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Anderson, SC USA

A Wedding Breakfast in 1916

The bridal table set for the ice course

The bridal table set for the ice course, with frappé glasses and saucers of Swedish rock crystal on the china dessert plates. Although an elaborate cloth like this may be used, a much plainer cloth is quite as smart. If candles are used with such a table, they should be unshaded.


Talk of the silver and gold and cakes and fine linens which go with the wedding breakfast brings up visions of great bills at the bakers and the candlestick-makers, if not at the butcher's, and it is true that the new simplicity of wedding celebrations is no bar to spend as much money as one chooses.

However, feasting the wedding guests can be simple and at a surprisingly reasonable expenditure.

The Wedding Breakfast

A wedding breakfast is the smartest form of wedding entertainment. The breakfast may take place at any hour from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM; the rule is that it follows a noon wedding.  After 1:30 PM, the entertainment takes on the air of reception, at which collation is served, or a buffet supper.

A simple but charmingly appointed wedding breakfast may be served to fifty guests for one hundred and fifty dollars. This amount provides for the cost of the viands, favors, decorations, service, and any other usual expenses, with only the best shops and caterers to be patronized. 

Of this amount, one hundred dollars is allowed for the food and the remaining fifty dollars for accessories and service.

The photograph above shows a bride's table appropriately arranged for either a wedding breakfast or supper; the bridal party only is to be seated. The other guests are to be served from a buffet or are to be seated at small tables arranged for four each. With an oval or long table, a long cloth is used which hangs very deep on the sides; on the oval table, the corners of the cloth almost touch the floor.

If a small square or round table is used, the cloth must come to the table edge; if a large table, either round or square, is used,  the cloth should hang twelve or more inches over the edge. In any case, the table used at any formal affair must be completely covered by the cloth.

The tablecloth on the tables photographed with this article has filet lace insets and Italian cutwork in a rather elaborate design; however, the the cloth may be of fine linen with a lace border and a simple cutwork design.

Should there be a fold in the table-cloth, it must follow the line of the table center, but today the large beautiful covers and centerpieces are rolled and not creased anywhere.

In laying the covers, twenty-four to thirty inches should be allowed between plates, if possible. The plates should be set an inch from the edge, and the silver should be placed in the order in which it is to be used, commencing at the outside and using toward the plate.

The knife is placed a half-inch from the table edge, with the cutting edge toward the plate, and the spoon, with the bowl facing up, at the right of the knife. The water glass is placed at the point of the knife, and the wine-glass, which may be used for charged water, is placed at the right.

If a second wine-glass is used, it should be placed in front of the space between the first wine-glass and the water-glass. The salad fork may be added at the left or may be brought in later with the salad and placed at the left.

The color scheme of the table just described is delicate pink combined with white and green. This coloring is carried out in all the floral decorations.

The centerpiece is arranged in a low spreading glass vase and does not interfere with the vision of the other guests. Small silver baskets of flowers and other small silver souvenirs may be used as favors.

No bride’s cake or other wedding-cake has been planned for this one-hundred-and fifty-dollar breakfast, but the cake may be added for a small amount more.

Because far too often the home wedding with its beautiful atmosphere of charm and happiness is foregone lest the expense prove too great, a wedding breakfast has been planned for forty guests at an expenditure not exceeding fifty dollars.

The Buffet Arrangement

Wedding Buffet Table

For a breakfast where there are not many attendants, the guests may be served from a table at which friends of the bride pour the coffee and serve the frappé. The baskets are for sandwiches, and the guests take their plates to be served with jellied chicken from another table.

A buffet arrangement for serving is easily and quickly managed, although one table may be set for the bridal party, and the other guests may be served from a buffet.

The color-scheme selected for the fifty dollar breakfast must be a simple one, as, for instance, white, green, and silver.  The lack of distinction so noticeable in many table arrangements arises from an abundance of decoration and too much variation in color.

The smartest tables today are those set with absolute simplicity of detail. The above table is arranged for a buffet service for a home wedding where there are not many attendants, and where one friend serves the coffee and another the frappé.

Wedding Favors and Place Cards

Piquant Wedding Favors and Place Cards

(Above) Piquant favors which can be made at home are miniature bouquets of artificial flowers with wee lace paper frills like those old-fashioned bouquets worn in the day of our great grandmothers’ weddings. (Below) Wedding-bells of Bristol board, clappers and all, may be used for place cards, as shown at the left, or, as at the right, to supersede the usual heart shaped boxes that carry bits of wedding-cake for friends to dream over.

A bell of ice-cream placed on a small dessert plate with two tiny basket-shaped cakes is pretty with a table of this kind. The bell may have a base of sponge-cake with a solid jelly center. It is sprinkled with chopped pistachio nuts, colored green, and finished off with a circle of pink roses made of chopped rose-leaves.

The little bell handle is of a strip of citron. Wedding-bells of ice-cream may have ladyfingers applied to the sides and topped off with a round green mint. A small cake may be tucked in at the base on one side to represent the clapper.

Of course, the charming little silver tokens should be baked in the wedding cake. The ring, which predicts the next marriage, the horseshoe, for luck, the tiny thimble, for single blessedness, and so forth, may be purchased in attractive sets at any of a wide range of prices.

Wedding-bell place-cards for the bride's table may be cut from bristol board. Two small cards are enclosed between the two outside bells.

On one is the name of the bride, on the other that of the groom. On the outer bell two green lines with a row of silver dots between may form a decoration both at the top and base. The date in silver may be placed between the bands and the guest’s name just below the lower band.

In place of the expensive little boxes with wedding-cake from the caterer, a rich black fruit cake may be made at home and enclosed in small wedding-bell cases. These cases are made of glove-finished bristol board.

Gabrielle Rosiere, "Feasting the Wedding Guests," in Good Housekeeping Magazine, Vol. LXII, No. 6, June 1916, p. 800-801; 804.

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