The wedding breakfast and reception cannot be discussed in the usual terms of party planning and party giving, since all aspects of the wedding ceremonial, and the entertainment for family and friends that surround it, are steeped in tradition, controlled more or less as to form and even the details.
The traditional procedure for the breakfast and reception have been established and followed through the years according to almost unbreakable rules. Whether the rules were made by some long-ago etiquette specialist or how they evolved, probably no one knows. One guess might be that the early American heiress copied the formal wedding receptions of titled British and European girls and set a pattern in America which, though modified, is still encouraged by bridal consultants and etiquette authorities.
Most brides-to-be want to conform to the popular formula. If you are one of these, a guide to the planning and presenting of a home wedding, the breakfast and reception, complete with all details, you will need to consult an etiquette authority.
Using such guidance to the solid structure of tradition on which to plan, you may want to take some liberties and let local or family customs and personal preference vary the suggested menus and other activities. This can add a sense of freedom and pleasure to the day, providing the sequence of events is not changed. The reception, if there is to be one, takes place after the ceremony, when family and friends gather to toast the bride and groom, and when a luncheon is included it must be carefully planned.