all the trimmings and beignet displays with various sauces, whipped creams and toppings.
She says, “Couples are able to put a personal spin by including childhood favorites, incorporating their ethnicity and their distinctive personality as a couple.”