Adivicercize My Wedding, GT!

This is how I'm feeling right about now...

Background: Mr. Farce and I, intrepid idiots that we are, became engaged when we were still rather broke, and shockingly, 10 months later, are still pretty fucking broke. We have opted to invest in our yard and house rather than spend oodles on a venue, and have a backyard shindig that's a li'l fancy, but pretty low key. Our yard is currently torn up as we attempt to DIY the shit outta it in 14 months, our bank account is still abysimal, but we're fairly set on having our wedding here. We like our home, want our doggies to be included, and most of our friends and family are very local. Our longest-standing mutual friend just got ordained for our ceremony, which is slated for mid-September, 2015.

Initially, we wanted to provide a sit-down buffet dinner and wine and beer and all that good stuff. However, we just don't have the room in our yard for a 150-person banquet. The guest list has only a handful (<10) of "negotiables," which we see as not really making much difference in terms of headcount. As a result, we need a Plan B so we can start hacking bits off our ever-expanding To [We] Do List. So, allows me to pic your glorious brains, please?

  • How would you feel about a cocktail party wedding? This would include an open bar (likely wine, beer, and a single cocktail) and heavy/plentiful hors d'oeuvres (unrelated note: no one on Pinterest knows how to spell "hors d'oeuvres")
  • If we went cocktail party way, would you, as a guest, be annoyed if it took place over the dinner hour but there was no formal dinner?
  • Should we splurge and get a full bar, bartender, and caterers with passed munchies? Would that help assuage the tone?
  • A big ol cocktail party will not be a cheaper option than a regular meal. Would you be upset if things like favors, programs, and save-the-dates were nixed? What else, as a guest, have you felt you could do without?
  • If you were to go to a cocktail party, outdoor, backyard wedding, what's your "wishlist"? What types of tapas/hors d'oeuvres/entertainment would you want to see/eat/drink/hear?

Thank you my lovelies! I have done extensive Internets searching, and apparently the only well-documented "backyard" cocktail party weddings happen in the Hamptons or on family estates (someone needs to tell these people that 300 acres behind your mansion is not really a "backyard" but more a "private country") so they're about as useful to me as tits on a bull, as grandma used to say.

ETA: I sell alcohol for a living, so wine and beer will be cheap-to-free for me, and we were going to go with self-serve on that front if we don't hire a bartender. A friend's wedding last month went self-serve, and no one got obscenely drunk.