Wedding brunch advice

chi83August 6, 2014

Hi all,

I'm getting married in about 5 weeks, and our first reception will be a wedding brunch at our home. I'm going to be making all the food for it. I'm keeping it light as we're splurging on a big, fancy dinner later that night for everyone. Everyone has already told me I'm crazy for doing this myself but I'm determined to do it. :)

It's a morning ceremony so I will be getting up at 5 AM to get all glammed up, and after that I will be in my wedding dress, so I don't want to do much on the actual day of when it comes to cooking. I could probably do a little bit but don't want to risk getting messy or ignoring my guests.

However, I want the food to be the best possible. I picked my menu with make-ahead food in mind, but I'm struggling a little with the baked goods. I'm making a variety of cookies, muffins and scones. Ideally i'd make it all fresh that morning, but that's not going to happen so I'm trying to figure out the optimal way to handle it considering my time frame. I have to at least freeze the doughs because of everything else I have to make. Here's are the two different options I'm considering:

1. Make and freeze all the baked goods and bring out the morning of to thaw to be ready by brunch

2. Make and freeze all the dough and bake fresh the night before and store for the next day

I don't have much experience with freezing baked goods. I think scones and cookies are okay to be made the night before, but I think muffins are best the day of, though I've never tried it either way. I *might* be able to throw some muffins in the oven the morning of, but I definitely want to keep same-day prep minimal to reduce my stress. I will have some help, but no one I would really trust to know when the baked goods are done. :) I do have a wedding coordinator who will be putting the food out while we are doing pictures, so she may be able to reheat some items, but I don't want to ask her to do any actual baking.

Any thoughts? Do fully baked, frozen and defrosted baked goods taste good, or is it better to bake and keep overnight? I'm okay with sacrificing a tiny bit of taste for convenience, but I'd rather inconvenience myself than have bad food! Is 5 weeks out too early to start freezing doughs?

If it helps, these are the baked goods:

Cookies: Chocolate Toffee, Crispy Salted Oatmeal White Chocolate, Russian Tea
Muffins: Raspberry topped lemon, blueberry
Scones: Vanilla, maple oat nut
Misc: Chocolate swirl buns, banana bread, shortcakes


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Wow! in 5 weeks you will be the bride! congratulations to the lucky guy, and best wishes to you.

I don't think you need to freeze baked stuff for a few days.


    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 2:10PM
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Congrats Chi! I guess you will be dropping in here even less. ;-)


    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 3:29PM
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Congratulations.... :-)

1. I would make and freeze each item as a test so I would know for sure how it freezes and heats or reheats before the day it is needed. Perhaps freeze a portion and keep a portion for 2 days at room temperature or refrigerated to see the difference in texture, flavor and appearance.

2. Scones often go stale very quickly. They are generally best consumed immediately after being baked and aren't typically good keepers because they don't have very much fat and moist ingredients in them, and don't always do well reheated.

3. Quick breads (like banana bread) keep very well, in fact they are often better the day or two after being baked.

4. I think you have too many total bread/high-carb choices. I've never had cookies served at a brunch, so that's rather novel, but something I would personally leave off the menu. How about adding some fresh fruit or mixed fruit (easy to make and refrigerate the day before), an egg dish and/or breakfast meat of some kind (pre-made the night before, a baked breakfast casserole)?

You are actually going to need some high-quality protein to get through the day. Eating a meal high in carbs only is like lighting a fire and burning paper plates in it to keep warm. Carbs burn fast (like paper plates) and your blood sugar will drop like a rock. You need protein and a little fat to keep your blood sugar in check. You don't want to be a fainting bride......


    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 3:55PM
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Congrats Chi! I guess you will be dropping in here even less. ;-)


    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 4:00PM
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My dd just attended a wedding brunch, the morning after an evening wedding the night before and prepared by the family. She said there were lots of kinds of sweet breads, (pumpkin, zucchini, lemon, etc.) Those freeze very well and are easy to serve with various spreads.

Congratulations, Chi83! Have a wonderful wedding day.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 4:06PM
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Thanks for the well wishes and advice!

Grainlady, that is good to know about scones. For some reason I thought they kept well. The ones I am planning are glazed so maybe that factors in. I like your advice on experimenting - I have time and really that's the best way to know.

I probably do have too many carbs, though the list above isn't my whole menu. I am also doing fruit salad, a yogurt bar, a variety of salads, sandwiches, egg dishes, etc. that I made sure can be made ahead. And of course Mimosa, Bellini and Bloody Mary stations. :)

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 4:09PM
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If that's the baked part, I'm assuming there's another part? I know you're veg but will the whole meal be?

I don't even know why I'm responding - apparently "everyone" already gave you the right advice and you're ignoring it. But I'm wondering why a brunch at all? Unless this is a very casual wedding and I knew you to be exceptionally calm under pressure, I'd probably decline the brunch invite out of guilt.

Whatever you do, good luck! Pictures!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 4:12PM
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It's casual, just 20 of our closest family and friends. We are having a morning ceremony in a park, then brunch at my house. Food and drinks. Then a more formal dinner reception at a restaurant. Brunch evolved naturally as a bridge between the morning ceremony and the dinner reception. Everyone will be hanging out all day at the house. It's much longer than most weddings and a bit more low key as we know everyone very well.

The brunch will be mostly vegetarian. I will have a few meat items but most focus on fruits and veggies. Mostly because dinner is a fancy restaurant known for rich, heavy food so I wanted to keep daytime food light.

As for why I am doing it - I just want to. :) I don't work outside of the home anymore so I have plenty of time. I get joy out of planning menus and feeding people. Almost everyone is flying in from out of state and I want to try. I will have plenty of help if I need it.

Honestly if a friend was planning to do this I would say she is crazy too so I definitely understand where people are coming from. I am doing my research now to find ways to accomplish this with minimum stress and will remove anything that won't work. I am taking it day by day and seeing how I feel. Worst case I will order some catering and call it a day!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 4:45PM
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What, you're not inviting the CF community??? LOL

Congratulations, Chi, and all the very best wishes to the happy couple. Late summer/early fall weddings are gorgeous.

You must be the most organized person I know, doing all of this food prep and being the star of the show as well. You're also sensible enough to be starting ahead of time, and do some experimenting if need be. Just don't wear yourself out that you can't enjoy yourself, but that's what the Bloody Marys etc are for!

Don't forget to post pics......and yes pics of people too, not just the food!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 5:24PM
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10 different types of bakery items for a brunch for 20 people sounds excessive. Most people will have already eaten before coming to the ceremony, and are not going to gorge at brunch because they know there is a heavy meal at the end of the day. In my opinion, you really need to re-think this.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 5:32PM
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Congratulations to both of you! It sounds like the perfect wedding.

You have mail!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 5:59PM
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Actually that just went from sounding stressful to sounding like lots of fun!

How about something baked in the form of a make-ahead brunch casserole?

No Bloody Mary, Bellini or mimosas for you. They all can stain. Stick with straight vodka.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 6:09PM
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Ha! You can bet I am doing a shot or two before I walk down the aisle! :)

Thanks for everyone's advice. I am definitely going to scale back as going overboard is a well know and documented problem for me. I need to enjoy my day and the days leading up to it so I will take an honest reassessment and only do the things I can accomplish easily.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 6:25PM
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I do know that of the two -- freezing dough or freezing baked goods that the best product of the two would be freezing the baked good. Freezing dough compromises it somewhat and so the end product is not quite as good as fresh.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 10:50PM
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Hmmm, I know that I made a dozen and a half butter tarts this weekend, and I froze them. I also freeze my muffins and cookies,always. They taste just as good as when I made them when they're thawed.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 11:35PM
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There seems t be a lot of sweet stuff, and because I have a more savourytooth, I'm adding a recipe for cheese scones. They freeze and re-heat really well and will give you some protein!


Serves: 8

200g/7 oz self raising flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
40g/1 1/2 oz butter
60g/2 oz grated strong Cheddar cheese
100ml (3 1/2 fl oz) milk

Prep:15min ⺠Cook:10min ⺠Ready in:25min

Heat oven to 220 degrees C / gas mark 7 and lightly grease a baking tray.
Sift flour, mustard powder, cayenne pepper and salt into a mixing bowl.
Cut the butter into small pieces and add to flour.
Rub the butter into the flour with fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in grated cheese.
Add the milk gradually, stirring well with a knife until the mixture begins to stick together.
With your hands, knead the mixture gently to form a soft smooth dough.
On a floured surface flatten or roll the dough to about 3cm thick round.
Use a 5cm round cutter to cut out individual scones.
Place scones on the greased baking tray. Brush with milk and sprinkle some extra cheese on top.
Cook for about 10-15 mins until golden. Cool slightly before serving.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 2:17AM
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Chi, congratulations on your upcoming wedding. I totally understand about wanting to provide a terrific brunch for your guests. I am one of those who also makes way too much food. My family always says that I could feed an army but I learned long ago that I'd rather have too much food than risk running out and have someone disappointed....or still hungry! Gasp! You just never know when you might have one of those people who eats for 2 or 3. I know we have a couple of them in our family.

My only suggestion would be to allow yourself an extra hour longer to prepare in the morning. I prepared the brunch on a couple of occasion for my kids' weddings. All the food was good and the serving table looked lovely. But there were interruptions and things just took a bit longer to set up than I thought they would. I didn't allow quite enough time to take a breath, gather myself and look my best. Fortunately, no one was looking at the mother of the bride.

Have a glorious day and put those helpers to good use.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 3:22PM
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Freezing baked goods is fine. I totally understand about wanting to do a brunch, I love them. But don't do too much food, folks won't be able to take it all in, you don't need the stress. Rather a few delicious memorable things than having a lot of leftovers. Also could ask a close friend to come and help you set up and maybe even have some folks bring things. My best friends had a potluck for their wedding reception, all members of the wedding party got a recipe to bring. Mine was deviled eggs, which I had never made before but were really no trouble at all to make.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 5:04PM
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When I was young, I got excellent advice once from my college roommate's mom. She had a great deal of experience entertaining. Her theory was fewer dishes but larger portions. It really does work. You only need 4 or 5 things, but have a generous amount of each item set out for your guests.

Congratulations to your groom and best wishes to you for many happy years together!

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 5:17PM
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I think it all sounds like a lovely idea, and much nicer than the military-industrial-wedding-complex traditions we have all been taught to want.

I do think you have more variety than necessary or even appropriate for (did I read right?) 20 guests. What will make it special is the quality of what you make, and the presentation. You don't need or want it to look like a hotel buffet, and you don't want to waste food. So I'd pare down the menu; I think you need only 3 or 4 types of baked/sweet items given the rest of the menu (which I would also pared down).

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 5:28PM
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