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

By on Jan. 21st

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!