15 Backyard Barbecue Ideas for a Fun Wedding Reception

Who doesn't love BBQs?
by Bridget Clegg
Backyard BBQ wedding ideas
photo by Tin Sparrow Studio

Borrow the best parts of backyard grill parties to create a spring or summer wedding that stays true to the red, white and blue. When your wedding lands on a summer holiday like Memorial Day, Fourth of July or Labor Day, adding a dose of patriotism only adds to the celebration. Here are 15 ways to take barbecue favorites and spin them to work at your engagement party, rehearsal dinner or wedding reception.

1. Outdoor Accessories

Outdoor wedding accessories for guests

Have outdoor-friendly accessories on hand for guests, like hats, sunnies and sunscreen. 

From: A Low-Key Backyard Wedding at a Private Residence in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania

2. Seasonal Blooms

Bright summer wedding colors

Stick to seasonal summer blooms like dahlias, clematis and garden roses for the freshest stems.

From: A Colorful, Whimsical Wedding at a Private Estate in Sonoma, California

3. Patriotic Accessories

Patriotic groom's accessories for a summer wedding

Red, white and blue accessories, from bow ties to patterned socks, is an easy way to nod to a holiday weekend celebration.

4. Lawn Games

Lawn game idea for an outdoor wedding

Set up lawn games for a fun cocktail hour. Croquet, corn hole, life-sized jenga or tic-tac-toe are bound to all be crowd pleasers. (And icebreakers!)

From: An At-Home, Rustic, DIY Wedding in Woodville, Alabama

5. Colorful Cocktails

Bright blue wedding cocktails

Mix up bright colored cocktails to really get those summer vibes going.

From: A Woodland Fairy-Tale Wedding in Hopland, CA

6. Picnic Plaid

Red picnic table linens for a BBQ wedding reception

Incorporate red gingham table linens for an authentic picnic experience.

From: A Colorful Backyard Barbecue Wedding in Rutland, Vermont

7. Refreshing Apps

Watermelon wedding appetizers

Keep guests refreshed with small bites of seasonal fruits like watermelon.

8. Veggies

Veggie bar for an easy appetizer

Balance heavy barbeque foods with light farm to table snacks for grazing guests.

9. Party Favorites 

Fried chicken passed appetizer for a BBQ wedding reception

Fry up backyard party favorites (like bacon baskets and fried chicken!).

From: A Green Building Wedding in Brooklyn, New York

10. Koozies

Koozie for an outdoor BBQ wedding

For an outdoor celebration it's important to keep cold drinks cool. 

From: A Modern Nautical Wedding at Newport Beach House in Middletown, Rhode Island

11. Beer on Tap

DIY beer tap for an outdoor wedding reception

Local brews on tap? Does it get any more awesome than that?

From: A Pretty DIY Wedding at Robin Hill Farm in Brandywine, Maryland

12. Sauce Station

Sauce station for a BBQ wedding reception

A DIY sauce and topping station means everyone can fix their plates exactly how they like them.

From: A Nautical Vintage Wedding in Edgewater, MD

13. Unexpected Eats

Walking tacos for a fun wedding food idea

Delight your guests with a snack or dessert that's widely adored, but rarely seen at weddings. 

From: A Garden-Inspired Jewish Wedding at the Ritz-Carlton in Dallas, Texas

14. Pie 

Pie for a fun BBQ wedding reception dessert

Supplement the dessert table with classic pie favorites.

From: A Relaxing, Outdoor Wedding in Boyne City, MI

15. Saucy Favors

BBQ sauce wedding favors

Thank guests with custom condiment favors (like BBQ sauce!).

From: A Vintage, Garden-Inspired Wedding at Bissell House in South Pasadena, California

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