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Hosting an Engagement Brunch Tuesday, September 27, 2011 ~ 11:07 a.m.

Good morning! I'm very excited about today's post, because I've been thinking about doing it for a while now, and I'm finally getting to it! Now, I don't know how many of you had or plan to have an engagement party to celebrate your upcoming nuptuals... Dale and I chose not have one, but I would imagine that they're pretty common, when you consider that they can range from an intimate, casual weekend BBQ to the larger, and more formal cocktail party. I think that a great middle ground between these two extremes is an engagement brunch. It's formal enough to require a little more thought and planning beforehand, but it's still considered casual because it is a morning event, and very often, it's set outdoors. Not to mention the fact that a brunch is going to keep costs a bit lower for the host than an afternoon or evening event, where more guests would be drinking!

Once you decide on an engagement brunch with your family, your first order of business will be to decide where and when you/your family would like to host it. According to tradition, the bride's family will host the engagement party, but as with many things these days, there really are no hard and fast rules. Oh! and another reason a brunch is a great idea? Because you can easily pull it off either at a home or at one of your favorite restaurants. Once you've set your date, you'll want to create a guest list, keeping in mind how many people your venue and budget allows you to feed, then send out an invitation. The invite can be a more formal paper invitation that you mail out, or you may even opt to distribute a more casual invitation online through a website such as Evite. Be sure to include the basic "When" and "Where," and specify an RSVP contact. It's considered poor form to mention anything about gifts on the invitation, but keep in mind that you'll want to let your guests know if the couple isn't accepting gifts when they RSVP.

Engagement brunch invitation
Online engagement brunch invitation or evite

Once you've gotten your invitations out, you can finally get to the fun part! A brunch can be as formally decorated as you'd like depending on your budget, but I love the idea of using this beautiful aqua and peach color palette. Because your event will be in the morning/early afternoon, I would highly recommend sticking with lighter colors - pastels or even a white or ivory. Save the black and jewel tones for your wedding or other evening events ;) To keep your costs low, you can decorate your event or "DIY" without sacrificing style by integrating pretty glass mason jars along with sweet, single stem flowers and baby's breath, fresh fruit, colorful satin ribbons and strung paper garlands, which don't necessarily require any advanced skills in floral arrangement and decor. Here are a few ideas using my chosen color palette. I especially love the peach escort cards/favors and the peach bellini bar!

Engagement brunch aqua and peach decor Engagement brunch aqua and peach decor Engagement brunch aqua and peach decor

Rows 1 and 2: San Francisco Wedding Photographer Gavin Farrington via Pizzazzerie | IN Photography via SMP | Sutherland Kovach Studio via SMP | Row 4: San Francisco Wedding Photographer Gavin Farrington via Pizzazzerie | Lael Cakes | Joey and Jessica via Southern Weddings | Anne Marie Photography via SMP | Row 7: San Francisco Wedding Photographer Gavin Farrington via Pizzazzerie | Sparkle and Hay | Orange Girl Photographs via SMP | E. Leigh Photography via SMP

Now for the important stuff - the food and cocktails, of course! There are a couple of ways to throw an engagement brunch. If your guest list is a bit smaller, you may want to opt for a sit down meal, where everyone can sit and enjoy one another in a more intimate setting. If you're planning on a larger group, a buffet style brunch could also be a good idea. Set up a food station or two, as well as a bar, and provide a bunch of tables (high and low tops) so that people can grab their food, stand or sit down to eat on their own time. This is often a good idea should you want your guests to feel like they can come and go as they please. Just be sure to tailor your menu to whichever seating option you choose. If you're going with the more casual buffet option, you may want to stick with finger foods that don't require a knife and fork.

Once you've decided on the format of your event, it's time to get started on your menu! I'm really excited to have worked with a very talented friend of mine, Reesa, for the following engagement brunch recipes, who has also created an awesome cookbook called Casual and Fabulous. Her book includes a great collection of easy recipes and beautiful photography that are as delicious as they are fabulous. Reesa is always sharing yummy new recipes and beautiful photos on her Facebook page and via Twitter, so be sure to check that out! :)

Reesa was kind enough to share the beautiful photos and yummy recipes below (with the exception of the last Peach bellini cocktail, which I came across myself and decided to share ;)

Engagement brunch food recipes
Casual and Fabulous, by Reesa Ali | The Kitchn

Casual and Fabulous Engagement Brunch Menu

Serves 8 to 10

Ham and Egg Tarts

Savory ham cup filled with a creamy egg, topped with green onions and cheese

Roasted Asparagus

Tender but crisp, sprinkled with shaved Parmesan

Baked French Toast

Luscious with hints of vanilla, cinnamon and maple syrup

Fresh Fruit Platter

Celebrate Spring with the sweetest seasonal fruit

Classic Mimosas
Peach Thyme Bellini

Brunch Recipes

Ham and Egg Tarts

  • 12 large slices ham
  • 12 large eggs
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 3/4 cup green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Non-stick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 12 cup muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place one slice of ham into each muffin cup and add 1 tablespoon of cheese and ½ tsp of green onions. Top with a whole cracked egg and sprinkle with cheese and green onions. Bake for 18 minutes until eggs are set but still soft at the center. Sprinkle with black pepper and garnish with green onions. Serve!

Roasted Asparagus

  • 2 lbs fresh Asparagus
  • 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Trim the ends of the asparagus and lay on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Roast for about 8 minutes until caramelized but still crisp. Immediately sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.

Fresh fruit platter

  • 5 oranges, segmented
  • 1 lb assorted seedless grapes
  • 2 cups Strawberries
  • 4 apples, sliced

Artfully arrange on a platter and serve!

Baked French Toast

  • 2 large baguettes, cut into1/2 inch slices
  • 10 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 3 tbs melted butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • Garnish with sliced strawberries
  • Maple Syrup for serving

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 13 by 9 inch baking dish. In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, milk, melted butter, cinnamon, vanilla and brown sugar. Use a whisk to combine. Coat each side of the bread with the egg mixture and arrange vertically in the baking dish. The bread slices should like the petals of a flower. Bake covered with foil for about 30 minutes until golden brown and bubbly. Drizzle with maple syrup and top with sliced strawberries.

Classic Mimosa

  • Orange Juice
  • Champagne
  • Mandarin orange segments for garnish

In a champagne flute, add 1 part orange juice to 2 parts Champagne.

Peach Thyme Bellini

Recipe via The Kitchn, Serves 8 - 10

  • 1/2 pound peaches, about 5, peeled and chopped (approximately 3 cups chopped)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 10 sprigs of fresh thyme, plus additional for garnish
  • Sliced peaches, for garnish
  • 2 bottles of Prosecco or sparkling wine

In a heavy saucepan, heat the peaches, sugar, lemon juice, and thyme sprigs over medium heat until the mixture is thick and syrupy, approximately 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the peach mixture from heat and allow the mixture cool. Remove the thyme sprigs and discard. Puree the peach mixture in a blender until smooth.

Spoon three tablespoons of the peach puree into a champagne flute. Pour in prosecco or sparking wine and stir until combined. Serve cold. The peach puree can be made up to 2 days in advance. This recipe can easily be halved, just adjust the amount of sugar according to your taste and the ripeness of the peaches.

Insert Comment | View Comments (8)




Alicia @CharityWedding (Arizona)

Sep 27, 2011 11:17 AM

This looks and sounds amazing! I think I love brunch more than any other meal so I love the idea of an engagement brunch or even a wedding brunch!

Hilary (Annapolis, MD)

Sep 27, 2011 11:33 AM

This all is so informative and perfect! Absolutely precious and beautiful. Everything looks great and easy to doable on a budget!

Hilary {Bayside Bride} // //

Allie@HoneyBeeInvites (Atlanta, GA)

Sep 27, 2011 12:16 PM

I love this idea! And especially those egg/bacon thingies :) Yummmm!

Alexandra {Heart Love Weddings} (Massachusetts)

Sep 27, 2011 12:52 PM

I have never wanted brunch so bad in my life! Yum! Everything looks absolutely delightful - the food, the decor, the colors, everything. I would so do an engagement brunch in a heartbeat!

Rachel Marie Photography (Orange County, CA)

Sep 27, 2011 1:42 PM

i've really been loving that color orange lately! I love that you added the recipes at the end! yumm..

Rhiannon {Hey Gorgeous} (Grand Rapids)

Sep 27, 2011 6:45 PM

This is such a fabulous post! The photo inspiration is wonderful :)

Adrienne O'Connor (Ruffles & Tweed) (New York)

Sep 27, 2011 7:49 PM

love this idea and I'm obsessed with peach and turquoise as a color palette, so I'm drooling over those pics!

Elizabeth {Bridal Musings} (United Kingdom)

Sep 28, 2011 11:35 AM

Love the idea of an engagement {or wedding brunch} and that colour palette is gorgeous! Great suggestions on how to pull it all together x