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Wedding: The Morning After

by Meghann on December 7, 2012

For my sister’s wedding last June, my sister and her new husband lucked out with an impromptu post-wedding party at the hotel’s free breakfast bar the morning after the wedding. It was great – the majority of the wedding guests were staying at the same hotel, so when the bride and groom walked downstairs for breakfast it gave everyone a chance to catch up on stories from the night before and have a proper goodbye before we all headed home. I loved the casual feel of the morning and I knew it was something I wanted to recreate for my own wedding in January.


Since the wedding hotel is only a few miles from my parents’ house, we decided to host a similar morning-after breakfast at their house for all of our friends and family. We’ll use the time to catch up with our out-of-town guests who we may not have had a chance to really talk to the night before and open our wedding gifts.

For food, we’re planning a light continental spread with pastries from our favorite local bakery, some fresh fruit platters from Publix, yogurts, and maybe even some eggs thrown in there. We’ve already drafted an invitation for our guests that will go in the out-of-town bags they’ll receive when they check in at the hotel. This will be a very casual affair, so we’re not putting a lot of pressure on ourselves to get formal invitations out there. It will mainly be word-of-mouth, but anyone and everyone who attends the wedding is more than welcomed to join us.

We’re also hoping to recruit some friends and family to help us clean up the venue once breakfast is over (wink, wink, nudge, nudge ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

So that’s our plan for the morning after – a send-off breakfast at my parents’ house before we head back to Tampa as husband and wife. ๐Ÿ™‚

What did you do the morning after your wedding?

1 Claire December 7, 2012 at 1:37 pm

You are actually going to “recruit” friends and family to help you clean up afterward? Why don’t you just hire a cleaning crew – isn’t that the norm for weddings? I can’t imagine guests being asked that and this is probably an area you shouldn’t go the DIY route. This is just my 2 cents – I may be completely off! ๐Ÿ™‚

2 MissPinkKate December 7, 2012 at 1:41 pm

You can always hire someone- I got someone on Craigslist to come to our cake & punch reception and run around so all my guests could relax. The party is for them, after all!

3 Meghann December 7, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Our catering staff will be cleaning up the food and trash as the party goes on. We’ll just be there the next day for decorations and such.

4 Emily December 7, 2012 at 5:05 pm

We asked mostly family and a few friends to help with clean up. I guess in my community, it’s pretty common for guests (since they are family & close friends) to ask how they can help. I sent out an email with various times we’d need help, so people volunteered to help clean up if they wanted to do so. We also asked 2 of our aunts & uncles to be reception hosts and help with clean up afterwards. Pretty much everything was done in 30 minutes or so, and those who were helping seemed happy about it. I think it very much depends on the type of wedding you’re having and the community you’re inviting if asking guests to help out is appropriate or not.
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5 MealsAndMiles December 7, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Thank you, Emily.

6 Meghann December 7, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Hey Claire, I will refer you to this post: I have a family of helpers. After my sister’s wedding, there were 15 of us showed up at the venue the next day to help deconstruct. It was fun – we ate leftover wedding cake and it was a chance for all of us (including the bride and groom who weren’t supposed to be there but showed up since they had so much fun hanging out with us at breakfast) to hang out one last time before saying good-bye. Afterwards my dad bought everyone lunch as a thank you. My family is amazing and will be there Friday to help set-up as well. My aunt and uncles already requested the day off of work because they’re so excited to help! We’ve done the same clean-up crew set-up for every family I can remember and no one has ever complained. I would guess it’s paying it forward for other weddings that come before it (all of my older cousins are married). And no one has to help if they don’t want to. We’re not a formal traditional family, and I’m thankful every day for that.

7 Robin B December 7, 2012 at 2:02 pm

I agree, I think it’s kind of weird to “recruit” friends and family to help you clean up. I would sorta feel used. Although, there is one person I would most certainly help, my sister but I don’t think I would feed a group breakfast the morning after my wedding with the hopes that they would help me in return.

8 Meghann December 7, 2012 at 2:09 pm

We’re not counting on everyone to help. I was half- joking about recruiting everyone to help (hence the wink, wink, nudge, nudge statement). I know there will be a select group of friends and family in attendance who will help us (the same group that helped after Kelly’s). My family is the kind of family that will step up and volunteer before anyone even asks.

9 McKenzie December 7, 2012 at 2:37 pm

After my friends wedding, the bride and groom called me and my boyfriend the next day and asked us to go pick up all the decorations. It was so weird because we thought family or staff would do that and also because we showed up and no one else was there so we had to do it all by ourself. It was seriously bizarre!

10 Meghann December 7, 2012 at 2:41 pm

That is definitely bizarre, but I can promise you that will not be happening after our wedding. We have no plans of calling anyone out of the blue to help. We’re counting on volunteers, just as there were after my sister’s wedding or we plan to go and do it ourselves.

11 Julie December 7, 2012 at 2:48 pm

But by mentioning it, even jokingly, you are requesting help with cleaning. And people with manners probably wouldn’t complain..out loud.

12 Sara December 7, 2012 at 3:09 pm

I agree, Claire. It’s incredibly rude to recruit your guests to help clean up. Be an adult and do it yourself or hire someone else to do it.

13 Natalie @ will jog for food December 7, 2012 at 1:44 pm

I think that’s a great idea! Our wedding was at an all inclusive in Mexico and many of our guests had to leave early in the morning to catch their flights home. So we told everyone at our wedding (all 30 of them) that if they wanted to meet us for Brunch, to meet us at the buffet at 9:00. Nobody showed up! haha!
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14 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More December 7, 2012 at 1:53 pm

I’ve attended a few weddings where they have done a morning after brunch and I LOVE it! It’s a great time to see the happy couple off or just enjoy the post-wedding happiness. ๐Ÿ™‚
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15 Jackie December 7, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Meghann – I love your brother’s t-shirt. My life motto too! Do you know where he got it?

16 Meghann December 7, 2012 at 2:25 pm

His mother-in-law got it for him for Christmas last year. All I know is she ordered it online. Sorry!

17 Dori December 7, 2012 at 2:22 pm

We’re doing a morning-after brunch at a restaurant right near our official hotel. It’s pricey but my fiance’s mom offered to pay for it, I think because the out-of-town guests are mostly on their side. Also, she is just a really sweet person. I think having the brunch at your parents’ house is a really great idea.
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18 Gwen December 7, 2012 at 2:34 pm

We planned a post-wedding continental breakfast and it was so wonderful to have that extra time with people before everyone scattered again. Enjoy!
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19 Lindsay Margaret December 7, 2012 at 2:52 pm

We had a morning after brunch at the house my parents rented in Lake Placid, where we had our wedding. We bought quiches from the local grocery store and heated them up that morning, we had muffins from the baker who made our dessert buffet and ordered a special birthday coffee cake for my mom’s birthday (the next day). We also bought a ton of grapes and had those available. A lot of people stopped by for a quick bite on their way out of town and to say good bye, but I found that most people didn’t eat much, queezy stomachs could have had something to do with that.
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20 Laura December 7, 2012 at 2:55 pm

wow, i cannot believe how willing your family is to help out! you are so lucky!! i would NEVER ask my wedding guests (even my family) to help clean up afterward… isn’t that what you pay people to do?! I would hate it if I had to, more than likely hungover, have to go help clean up a wedding the following morning! I would never even think to ask!! that’s awesome your family has that kind of relationship!! it seems your entire family all has a role or job for this wedding, which probably makes them feel like a bigger part of it. that’s great, and saves you a TON of work!! I’d be wary of involving family because I then feel I couldn’t voice my opinion if I didn’t like the way something was done. it seems you have a really good handle on it and have been quite explicit about what you expect from everyone! bravo to you!

21 Meghann December 7, 2012 at 3:01 pm

My family is amazing. At first I was wary about accepting their help, but I realized that’s what family is there for – to help. It was after my sister’s wedding that I finally realized this. Everyone was so happy to have a role in the big day, it was their way of showing their love to the bride and groom.

22 Laura December 8, 2012 at 11:03 am

that’s awesome!! i wish i had family like that ๐Ÿ™‚

23 J December 7, 2012 at 3:22 pm

There are soooo many opinions on wedding etiquette that it’s really hard not to offend someone. If you’re certain that none of your guests will be upset by your actions, then by all means, do what you want. I would just be a little more cautious about pointing out things like asking guests to help clean the venue or using gifts before the wedding on your blog. I know you’re a very open person and you don’t like to censor yourself, but when you’re asking people to spend money on travel, hotel accommodations, gifts, etc., it’s probably best to err on the side of caution and not draw attention to any breach of traditional manners, even if that’s not the way you see it.

24 Meghann December 7, 2012 at 3:35 pm

I know it’s easy to offend people with wedding etiquette. Derek and I have never been a traditional couple, nor are our families very traditional. All of the wedding gifts I’ve used before the wedding were gifts from friends and family who encouraged us to use them before hand (my aunt even made a special note on her gift that said she sent it early so we could put the gift to use before the big day). And I said the thing about recruiting friends and family in a completely joking manner and it got a little out of hand in the comments. We’re not expecting friends and family who traveled so far to help us clean up. There were volunteers after my sister’s wedding and we’re assuming there will be for ours. We’re not expecting anything and if we clean up by ourselves afterwards, we’re totally fine with it. You’re right – I should err on the side of caution, only for fear of offending readers.

25 Rachel December 7, 2012 at 3:31 pm

close family and friends and the bridal party of all the weddings i’ve been in have helped clean up – i don’t think meghann is asking her 3rd cousin twice removed to clean toilets.

but you are very lucky you have until the next day to clean! the past 2 weddings i’ve been the party needed to be out by midnight so we were hustling to start taking out centerpieces at 11-ish
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26 Meghann December 7, 2012 at 3:36 pm

I’m also crossing my fingers we’ll have the day before to start setting up. One of the perks of getting married in a small town where the venue owner knows the family! (everyone in Titusville knows everyone)

27 Meghann December 7, 2012 at 3:37 pm

And, thank you, you’re right – I will not be asking a 3rd cousin twice removed to help, only close family and friends of the bridal party who offer to help.

28 Holly December 7, 2012 at 3:56 pm

Wow, I can’t believe everyone is getting crazy about this. I’ve stayed to help clean up after I don’t know how many weddings. Friends, family, whoever, I don’t even think I’ve been asked, I just asked what I could do to help. I’ve never felt used, just happy to help. And you’re so right, it has always been so much fun!

29 Meghann December 7, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Thank you, Holly. That’s exactly the experience I’ve had too.

30 Natalie @ Free Range Human December 7, 2012 at 3:58 pm

That’s a great idea. We did something similar the morning after our wedding, and it was so nice to just hang out and visit in a relaxed atmosphere.
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31 Morgan December 7, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Meghann, we know your family is amazing. Mine is, too. But I would never ask them to help work, since they are guests by definition. Would they help and act delighted? Sure. But asking is something I wouldn’t do to guests, just as I wouldn’t ask someone over for a dinner party to make their own cocktail. It is about being a proper host. And it isn’t about being “traditional” it is about being polite.

I am starting to see why you hated the Knot forums, they would have torn this apart from an etiquette perspective.

32 MealsAndMiles December 7, 2012 at 4:36 pm

I hated the Knot forums because they were overwhelming. I never posted in them and never had the desire to. We are not asking anyone to help, only accepting volunteers. That line was written in a joking tone.

33 Anne December 10, 2012 at 4:35 pm

As a former regular on the Knot Etiquette board, yup, this would not have received a warm welcome.
As a hard and fast rule, forcing your guests to be anything but guests is considered rude. But I do understand that everyone knows their own family and what will and won’t put them out.
Don’t worry about what everyone else says (which it sounds like you don’t anyway). ๐Ÿ˜€
Can’t believe you’re less than a month out now!?!
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34 Casey December 7, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Meghann, I don’t know why you get attacked so much in your comments, but you always respond so nicely. ๐Ÿ™‚ Kudos to you! I say it’s your wedding, your family—you know both things better than anyone on here. When I was a bride in October I was clueless about everything—I didn’t know “etiquette” very well and didn’t even have a brunch the next morning b/c I just didn’t even know how to begin planning it! So I think you’ve done a good job planning everything. I think it’s nice you want to hang out with everyone the morning after, which I didn’t really get to do. In my opinion, close friends and family members won’t care about helping—and those who do, don’t have to help!

35 CASSY December 7, 2012 at 5:20 pm

i helped clean up my stepbrother’s recent wedding.. just like what you are asking and I saw no problem in it.
It was nice to reconnect. I don’t think the bride and groom were even there??
Plus I scored some new decorations.

36 Kara December 7, 2012 at 5:23 pm

You know how showers sometimes have guests address the envelopes for the thank you notes? You should see if you can get those drunk fools to write their own thank you note while at the wedding.
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37 Courtney G. December 7, 2012 at 5:49 pm

We picked that specific hotel for our guests because they offered a free breakfast. We also hosted a catered brunch at my parents house. There were 2 parties going on that morning. It was the perfect way to end our wedding weekend.

38 Sarah December 7, 2012 at 5:55 pm

We asked some immediate, local family members to transport the gifts and the centerpieces after the reception was over. I would’ve done it myself but we were taking an old fashioned limo home and um… they don’t have trunks.

The morning after our wedding, those same family members showed up at our house to take us to the airport for our honeymoon which was very kind of them. Except I was surprised to see them at our door with all the gifts AND the leftover food! None of the food was wrapped for the freezer, I was worried about taking time to store it properly and being late to the airport. I was also worried that our pile o’ gifts on the living room floor would entice thieves to break in while we were gone. UGH! Stressful!

As long as they’re willing to help, find a family member to store those things for you and schedule a pickup time in advance. That’s my tip!

39 kirsten December 8, 2012 at 11:51 am

We went to a diner with a bunch of our friends from college after my wedding, it was a lot of fun! I wish my wedding had been closer to my parents house so we could have had a brunch like you are the next day, that sounds awesome!! Also, I have helped clean up at weddings before and I was always more than happy to help. I think your friends and family will feel the same ๐Ÿ™‚

40 Emily @ Relishments December 8, 2012 at 12:54 pm

The morning after our wedding, my husband and I went out to breakfast, just the two of us. Late in the morning we headed back to my parent’s house to make an appearance at the brunch they were hosting for out of town guests, open presents and pack up my belongings before heading out of state to our new home. It was a really nice mix of spending time with my new spouse and seeing all the family that had come to watch me get married.
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41 Kathy December 8, 2012 at 7:46 pm

My friend just got married in Miami and had a small wedding of 60 people. She never asked but a group of us offered to help decorate her wedding and helped clean up afterwards. It was no big deal and I never felt wierd about it.

42 Brit December 8, 2012 at 10:19 pm

I was just in a wedding where the bride had a spreadsheet of duties for the bridesmaids and groomsmen. I’m not trying to beat a dead horse – but just wanted to let you know that the clean-up was VERY off-putting. Everyone put on a happy face and did it but no on was really happy about it. After spending so much time waiting on the bride and groom hand-and-foot (maybe this was just the theme of this wedding now that I’m thinking about it….) the last thing I wanted to do was pick-up ALL the decorations AND presents AND be responsible for them all. The amount of “duties” we were given left those of us in the wedding party with very little time to enjoy any of the wedding weekend and has been a hot topic since the wedding and has changed a lot of our friendships drastically. We were friends that wanted to be apart of their special day – not hired help or someone you should have been expecting to do the labor of something where you probably should have paid someone.

Just wanted to throw that out there for a “in my personal experience” type thing . ๐Ÿ™‚

43 Kelly December 13, 2012 at 5:39 pm

Ick! That doesn’t sound like an fun wedding at all. I think you also bring up (possibly unintentionally) a good point in that I think it also matters how many duties people are being given in general. If decoration clean up was one of the few things I’d be asked to do as a part of the wedding party it would be a little offputting but not a huge deal, but if there was a lot of other work I was expected to do I’d probably feel like you did. So if I were a bride I’d probably pick and choose what I really need help with so as not to be overbearing.

Also, I think tone makes a huge difference. If I’m not forced to do something and someone politely asks, it’s one thing. If I’m being told I have to or guilted into it, that’s something else entirely. I know when a similar discussion came up on a previous post people said “You can always say no.” But as a bridesmaid it isn’t always that easy. I was in a wedding that had some unreasonable demands and anytime anyone expressed a concern there was mention of “firing” and this was AFTER dresses, flights, etc. have been paid for.

Not saying you’re doing any of these things Meghann (clearly I’m not there for the conversation) but just saying at least from my perspective it’s not so cut and dry and depends on what else is going on.

To me it’s less about “etiquette” as it is about being a considerate bride and making sure that what you’re asking your bridal party is being reasonable. Obviously every bride should be this way, but it isn’t always the case. In the wedding I mentioned above, the bride seriously damaged her relationship with another friend and me based on the way she treated us so sometimes I feel inclined to speak up for bridesmaids. Especially since when I went looking for advice on how to best handle the situation in the wedding I was in, every article seemed to suggest as a bridesmaid you have to grin and bear it.
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44 Julia H. @ Live Young & Prosper December 9, 2012 at 4:29 pm

I’m not anywhere close to being married, but I’ve always like the idea of having a brunch the morning after the wedding for the guests who have stayed around. My aunt had a destination wedding, so most of the guests had to fly/travel there anyway and stay overnight in the hotel, so most of them were already there still the next morning. Having a brunch just made sense, and it was a blast!
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45 BroccoliHut December 9, 2012 at 8:40 pm

My mom planned a brunch at our house for out of town guests for each of our weddings. It’s a nice way to talk to people you might not have gotten the chance to talk to at the wedding itself. This time, since Seth’s family is ALL from out of town (unlike my sisters’ spouses), it was a BIG brunch. We had 60 people! It was like wedding Part II.

46 Rachel Wilkerson December 10, 2012 at 11:00 am

I’m planning a brunch for the morning after our wedding…I am SO excited about this because I kind of wanted a brunch wedding but Eric wasn’t feeling it. Since this will be one of the few times in my life that I have all the people I love in one place, I want to hang out with them as much as possible during that weekend! The brunch is totally “my” thing to plan. The menu options are insane (omelet bar or waffle bar?! BOTH?!)…I might be more excited for this than the actual wedding.
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47 Anne December 10, 2012 at 4:25 pm

We hosted a brunch at the hotel the next morning. It wasn’t cheap, but, like you, I wanted to see everyone again in a more relaxed setting. If my mom had still lived in my hometown, I’m sure it would have been hosted at her house instead.
Find a funny t-shirt to wear! For my wedding present to my husband, I bought him a “Purdue Husband” t-shirt and made myself a “Clemson Wife” t-shirt. I can’t believe I didn’t think to wear them to the brunch! I might have been too tired / hungover / frazzled.
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48 Meghann December 10, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Awesome idea on the t-shirts! ๐Ÿ™‚

49 Kelly December 13, 2012 at 5:25 pm

Never a bride, but as a guest I ‘ve been a huge fan of the morning after brunch, especially for the weddings I’ve travelled to. It’s nice because obviously the wedding day can be hectic for the bride and groom so it usually meant I got more time to socialize with them. Not to mention traveling to weddings can be expensive so I always appreciated the gesture and hospitality.

The only thing I will say is you might want to let people know in advance so they can plan their travel accordingly. I feel like I generally got an invite with my formal invitation and then planned my travel around the brunch so I could attend. Had I not known, I might have planned my travel back earlier the next morning. Just a thought. The invite doesn’t have to be hugely formal either.
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