What Is It Really Like To Be a DIY Bride?

When it comes to weddings, the “Do It Yourself” trend is here to stay. With more and more couples wanting to incorporate personalized aspects into every part of their day, DIY weddings seems to be the way to go. In addition to making their wedding personalized, many couples are planning weddings with limited budgets or at non-traditional wedding venues, and so, DIYing elements is a perfect fit.

Let’s not forget, too, that for the bride or groom who just have a knack for crafting or making things, a wedding in the perfect playground to let your creative juices flow. It was for me.

However, DIYing your wedding is not always as easy or as “perfect” as you think it’s going to be. While, what we see in magazines or on sites like Pinterest are beautiful and are great for inspiration, when it comes to actually recreating what you see and doing it yourself, it’s not always that easy. We asked two Hudson Valley DIY brides – Michelle from Suffern, and Lauren from Poughkeepsie – to give their real, first-hand experience on what it was like making their wedding come to life.


Why did you DIY?

Photo Credit: Susan Pleiman

Michelle – “DIY has always been in my blood. I am a crafter at heart, and absolutely love to create things and be able to put my own personal spin on it. If I can make it, why buy it? It means so much more when you can personalize things. Plus, it gives a sense of empowerment and gratification. Creativity is so important to me; it keeps my sanity! After finishing a project, what’s better than admiring it and saying ‘WOW!!! I did that!’ ”

Lauren – “The biggest thing that inspired me to go DIY with our wedding was seeing all of the amazing ideas on Pinterest and thinking, ‘Why spend all that money when we can do most of this ourselves?’ I knew finding a stylist for the ideas I liked would cost an arm and a leg and I figured, I’m great at copying ideas, why not do it myself?”

What did you DIY?

Photo Credit: Susan Pleiman

Michelle – “I wanted to carry a unique bouquet that would last forever. That’s when I came up with my brooch bouquet idea. I had asked my friends, family, and patients to donate their favorite pieces just to make it THAT much more special. Another thing that I made were my invitations.

“The theme of the wedding was ‘rustic-vintage,’ so there was a lot of lace, doilies, burlap, wood, and chalkboard that was used. I made all the menus, the fans, the place cards, the ‘table numbers,’ the takeaways and had my centerpieces bought from Bed Bath & Beyond with Shoprite flowers in the vases.’

“I decided to have each table with ‘Love’ in different languages in the center. The ‘Love’ phrase took place of the table numbers. For the place cards, I had small honey jars with squares of lace on top, complete with twine wrapped around. They held little tags with my guests’ names and the ‘Love’ phrase in whichever language their table had on it.

“We had a ‘photo area,’ in front of the fireplace mantle where the reception was held. I had made all sorts of props on long dowels complete with eyeglasses, old-fashioned mustaches, chalkboards, and large picture frames for people to hold up in front of them…I wanted to have a cute takeaway for the end of the night, so we went with milk and cookies.”

Lauren – “Personally, I made the bridesmaids’ bouquets, I did my own makeup, I made all the signs and decorations, set the tables and their settings up myself, I made all the decorations for the centerpieces. We had my husband’s aunt make all the desserts and the cakes and his friend make all the food (taco bar). We set up the ceremony area and decorated an arbor with a lot of things we found around my sister in law’s house (we had the ceremony and reception there).”

What does DIY really mean in terms of saving money or invested time?


Photo Credit: Susan Pleiman

Lauren – “While we didn’t spend nearly as much on a wedding as most people do (in the end we spent about $9,000-$10,000 total including attire on a 100 person event), it was still a lot when all was said and done. Every time you turned around you’d be spending money on more things. When you hire someone to do something, like the centerpieces, you just pay money and it’s there looking beautiful. But when you’re doing it yourself, every little piece you envision has to be purchased or found on some crazy scavenger hunt. So it takes a lot more time than you would think.

“In addition, I think because we were doing it all ourselves and didn’t really have “deadlines” other than the day of the wedding, procrastination ran high and we spent a lot of the morning of the wedding running around trying to set everything up, finish decorations, run out for last minute items, and just worried about the little things (like not having a tap for the keg!).”


What advice do you have for those interested in DIYing their wedding?

Photo Credit: Susan Pleiman

Michelle – “Although being a DIY bride was stressful, and tough, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. As long as you prioritize, and plan things out, you’ll be fine! Lists were my best friend. And get friends to help put things together! Not only does it save you money, but it really puts a sense of self into your wedding. And people will notice. Do not have a cookie-cutter wedding…get your creative juices going!”

Lauren – “Don’t be discouraged if things don’t turn out exactly how you envisioned them. Some of the items you see in pictures are nowhere to be found, or crazy expensive! So improvisation can be key in this regard. Just go with the flow. Also, don’t procrastinate! Things will go wrong or not turn out right, but you can eliminate a lot of that if you set a deadline to get everything done, like a week before the big day so you can just relax until the ‘I do!’ ”

What advice do you have for those who love the DIY look but don’t have the time or know they don’t have crafty genes?


Lauren – “Employ your crafty friends and family! Show them the picture of what you want and ask them to help or bring any creative ideas to the table (even though everyone will already be throwing ideas at you). In terms of making things from Pinterest, don’t expect it to look exactly the same. Go into your crafting knowing it won’t, but that you’re also making things for your own, unique wedding. If you’re determined to have everything looks the same to a T, expect even more money or investing in the help of a professional.”

Featured Photo Credit: Susan Pleiman

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DIY Wedding

3 easy ways to DIY your wedding when you don’t have the time or crafty genes

You love DIY. You have visions of your wedding day being full of crafty, hand-made goodness. However, it’s been years since you touched a glue gun, and the last time you crafted anything was back in high school art class.  Maybe the thought of a DIY wedding is tormenting you because, even though you love to craft, you just don’t have the time to do it.


If any of these circumstances sound like you, have no fear. The DIY fairy is here! Well, not really; I don’t have wings and a little tutu, flying around with glitter and ribbons … though that would make an awesome Halloween costume. What I do have is real, practical, advice that will help you.


DIY Wedding

Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography

DIY Option #1


First, let’s start with DIY for the those born without the craft gene. I mentioned in an earlier post that, by now, you should have a good idea of your crafting skills. If they are not where you would like them to be, don’t use your wedding as the time to practice.


Look to your family, friends, bridal party, and especially your maid of honor. If any of those people have a craft skill you are envious of, ask them for help. I can almost guarantee they would be more than happy to help. Now, this comes with a big BUT. You can ask for help, BUT do not micromanage! I can’t stress this enough, and trust me, whatever it is you are tweaking or fussing about to make just right, no one will notice. Some people you ask might be hesitant, and that’s because of that dreaded word “bridezilla.” They want to help you but are afraid of the repercussions.


DIY Wedding

Photo Credit: JT Sander Photography

Now, I know you aren’t like that, but to make things easier for all involved, start with some photo inspiration and sit and talk with that person about what exactly it is you like about a particular photo. Keep in mind that what you get may not look exactly like the photo, but will be inspired by it. Then, you can offer to pay for the supplies, or tell that person in exchange for doing the DIY, they don’t have to give you a gift. Before that person goes ahead and makes hundreds of anything, ask to see a sample, that way you both have a chance to see what it looks like and change anything. Once you give your OK, that’s it. Leave it be.


DIY Option #2


If you don’t know anyone who is crafty, another option is to look online for local crafters. Etsy is a great starting point, as is your local art society. Don’t forget to talk to your venue and florist for ideas as well. Remember, they’ve seen it all and could have some great suggestions for you. Who knows, there could be a DIY craft (such as mason jars filled with fairy lights to be placed down the aisle) that would be a cinch for you to make, even if you don’t have a crafty bone in your body or the time to day anything. That would be a really simple DIY project.


DIY Wedding

Photo Credit: JT Sander Photography

DIY Option #3


Speaking of time, if you really don’t have the time to deal with any DIY, hiring a wedding planner may be a great option for you for several reasons. First, similar to your florist or venue, they’ve done it all, AND they have all the supplies – or, at least, know where to get the supplies – so it’s out of your hands. You don’t have to worry about a thing.

Second, they have the time. They are hired to help you and to help make your vision a reality. For example, let’s say you want antique teapots on each table as centerpieces or to hold the table numbers. Well, without a wedding planner, you are stuck with sourcing the teapots, so that means taking the time to drive to antique shops, searching, buying, and then what do you do with all of them after your wedding? Unless you collect them, chances are you want to get rid of them.


DIY Wedding

Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography

Vintage rental companies are another great option. If you don’t want to hire a planner, you can hire a vintage rental company to see if they can provide that vision for you. They would have the supplies, and best part, they take them back with them.


The last thing you want is to be stressing out over this. These are just a few options. If you have an idea or thoughts that you’d like to run past someone before you begin, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We love to craft and could suggest some great ideas for you.

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