Some couples never want their wedding celebrations to end — but a morning-after brunch can be the best way to bring it to a close while extending the fun.
Although some newlyweds opt for an after-party following their reception, a laid-back brunch the next day is an increasingly popular choice.
“The post-wedding brunch used to be an intimate affair comprised of the immediate family and out-of-town guests, but it has evolved into a more elaborate event,” said Julie Pryor of Pryor Events in L.A.
Many brunches include the entire guest list from the day before, while some — such as for the lavish, 800-guest Indian weddings planned by Nikki Khan of Exquisite Events — whittle attendees down to a manageable 150. Regardless, the morning-after affair is when “we see our hosts who are absolutely type-A totally relax, and it’s nice to see that they are now truly enjoying their guests,” Khan said.
Khan has done formal, seated brunches, but that’s a rarity, she said. More often the party is casual, such as a recent lawn brunch with understated flowers and interactive food stations that nevertheless had an “air of elegance,” Khan said.
The brunch “takes the pressure off [the newlyweds] to have another event to spend some quality time with the guests,” said Kathy Nosek, owner of A Divine-Occasion. “They want to see and spend time with you as a couple.”
As the popularity of these events rose over the past few years, couples began using their wedding planner to handle the details, such as reusing the floral arrangements from the reception — a no-brainer since they’re costly and perfectly beautiful the next day.
Wedding brunches can be held in a wide variety of venues. Some of Nosek’s favorites are the Beverly Hills Hotel, the Beverly Hills restaurant Il Cielo and the London West Hollywood, a posh hotel featuring Chef Gordon Ramsay’s Michelin-starred restaurant.
One recent brunch had a “hair of the dog” theme and turned into a pool party. It was also on the bride’s parents’ 45th wedding anniversary, Nosek said. It was the cherry on top of a weekend that included a 5K run and yoga retreat.
Pryor has planned brunches at such disparate venues as the House of Blues, on a boat and on the tennis courts of a Bel-Air home.
“I have heard that the wedding day goes by in a flash, and to be able to wake up the next day and spend time with everyone seems so special,” said Stephanie Moreland, who will marry Sam Dekin in August at the Adamson House in Malibu, followed by a brunch hosted by her father in the backyard of her childhood home in Pacific Palisades.
In addition to being a great way to recap the weekend, a brunch can also serve to include themes or foods that don’t fit in at the reception. Hali and Greg Lieb, married at the Disneyland Hotel on June 18, hosted a “Rise and Dine” brunch at the nearby Grand Californian, complete with a harpist and the restaurant’s peanut butter and jelly pizza and Mickey Mouse waffles.
The couple had their floral arrangements transported to line the area, and invited guests to take them home afterward. Favors aren’t a must, but the Liebs hosted a brunch for a friend’s Napa wedding last year and created jars of jam labeled with the couple’s names and the words “spread the love.”
Longtime planners recommend sticking to the buffet and station format, as guests flow in and out according to their travel plans.
Omelet stations seem to be the most popular. Others have included custom crepes, pasta, smoked fish and French toast.
“Fresh fruit smoothies and skewers are a refreshing touch for summer,” Pryor said.
These days, weddings are being custom-made to outshine all others, and the brunch is simply the latest arena for that friendly competition.
“Anything to outdo, outwit, out-fun a wedding that will have people saying, ‘I’ve never been to a wedding where I had so much fun,’” Nosek said.
—Emerson Patrick, Custom Publishing Writer