Post-Wedding Breakfast vs. Wedding Welcome Drinks

post wedding donuts, pre-wedding cocktails

Nearly all the weddings I have gone to in the last 10 years have been multi-day events, mine included.

These events are often designed for out-of-towners. It gives them something to do, which is especially helpful if they’ve traveled to an area that doesn’t have a lot to do. It also gives the bride and groom more opportunity to interact with their guests. These events have clear benefits, but they also add up to more planning when your time and money can feel limited. Are they for you?

I can’t answer that, but I can tell you what Robert and I did.

Originally, Robert and I contemplated the morning-after-the-wedding-breakfast but decided against it. Here’s why:

  • Of the many wedding weekend breakfasts I’ve been invited to, I’ve only made it to one. Even an afternoon flight can make a breakfast hard to get to. For us, many of our guests were flying out the day we would hold a brunch.
  • We had an evening wedding that ended around 11 p.m. We weren’t confident that our guests — or Robert and I for that matter — would be super into getting up early the next day.
  • We didn’t want to overbook our guests. Because we had our wedding in a city that’s a destination in its own right, we thought we’d leave folks one day without any plans so they could see what they would like (time allowing).
  • We couldn’t host a breakfast in a budget-friendly fashion. I’ve been invited to many wedding weekend brunches held at a family member’s home, which is the easiest way to rein in spending. This wasn’t feasible for us because we had only one family member who lived inside the city and the space could not accommodate our crowd. In the end, we couldn’t justify the time and expense it would take to plan a breakfast event.
  • We wanted the wedding weekend to end on a high note (the wedding), rather than a tired note (the breakfast).

That said, I’ve seen some great budget-friendly ideas for breakfast (that I wasn’t able to attend). Two friends opted for just donuts and coffee.  You can always host that in your hotel room. One friend hosted it on a nearby beach (a park is also an option).

I will say: One friend opted for a post-wedding brunch and wished she hadn’t. She said she was tired and felt that she had seen everyone plenty by that time — she would have preferred to take it easy. So you may want to consider your capacity for multiple social events when making this decision.

Instead of a breakfast, Robert and I opted for welcome cocktails as an additional wedding event. We were really happy with that decision. Here’s why:

  • We saw our guests at the front-end of the trip when they were bright-eyed and excited to be there.
  • We could control costs better with a drinks event held at pre-dinner time by agreeing with management to a cap of what we were willing to spend.
  • The two-hour event was held early in the evening at 4:30 p.m. The timing was good for us because we didn’t feel worn out by the event.
  • We held our event in downtown Nashville, where there are many bars and restaurants, so after our event was over at 6:30, our guests had plenty to see and do. We had even given them a gathering point for hanging out with each other, if they felt so inclined.
  • The event was framed as an open house, so people could just stop by if they wanted to and not feel obligated to stay, like they would at a breakfast. A decent number of people did just that.
  • The event was one of the easiest aspects of our entire wedding planning experience — though we have the vendor we used to thank for that. I’ll cover more on how to host a budget-friendly welcome event in an upcoming post.

Of note: If you anticipate having DIY projects to attend to the night before your wedding, a cocktail event could make things hard on you.

Truth be told, Robert and I did sorta host three events during our wedding weekend. The Thursday before our wedding was July 4th, so we encouraged guests to look for us at Riverfront Park, where the fireworks were held. This worked out well for us because with so many guests traveling to be with us, we liked the idea of offering another event to entertain them.  Piggybacking on a big event meant we didn’t have to do much of anything on our own, which also saved us money. So you may want to look to events going on in your area if you want to bulk up your weekend offerings.

What additional events (if any) will you be hosting over your wedding weekend? Find a restaurant or bar for your additional wedding events here!

Photos by *Ann Gordon (left) and Dinner Series (right), both via Flickr Creative Commons

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