The date is picked and you and your mate are off and running to plan your wedding. You have been reading wedding magazines and blogs for so many years now that you could probably write your own book. You are resourceful and crafty and you love project management. So you figure—let’s DIY our wedding! Doing your own wedding can be an amazing experience—we did our own wedding 25 years ago (however small it was) and we DIY our 25th wedding anniversary which was a bigger affair. Here are some dos and don’ts to get you started on your own DIY experience.
Do have a budget. Money can be a big stressor for any wedding, DIY or not. And saving money is probably one of the big reasons why you are doing your own wedding. But it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of decorations or menu planning and realize that you have spent too much. So make a budget before you begin and closely track how much you actually spend. DIY weddings can actually end up more expensive if you aren’t careful.
Do make a “to do” list. I love lists! Lists of things to do today, lists of favorite restaurants, lists of places I want to visit, even grocery-shopping lists. But the most important list you will ever have is a list for a large project—like a DIY wedding. It doesn’t matter if it is electronic or on paper (though I do love to cross off items with a pen), organize it by due date and refer to it often!
Don’t do everything yourself. Yeah, I know this is about DIY weddings, but you probably can’t do everything yourself unless you are the next Martha Stewart. So decide which items on your “to do” list you have the time and talent for and which items are not up your alley. And notice I said time and talent. You may be great cooks (my husband and I love to cook) but it takes a lot of time to prepare food for a large party. So hire a caterer or pick up prepared food. Or maybe you aren’t the best at managing time—so hire a day-of-coordinator to ensure the wedding day runs smoothly. Don’t forget to refer to your budget.
Do pick (even time consuming) projects that you love. So you are thinking, “Rachel, didn’t you just say not to do something that takes a lot of time?” Well, yes, but sometimes the payoff is worth the extra time. I decided to make my own vintage brooch bouquet for my vow renewal ceremony (see Brooch Bouquet DIY). It was a big (though inexpensive) project—but I had so much fun doing it and I will have the priceless bouquet forever! So pick a project that’s important to you and it will make the memory of your wedding that much more special for you.
Don’t forget the great online resources. There are so many great ideas for do it yourself wedding projects. Take a look at what other couples have done and advice from experts and you will get many ideas that will suit your style. Here are some resources to check out:
Do have great friends. This is a do for anything in life, but for a DIY wedding—a must! Delegate to those great friends because they will gladly help you in ways that you may not have imagined. I was fortunate to have a friend not only offer lovely hydrangeas fresh from her garden for our 25th, but she also arranged them in the numerous vases I had bought. Three wonderful buddies helped with decorations under the tent. There is so much to do in a DIY wedding, so lean on your friends and make use of whatever talent they have.
With some skill, big help from others and a lot of organization, you will find that a DIY wedding is a great way to immerse yourself in the wedding spirit and have your wedding be just what you want. And even if you don’t have the time or disposition to DIY the entire wedding, pick a few items that you can do yourself and let the experts do the rest. Whatever is DIY will impart your own personality and flair to your big day.