DIY or DI-Don’t?

DIY projects. Love them or hate them?

Personally, I am not a very crafty person. Whenever my kids get craft kits they swiftly get packed up for the next visit to Grandma’s house. Some people though, including my Mother, live for DIY projects. Where do you fall in this category? Where do you fall in this category as a bride?

When it comes to weddings there are thousands of articles online and even more photos of DIY projects and hacks on Pinterest that promise to save you money and make your wedding unique. Some are simple projects like chalk hearts to create a path, dipping branches in glitter or mason jars with lace and twine. There are projects that are a little more time consuming and maybe require a bit more skill, like creating your own tulle skirting for your tables, building book arches for your ceremony or creating your own paper lanterns out of up cycled lace and coffee filters. Then there are the really over the top DIY’s that totally blow your mind - the bride that folds 3000 origami cranes for a stunning ceremony backdrop or creating your own floral wall by crafting all of your own hand made crepe paper flowers for your photo booth. These projects take DIY to the next level.

In 12 years of event planning I have seen and set up a lot of projects for my clients. I have had brides that spent their entire engagement tackling project after project and loving every second of it.

These are some memorable DIY’s from recent weddings - a globe hand painted by the bride’s Mother to use as a guests book, a wooden head table back drop made by the groom, bouquets made by the bride with artificial flowers

Photos (from left to right) by Tony|BLF Studios, Reanne Berard, Cynthia Bettencourt Photography

You have the best of intentions, but you get into the project and hate it? Or you realize that your friends love you but don’t want to spend their weekends for the next 12 month crafting with you. What happens when you buy everything, start the project and then realize that you have a Pinterest fail on your hands?

Let’s talk about the DI-Don’t. I am all for saving money at a wedding. I am also a wedding planner and the one thing I hate more than anything for my clients is wedding stress, self induced or other wise. It’s part of my job and I think just in my nature to try and make things easier for people.

The one piece of advice I always give me clients is to know what you can manage and what you can’t. Things you can’t manage you delegate. If you don’t have someone to delegate to then ask yourself if there’s another way to achieve the look you want in an easier way or is there a way to source it through a vendor that will agree with your budget? If you have hired a wedding planner, ask us.

Photos by Stephanie Hodgson Photography

Did you know the print work pictured above is an Etsy downloadable template? The bride customized names and menus in the template and then sent it to the printer. Did you know that when you send your place cards or menus to the printer they cut them for you? Do you know how tedious it is to spend hours the day before your wedding cutting place cards? The vases on the table were all sourced from the dollar store and the candles from Ikea. Laser All The Things cut individual names to serve as place indicators for the guests and the bride spray painted them about a month before the wedding. DIY, but done without much stress and sticking to a budget.

I too often see couples taking on DIY tasks that seem small in the beginning, but are bigger than expected or they realize part way through they don’t have the skill set they need to make it work the way they want. If you are going to take on DIY projects for your wedding, make sure they are projects you can start and finish earlier in your planning stages. This gives you time to fix things that don’t turn out the first time.

Try to limit the number of DIY projects that you need to complete in the last 3-4 weeks before your wedding. Don’t under estimate how insanely busy this month will be, how many times you will need to change your seating arrangement , how many questions you’ll be getting from your wedding party and family.

Remember that almost every couple in the last few weeks of wedding planning is tired of wedding planning, they often just want the day to be there so they are finally married and are annoyed with projects and the constant stream of emails for final numbers, dietary concerns and venue floor plans.

We often think that it’s saving money to do things ourselves, but when time is at a premium, what is your time worth? Your time needs to be accounted for. I guarantee that if you were the bride cutting place cards the night before her wedding at 10 pm in retrospect, you would have paid the $75 to have them printed and cut for you.