Back to Back Issues Page
Do It Yourself Weddings Guide, Issue #020 -- Backyard & Barbeque Receptions
March 16, 2007

The Do It Yourself Weddings Guide Newsletter is written by Amber Dusick, editor of the Do It Yourself Weddings site. This issue brings you even more ideas, instructions and tips on doing everything there is to do with weddings...yourself.

If you like this e-newsletter, please "email it forward" to someone you know who's in the midst of wedding planning. If a friend did forward this to you and you like what you read please subscribe now.

If you have suggestions, questions, article requests, comments, or corrections, please feel free to contact us -- we would love to hear from you!

If this newsletter is difficult for you to read as an e-mail, you can read it easily online by going to the back-issues archive of Do It Yourself Weddings Guide:

Do It Yourself Weddings Guide Newsletter Online

Contents of this issue of Do It Yourself Weddings Guide

  • What's New at Do It Yourself Weddings - New Articles
  • Question from Email: Backyard Wedding & Receptions
  • Cool Wedding Related Website

What's New at Do It Yourself Weddings

Here are some new articles:

Barbeque Wedding Reception Guide
The Firepit & Grilling Guru is our guest author and gives all kinds of handy tips for pulling off a barbeque wedding reception! Food & menu ideas and tips for making it go smoothly. Perfect for a warm weather, casual wedding.

Do It Yourself Wedding Cookie Favors
Did you know that you can find cookie cutters in virtually any shape to match your theme? An easy and delicious recipe for sugar cookie favors.

Brides Guide to Better Wedding Photos (part 1)
Tips from a pro! Guest author/photographer, Mark Parker, wrote this excellent guide to getting better wedding photos. Things that you can do, whether you are DIYing your photos or hiring a professional.

Check Our Newest Articles Page for More New Articles! Our newest articles page lists all the new articles as soon as they are uploaded! Never miss a new article by simply checking this page.

Email Question: Backyard Ceremony & Reception?

Liz Schroeder wrote in to ask:

Your website has been very helpful! I am planning my own wedding in the backyard and am using alot of the ideas. I will be using the ipod/stereo combo. How did you transition from the ceremony to the reception? Did you already have the food set out during the ceremony or did you have somoeone set it our for the reception only? Also, what did you do for parking? We are having about 50 guests. Did you have dancing, cake cutting, bouquet toss and all that? I am skipping the dancing, bouquet toss but not sure if i should have the toasts and cake cutting. I appreciate you input!

Congrats on planning your wedding! I love backyard weddings, so much fun.

If the ceremony & reception are in the same place the easiest thing to do are for the bride/groom to walk down the aisle and "leave" after the ceremony is over. Go to a room in the house for a few moments alone while a designated person (in my case my father in law) organizes a group of guys to move chairs/tables, etc and to announce that the reception is starting or that "drinks are served" or something like that. People will stand around and drink and chat, which is pretty expected as a cocktail intermission at a wedding. In our case we served only water and a signature drink that went with our wedding theme during this transition time. (Wine/beer, champagne, etc was with the meal) If the ceremony/reception are in different parts of the yard then obviously you only need someone to announce that "we'll now move over to the reception area where champagne (or whatever) will be served" and people will wander over.

Meanwhile, you could have volunteers to be setting up the food or you could hire someone. I actually hired a "day of coordinator" a friend of a friend who wouldn't mind missing the ceremony and had her setting food up while the ceremony was in progress. If your ceremony is very short you could certainly have it set-up already but I don't recommend doing that yourself either! You'll be busy getting ready, etc so you won't want to mess around with food. Get friends/family to help and when in doubt, hire a wedding day helper. You can even skip the professionals and hire a non-professional to save money. If you are clear with instructions on what you need done anyone can do it. My coordinator stuck around and also helped with food/table clean up after people were done eating so guests (and us) could just celebrate for the rest of the night.

Parking completely depends on your neighborhood. With 50 guests you'll probably have 30 cars at the very most. Check your guest list and see how many couples/families are included and count cars that way. If your neighborhood has ample parking then valet is not needed. I've helped plan weddings with around 50 guests where the bride didn't do valet and it was no problem. It is up to you though, some people expect valet since women will be in heels and dressed up. However, if it is a backyard wedding it will probably be pretty casual so people may not mind walking. I personally did hire a valet service for my own wedding because there is no parking on our street and we have a tiny driveway so there was no other option. I called around 10 places and told them it was for a "party" and never said wedding. Some of the different quotes I got varied by several hundred dollars so shop around.

As far as the bouquet toss, dancing, cake cutting, whatever you want!!! I recently helped plan a wedding where they didn't do dancing and it was just fine. After the meal the guests hung around and mingled and it was just like a normal party. Nobody seemed to miss the dancing. At my own wedding we did have dancing and I rented a dance floor from a rental company because the ground was uneven--too hard to dance on grass in heels. We had a dancing mix on the ipod that we switched to from the dinner mix which was more mellow. We didn't plan for toasts but people got up and wanted to give speeches anyway so it just sort of happened that way near the end of dinner. We had no cake cutting because we didn't have a cake! We had an ice cream bar instead of cake...we had a whole freezer of just ice cream. No bouquet toss for me. You really can do whatever you want and make it work. Nobody will care when the actual night arrives whether you do cake cutting or bouquets or whatever, your guests will just want to have fun.

Cool Wedding Related Site

A site for all your DIY wedding reception food serving needs! I really enjoyed browsing the Catering Supplies site, and was especially thrilled to see this Cupcake Tier Display for those who are doing cupcakes instead of cake. They also have some helpful DIY tips, such as spray painting the stand or using fabric to dress it up. A great source for affordable plastic servingware for buffet weddings too.

Have a Reader Tip or a Wedding Question? Contact Us!

Have a handy tip to share that you've learned? How about sharing what your own "do it yourself" wedding plans are! Even better, if your wedding has passed share some photos with us! Please contact us to submit your tips, ideas, plans or questions.

Looking for Specific Wedding Info? Search!

You can now search through all of our articles by using our handy Search This Site feature.

We have well over 100 articles on wedding crafts, do it yourself instructions and advice. Plus, more are added each week!

Back to Back Issues Page