Your questions answered: planning a morning wedding and brunch reception.

"A morning wedding.  Hmm, that's different."

Let me guess, you have a ton of Pinterest boards full of wedding ideas. Your head is spinning with all of the possibilities.  You made a spreadsheet for your budget.  You've started to think about who all will be involved in the big day.  You’ve considered a destination wedding.

It’s already overwhelming and you haven’t even started! (This is all relevant to you if you’re planning a wedding. If you’re not, hopefully you will learn a thing or two for a future wedding you may be involved in. And if none of the above apply to you, then you are here for an inside look into our wedding!)

On April 11th, it will be two years since Bryn and I got married.  These years have been the fastest two years of my life and quite possibly the two best years of my life so far.  


Two years ago we celebrated with family and friends at 9:30 AM on a beautiful Saturday morning.  Yes, that’s right I said 9:30 AM!

Why? Well, that’s what Bryn and I wanted. And it was our wedding, our special day.


I think the number one question I was asked during my wedding planning was related to the ‘morning’ topic.  My simple response is (and was), we wanted our wedding to match our personalities and it had to be a combination of all things we loved.

So when I heard this:

"A morning wedding. Hmm, that's different."

All I could do was smile.  Yes, it was different.  And it was us.

Today I am answering all of your questions about our wedding. Let's get started!

When and where did the wedding and reception take place?

In my head, I pictured a beautiful chapel.  Something old, with a lot of character.  Combine that with Bryn’s love (and mine) of Augustana and him being an Alumni. This led me to the Ascension Chapel at Augustana College. We went on a tour of the place and I was instantly sold. It was perfect.


It was stunning. Inside and out.


Then, the reception.  Bryn and I are ‘old souls’, if you will. We are not the stay up late partying type.  Instead, we love mornings, we love breakfast food, and we love that time together.  When discussing reception possibilities it was a no brainer for us to do a brunch reception.  Was this typical? No. We didn’t care. It was us.

This led me to the reception location.  It had to be somewhere that could fulfill the needs of a brunch on a Saturday morning.  Something beautiful, classy, and well, ‘brunchy’.  What better choice than a golf course? We ended up picking Pinnacle Country Club and I am so glad we did.


What were the wedding colors or theme?

Keeping my morning wedding ceremony and brunch reception in mind, I wanted to do something subtle. Our colors were black, white, and blush with a little bit of gold.  


What will the wedding party wear?

After many back and forth decisions about attire, we ended up with black suits for the men, and long black dresses for the ladies.  My flower girl had the most adorable blush/gold dress, and of course I was in ivory.


I am so glad I stuck with very traditional colors, as I hope to look back someday and still appreciate my decisions.

It’s a morning wedding, did you have traditional wedding decor?

This category was tough for me.  I wanted simple, yet it had to fit my style.  I wanted the flowers to fit the ‘theme’ (that was all in my head) and Kathy at the HyVee in Silvis, IL did not disappoint.  She is amazing and was able to see my vision through many conversations, text messages and pictures.


For everything else, I wanted it to be personal. With that in mind, I made most of the things we had at the ceremony or reception.  

On the pews at the chapel, we hung wedding pictures of all of our grandparents with pretty bows.

At the reception, I created these adorable circle hanging things that were easily sewn together.

And as you can see in the picture above, every table was labeled with a number.  But it also had a picture of Bryn and I at that age. (In the above picture it says three and has our pictures.)

We also created the seating cards for the table when people arrived (below).  We purchased those adorable crates, stained them, and inserted an array of plants.  The cards were hot glued to a long wooden stick and placed in the plants.  It was SO cute!


My mom and I also created things for the tables.  A ‘newspaper’ (because it was morning), wrapped up in some cute twine with a pencil and tag.


(Side note - confession.  As Bryn and I were looking back through our stuff, I just realized that I put a comma in the wrong place on our newspaper.  HA!  Why didn't anyone tell me about this!?  A teacher, who always finds those mistakes on everything else, did not notice that silly comma. Lesson learned. Have ten people look over your wedding things!)

And my favorite part, everyone received a personalized mug with their initial on it.  After all, it was the morning - and there’s nothing more important than coffee in the AM!


And to make things even more personal, we painted on a canvas for our unity ceremony.


 To read more information about this, see photos, and get the reading that went along with it, check it out here.  I absolutely love it!

What do invitations look like for a morning wedding?

Wedding invitations can be expensive.  They are also something that most people toss in the trash.  Knowing this, and wanting the invitations to match my style and theme, I of course wanted to make them myself (with my mom’s help).

I wanted to use brown craft paper as a ‘theme’ for my paper things.  That newspaper I referred to earlier was on brown craft paper too. It was the perfect stationary for a ‘brunch’.  


As for what the invites looked like, again, simple.  Black text, and (my favorite part) stamps created from pictures of Bryn and I.

Some of our guests may not have known this at the time, but the pictures used on the invitations (and other paper items at the ceremony, reply cards, etc) were actually of Bryn and I!  

Here's the stamp version:


Here's the real photo:


Here's the real photo of our mugs (we used this stamp on reply cards and our program):


(There's a long story about our mugs. It was featured in the newspaper we created for the reception.  They are a part of our love story, so we had to incorporate them into our big day!)

Here's the stamp:


My mom and I also created ‘Save the Date' cards using our engagement pictures. Again, simple.  And we were able to create a variety of different card designs!


Can you get good quality wedding photos during the day?

Yes, I know the ‘golden hour’ just before sunset is the prime time for wedding photos.  With the sun in mind, we planned to take a lot of photos before the ceremony. Yes, I was up around 3:30 AM on my wedding day.  Thanks bridesmaids for joining me so early - love you gals!

Our amazing photographer, Kelsey, was able to capture tons of photos during the prime time in the morning.


And since our ceremony was at 9:30 AM, we were able to take some photos of just Bryn and I after the wedding without the sun being too much of as issue.

It helped that we had an amazing backdrop too. Thanks Augie!

The photos at the reception were a bit harder to take (as the sun was directly overhead).  We found some shade and were able to take some photos outside. I wasn't too concerned with this, as I knew we took a lot of photos at Augustana.


What type of entertainment do you have for a brunch reception?

We wanted a very casual setting, nothing crazy.  We hired a pianist to play during our reception. This worked out well for us, as we weren’t envisioning tons of dance floor partying.  


What did you do with the rest of the day?

This was another great thing about having a morning wedding.  We we able to celebrate the entire day.  As I said earlier, I woke up at 3:30 AM and I think our festivities ended around 8:30 PM. Here was a breakdown of the day:

3:30 AM - 9:00 AM Breakfast / hair and makeup / dress / pictures / bathroom breaks

9:30 AM - 10:00 AM Ceremony

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM Pictures of bride and groom

11:30 AM - 2:00 PM Brunch reception

3:00 PM - 8:30 PM Gift opening / dinner / family time

What kind of wedding dress do you wear for a brunch / morning wedding?

This is totally up to you!  You could go casual or stay with traditional.  I wanted something with a long train, that was different. (And beautiful, of course!)

I think it was the second or third dress I tried on, and after that nothing else was good enough.


It's absolutely stunning.  And it's still hanging in my closet today!


One of my favorite parts of the wedding, which may have gone completely unnoticed by many people is that my cake matched my dress (on purpose).  Which leads me to the next question…

What kind of food and dessert do you serve at a brunch reception?

I wanted a simple cake.  And it just so happened that we were able to match it to my dress.  Can you see why?


I also wanted a little bit of variety and went with different flavored cupcakes.  I wanted to display these on a table with some cute decor around them.


As for the actual brunch, oh my gosh was it the best brunch ever.  Seriously.  After the wedding, the most compliments I received or comments about what people remembered about the wedding was how amazing the food was.

We had ham and bacon, some sort of egg casserole, breakfast potatoes, french toast (I think?), fresh fruit, breakfast sausages, heart-shaped waffles, and more.

We also served two brunch drinks, mimosas and Arnold Palmers.

And before the wedding party arrived, you know how most people have appetizers?  Well, we had muffins, scones, etc.  I know, perfect.


One thing I was looking for when choosing a reception venue was flexibility.  Most places we interviewed had their set menu and we had to serve what they cooked.  No thanks.  I didn’t want that. The staff at Pinnacle was SO accommodating, they literally did whatever we wanted. We customized the whole entire menu.  This was SO important to us and I am glad we were able to do it.

It was truly the perfect day for us.  The perfect wedding. I was able to make my morning wedding / brunch reception dreams come true, successfully.  We tried very hard to make every part of our big day reflect us.

Small details such as those stamp pictures on our invitations, the personalized coffee mugs, the table numbers featuring our pictures, my style - everything was just perfect.

So much love.


So many tears.


And so many great people.


Thanks for joining me!


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