Western Wedding | Chuckwagon for Appetizers or Dessert

western wedding old west weddingI was in charge of the decor for a western themed event. And, as usual, I wanted something unique, bold and memorable for the guests. I had a brainstorming session with my mom and we came up with a plan for a chuckwagon appetizer buffet during the cocktail hour. One thing led to another and we ended up re-creating the main street of an old west town for the cocktail area.

The chuckwagon was the “Pièce de résistance”, located smack in the middle of our little western town. The cocktail hour location was a room to itself, away from the main ballroom so it was perfect for our needs. Trying to think like Hollywood set designers and a little more 2 dimensional than 3, we got to work.

My brother-in-law had recently taken apart an old barn and had tons of re-claimed barn wood we used for the chuckwagon and the wooden sidewalk we decided to create. Very simply, we measured the length of the “u” shaped space at the venue that would be used for the faux Saloon, Sheriff’s Office, Mercantile and Livery. We built a simple frame from 2 x 4’s of treated lumber and nailed the barnwood across it to create the wooden sidewalks.

We used some wider pieces of re-claimed wood to for the sides of the chuckwagon in the exact dimensions of the 8 ft banquet table we used, screwing them together at the corners. We added braces to the side to keep it from sliding off the table. We made a bench from three pieces of wood that sat at the front of the chuckwagon (where a driver would be). Mom sewed a canopy we threaded over flexible pipe and secured to the sides of the chuckwagon.

The appetizers were placed on theme appropriate risers and boxes placed on the table. We added rope, faux barbed wire, bandanas, lanterns, a Cowboy statue and the like to decorate among the food.

The rest of the room had cactus, a split rail fence, John Wayne stand-up, horse trough, hitching posts and anything else that would go with the theme.

Another idea we had that took lots of time was making wanted posters for all the guests. We came up with silly things they were “wanted” for, a photo of them and hung them outside the Sheriff’s office. The guests got a huge kick out of reading them during the cocktail hour and even returned when they were ready to leave for the evening to take them home. It could prove to be a neat way to make escort cards for your guests as well…

A western theme is fun for guests and hosts alike. Put your thinking cap on — check out your venue — come up with some ideas you can use at your western wedding. Susan has a few more in her article: Old West Theme for a Unique Wedding. Most of all, have fun! Enjoy the photos and floor plan.

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About the Author

About the Author: With 20+ years in the wedding and event industry, I have seen a lot of unique, unusual and funky weddings. Every one of them were a journey of discovery and a reflection of the bride and groom. I had a ball and am now passing along some of those pearls of wisdom to today's brides and grooms. A wedding is personal -- it's about the two of you and your relationship -- let's make it as unique and offbeat as you each are! .

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