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.

Real Wedding: Jocelyn & Stephane

I have been trying to get this wedding up on the blog before the official end of our eternal winter.   I figured that regardless of how beautiful this day was, you might cry if I showed this off when it was finally spring.  We are all dreaming of warm days, bright sun and the beauty of summer weddings, but take a moment to love this day as much as I did.  

Hamilton Building Winter Wedding Winnipeg Wedding Planner

It was so hard to choose images from this gallery to show - though I will say this is one of my many favourites.  If you're not familiar with Charmaine Mallari Photography I suggest you head over to her site immediately - well, ok, after you hang out here first.  She has an incredible gift at capturing emotion in a day.  This day was full of it.

I first met Jocelyn and Stephane on their venue search in early 2017.  Thanks to a referral from Charmaine we met again months later and they booked a Partial Planning Package to help what was jokingly referred to on the day of as "Stephane's Dream Wedding". Planning with Jocelyn and Stephane was like hanging out with close friends - it was fun, and full of laughter .  They always asked how I was, how my family was and were honestly interested in my answers.  One of the things I loved about them, and after meeting their friends and family day of I found everyone felt the same, was they are so genuine, kind hearted and have so much love for the people in their lives.  They really are incredible people to get to know.  

The two had booked Niakwa Country Club for their reception and had a clear idea of what they wanted, they just weren't sure how to get there.  They wanted a warm feel to the reception, but with a classic and elegant feel.  We selected a neutral palette of champagne and ivory tones and used uplighting from the crew at EventLight to minimize the effects of the dark wood on the walls.  Stephane was also very excited about having a live piano player (Ferro Montanino) for their cocktail reception because it reminded him of one of his favourite places - The Palm Lounge.  Niakwa Country Club was a lovely venue to work with and  delivered a well executed event with great food and one of the prettiest charcuterie displays I've seen. 


Now let's give a shout out to the wedding party!  I have spent time with a lot of wedding parties in my career and this was one of the best.  Especially the groomsmen.  They had such a strong bond that was evident throughout the day with their surprises for Stephane, their roasts and jokes and their heartfelt words.  Looking at photos you'd never guess that Jocelyn and Stephane got married on one of the coldest days of the year.  It was seriously -45 degrees celsius.  Not one word of complaint from any of them - just lots of laughter and smiles.


I literally could go on and on all day about what a perfect day it was, how much I love these two and their friends and family or how beautiful Charmaine's photos are, but you should see it for yourself.  Click here to visit Jocelyn and Stephane's Gallery.  Trust me, if I could put more photos in I would!