My mom used to be a wedding coordinator for a large church in Phoenix. While she only coordinated weddings at that church, she still became very familiar with the madness associated with wedding planning and the day of. I have mentioned to her on more than one occasion my desire to DIY many aspects of the wedding and much to my surprise she has been against it. Its not that she really wants to pay someone else to do the work, well actually that is exactly what she wants. Someone else to do the work that is. She has strongly cautioned me against trying to take too much on as it can get very stressful as the day approaches. I know she is probably right. I know this would be especially troublesome for me because A. I can be pretty particular about how I want stuff done and B. Due to A, I tend to live by the “If you want it done right, do it yourself” rule. Delegation is generally not an option for me. Maybe its control, but I really think it has more to do with high standards. So that is where professionals come in. I have been blog searching and internet hunting to find some advice on DIY weddings. Here is the gist of what I have learned:
What to DIY:
- Invitations- However keep in mind that buying all the supplies could actually be more costly than some kits you can find online or at craft stores like Michaels. Check out the great selection from the I Do Foundation. Once you add in paper, ink, printing, embellishments, envelopes, etc. it could be cost prohibitive. Now if cost isn’t a concern and you just want to design your own and have something unique, this is a great place to express creativity.
What to Not DIY:
- Photography- Sure you have a great friend that has a fancy camera and takes nice shots BUT does he/she have experience with weddings where action is happening? Is your friend good at capturing unique moments from your day? It could be amazing BUT and a big but, it could be a disaster. You can’t have a do over. The one thing everyone told me was not to go cheap on the photography. Carrying a bouquet of weeds would be a better sacrifice than skimping on the photographer. So, in what I learned, leave this one to the pros.
- Catering- Like photography catering requires someone who is experienced with events, timing, and organization. There are a lot of great cooks out there that probably think they could put together a wedding feast sure to please. While it may be tasty, it may not be organized. Catering is a skill and I would say leave that one to the professionals.
The Gray Area
- Cake- We’ve all made cake, so why not save some cash and make your own wedding cake. I mean how hard could it be, you just use different size pans, some frosting, maybe a few flowers and Voila! Ha, yeah right. Unless you are an experienced baker with room to store a wedding cake, I wouldn’t chance this DIY project. If your budget leaves you searching for other options, buy a pre-made cake from a grocery store and decorate it yourself. If you just really want to try it, I suggest making cupcakes and buying a low cost cupcake tree for display. It could still turn into a lot of work so consider this option carefully. To me this isn’t a gray area, its a no thanks. But many websites are encouraging it. If you do make your own, please send me a picture and a story about how the process went.
- Decor/Center pieces- There are pros and cons with this topic but I get the point made on several sites. Decor takes major time and preparation leading up to and on the day of the event. You should be worrying about hair and makeup not decor. While I think you can help make centerpieces and other items of the decor, make sure you have a team of people prepared to set up without you having to worry about a thing. And if your mom is like my mom, she does not want to be part of that team, just FYI. I do plan to help some with table decor so I think you can mix and match DIY and help in this area.
- Flowers- Much like decor, I think you can mix and match. Not every arrangement needs to be professionally done especially if budget is a consideration. Also if you like the look of something eclectic and not quite so perfect, hand arranging would be a great option. I would suggest leaving the bouquets up to the florist and maybe a few centerpieces for the head table or other areas that may be photographed often and get creative on the rest.
I am no professional and I have yet to have a wedding so my advice is essentially meaningless. But since most of it was gathered from various wedding websites, blogs and magazines I think it holds some truth. Feel free to share your DIY ideas and experiences with the rest of us.