How To Plan A DIY Backyard Bbq Wedding Reception?

BBQ food is an affordable option when you're hiring a caterer. You can order BBQ from your favourite restaurant and semi-DIY your wedding meal if you've got a smaller budget.

You can buy the ingredients and do a complete DIY for your wedding menu if you're on a tight budget. First, you can make all the side dishes ahead of time. Then, you'll probably have many volunteers to work the grill on your wedding day. For more about making DIY wedding food, read this next: Self Cater Your Wedding: How to DIY Your Wedding Food.

FAQs About Wedding Venue

You'll want everyone to be introduced in pairs. For example, if any parents are divorced, a family member or significant other can escort them in. If there is an uneven number of bridesmaids and groomsmen, you can pair 3 of them up to walk in together.

Usually, the order of wedding reception speeches goes as follows: The best mangoes first, followed by the maid of honour, and the parents of either spouse (traditionally, this spot is reserved for the bride's father, but any parent/host can speak).

An engagement party or couple's shower barbecue is the perfect way to celebrate an upcoming wedding with crowd-pleasing food in a relaxed setting. You can dress it up or down and still pull it off without a grill or backyard (looking at you, city slickers).

Being an active participant at a wedding includes:

  • Hit the dance floor.
  • Admiring the first dance and cake cutting.
  • Greeting the couple and immediate family members.
  • Enjoy yourself as any wedding guest should.

The best man customarily makes the first toast. It's fine for this to be the only one offered, though other people will probably want to express their happiness to the newlyweds. After the best man, the maid of honour may offer a toast, too.


Is Bbq At A Wedding Tacky?

No - it's not tacky at all. As long as you feed your guests a meal that fits the time of day, you're covered as far as etiquette goes. To keep your guests comfortable, make sure your meal suits the type of wedding you're planning. For example, if you're having a fun, laid back wedding at a community centre or home, a casual barbecue with burgers or ribs is a perfect fit.

But if you're planning an elegant style wedding, your guests will show up in fancy clothes and expect a sit-down meal. You'll probably get some side-eye if you ask them to eat with their fingers. It's not impossible to serve barbecue at a formal wedding. Just be careful how you do it.

How To Serve Bbq At A Formal Wedding

If you're planning a formal wedding and serving BBQ, you'll need to ensure all the details are elegant. A formal wedding is usually more expensive. Double-check your budget, then make sure you have a formal, plated meal and elegant decorations.

An Elegant Bbq Menu

Don't serve cookout food if you want to have an elegant wedding. But, on the other hand, if you want a formal event, you can't have people eating with their fingers. So think about a plated menu with traditional BBQ foods, like grilled chicken or smoked brisket. Then add side dishes like baked potatoes and green salad to round out the meal.

Classy Bbq Wedding Decor

To get a formal look at your reception, choose all-white linens. Make sure your centrepieces all match. Choose elegant glassware, white candles and flowers for stylish table decorations. If your venue doesn't include real china, see if your caterer can provide dishes. Or look into a rental company for your dishes. You'll need to have china dishes and real flatware for a formal wedding.

How To Serve Bbq At A Casual Wedding

BBQ is perfectly suited for a casual wedding - it's delicious, filling and fun to eat. And if you're trying to save money, it's a great way to serve a full meal at a reasonable price.

Menu For A Casual Bbq Wedding

With a casual wedding, your guests will be happy if there's enough to eat. So to serve the nicest food you can afford. If you've got a bigger budget, book a caterer or order from a BBQ restaurant. You can serve pulled pork or roasted pig, plus side dishes like corn on the cob and baked beans. If your budget is smaller, try planning a cookout menu. A burger bar with condiments and toppings is fun, tasty and affordable.

Decor For A Casual Bbq Wedding

You can pick up glassware, lanterns, candles, or knick-knacks at a thrift shop, dollar store, or craft store for your casual wedding. Mismatched items are fun, easy-going looks for your centrepieces and decor. If you need to provide the dishes, choosing inexpensive or disposable pieces is ok. If you're having a cookout style BBQ, you don't need full tables set up, but you should have enough chairs for every guest to sit down. If you have a buffet, borrow or rent enough tables and chairs for every guest to sit and eat.

How To Serve Bbq At A Semi-Formal Wedding

bride with a bouquet of roses posing outdoors

Semi-formal is a wedding style that gives you the best of both worlds. You can mix and match which elements you'd like to spend your budget on. As a result, you can spend a little less than a formal wedding and a little more than a casual wedding.

Menu For A Semi-Formal Bbq Wedding

A buffet is the perfect food service for a semi-formal wedding. Choose the menu that fits your budget best. Catering is always the easiest choice. If you can fit it into your budget, you can choose your food and beverage packages and let them do the rest. 

If you want to save money or have more food options, you can order delivery from your favourite BBQ restaurant. For your buffet, you can serve a selection of BBQs, like smoked brisket, steak or ribs, plus side dishes and rolls. Make sure to include lots of your favourite barbecue sauce!

Decor For A Semi-Formal Bbq Wedding

A semi-formal wedding can be hosted anywhere from a traditional banquet hall to a rustic barn. Try to match your decor to the venue you've booked. If your venue doesn't include dishes, you can use china or disposables - whichever fits your budget. But you should make sure to rent enough tables and chairs for everyone to have a sit-down meal. Remember to add table linens, centrepieces and decorations.

Wedding Bbq Buffet Menu Ideas

  • Grilled chicken
  • Pork ribs
  • Sirloin steak
  • Smoked brisket
  • Roasted pig
  • Pulled pork
  • Baked beans
  • Corn on the cob
  • Baked potatoes
  • Coleslaw
  • Garden salad
  • Rolls and butter
  • Barbecue sauce

Cookout Style Bbq Wedding Food Ideas

  • Burger bar
  • Sausages
  • Hot dogs
  • Toppings and condiments
  • Corn on the cob
  • Baked potatoes
  • Potato salad
  • Pasta salad
  • Coleslaw
  • Garden salad

Affordable Bbq Wedding Catering

If you're trying to save money on your wedding, a barbecue is good for your food. The cost of wedding catering will depend on where you live and the time of year you're planning your wedding. Your costs will also depend on your food service type and your menu.

Most Caterers Offer Three Different Types Of Food Service:

Plated meals are the most expensive. Each guest will have their meal served to them on individual plates. Family style is a mid-priced style of food service. Each dish will be served to the table on platters. Guests around the table can help themselves. Buffet style is the least expensive service. You will serve the food at one main table. Guests help themselves at the buffet and carry their plates back to their seats.

When hiring a caterer, remember that you're paying for more than just the food. So if you decide to DIY or semi DIY your BBQ, ensure you've got enough people to help. You cover all the tasks. 

Most Caterers Will:

  • Provide trained and uniformed servers
  • Provide trained and certified bartenders
  • Set up your tables, linens and dishes
  • Set up and stock the bar
  • Serve the food and beverages
  • Keep buffet tables clean and stocked
  • Cut and serve your wedding cake
  • Clear off tables
  • Clean up the kitchen

Save Money On Your Bbq Wedding Catering

  • Choose a less expensive menu, like chicken or burgers
  • Stick with a buffet or food station as your foodservice
  • Consider offering a limited bar or signature drinks instead of an open bar
  • If Saturday night is too expensive, think about hosting your wedding on a different day
  • Consider hosting your wedding during the offseason, when venues and catering will be less expensive

Choosing A Venue For A Bbq Wedding

Some venues will be a perfect fit for a barbecue wedding. If you're planning a cookout style BBQ, think about venues like a state park, a local beach or even your backyard. If you're planning a more formal or semi-formal wedding, look at traditional venues like a ballroom or banquet hall. Or check your local listings for unique venues, like a ranch or a barn.

  • Hotel ballroom
  • Banquet hall
  • Community centre
  • Local park
  • Family home
  • Church hall
  • Cabin
  • Cottage 
  • Ranch
  • Barn
  • Campground
  • Nature reserve
  • State park
  • Beach

Backyard Wedding Bbq

bride and groom posing outdoors

Planning a backyard wedding is a great idea, especially if you're on a tight budget. You won't have to pay any rental fees. You'll be free to do as much DIY as you want. And you can hire the vendors that are the best fit for your budget.

Look over your backyard and decide how many guests you can invite. Next, consider where your ceremony will take place. Can you fit enough chairs for everyone?

Once you've figured out the ceremony space, think about where all your reception events will happen. Where will everyone sit to eat? Do you want a dance floor?

Bbq Wedding Reception Themes

Once you've chosen your venue, you might want to add a theme for your wedding. You can use BBQ as your entire wedding theme. Decorate with traditional red gingham fabric and BBQ accessories. Or add some rustic decorations, like wildflowers and string lights. BBQ food goes great with a lot of wedding themes:

  • Barn
  • Country
  • Sunflowers
  • Daisies
  • Campground
  • Rustic
  • Boho
  • Mason jars
  • Cowboy boots
  • Fall
  • Spring
  • Summer
  • 4th of July
  • Picnic

Naked Cake For Dessert

The naked cake, or one that is very lightly frosted with the layers showing, is the perfect modern addition to a country wedding menu. You can incorporate florals from the wedding bouquets, and guests can easily see your layers. If you'd like a fruit topper or wedding-themed topper, feel free to add those.

Burlap Bbq Decorations On A Budget

A BBQ wedding theme usually means you're trying to keep costs down, so it only makes sense to plan your decor accordingly. For example, burlap is cheap and more appropriate for a wedding than the red-checked tablecloth design usually associated with BBQs. Try these ideas for a backyard BBQ wedding on a budget.

Burlap Ceremony Decor

Set up a wedding arch that is covered in burlap. Add a greenery swag to the top, florals near the bottom, and a small cocktail table covered in burlap for candles and signing the marriage licence.

Burlap Table Decorations

The backyard or rustic wedding tables are often styled with old-fashioned options. Take crocheted or lace tablecloths like your grandmother might have and drape tables with them. Add mason jars with candles and mixed bouquets of wildflowers. Wrap the jars in burlap. Place silverware in burlap bags and tie with twine. A few succulents add a contemporary feel.

Blue And Yellow Burlap Decorations

A casual country BBQ reception doesn't mean you're stuck with red as your colour. Instead, consider using the rustic colour combination of blue and yellow. Add a touch of blue lace with some yellow citrus slices and mason jar flower bouquets with twine.

Elegant Bbq Wedding Decorations

Lights and lace can elevate a rustic country wedding to a classy BBQ wedding reception or ceremony with little effort. First, consider your basic country options, and then take them up a notch to dress them up.

Lighted Ceremony Arch And Aisle

An elegant wedding must have stunning lighting. Set up an arch and hang string lights between lace panels. Then line the aisle with lanterns and birdcages to hint at that country feel without going overboard. Greenery on shepherd's hooks completes the look.

Lighted Ceremony Arch And Aisle

Lacey Table Décor

Long tables with intricate lace tablecloths take centre stage for the reception. Add a runner of greenery and white and red roses for an elegant display. Outside, cover tree trunks in white lights; inside, use tulle and lace to create backdrops for each wall.

Lacey Table Décor

Lace With Red Roses

Even though you're planning a classy wedding with BBQ flair, it doesn't mean you still can't select red as your colour. Consider using red rose bouquets and arrangements to incorporate the BBQ feel without the traditional chequered design. A few lace touches and some burlap complete the more elegant table design.

Lace With Red Roses

BBQ Wedding Dress and Bridal Party Attire

The gown you select for your wedding should reflect your theme. Simple A-line lace gowns can be dressed up or down, depending on the formality of your event. Wear your hair down and accessorise with flowers and greenery for a casual one. Put your hair up in a bun and add a few pearls for an upscale event for traditional elegance. Grooms can wear vests without jackets, tan linen jackets, or a traditional suit. Outfit your bridal party according to your style.

Fun Foodie Favours

It's only fitting that the favours at your wedding reflect your theme and menu. Use a chalkboard sign to help guests find their thank you gifts. Consider these food favour tie-ins:

DIY s' mores kits - Package two chocolate miniatures, two large marshmallows, and four graham crackers in a cellophane bag.

Bbq Mitts: Pick them up in your wedding colours and add a wedding favour tag to thank everyone for attending.

Grill Rub Mix: Reuse baby food jars or pick up small plastic containers. Mix up your favourite grilling spice rub and attach a thank you tag to the jar.

Popcorn Ball Bar: Make popcorn balls and package them individually. Stick to traditional caramel or add a little colour to match your wedding.

Popcorn Ball Bar

Country Style and Taste

Have a smokin' wedding when you combine your love of BBQ foods with your nuptials. It doesn't matter if you want a more casual event or a fancy shindig. There are plenty of ways to make your personality shine with this country theme.


So, there you have it! Everything you need to know to plan your very own backyard BBQ wedding reception. It's doable if you take things one step at a time and enlist the help of your friends and family. We hope that this article has helped, and we wish you all the best on your big day!

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