Inspiration for Ashley #1

As I mentioned in a post last week, two dear friends of mine will be getting married quite soon. Ashley and her fiance are planning a low-key, outdoorsy wedding on Labor Day weekend and have only just started to plan because they only just got engaged. In addition to offering congratulations, I offered to help out by finding wedding inspiration they might like. For most (if not all) of this week, I’ll be using Ashley’s own words as my inspiration. Without further ado, off we go!

The wedding will be at 3 pm, reception to follow at my parents’ place on the Snake River. It will be a HUGE ASS BBQ involving all manner of food. There will be impromptu dancing, all manner of unscripted toasting, motorboat/fishing rides up and down the river, 4-wheeling for the boys, a bottomless open bar, and a campfire. There will be fireworks at dusk and general merriment until the last person stumbles off to bed.


While it’s not quite fireworks at dusk, sparklers are a fun way for wedding guests to add a little light to the bride and groom’s special day. In this picture taken by emtboy9, sparklers become wedding decorations when taken out of their boxes and put in what looks like a flower pot. Ashley could up the ante by displaying sparklers in decorativevases at each table, perhaps as a centerpiece.

barbecue wedding favors

To-go boxes make cute wedding favor carriers and, if they’re big enough, Ashley’s wedding guests can snag leftovers before they go home at the end of the evening.

wedding barbecuebarbecue wedding

As far as food and drinks go, who doesn’t like food on sticks and food with flags? Ashley can make it easy for her wedding guests to get their nosh on by making the whole affair buffet style. It’s not difficult to set up a sweet drinks buffet if there’s a little help around — create two or three signature cocktails, pour some into glasses and leave a few pitcherfuls on the drinks table so guests can have seconds.


Katie from A Backyard Wedding created her own wedding photo booth using a Polaroid camera she and her now husband found on the side of the road when they started dating. The “booth” was created from hung upholstery fabric, and guests were encouraged to play with props and costume items! Very cool, and an easy idea of Ashley is into DIY.

wedding cups

Katie also bought most of the dishes and cups used in her wedding secondhand and found the rest on Freecycle. If Ashley did this, she could either keep her cool finds or let guests take home whatever caught their eye.


Remember those to-go boxes? What better way to celebrate a barbecue wedding than to send wedding guests home with personalized bottles of barbecue sauce? Beau-Coup describes its favors thusly: “Our gourmet barbecue sauce is created by the award winning chef of the elite Palo Alto Club. Sweet, with a tiny bit of kick, this flavorful sauce will become an instant favorite. Each 5 oz. bottle stands 6.5″ tall, and measures 1.75″ in diameter.”


Maybe Ashley isn’t a fan of favors as food? How about herbs instead? Sara of 2000 Dollar Wedding gave her wedding guests packets of cilantro seeds. I’d say that’s as classy as it is low-key, though perhaps better for weddings taking place at summer’s start rather than summer’s end. Then again, seeds will keep!

(Stay tuned for Inspiration for Ashley #2)

6 Responses to “Inspiration for Ashley #1”

  1. Kristin says:

    Thanks for doing something on BBQ receptions! That’s what we’re tentatively planning–just about every reception site we liked has unbelievable catering fees, and I’ve never been a fan of catered food and stiff, formal situations. My future brother-in-law is a mean griller, too, so we figure we can keep it relatively classy. (Although more tips on keeping an outdoor, informal reception classy wouldn’t go amiss!)

  2. JR says:

    For a fall wedding, a bulb mix would be perfect instead of seeds! Most seed catalogs will sell a large amount of bulbs for a VERY good price.

  3. boolah says:

    My parents threw a BBQ rehersal dinner under a tent on the front yard of their lakefront home. We backed the tent up to a row of evergreen trees and decorated those same trees with white christmas lights. The center pole of the tent had those yellow garage shop lights tethered to it, above eye level for night time lighting. The tables were covered with paper and wrapped like packages with different colored saran wrap. Adorable! We put my mother’s wedding gown (hello–no one could wear it–16 inch waist line!) on a mannaquin on the front porch. We set up black and white photos(copies) of the bride and groom on two hinged together pieces of white 6X8 lattice, which served as a screen between the guests and where the food was being prepared. It was fun! We had a full bar, set up on sawhorses, kegs of beer, and a “pop bar” for the kids (a rented fountain pop machine). Served chicken and burgers and bratwurst/hotdogs on the grill, corn on the cob (served like the photo in this post), potato salad and for dessert, we had eskimo pies and popsicles.

  4. Ashley says:

    Thank you SO MUCH for all your wonderful ideas! A BBQ reception leaves so much open to the imagination, which is simultaneously fun and nerve-wracking; so much CAN be done that it can seem overwhelming.

    I particularly love the cocktails in mason jars, the sparklers in pretty vessels, and the photo booth!

  5. Kristin: Suggestion noted — stay tuned!

    JR: Rad idea, plus bulbs keep so well. I’ve had bulbs sit in my shed all winter long and still sprout readily next season.

    boolah: That sounds awesome. I especially love the pop bar idea. Hey, it’s not just for kids — add some fun fixins (cherries, vanilla syrup, etc.) since there are usually plenty of grownups who choose to abstain for whatever reason.

  6. elsimom says:

    Love the bulb idea! No mention of budget, here, but if budget is a concern, potted mums will be out in full force at this time of year – there are some intense yellows and oranges, as well as some very pretty lime greens – if alternated with others (hot pink, purple) at some tables, these would be fun favors for guests to take home and enjoy – and VERY affordable.

    What about wind chimes? If I read this right, the ceremony is elsewhere, so they wouldn’t distract from that. I’ve seen some cute ones with a mason jar as the center (add flowers!) and then the “chimes” hanging down from the rim of the jar. You can go as rustic or as traditional as you like.