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What a Morning After!

Before your friends and family drift away, there is one more opportunity to ensure they’ll remember your wedding—for all the right reasons: the morning-after brunch. “It’s a wonderful way to say thank you and spend quality time with your wedding party, out-of-towners and close-knit family,” explains Natalie Ho, entertaining expert and Oliver & Bonacini events and catering manager. “It’s a time to reminisce about the wedding and to continue the celebration.” The best morning-after brunches may seem magical, but they don’t come together by magic alone.

MORNING-AFTER ETIQUETTE Just as you do in your wedding planning, consider your guests when working out the nitty-gritty of your brunch. Let’s start at the bottom (line): unless it’s a very casual affair, it is customary for you to foot the bill. But, as Ho suggests, “If you have many loved ones looking to support your special day, as is often the case in these modern-family times, this can be another opportunity for contribution!”

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION As a hospitality guru, Ho promotes convenience: “Secure either a cool restaurant or a funky event space that is close to the hotel that your guests are staying in.” She cautions against the ambitious endeavour of hosting at your home, but if you must, rely on a relative or caterer to handle the food, drink and other details. You deserve to relax with good company.
Remember, people need rest to recover from a good party, so don’t schedule your event too early. “Do have a set start time, but ensure your guests can sleep in,” advises Ho. “Give their heads a shake and caffeinate before brunch.”

THE MENU At a traditional morning-after brunch, focus on comfort over health. This continues the celebratory decadence for all, and especially pleases those guests who enjoyed the bar a bit too much the night prior. From Ho’s experience at O&B Events and Catering, popular menu choices include such classic breakfast items as eggs Benedict and huevos rancheros, as well as lunch items, like mac and cheese, turkey burgers and gourmet pizzas.
“At our recent WedLuxe wedding show, our chefs featured two savoury waffles, one with chicken liver parfait and strawberry catsup and one with Granny Smith apple and aged cheddar,” says Ho, who, noting the savoury-food craze, adds, “Both were huge hits.”
Other emerging brunch trends include youthful menus featuring such fun elements as an old-school cereal bar and Vegas-style seafood bars (think: crab legs, lobster tails and other luxury items).

“When it comes to beverages, serve fresh twists on the classics,” advises Ho, who recommends mimosas with unique juice flavours and well-spiced Caesars topped with seafood or spiced veggies. “And don’t neglect those who don’t care for alcoholic beverages. Have ample options of fresh juice, coffee and tea. “Loose-leaf flavoured teas can add extra colour and flavour to your event,” she says. “If your brunch is in the summer, try an iced tea.”

IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS Ho’s number-one tip for the post-wedding brunch: use as much décor as possible from your wedding. This is not only beneficial to your wallet but it also adds a beautiful tie-in from the day or night.
Beyond décor, there are other ways to add personal touches to your event, regardless of where it’s hosted. For the ultimate in thoughtfulness, Ho suggests writing your VIP guests personal notes before their arrival, tying in moments from the night before and thanking them for their contributions. If possible, have your photographer overnight you edits of the wedding for a matinee preview.

To further engage your guests and to get the full wedding scoop, Ho proposes preparing them to share their stories by giving them a questionnaire with their invitation. It might ask for the biggest laugh of the night, the most tear-invoking moment, the best-dressed and any other juicy details you may want to gather.
“A small gift serves as a charming brunch finale,” says Ho. “You can get creative with this, but chocolate-covered espresso beans are always a fun option—they keep your guests going and end the celebration on a sweet note.” Indeed, the brunch is likely to be the last experience of your wedding most of your guests will have. “Your wedding is an epic life event, and so much of it can seem surreal in the moment,” says Ho. “Savour it!”

 

Expert Profile

Natalie Ho, event sales manager for Oliver & Bonacini Events and Catering, began in O&B’s restaurants 10 years ago and moved to the events arm in 2010. There, she worked as an event specialist, managing 100-plus events per year. In her current post, Ho guides a team of specialists in planning a wide range of events. (For more information, contact O&B Events and Catering: 416-364-1211; events@oliverbonacini.com | oliverbonacinievents.com.)

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