Amy & Mikel's Casual BBQ Picnic,Punch & Pie Wedding!

January 21 |

The offbeat bride: Amy, Public Defense Lawyer

Her offbeat partner: Mikel, Public Defense Lawyer

Location & date of wedding: Sister City Gardens in Kiwanis Park, Tempe, AZ on October 11th, 2008

What made our wedding offbeat: Most things were done on a bargain, but few were DIY, only those that my mother did for me, as I am severely craft-impaired. We hosted it in a park and had a local barbecue restaurant do the catering.

We had an idea for the kind of wedding we wanted, which was casual, fun, and in keeping with our beliefs. So we dispensed with the bouquet toss, the garter toss, favors, cake, and almost all dancing. We were going for a fun picnic atmosphere. Our catering was barbecue and beer, punch and pie. We couldn't have hard alcohol, but we didn't miss it.

My husband wore a button-down, khakis, and his favorite flip-flops from Payless. I wore an ivory tea-length bridemaid's dress and cute blue peep-toes. We told our bridesmaids to just get a blue dress and our groomsmen to wear a blue button-down and khakis. No one matched and everyone looked great!

We were married by Mike's uncle, a Methodist minister, in a ceremony where we read from sources such as love letters from Abigail to John Adams, the Massachusetts Supreme Court, and Robert Fulghum. Although there was a religious element to the wedding, it was on our terms.

We only did the first dance and a combined mother/son-father/daughter dance. Otherwise, there was no dancing. Instead, we set up our friends with footballs, handballs, frisbees, horseshoes, batting cage tokens, and paddleboat and fun bikes. People had a great time in and around the lake and playing with all the lawn games. We even had time to play with nearly everything ourselves!

We had pie instead of cake, and did a "pie poll" ahead of time to get our guests excited about it as well as to have an idea of what to order for them.

Our biggest challenge: With the size of our guest list and the needs of both being outdoors but trying to provide for our guests' comfort, there were more logistic issues than you would think! We just acknowledged that things wouldn't be perfect, and all we could do was our best. So when the tents nearly fell down, we used the tug of war rope to hold it up. When the bathrooms never got their promised remodel, we cleaned them ourselves and put in a basket of goodies. No one's expecting a performance from you, they just want to share in your special day. Understanding that really helped.

My favorite moment: Our best man dropped the rings! We had the ceremony mic'd so that everyone could hear the vows, and it picked up the "ding!" perfectly. It was wonderful to have laughter in our ceremony.

The walk around the lake to enjoy the paddle boats with just Mike and our photographers was also a nice breather before having to get back to the reception.

My offbeat advice: Remember that you may need to compromise on a few things, with your partner, with your family, your officiant, your budget, and even the weather. Often, you can't entirely go your own way, but if you stay true to the heart of what you want, changing a few small things to please others won't feel like a burden.

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn: Click the photo below for more beautiful pics from Amy & Mikel's super fun outdoor wedding!

  1. This has so many elements of the wedding we're planning! You are so right about all the extra logistics that one would never even think of… Amy and Mikel, you did a wonderful job and it looks so fun, I'm even more excited about my wedding now!

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  2. It makes me unbearably happy that you used John and Abigail's letters in your ceremony. In their way they were revolutionary in their relationship. Just beautiful.

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  3. I'm inspired by your using Abigail Adams' words. Where might I find the passage(s) you used?

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  4. Nice to see lawyers just doing their own thang (I am one too!) and not being hampered by what other people want or expect – we tend to live in a very conservative environment so we need to remember the offbeat-ness inside! Your day looks absolutely beautiful and I love the outfits. Congratulations to you both!

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  5. Hey everyone! Thanks for the lovely compliments and thanks to the offbeaters for featuring us!

    The one tip I didn't put in there is for you outdoor ceremony people, make sure to use a microphone. No one would have heard us if we hadn't.

    Here is the text of the Abigail Adams reading, which is pieced together from a larger letter. It meant a lot to us as a nod to a wonderful relationship built on equality, as well as a nod to long-distance relationships (we were long-distance for the first three years of our relationship).

    Excerpt from a letter to John Adams, dated December 23rd, 1782
    By Abigail Adams

    My Dearest Friend,
    There are few occurrences in this northern climate, at this season of the year, to divert or entertain you; and, in the domestic way, should I draw you the picture of my heart, it would be what I hope you still would love, though it contained nothing new. The early possession you obtained there, and the absolute power you have ever maintained over it, leave not the smallest space unoccupied. I look back to the early days of our acquaintance and friendship, as to the days of love and innocence, and with an indescribable pleasure I have seen near a score of years roll over our heads, with an affection heightened and improved by time; nor have the dreary years of absence in the smallest degree effaced from my mind the image of the dear, untitled man to whom I gave my heart. The unbounded confidence I have in your attachment to me and dear pledges of our affection has soothed the solitary hour, and rendered your absence more supportable… Ever remember me, as I do you, with all the tenderness which it is possible for one object to feel for another, which no time can obliterate, no distance alter, but which is always the same in the heart of,
    Yours.

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  6. I think it's great when a couple totally agree that they want to do things differently and how differently they want it. Amy and Mikel really pulled off this BBQ at the park wedding beautifully. Congratulations to them!

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  7. Aww! we're doign the same thing clothing wise for our wedding party, down to the unmatching blue maids dresses and khakis and blue shirts for the the guys. Your wedding looked so beautiful– casual and sweet and lovely without being too matchy-matchy. Do you mind if I use your pictures to show my very doubting mother and FMIL that I'm not actually crazy? Your wedding was georgous and you looked so happy and beautiful!

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  8. I want this for my wedding on so many levels! Thanks for the inspiration!

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  9. ah Mikel! It is so great to see your wedding photos, even if it is via a blog. Mazel tov! I love the theme and the wedding.

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  10. This is sooo similar to what I am planning for September! You've made me exponentially more excited about everything. I'm so glad you posted your non-matching bridesmaid dress photos… I'm in the process of convincing my ladies to wear non-matchy red dresses. They seem skeptical, but your photos are great! Congratulations, it looks like the perfect day. :)

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  11. OMG this is where my future hubby are getting married this October 23rd. I loved seeing your pictures because it gave me the PERFECT idea on how to deal with the huge sundial in the middle of the ceromony area i loved that you just put a single flower there so im going to do in loving memory vase for his Mother and then put candles all the way around it since we are doing a sunset wedding. I loved looking at your pictures your absolutly beautiful in your photos and CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!

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  12. this is want i would want my wedding to be like. So very intimate and casual but yet fun and relaxing. Kudos to you two.

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  13. I love this. Getting married isn't supposed to be a show; it's supposed to be a time for everyone you love to enjoy themselves and share in your newly married-ness, regardless of the cost. The more people who realize that, the more love there would be in the world.

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  14. Loved everything about it – perfect mix of things that were important to you and fun, silliness. I especially love your dress – mind sharing where you got it? I know this was over a year ago, but it looks like the perfect mix of casual and pretty that I'm looking for. Thanks!

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  15. Hi Kris! The dress was a bridesmaid dress by Bill Levkoff, ordered in ivory.

    Another note, does anyone know how to change the tags? The wedding wasn't dry and I'm not sure how we got tagged that way–we have a great picture of us drinking fat tire from cans!

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