(Closed) At what point does DIY/low budget become horribly tacky? (Ideas welcome!)

posted 6 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
4675 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

No advise, but as long as it isn’t a black tie event, burgers and hotdogs sound perfectly fine to me.  My cousin did this for his wedding a few years back, it was a huge hit! 

Post # 4
1510 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

Save, this should get interesting 🙂

Post # 5
1853 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

First of all, off beat bride has a great article on ‘tacky’ and why it is a stupid word. : http://offbeatbride.com/2008/07/tacky

Second, low budget doesn’t need to mean low style. There are TONS of brides who have amazing weddings on here for 5k and less. MissChubbybunny’s wedding was 3k (I believe) and it was AMAZING.

Our budget is 5k, but we’re looking like we’re going to come out under (woo hoo!)


Post # 6
4929 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2018

I have a 2-2.5k budget (with a guest list sitting at 150 but estimating only about 100-110 will actually show up), and we’re doing a 2pm ceremony with a 2:30/3pm dessert and snack food-type reception. No full meal, nothing catered. We’re going to save a fortune from doing it that way. My mom’s friends have already offered to make as much of the food as they can, and at least one of them is an amazing cook. 

Hot dogs and burgers sound fine to me, as long as the rest of your wedding is laid back and casual like that! I think it would be fun, and I’d certainly rather have a buger than something I can’t pronounce. 

Post # 7
7901 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: March 2012 - Pelican Grand Beach Resort

It only gets tacky when you raise one set of expectations and deliver something else. For example, you shouldn’t ask guests to dress up and pay for valet parking and wear a $5000 couture dress and then give them sliced cheese and crackers and pour-your-own soda. You have to strike the balance between “your day” and guest comfort. There is absolutely nothign wrong with budget weddings and, say, hamburgers and hotdogs, but there is if you then indulge in totally superfluous bride-centric things.

I’d be really careful with your alcohol plans… what you are thinking of doing may very well not be legal depending on local laws. If you aren’t in a private home, you may need someone with some official status there to prevent underage drinking and to moderate consumption.

A option you may want to consider is a punch and cake reception or a cocktail and hors d’ouevres reception, though I think the kind of picnic/backyard BBQ party could be a lot of fun if paired well with the ceremony, dress, entertainment, and decoration.

Post # 8
3092 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

The only thing I’d worry about in this case, nothing about being tacky or hamburgers vs. salmon…but just that if you have loved ones manning the grill or putting food together they will stay VERY VERY busy and may not get to enjoy their time as a guest.

Is it possible to pay someone outside of the wedding guest list to do the grilling?

Post # 9
82 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

Our wedding budget is 2K. I really wanted a BBQ reception and inviting around 80 people. For the food, we’re making all the food a night or two before. Before deciding to make our own food, we got a really cheap catering quote from an awesome barbecue place in a small town that would deliver for an extra fee (they normally don’t). Everyone I talked too seemed excited for home cooking rather than restaurant food. Different strokes for different folks. Don’t worry too much about it!

Post # 10
4192 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: July 2012 - Baltimore Museum of Industry

For a wedding that size, you want to keep your guests’ involvement to a minimum. It’s worth the $25 an hour to hire servers, who can also oversee the drinks, then have someone stuck at a grill all day. Caterers also take care of set-up, trash… there’s a lot that goes into serving 100 people. So if you go the DIY food route, I highly recommed getting a server or two to take care of a lot of the details for you.

I third the suggestions on a cake/punch/dessert reception. If you have a 2pm wedding, for example, I’m going to eat a meal beforehand. 

Post # 12
2395 posts
Buzzing bee



Twenty dollars per head for barbecue does sound high. I would check with additional barbecue restaurants. If you don’t go all out and have the full works with ribs and a bazillion choices of side items, it seems like the cost would be much lower than that. Good luck!

Post # 13
966 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

Pretty much anything can be pulled off if you do it right… it doesn’t have to cross over into the realm of “in poor taste.” Since it’s a BBQ you might be able to do a potluck or get some family to volunteer to do the cooking? Or even a restaurant? They might do a special ribs order for you day-of that can be brought directly… Oh, and ball jars with field flowers and white stringed lights could be great and cheap additions 😉

Post # 14
11166 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

@mrsSonthebeach:  It only gets tacky when you raise one set of expectations and deliver something else.

I agree completely.

One of the best weddings I attended had a $3,000 budget for about 75 people. The brides made it clear this was a relaxing back yard event complete with wildflowers and food provided by the family. It was casual, DIY and nothing fancy but it was perfect.

One of the worst weddings I attended tried to do a lot with a small budget. That in my humble opinion is the quickest way to tacky. If you have a smaller budget focus on the key elements and DIY for the details. The wedding that was so awful had a $10,000 budget which is enough for a decent wedding but they spread themselves too thin. Instead of having a few key elements that were solid, nothing went they way they expected and it was a disaster.

Post # 15
1251 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2009

We used Top of the River restaurant for our wedding; we all had a large portion of both chicken and shrimp, a baked potato and coleslaw. It was ~$800 to feed 100 or so people. DH’s mom also made jambalaya, and my mom bought rolls. It was still under 1k for all the food and drinks for everyone. For BBQ, you should definitely be able to get it for less than $20 per person. That’s a little high! GL.

Post # 16
2103 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

I self-catered, we had a taco bar with ground beef, carnitas, homemade salsa, bean/corn salad, 7 layer dip and queso…plus all the regular fixings. I also made veggie trays and fruit trays. It was about $600 for 100 people, but we had TONS of food leftover! We did a keg and a signature drink (which was a vodka spiked lemonade), tea, water and cans of soda, which was definitely less than $400 total.


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