- a celebratory meal eaten just after a wedding (at any time of day) by the couple and their guests.
A wedding breakfast is a dinner given to the bride, bridegroom and guests at the wedding reception.
The phrase is still used, even though the meal is usually not a breakfast – and is normally eaten in the evening which can be very confusing if you’re not in the know, especially when google brings up ‘wedding breakfast’ food options which do not correlate with bacon and eggs or marrying before 10am!
The name is claimed to have come into being from the fact that the wedding service was usually a Eucharistic Mass and the bride and groom would be fasting before the wedding in order to receive Holy Communion.
Traditionally, people would have fasted from midnight before the wedding took place and then once you were married the priest would bless the first meal taken. The meal then was the first one that the married couple would take together and so, it was hugely symbolic.
The phrase is thought to have come into being in around the 1830s.
After the wedding ceremony was complete, the priest would bless and distribute some wine, sweet meats and cakes were then handed to the company, including the bride and groom. This distribution of food and drink was therefore a literal “break fast” for the newly married couple, though others in attendance would not necessarily take Communion and therefore would not necessarily have been fasting.
Although the ‘wedding breakfast’ tradition of fasting before marriage have become less popular in Britain different religions still see it as a central part of proceedings.
In Hindu weddings it is common for the bride and groom to fast prior to the marriage ceremony and then following the various ceremony proceedings can partake in the Wedding Breakfast following on from the sharing of the wedding cake.