DIY Weddings: 5 things you need to know now
This is the first in a multi-part series about DIY weddings
For many, the term “DIY wedding” conjures up thoughts of saving money or maybe saving time. Maybe it makes you think of vast seas of burlap and mason jars. Maybe it’s the opposite. Perhaps you think DIY means “cheap.” Whatever you envision when you think of the term DIY wedding, I’m here to tell you, it’s probably not true.
Here’s why: I was a DIY bride. I made everything – from save-the-dates, to menus, invitations, programs, envelope box, decorations at the cocktail hour, place cards and even favors. You name it, I made it.
Did I do it to save money? A little.
Did I do it because I thought it would be easier and faster? No.
Did I do it because I wanted our wedding to be really personal? Kind of.
Did I think my wedding would be “cheapened” in a way by doing DIY? Not one bit.
The real reason I DIY-ed my wedding was because I love to craft and make things.
That, my friends, is the ONLY reason why you should consider DIY-ing your wedding. It’s the ONLY reason why I did it. I was working a very high-stress job at the time and knowing that I could come home and craft got me through the day. It was my way of destressing, decompressing, and just relaxing. Those of you who have any hobbies know when you really get into it, you kind of zone out, and that’s what I needed at the time.
Would I do it again? Heck, yeah! In a heartbeat. It was so much fun! But again, it was fun because it’s my hobby. If it’s not your hobby, if you don’t enjoy it on any level, don’t do it. You will be absolutely miserable throughout the whole process and will end up hating it. Just like with anything else, if you are assigned a project and end up hating it, it will show through your work.
If you have never DIY-ed anything before, I strongly discourage you from using your wedding as your first project. It is too large of an undertaking, and the pressure is too high so it will cause a lot of added stress that you don’t need.
If you have crafted before and are considering some DIY for your wedding, I’ve taken the most common DIY myths and broken them down for you:
DIY-ing my wedding will save me money
Yes and no. It really depends on what you are doing and how many people you have. For example, if you are making programs, menus, save-the-dates, invitations or any type of decorations, you are probably going to need really good cardstock (not the kind that’s prepackaged). Cardstock, when you buy it as single sheets for one project is relatively cheap. When you need to buy it in bulk for a massive project like a wedding, it adds up pretty quickly.
Same with paper cutting supplies. Remember, too, there might be supplies you need for a particular wedding project and then may not ever use it again. You need to weigh the pros and cons of that. If you are OK with spending money on a tool that you may never use again, then go for it. If you are hesitant about that, then DIY-ing may not be for you.
You also have to take into consideration ink. We all know ink isn’t cheap, and trust me, you will be do an awful lot of printing, and reprinting…if you make a mistake.
When it comes to favors, same thing. If you do want favors, keep the end in mind. What do you want your guests to do with them? I knew I didn’t want to spend money on a little tchotchke that would just sit on someone shelf collecting dust. I wanted something edible. Buying local edible treats was a strong contender, but everyone knows and loves our family recipe for fudge and so, that was my favor.
It actually costed more than just buying something, but my end result, giving my guests something edible that I know they would love and was personal, was worth it. In addition to the cost, it all had to be made, cut, wrapped and put in boxes (which were purchased and hand-assembled), and I also put a note in it which stated what flavors they were.
DIY-ing is easy and fast
This is a resounding NO. DIY-ing is not easy or fast by any stretch of the imagination. It’s much easier and faster to have someone do it for you or just purchase the items that you are DIY-ing. It took me hours and hours – I’m talking at least 5 hours a day, more like 8-10 each day on the weekend, to DIY my wedding. Weekends were spent sourcing craft supplies in local stores, scouring the Internet and Pinterest for design inspiration, making prototypes, trial-and-error, printing and cutting so that during the week, I had a finished prototype and the pieces for it so I could just assemble. I had a long running list of everything that I needed to do and, as the days and weeks passed by, I kept adding to it. Was it easy? No. Was it faster? No.
Let’s look back at my favors for a second. Fudge (good, real fudge) is highly perishable and melts very fast. Therefore, it could not be made too far in advance and always had to be kept cool. That meant it took up room in more than one fridge. Not only did it have to be made a week out, but I couldn’t pack and wrap it until two days before the wedding! It was a bit stressful, and very time consuming. But, was it worth it for me? Yes, and I have some great memories of family packing and wrapping fudge.
When you decide whether or not to DIY, you really need to take into account how much time you have and what you want to be doing with that time. Do you want to be knee deep in crafts, glue, ribbon, cutting or do you want to spend that time relaxing or maybe doing other fun wedding planning activities? If you don’t mind the thought of crafting for hours, then DIY is for you. If you don’t, don’t do it.
If I don’t have elements of DIY, my wedding will be cold and impersonal
Many couples feel they need elements of DIY in their wedding to make it personal. You can still add personal touches without doing any DIY. Think about what personal elements you want in your wedding. Do you want a unique guest book, or cake topper that resembles your hobbies? Do you want a memorial table with photos of passed loved ones or do you want a family tradition implemented into your ceremony? These are all things that add that personal touch without doing any DIY yourself.
Think about weddings you’ve attended and what you liked about them. Was any part of what you liked related to DIY crafts? If so, then that’s a good indicator that type of work means a lot to you and you should have some in your wedding. If not, what was it? Maybe it was a small affair, maybe they had special readings, maybe the music was nostalgic or they had really unique food or perhaps even a food truck. If so, then you don’t need to worry about DIY.
DIY weddings look ‘cheap’
Again, this is really subjective. The first thing you need to realize is no matter what you do at your wedding, no one is going to appreciate it as much as you, and everyone has different tastes. You are not going to make everyone happy. Your wedding could be gilded in gold, and someone would still complain.
I’ve seen DIY crafts that are so good you would think a professional made them, and I’ve seen others where it looked like it came from an art class for 5-year-olds. The results of each come with practice. If you are really worried about something looking “cheap,” I suggest doing a few things.
One, take a step back. If you’ve crafted anything in the past, you’ve probably gotten feedback from others on the work you’ve done. If it’s good, then don’t worry about it. If it’s not, you might want to reconsider…if you are worried about what others think.
Two, practice or ask a friend or family member for help if you know your skills aren’t where you would like them to be. If this is you, do not take on more than one or two projects and don’t make those projects ones that have a lot of focus on them.
With that being said, your wedding is your day. You have a vision and you owe it to yourself to make sure your day is one that you look back on with no regrets.
So, we want to know. Are you DIY-ing your wedding? What are you DIY-ing? Photo comments are best…let’s see your work!