We’re taking a Royal cue today on morning weddings and digging into the Pro’s of getting married in the AM! Our incredible couple, Brady and Michael, got married in a beautiful morning church ceremony followed by a brunch reception with their closest friends and family. It was absolute perfection, and Brady was so sweet to share her thoughts on why they chose to have a morning wedding instead of a traditional evening reception.
What went into your decision to have a morning wedding?
We knew from the beginning of our engagement that we wanted something a bit different, less traditional, less expensive, and less stressful; something more us and more enjoyable for our family and friends. We never cared to throw a party, but rather a wedding where the ceremony was the absolute center. From the beginning, Michael encouraged us to start from scratch, to build the day with meaningful moments, rather than starting with all the expectations and taking away the ones that didn’t speak to us. We are both early risers and have always enjoyed sharing brunch (and brunch food!). We knew we would be leaving early in the morning for our honeymoon, so we didn’t want to be exhausted at the end of the day. Plus, I never quite understood what everyone did during the morning of their weddings, and I honestly didn’t want to wait around all day to marry Michael.
What was the best part of getting married earlier in the day?
So many things! We planned everything in around 12 weeks, the budget was much more affordable, and we were able to spend almost all of the day together. Rather than focusing a lot of time on getting ready, we had nearly 10 hours after the reception to enjoy our first day of married life.
Did you feel like you were missing out by skipping the traditional dinner reception?
Because we planned our wedding from the ground up, only including the most important elements, I don’t feel like we missed a single thing. However, it was challenging to hold our own against traditional expectations and we received some quizzical looks. At the end of the day, though, everyone was so complimentary of our ceremony and reception, it was so affirming to have chosen what felt right to us.
How did you plan your reception around a brunch/lunch time versus dinner and dancing?
We asked for a lot of exceptions and looked outside traditional venues/options. I found when I said the word ‘wedding,’ vendors and venues automatically had a pretty distinct idea for the day-of timeline, so I asked for quotes for a ‘large brunch’ instead. Our reception venue was the strictest around timing (we needed to be cleared out by 2 pm), so from there, we worked backwards. Our pastor and friend who married us was flexible, as was our photographer, and band. We only needed hair and makeup for 3 people, and they opened early to accommodate us. We also had a lot of help from friends and family the night before and morning of, and we didn’t include a lot of traditional elements (bridal party speeches, formal cake cutting, garter/bouquet toss, first dance, etc.)
If it’s helpful, here’s a synopsis of our timeline for the day.
10:30 am- ceremony began
10:50 – family photos at the church (we saved our individual photos for after the reception; this was a great time saver and allowed us more time with our guests)
11:00 am – reception space opened, open bar (with brunch drinks), Smilebooth available
12:00 pm – we arrived at the reception space, welcome, blessing of food, brunch buffet opened. We went through the buffet first and had a short while to eat at our head table before greeting our guests.
12:30 pm ish – Michael and I gave our thank you speech to our guests, then proceeded to spend time with them
1:30 pm – cutting and passing of the cake (very informal, just Becki and Ryan and our family who were nearby at the moment)
2:00 pm – official send off, guests departed
2:00 – 3:00 – Bride and Groom Portraits
3:30 pm – hotel check in
7:00 – dinner reservations
How did you spend your first afternoon + evening as a married couple?
After taking some additional photos and walking through the park between our reception venue and hotel, we checked in and spent some time relaxing in our amazing hotel, sharing some of our wedding cake and champagne. I took off most of my makeup, let my hair down, and felt so much more like myself! We had reservations at our favorite restaurant, Vic and Anthony’s, which was within walking distance of our hotel. At first, I felt a bit embarrassed, but I loved my dress so much so that we decided to wear our wedding attire out to eat! It was such a treat to hear well wishes during our walk to the restaurant, and of course, the waitstaff there was incredible. We even have a special booth under our name whenever we make reservations in the future!
How did you choose your venue?
This was definitely one of the most challenging parts of planning. Initially, we were hoping to host the ceremony and reception at our church because we love the space and it is so significant to our relationship, but we would have had to limit the guest list to 75 people. We looked at 10 or so other locations, ranging from traditional wedding venues to restaurants with larger enough dining spaces. We also wanted to find a space that included as much as possible. While I know other brides enjoy picking out each element of the day, I was frustrated that most venues had separate vendors for chairs, music, food, lighting, etc. We also wanted our guests to have an easy drive to the venue, so we looked at options within 10 miles or so from our church with easy parking (it’s Houston after all!) The menu and design aesthetic were really important to us, and we tried a few traditional brunch options. The Treehouse at The Grove was the perfect size, beautifully designed, and nearly all-inclusive. They had hosted weddings before, but weren’t a traditional option, so it ended up being a great fit. And everyone loved the food!
Anything else you want to tell other brides who are considering a morning wedding?
- If possible (and as early as possible), discuss with your fiancé what elements are most important to you both and why. This reasoning with help you when others’ expectations aren’t met, even if you choose never to share with them.
- Know yourself and your partner. We aren’t big partiers and knew we wouldn’t enjoy the stress of hosting a party. But hosting a brunch, we could absolutely do that, and it turns out, our guests really enjoyed the novelty and personality of a brunch wedding.
- Don’t be afraid to nix things that aren’t important to you. We had reasons behind everything we did (and didn’t do), but sometimes it was easier to blame a third party (like the venue) rather than explain ourselves.
- Ask friends and family for help. I realized this a little late in the game, but because I thought wedding planning was stressful, I thought everyone else would as well and that I was saving them from the stress. Instead, I found people felt pushed aside or unincluded. It was such a relief to bring in others to planning, not only to spend time together celebrating, but also the great ideas they had!
- Wear your dress to dinner!
- We chose not to have a bridal party, which cut down immensely on getting ready time the morning of. However, the reasoning was much broader. We really wanted everyone to be included in our ceremony, and we wanted to ask our entire community to join alongside us as we committed to each other for life. We knew we will need help and guidance along the way, so it was a really special moment when our pastor shared our intentions and asked everyone in the congregation to support us, celebrate and grieve with us, and point us back to each other and Christ.
- Simplify as much as possible.
- Don’t be afraid to break the mold. Your wedding is a wonderful change to set the stage for your marriage, a unique time to bring together all the people you love, and share your relationship with them. I would say, do whatever you need to do to actually spend time with loved ones. Of course it’s wonderful to have While this isn’t unique to
A special thanks to our Bride, Brady for giving us the absolute best advice and insight into her experience!
We also want to give a shout out to all of the incredible vendors that made her day come together in the exact way she envisioned!
Reception: The Grove Houston
Bride’s Dress: Lovely Bride
Hair and Make-up Artist: Butter Artistry
Bride’s Jewelry: Bauble Bar
Florals: By the Bride’s Sister
Calligraphy + Paper Goods: St Honore Paper Co.
Cake: Suzie’s Cakes
Cookies: Tiny’s Cookies + Milk