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Food and Cakes

First Post! bbq wedding?

Hi everyone. I have been looking to the knot for ideas for some time, but have not made any posts until now. I am not sure if this is the right place to be asking this, but here goes.

I am not a girl who has dreamed of a wedding my whole life; as crazy as it may sound I have always dreamed of being married and being a wife, but never really gave much thought to being a "bride". So after getting engaged, I felt I wanted a casual wedding to celebrate our love and commitment without having all the "show". But, fiance wanted a big wedding, lots of family and friends...the whole sha-bang. 

So, throughout this whole process I feel like I have been forced to go along with what he wanted, what my parents wanted. Basically my opinions have been vetoed at every point along the way. My bridesmaids can't imagine that I don't care whether or not their shoes and earrings match each others. They all seem to be horrified that I am not being a total diva. 

Anyway, I have worked on and off for about 10 years at a bbq restaurant in my hometown and the owners are honestly like family to me. I am as close to them as I am to my own grandparents.  The bbq place itself is not elegant and fancy, but the food is amazing. It has been featured in a few Food Network specials and various magazines. And I helped cater 100's of wedding while I worked there. So, my parents have been on me non-stop that we need to choose a caterer...my fiance agreed that with my personal connection to the restaurant and how much people usually love the food (including both of us) that we should just go with that. For 4 months before I agreed to go on a date with my now fiance, he stopped by the restaurant every single day until I agreed to let him take me out. So, I called the owner yesterday and he was very excited and honored. I excitedly called my parents to tell them we had made a decision, and they are now very upset and disappointed. 

I have been coaxed into having the ceremony and reception at an historic estate near where I grew up, which I will admit is very beautiful. But the look and feel of the venue really eliminated any casual feeling that the wedding may have had. They feel with such an elegant venue they can't imagine having to see me eating pork bbq at my wedding.  They have set up appointments all weekend with 5 star chefs, and caters from all over the area and my mom has called me three times this morning already to ask me to please reconsider.  "What will people do while you take photos if there are no hors d'oeurves being served?" she asked in horror. 

Is having a barbecue restaurant cater a wedding at an elegant venue really that bad? The food is delicious and the presentation is always beautiful when catering, but there are not enough servers to have anything more than a buffet. I had obviously planned to use "real" dishes and whatnot.  But now I feel like I must be crazy or just totally out of touch at this point. I appreciate any advice or criticisms. 

Re: First Post! bbq wedding?

  • It sounds like the restaurant is amazing and has a lot of meaning for you and your FI.  I don't think it's bad to have a more casual wedding at an elegant venue.  Just because a venue is beautiful does not mean it cannot be done a little more casually.  I would make sure your invitation style is a little less formal, though, to clue people in, since if they just look up the venue, they might think they need to dress up a lot. 

    If the restaurant could put together a plated meal (with the help of more servers--can you hire some additional people), do you think that would be a good compromise with your parents?

    The hors d'oeurves issue is separate, though.  You need to properly host your guests.  Delicious BBQ sounds fine for the meal, but if you are having a cocktail hour and you will be taking photos, guests need to be occupied for that time and you should provide food and drinks.  I would be surprised, though, if that wasn't something you could work out with the BBQ restaurant.  Can't they serve some trays of passed apps, and some tables of cheese and crackers?  

    Are your parents paying?  If they are paying and are really insistent, you could have some problems. 

  • Thank you for your input!  Letting guests know that it is a little more casual is definitely a good point that I hadn't really thought about. My parents are paying, which is why I feel like I shouldn't be a brat when they don't like my ideas. But I do want to feel like I had a wedding I am happy with. 

    I am sure the restaurant would be more than willing to work out some kind of passed appetizers, and we are planning to have an open bar for the length of the event. But the appetizers wouldn't be anything like the sample menus my parents have sent me with "ahi tuna tartare on belgian endive" or "petite salmon cakes with feta creme". I guess there just seems to be a breakdown between the type of food I want (and eat!) and the type of food my parents want to serve. And I am worried that one of us will be disappointed regardless.

    I had even thought about purchasing appetizers from a different vendor and hiring servers. But this seems to be creating problems and headaches that wouldn't happen if I just went with another caterer that my parents like. 
  • I'm the same way with always dreaming of being a wife, but not a bride. We are doing bbq to fit the feel of the wedding (and hopefully our lives... super casual, not taking ourselves too serious).
    I think you should go with the bbq. People that know your connection to the place will think it's neat.
  • I would explain all of your concerns to the owners of the BBQ place and see what they suggest.  They may have some ideas for appetizers and little touches that will make the food seem more classy to appeal to your parents. 

    I also never dreamed of my wedding day.  We selected a nice venue with amazing food, and the chef worked with us to come up with a menu that would be delicious and individualized to our tastes.  We had a buffet, which my parents were not thrilled with, but it worked out--the venue set up 2 round tables with the same spread of food, so people weren't waiting in long lines and it looked nice, not just a row of chafing dishes.  We had a band, at my dad's insistence, and that really added to the casual but elegant atmosphere. 

    And I have to ask--this restaurant you're raving about, is it in the DC area?  I moved down here (I know my TK thing says Maine still), and would love to know the name of the restaurant.

  • Thank you all for your suggestions. I think I am just going to go with it and figure out a way to make it work to please everyone. 

    The restaurant is actually not in the D.C. area. It is super small in Nellysford, VA about 3 hrs away. The Blue Ridge Pig. They don't even have a website. :o)
  • Go for it. It sounds like it would be a delicious and fun way to make the wedding more YOU!

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  • edited July 2012
    Emilie!  I think it is important to remember that it is YOUR day.  I understand if your parents are paying that you want to please them but everyone also needs to consider that you might not be the blushing bride you should be if you feel that you are at someone else's event.

    What your parents imagined for your wedding and what you imagined can meet in the middle.  Like Jessica said, have your restaurant cater but let your parents hire service and prep staff to plate and serve the food to make it more 5 star.  

    I would take beef brisket and yeast rolls with honey butter over an endive salad any day of the week!  Your guest will be happy so long and the food is Hot and Tasty!
  • We have the same problem?  Our daughter wants the bbq,  we agree totally, but my mother is flipping out!  It wont change anything but I am so tired of her opinions.  Do what you love, make sure you are happy. People will love great food and no one will care it is not elegant. Who wants snooty food anyway.   Be happy and have a great life.   Pat

  • edited August 2012
    As the mother of bride to be, I encourage you to fight for YOUR day! No matter who's paying for it, this is your and your fiance's day to mark a lifetime commitment. Anytime my daughter has asked my opinion I gladly offer it but with the caveat "honey, it's your day and I want you to do what's best for you and Ben!" I hope you show this to your mother. :
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