My boyfriend has a gigantic Irish and Italian family. 7 aunts and uncles on his dad's side, and 6 on his mom's, plus quite a few half- and step- aunts and uncles, not to mention the dozens of cousins they produced. My family is teeny in comparison. While planning out the guest list, we were overwhelmed by the numbers and considered eloping on several occasions. We had considered a simple cocktail party at a loft space near our home, but for some reason (greed) when vendors hear the word "wedding" they add thousands of dollars to the bill from the get-go. Since we are trying to pay for most of the wedding ourselves, things were looking bleak.
Then, the idea came to us....let's have a BBQ/picnic. We are pretty laid back to begin with and cringe at the thought of having a wedding in a generic banquet hall with mirrored walls and crystal chandeliers, with a DJ teaching aunt Milly some ridiculous choreographed group dance which includes booty shaking and grinding and...sorry. Please excuse the rant and the mental image of your own aunt Milly doing a similar dance.
Back to the BBQ/picnic (we're still debating what the call it). We found an amazing privately owned park space that is very reasonably priced. Picture your 5th grade field trip...add bocce ball, horseshoes, beach volleyball, an amazing iPod playlist (which includes a lot of The Smiths and Elvis Costello), and a bar we can stock ourselves (saving thousands). The venue allows us to decorate ourselves, so we will be doing the table-scaping and florals. There is no need for seating charts or cards (saving green and being green) as there are plenty of picnic tables to go around, and no one will be left off the guest list.
It was important for us to include everyone who was a part of our lives during the past 10 years of dating, so you can imagine that's a lot of people. And don't worry...there will be no burgers and dogs at this BBQ...we're keeping it a little more classy with steak, ribs, chicken, lobster, and clams.