Post # 1
Did you have a small backyard wedding? When I say small.. I mean SMALL and non-traditional.
Quick backstory – Been with my SO for 10 years. I never wanted a wedding. No wedding dress, no rings, no ceremony. Just wanted to sign the papers like any normal day.
Well – the time has come and we decided to get it done. At first I thought – yeah – a quick courthouse ceremony with our parents as witnesses and then a BBQ in a few months to celebrate with our closest friends and families.
We were watching a show together recently where two of the main characters are getting hitched at the courthouse. They’re basically sitting in these uncomfortable looking seats and holding ticket numbers. Other couples are milled around waiting for their turn. I just felt so… sad watching it. It was supposed to be a kind of funny part in the show, and I laughed, but then I thought – wait.. this will be us if we choose to do this. And that thought bothered me.
So – I’m considering a small backyard wedding. Up to 50 of our closest friends and family. Maybe renting a tent and in leiu of a gift (and instead of hiring catering) I thought everyone could chip in with a dish of food. We’ll cook burgers and dogs. We’ll get an officiant to come and run through a ridiculously quick five minute ceremony. Dress attire is BBQ friendly. I already have a pink flowery sundress I was going to wear. Dessert will be cupcakes from one of my favorite bakeries in my state. We’ll have typical yard games for entertainment (big jenga, beer pong, corn hole, etc..) Music will be played on our PA system. Maybe I’ll rent a dance floor? Photo’s will be taken by the guests. A good friend of ours is a lovely photographer, so I may have him snap a few photo’s for us.
IDK – What do you ladies think? I just want really low-key. If any of you had a super low-key wedding like this, I’d love to hear from you!
Post # 2
I had a super small wedding, a bit different than what you’re planning though. We only invited 13 people. I hired a photographer for 3 hours and we did the majority of our pictures before the ceremony at a forest preserve nearby. The ceremony was in my DH’s grandparents’ backyard. We rented some nice chairs, bought a wooden arch, and decorated both with ribbons. I wrote the ceremony myself and DH’s brother got ordained online and did the ceremony for us. After the ceremony we did family pictures and then we went to a restaurant for lunch. We booked a private room. And then after lunch we went bowling. It was intimate and lovely and I only had people there that I actually wanted to spend time with.
PS Were you watching 30 Rock?? I love that show.
Post # 3
NikkiBee18 : lol! I wasn’t watching 30 rock, but I like that show too! I’ve been meaning to watch the whole series through! Your ceremony sounds absolutely lovely. I have a hard time separating the expectation of others and what I want when I marry him. Also, Pinterest gives me a major complex. I guess I just need to remember that it boils down to him and I and sharing a special afternoon with our loved ones. Thanks for the comment. Also, my name is Nikki too! 🙂
Post # 4
jellybelly326 : Pinterest totally gave me a complex too! I was looking at wedding blogs and seeing all these beautiful weddings and freaking out that mine would look awful and not be “instagram-worthy” but now looking back I’m so glad I kept it simple and stayed to my budget. I was still crazy happy without all the extras and even though it was an amazing day, it was just one day. This might sound bad but it wasn’t the best day of my life, like some people say. My wedding was in August and already I’ve had a few amazing days with my Darling Husband that blew that one out of the water. So I guess my advice is to enjoy the day and do the things for your wedding that will make you happy but don’t put too much pressure on one day.
Post # 5
I have been to a few of super laid back weddings and guests brought dishes to two if them. We really enjoyed them. I say go for it! One was in a park, one in a field with a few large trees behind their home ( more picnic style with blankets) and the other was in a large backyard and BBQ style. That one bride and groom actually requested “no gifts but to bring sideplates if you feel so inclined” and they provided the steak/ chicken/ salmon to BBQ and a simple wedding cake.
Post # 6
SO and I did two weddings – one in my country and one in his. While both were backyard – the one in my country was your more typically tented, sit-down, formal attire affair while the one in his country sounds exactly like what you’re describing.
We had about 40 guests, we rented a couple tables and people say where they liked after a buffet of BBQ foods. We didn’t have guests bring food, my in-laws made nearly everything with help from the extended family. It was a real “pitch in” effort as most guests had traveled from around the country to the location so we didn’t want any burden on them.
Honestly making the food was actually pretty easy, we picked flowers from a local farm and put them into tall water glasses, rented lawn games and had them set up. It was SO fun. We loved that wedding as much as the bigger formal event we had in the US. I don’t think I would have been disappointed with only having one of either wedding, but do consider myself insanely lucky to have experienced both.
The smaller informal one just felt so intimate and like a real team effort – visibly seeing how willing people were to pitch in and contribute on their own volition (we didn’t ask anyone) was so heart warming and made us feel so loved and supported.
I think all in (not including travel costs) we spent maybe 5k on the event? That includes ~1200 for the house that we rented to host in (we rented it for the week with my family but I only include the single night of the party in my budget calculations as we paid the full fee for that day but split the other days). Most of the rest of the budget was food and alcohol, while the flowers and rentals were maybe 700 total. We didn’t do photographer or officiant as we’r had those for the first wedding already and didn’t feel the need to repeat (my sister and a family friend took some shoes throughout the afternoon but neither is a pro photographer).
Post # 7
I basically did exactly what you’re talking about. Backyard wedding with about 75 people. My dad did the ceremony, 5 minutes total. No bridal party, no walking down an aisle. Just gathered everyone around for a quick standing ceremony and we all did shots after “I do”. We had a local Italian restaurant cater, which just meant they cooked up some trays of salad, pasta, meatballs, etc and we picked up and set up everything. Earlier on in our planning we discussed more of a potluck style like what you seem to be thinking but thought the logistics of feeding that many people might be overwhelming to pass onto guests. We also really wanted burgers and dogs on the grill and considered hiring someone to do that, but again thought it might not go so smoothly with that number of guests. Getting large trays of food worked perfectly and was very budget friendly. We bought liqour at Costco and got a keg and just had a self serve station set up in a corner of the yard. Our dessert was homemade cookies and a sheet cake from the grocery store. We played a spotify playlist for most of the night. I splurged a little to get an acoustic band to play for a couple hours. We didn’t hire a photographer. Family members went on a walk with us to get couples shots and we just took turns holding the camera for family shots before the ceremony. We had lawn games like cornhole and I made a big slideshow that played on a random loop all night. We decorated with christmas lights. Everything was PERFECT. A backyard wedding is totally doable and fun for everyone. Like you, I also wanted no wedding and just an elopement, but my husband felt that it was important for us to have a celebration with family and friends. This was our lowkey compromise and I’m so glad we did it.
ETA: We spent about 3k on the whole thing.
Post # 8
jellybelly326 : i’m ALL for this! Big yard games get me so excited. I’m extremely competitve.
My SO and I have considered a destination wedding or a backyard wedding (opposites, i know). We just dont want a traditional hall or venue.
But yes, all for a spring/summer menu, and the laid back vibe of playing games, listening to music and dancing and chatting all afternoon/evening. My family usually stays at parties until 1 am so makes even more sense than a traditional venue 🙂
I Definitely get excited on the idea of not spending it on half a day and keeping that additional 20-30K to continue with the landlord investment route. Or for a nice honeymoon with my honey, hehe.
Post # 9
My best friend had a beautiful backyard wedding like this in Texas. One thing she did which was great was she bought several crock pots and had them simmering with things like delicious meatballs, chicken, etc.. It was super easy. She set it up and everything cooked and simmered really well. A tent is necessary for shade and in case the weather changes. Everyone had a great time. It was very fun and affordable.