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I Do, Now Let’s Have Some BBQ

A five-course meal doesn’t fit with every wedding. These laid-back couples opted for casual — and delicious — cuisine perfect for their outdoor and barn receptions.

Photo by Jessica Vogelsang Photography

Finding the Perfect Place

Kailyn Thomas and Earl Dunkerly knew from the get-go that they wanted a barbecue menu at their wedding. The real decision was which barbecue caterer to choose.

The couple went out various weekends leading up to their Sept. 9 wedding, sampling different barbecue joints and trying to find the perfect fit.

“It was the best part of wedding planning,” Kailyn says.

The best part, but one of the more difficult. As Kailyn lamented about her predicament when getting her hair done, a customer sitting beside her recommended that she try Hog Fathers, with locations in Canonsburg and Washington, Pa., and the choice was made.

“This is going to sound like an ad for them,” Kailyn says with a laugh as she describes Hog Fathers’ menu. From the brisket to the shrimp to the chicken to the ribs, guests at Kailyn and Earl’s wedding were met with many different options. The caterers set everything up, leaving Kailyn and Earl to relax and enjoy their ceremony and reception at Mammoth Park in Mount Pleasant.

Kailyn and Earl found the quantity to be more than they bargained for, even though Hog Fathers recommended that they keep in mind the surplus of food they would receive.

“They told us, ‘Don’t order food for kids or the photographer or any of the help,’” Kailyn says, because they knew there was an always an excess. She heeded their advice but was still met with a massive amount of leftovers.

Photo by Jenna Hidinger Photography

Going with Theme

After deciding to have their wedding ceremony and reception on different days, Lyndsay Petruny and Justin Bersuder knew they wanted to sit back, relax and enjoy their time at their reception. Shady Elms Farm, the location of their Oct. 7 reception, granted Lyndsay and Justin that wish.

“Our whole theme was informal,” Lyndsay says. “Everyone could let their hair down and have a good time.”

When planning the big day, Lyndsay and Justin also didn’t want to have to make many decisions, and Shady Elms allowed them to take it easy, requiring them to decide only the most basic elements. Through Shady Elms, PW Catering compiled four preset menu options for the couple and allowed them to customize their choice. Lyndsay instantly knew when she saw barbecue on the list that it would complement their theme and location.

With entrees of pulled pork and chicken and sides of mac and cheese, roasted red potatoes and coleslaw, the menu was perfect for the fall day. “The outdoor setting, the rustic, fun, relaxed and less traditional theme all went with the barbecue,” Lyndsay says.

Photo by Kristi Telnov Photography

Enhancing the Big Day

As a fourth grade teacher at Kiski Area South Primary School, Kelly Shaffer is always looking for ways that she can support her students, their families and the community. When Kelly found out that the mother of one of her students worked at Pittsburgh Barbeque Co., she decided she and her soon-to-be husband Keith Hodges needed to have it at their wedding reception held at Laurel Hideaway. 

The menu featured pulled pork, brisket, mac and cheese, beans, coleslaw and more, which fit their fall wedding day like a dream.

Pittsburgh Barbeque Co. was “wonderful to work with,” according to Kelly. “They cut the pies! They didn’t even make the pies, but they helped us with them,” she says.

Because teaching is such an important part of her life, Kelly was happy that her pupil’s mother wasn’t the only one involved in her special day. “My student came to help,” she says. “He passed out hors d’oeuvres and wore a cowboy hat.”

On the last day of school, the student’s mother prepared a meal for Kelly and Keith, leaving it in the teacher’s lounge as a thank you to the newlyweds.  

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