With my helpful tips—and a recipe for make-ahead Mini Onion Jam Pizzas—a DIY wedding is not only easy but amazing and memorable!
Long before the days of Web sites, like Etsy and Pinterest, and the wedding blogs, I had a DIY wedding. Almost 9 years ago, my husband and I got married in my parent’s backyard with 35 of our closest family and friends in attendance. We did not set out to have such a small event, but it ended up being the wedding of our dreams.
It was personal and reflected who we are as a couple. We tented the backyard and had twinkle lights everywhere. We took all of the furniture out of the house and used the downstairs as the dining area. Each table had a different centerpiece.
We were very thoughtful about what food to serve. We wanted items that reflected our theme, could be prepped or cooked ahead of time and were not your typical wedding fare. We served a sit-down salad course and had a buffet for the main meal. My favorite thing was the cheese course. In between dinner and dessert, we had a cheese platter and port wine at each table. I loved putting together the pairings, and everyone talked about it afterwards because it was different. We had a beautiful wedding and loved being able to do it ourselves.
I need to be honest about something, a disclaimer if you will. My mother owned a large catering business for many years and was also a florist, so we had years of experience and skill behind us. Looking back, some of my favorite parts of our wedding happened behind the scenes during the planning and execution. We had so much fun cooking and getting the house ready for our intimate wedding at home. It was casual, elegant and so entirely us.
Here are a few tips when planning a DIY wedding:
- Organization is key. Have a game plan and stick to it. We planned out the days in advance and listed all of the things that we could do and make ahead of time. Getting a few tasks out of the way every day makes the days leading up to the event less stressful.
- Have a theme. We chose everything (the menu, drinks and wines, flowers, decor, etc.) based on our Napa Valley Wedding theme. Having a theme gave us focus, and it ended up being a part of every element.
- Hire out where you can. We prepared and cooked all of the food and did all of the flowers, but we hired servers to serve and clean up afterwards. We also rented all of the stemware, serving plates and dishes, and flatware.
- Enlist help from family and friends. Have a grandmother or aunt who is a baker? Ask her to make the cake as your wedding gift. A friend who loves to take pictures? See if she will take pictures throughout the day. Have musicians in the family? Ask if they will play during the ceremony. Not only does involving family and friends cut down on costs, but it is so personal and something you will cherish forever.
- Select make-ahead menu items. When planning the menu, look for dishes that can be prepped or prepared ahead of time. My Mini Onion Jam Pizzas are an amazing example of a make-ahead appetizer that is elegant enough for a wedding and fits into any theme.
You can prepare the onion jam up to 2 weeks in advance. How great is that?
The morning of your wedding, cut out the dough and top with the jam, blue cheese and thyme. Keep chilled until ready to bake.
When ready to serve, bake the pizzas and top with arugula, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper.