We're getting married in a church about 15 min from the park where the reception will be. The park is ours the whole weekend, though the wedding is on a Saturday in June 2018. We have our hearts set on a morning wedding and afternoon reception with lunch. Could we get some feedback on the details? (I know it's a lot, but it's a DIY-heavy wedding so we're making things up as we go.)
First, what would be a reasonable timeline? Our idea is a noon ceremony and 1pm-5pm reception fair. We want to have the buffet lunch first, do cake and open the dessert tables, then play lawn games and enjoy some mingling. After the send-off, we'd go back to the church for pictures. Once the reception is cleared of people, we'd go back for pictures at the park. Problem is, how long will the guests need to eat? Will they want to be eating dessert an hour before 5pm, or are we interfering with dinnertime? Any timeline suggestions?
Secondly, since our families are helping to self cater most of the food, what would make for a good, reasonable lunch for 150? (Our vibe is, as my mom summed up, Sunday-best at a family picnic.) However, we want to mix it up from burgers and chicken. Pinterest (and our fave restaurant that's sadly 5k miles from the wedding) has inspired a taco bar. We were thinking turkey, pork and shrimp with a variety of sauces and toppings. Additionally, an aunt has volunteered to make her family-famous meatballs (literally said she would make 500, and I believe her!). Would a taco bar with meatball subs be a weird mix? I know our families would eat both, and the result could be delicious. I just find "a casual lunch of tacos and meatballs" funny to say, read and write! Should we revert to basic picnic fare and play it safe? Suggestions on food options?
Thirdly, we are definitely doing a first dance (we swing dance). However, we aren't sure if having an open dance floor in the middle of the afternoon would be awkward for guests. My mother wants to hire a DJ for background music, announcements, and dancing. My family loves to party, but... Do daytime receptions usually have dancing? Should we anticipate having a "dance floor"?
Fourth and finally... My fiance's mom has offered to make our cake (she's fantastic with baking and decorating). We're thinking more like a small 2 tier with reserve sheet cakes. My mom is adamant that everyone get a piece of cake... though my MIL will be the one actually making all that cake... (I can tell my MIL is a little nervous at the prospect, and I don't want to take advantage of her generosity). Luckily, as per family tradition (Pittsburgh, PA!) we will be having a dessert bar full of (family-sourced) cookies and other goodies. Do we really need to supply a piece of cake for everyone? Can we lowball the cake and rely on the other sweets to supplement?
Whew! There sure is a lot to consider! We're pretty flexible and eager to hear what has worked for other couples. Any little piece of wisdom or experience is appreciated!