How We: Planned An Intimate Florida Backyard BBQ

A collaborative effort by family and friends

Alexis, Public Information Officer, City Gov’t & Andrew, Graphic Designer, Illustrator, and Brewer

One sentence to sum-up the wedding vibe: The wedding was a showcase of the bride and groom’s love, with a relaxed and intimate setting emphasizing togetherness of family and friends.

Planned Budget: $15,000—$20,000

Actual Budget: $20,000

Number of Guests: 80

Where we allocated the most funds

We spent the most money on what people love most, food and drinks. The second highest budgets we had were photography to remember the day, flowers, and rentals.

Where we allocated the least funds

Music. An iPod plugged into a speaker for $75 worked out just great. DJ in a box.

What was totally worth it

Getting a professional wedding photographer instead of just a friend who takes good pictures. It was so nice. And having professionals in general. The flowers too were something I underestimated. They really transformed the space. And premarital counseling. Andrew and I really got to know each other so much better through the counseling and it improved the way we communicate with one another. It set us off on the right foot.

What was totally NOT worth it

Spending a ton on a dress. Don’t get me wrong, you want to look beautiful. But the dress aspect is overhyped. I realize most brides disagree, but I’m glad we spent money where we did. The second was reading bridal magazinesyou’ll end up doing a bunch of stuff that doesn’t really mean anything it just seems important because the magazines say so.

A few things that helped along the way

That would be people. First my sister and mom really kept me focused on what truly mattered and grounded. And then there were the professionals we hired. Wow. Getting good vendors is a must. Get people who love what they do and know how to do it well. There is such satisfaction in knowing that you don’t have to worry and it will be taken care of in an amazing way. Our caterer, photographer, rental company, seamstress, and cake vendors were amazing. Especially from planning across the country.

For example, on the day of the wedding, well actually two hours before the wedding, our cake vendor brought the cake over to the house. It was a disaster. The cake literally imploded. She tried to salvage it, but I was standing there in the kitchen and it was collapsing in on itself. I took a deep breath, she cried for a second, and then left the house, went back and made seventy-five cupcakes and a smaller cake and brought them back before the reception. No one was the wiser and everyone said that the cupcakes (chocolate with salted caramel buttercream frosting) were the best they ever tasted. Amazing vendors make it such a good experience.

My best practical advice to my planning-self

If you want a low-key wedding, be a low-key bride. And stick to a shorter engagement. The longer you have, the more tempted you are to add stuff that doesn’t add value.

Favorite thing about the wedding

The way my husband looked in his suit. The amazing feeling I had saying my vows. The love and support overflowing from the people who were there. The family style “pass the platter around” dinner. And maybe the fact that we had a giant Jenga game, archery, and croquet.

Other Notes

This was very much a collaborative wedding. Andrew’s brother made the brisket. Our family friend cooked the salmon. A family friend made the beer special for the wedding. Another friend loaned us platters. And those who showed up early ended up helping set everything up and were actually eager to help.


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