A plated food of a roast on a skewer.

The Ultimate Checklist for Planning the Perfect “I Do” BBQ

There are many options to choose from when you begin planning a wedding. One type of wedding that is rising in popularity is the I Do BBQ. Classy meets fun in this adaptation of an outdoor or backyard wedding.

If you love the rustic theme and want something casual yet beautiful, then an I Do BBQ might be the thing for you. Check out this ultimate checklist for planning the perfect “I Do” BBQ for your big day.

Pre-Ceremony

Before your wedding date, there are tons of things to take care of. While any wedding requires lots of planning, a BBQ wedding offers ample opportunities for DIY projects and fun ideas. The casual element of an I Do BBQ helps take some of the stress out of planning—you have no venue to worry about and no need for servers, just your ideas and your perfect night.

Here are a few ideas to help you stay on theme with your pre-ceremony items. These small things set the tone for your big day and communicate to guests what they should expect and what you expect of them.

Save The Date

Save the dates are something many couples send out to alert guests of their impending nuptials and advise them to keep that date clear of other plans. These cards can set the scene for your theme right away. Here are a few ideas for your save the dates:

  • Use a red gingham background that looks like a picnic table
  • Put a grill icon on the note
  • Write “I Do BBQ” on the save the date
  • Lean into the BBQ theme

Invitations

On wedding invitations, it’s customary to provide in-depth details of the expectations guests will be asked to abide by. This is where you set your dress code, provide exact times for the event, preview the menu, and give details about the wedding’s location. Here is what to include on your invitations for your I Do BBQ:

  • Dress expectations: Wedding attire can range from casual jeans to black-tie ensembles. Be clear about what you expect guests to wear.
  • Parking instructions: Especially if this is a backyard BBQ, finding the space for all your guests’ vehicles can get tricky. Have a plan for excess cars and communicate it to your guests.
  • Food options: Let people know a basic rundown of the menu. Provide instructions for people to notify you regarding dietary restrictions.

The Day of Your I Do BBQ

On the day of your I Do BBQ, it’s essential to set things up in advance as much as possible, leaving yourself and your helpers ample time to problem-solve in case of roadblocks. Designate somebody to each task to ensure you don’t get overwhelmed on a day meant to celebrate your love.

There are tons of small items and things you can do to lean into the theme of a BBQ wedding and keep your guests interested.

Seating and Table Dressing

With a more casual theme, consider doing buffet-style BBQ and setting the table with just the essentials. Here are some ideas:

  • Wrap silverware in a napkin and place it inside a mason jar. Set one of these jars at each table setting. Guests can use the silverware to eat and fill the mason jar with the drink of their choice.
  • Provide hand wipes and ample napkins, and consider setting up a handwashing station that guests can use before or after the meal.
  • Set up seating and consider using mini hot sauce bottles as place cards. This ensures the place cards are useful and on theme.
  • Consider providing personal bug spray containers for your guests. As the sun sets and the lights turn on, bugs may start to pester your guests.

Décor

Decorating your yard for your perfect I Do BBQ is exciting and fun. There are endless DIY projects that will make your big day even more special. DIY projects can be fun group activities for your bridal party and groomsmen to take part in. Plus, they offer productive yet meaningful time to bond before the big day. Try out these fun DIY décor projects:

  • Custom games—for example, you can play “Put a Ring on It” using the rules for a traditional bottle toss game
  • Make cowboy boot centerpieces
  • Make a chalkboard menu sign
  • DIY some cute signs for around the yard and tables

Food

For an I Do BBQ, the main meal should include barbecue, of course! But there are tons of fun twists you can put on your meal.

  • Consider serving up some pulled pork sandwiches
  • Add a BBQ sauce station that allows guests to customize their meals
  • Host a hot dog bar with all your favorite fixings
  • Serve pasta salad in small cups as an appetizer
  • Place individual chip bags around tables for a snack

Guest Amenities

No wedding event is complete without guest accommodations and items to keep your party comfy and having a good time. Here are a few ideas to ensure your I Do BBQ goes off without a hitch.

  • Keep a few baskets of throw blankets around guest areas in case it gets chilly as the sun sets
  • Provide plenty of umbrellas in case of a drizzle
  • Rent bathroom options—the general rule is one per 25 guests to minimize line times
  • Set out pails of sunglasses and sunscreen for hot days with bright sun
  • Consider hiring an exterminator before your big day to minimize pests and mosquitos

Drinks

Every I Do BBQ needs a plethora of drink options. There are many ways to handle drinks at a wedding event; here are a few options to consider.

  • Save money by offering well drinks—personalize the beverages by having a “bride” and “groom” option for different tastes.
  • Offer beer and wine in the open bar and offer cocktails for cash
  • Create a drink menu from which guests can order to limit the types of drinks you need to keep on hand

Post-Wedding

After the I Do BBQ comes to an end, it’s important to have a plan for how you will handle the post-wedding period. Check out some tips on handling thank you notes for gifts and attendance and how to share photos of the day with all your loved ones and attendees.

Thank You Notes

Thank you notes are a tried-and-true tradition for most weddings. Send out hand-written cards to thank each guest individually for celebrating the wedding with you and for the gift they provided you and your spouse. Here are some cute thank you ideas.

  • Select themed thank you cards that match the invitations
  • Write a thank you note on the back of a picture of the guest at your I Do BBQ
  • Write a thank you note and include a small item that will help them remember the day, such as a magnet or a customized pen

Photos

The best way to remember your big day is through photos. A picture is worth a thousand words, and your guests will love to have access to photos from your I Do BBQ so they can remember the story of the night. If you hired a photographer, be sure to instruct them to get lots of photos of the guests having fun. Here are a few fun ways to share pictures with your guests.

  • Share a link to an online album
  • Send out physical copies of photos of the guests along with their thank you notes
  • Post the photos on your wedding website
  • Post the pictures on social media and tag your guests

There are so many benefits to throwing an I Do BBQ. This is the ultimate checklist to follow. With this guide, the perfect day is just a few steps away. Above all else, remember that there is no right way to throw the perfect I Do BBQ—simply do what makes your day special.

Leaf accent icon

Everyday Bride

Freelance Writer
August 17, 2021

Stay Connected

Bridal Shower 101: Ideas To Pamper the Bride-To-Be

Day of Coordinator vs. Wedding Planner: How To Choose?

Savvy Savings: How To Create a Luxe Look on a Budget