All this wedding week chitchat must be making you hungry, so you’re cordially invited to sink your teeth into a few of our delectable wedding day dishes.
Perhaps our most daring DIY feat was completely nixing the idea of a caterer in favor of taking on the entire wedding menu ourselves. I know we sound cuckoo-for-cocoa-puffs, but there were a few major reasons behind our seemingly insane decision. A lot of catering companies require a separate prep area and our modest rancher just didn’t have the space. And we also thought strangers dressed in black peddling hors d’oeuvres in our backyard might be a little odd for our intimate affair. But most of all, we’re just hopeless DIYers with an unhealthy attraction to seemingly impossible challenges- so even though feeding 75 people sounds like quite a job, it really wasn’t so bad thanks to thoughtful planning, a few make-ahead components and some pretty crafty delegation (in the form of pre-prepared offerings with a gourmet spin).
We made our lives much easier by carefully designing a menu that didn’t require any heat (other than our entrees which were cooked up on the grill) and called for nothing more than a single fork (when it came to side dishes and hors d’oeuvres, upscale finger food was the name of the game). Keeping our offerings simple (fresh fruit, cocktail shrimp, rotini salad, lemon pepper potato chips, etc) and adding an upscale twist when we could (like an unexpected ingredient or delightful dipping sauce) really seemed to work with our informal backyard wedding theme.
Another example of our “simple with a twist” approach to the menu was demonstrated in our main course choices, which we wrote out on a chalkboard hung above the grill for all to see.
Our guests approached the grill and ordered up their choice of a blue cheese angus burger with parmesan caesar dressing, sweet apple chicken sausage with honey dijon, or a tomato and cheddar veggie burger with basil ketchup. We actually made all the blue cheese burgers ahead of time (by adding chunky blue cheese dressing to ground beef and freezing the meat into patties to be defrosted that morning) but purchased the sweet apple chicken sausage along with the tomato and cheddar veggie burgers in bulk from the grocery store a few days in advance. Of course we splurged on some gourmet buns and added a little flair to the toppings (like a dash of fresh basil worked into the ketchup and the caesar dressing that topped the blue cheese burgers). A few fun twists on some old favorites really seemed to satisfy, and we purchased more than enough to go around (so people could try more than one entree if they so desired).
And even though we didn’t have a moment to taste a thing, the overwhelming consensus was “mmmm” as demonstrated by lots of seconds and hardly any leftovers.
Another adorable detail thrown together by my hubby in the final hour (unbenownst to me since I was inside getting gussied up) were the extra lemons that John used to accent a big tin of ice cubes. Somehow the 10 cent lemons added so much more to the $8 galvanized tin of $2 ice… a true testament to something becoming far greater than the sum of its parts (and to my hubby’s genius eye for style).
By far the most popular menu choice was the decision to keep it simple and serve Richmond’s famed Ukrop’s cupcakes. For those not in the know, Ukrop’s is a local grocery chain, which just happens to have reached celebrity status for its heavenly vanilla cupcakes. We considered swankifying the cupcakes with green and yellow spinkles or lemon candies, but realized that to mess with perfection would be a mistake. And when served en mass the seemingly simple cupcakes transformed into a sea of creamy confections that people literally couldn’t get enough of (several people confessed to downing four or five of ’em). And we can both agree that feeding each other cupcakes was a fun take on the ceremonial cake feeding tradition as well.
Another fun touch was the s’more roast we had at the very end of the night. After some of our friends and family had moseyed on home, the remaining guests had fun bringing the night to a close by gathering around our firepit and cooking up a melty treat for the road. Marshmallows, chocolate bars, and graham crackers are hardly budget busting extravagances, but the s’more roast was just another one of those memorable details that really stuck with people far after the embers went cold.
And just as all good things must come to an end, This Young Wedding Week must now come to a close. We hope it was as good for you guys as it was for us. Thanks so much for your enthusiasm throughout the exciting matrimonial extravaganza, and don’t be too sad that it’s over. After all, we have some pretty amazing before and afters in the hopper for the upcoming week so stay tuned…
*Drop in on our Wedding Album tab below the header to check out all the details of our big day from start to finish!
Wow….that is a lot to take on for your wedding day. But it looks like you pulled it off pretty easily….seriously, were you not a ball of stress leading up to the ceremony? Not sure if you were able to take a honeymoon, but after that I would feel a month long honeymoon would be adequate for recovery!
It seems like you have a knack for entertaining…are there any other events you will be showcasing or that you are currently planning for?
I’ve loved hearing about your wedding. You guys have such incredible taste!
I’m going to miss learning about your wedding! It has really been fun. Thanks so much for letting us share in your happy day!
Thanks for sharing all your DIY wedding details! We had a very DIY wedding last October, so I know how much work goes into it. You guys did such a great job!
Again, WOW! I love everything. The graphic lemon/lime napkins are wonderful. The dress – I’m jealous! (In 2004, when I got married, I was looking for a short pretty dress and I couldn’t find anything I liked. Your dress looks fantastic and it was affordable!)
The menu you had makes me hungry right now…
Happy anniversary week, guys!!!
Thank you for sharing details of your beautiful wedding and for so many helpful tips! This wedding week and all your DIY tips have been exactly the kind of inspiration we need when we start to plan our own wedding a year or two from now.
Ukrops cupcakes – what a fabulous idea! They are definately yummy. I’m crazy about the strawberry frosted ones. A big goal of mine is to get to Cake Love in DC – the cupcakes there are apparently the ultimate and the owner had a show on the food network.
Having married off three kids, one of whom had a wedding similar to yours, I’m guessing that you wish you’d hired someone for the cleanup!
I am absolutely blown away with that thoughtful, beautiful and resourceful wedding you two threw. I am newly engaged and about to embark on planning my big day on a majorly minimal budget. I don’t want to elope because I want my loved ones to be a part of the but frankly, budget concerns are leaning me that way. Not to pry but would you be comfortable sharing the budget of your wedding? I need to make the case, that a real and thoughtful wedding DIY-style doesn’t have to break the bank. Any help would be greatly appreciated… and I could share the details/photos afterwards… :)
Hey all you lovely people,
Thanks so much for all the kuddos. It was tons of work but oh so worth it… and it was so much fun to share it with you all a year later.
Kelly, we definitely needed a honeymoon afterwards, in fact, John took two weeks off and we went to Alaska to explore glaciers, rainforests, volcanoes, and to recharge our batteries. Then we took the second week to unwrap gifts and relax at the river (Richmond has a huge river running through it where people go to chill out – kind of like a beach without the sand). It was definitely a memorable time, and we needed every second of unwinding that we could get after such a hands-on panning process. But we loved it. You know DIYers, we’re kinda gluttons for punishment.
As for if we’re planning any other events, we always contemplate throwing another party at our house now that we’ve made so many improvements (new kitchen, converted third bedroom, new dining area within our living room, new laundry nook, etc) so stay tuned… and we’ll be designing other people’s weddings now that we offer the wedding moodboard service so stay tuned for some more fun & fabulous wedding ideas.
EastEnd, the clean-up was definitely exhausting, but it actually went pretty fast (just like the wedding itself). The tables and chairs were getting picked up by the rental company in the morning, so we stayed up and cleared the tables on our very own wedding night. I guess we were excited to get inside and relax as husband and wife, because before we knew it the driveway was cleared and we were inside chatting about our favorite moments.
NoticeThings, our wedding budget can be tallied one of two ways. If you include all the major home improvements (getting the driveway paved, the patio redone, planting some flowers, etc) the total is close to $10,000 for everything. But the actual total without those big projects only came to around $4000. Here’s a breakdown:
Venue: Free (our backyard)
Music: Free (family friend played ceremony music on guitar)
Photography: Free (brother-in-law is a photographer)
Officiant: Free (cousin got certified to marry us)
Wine & Drinks: $100
Cupcakes & S’mores: $125
Table & Chair Rentals: $350
Save The Dates/Invitations/Thank Yous (with postage): $260
Fabric For Tablecloths & Runners: $300
Lighting & Candles: $120
Flip Flops/Photo Clothesline/Welcome Sign: $75
Mosquito Sticks/Candles/Spray: $50
Photobooth: $1200 (our one big splurge- and so worth it)
But you definitely can pull off a gorgeous event for even less (without the photobooth it would have been under 3K for the whole shebang) and there are so many creative ways to cut corners and avoid the overpriced wedding industry’s evil clutches. So fear not- you could have a dessert-only gathering or even a pot-luck… it’s just all about adding some classy and chic details to make it seem personalized and super special! Good luck with you planning and we’d be happy to help ya with a wedding moodboard so just let us know if you need our bargain-loving brainpower.
Seriously impressed!! I’ve been married for 12 years, but this makes me want to do it all over again in a totally new way. Absolutely love all the details.
You guys are fabulous!!