If you’re planning a wedding and have been on Pinterest lately, you might start to fall into the trap of believing that you can plan a DIY wedding. Why not hand-make those personalized little name cards for every guest? Why not set up a photo booth and make your own props for it? Why not?
Because you may end up driving yourself crazy!
Planning a wedding is stressful enough without also forcing yourself to be your own florist, dress designer, decorator, baker, and photographer.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that you have to outsource everything. Doing some of the work yourself is a great way to cut costs—if you don’t go overboard. Here’s a simple guide to helping you decide on a DIY wedding and what should be left to a professional wedding planner.
It’s one of the first things that a bride and groom will choose together and can be a serious hit to a wedding budget, if you want to get the nice paper and a little embossing done. This can make doing the invitations yourself very attractive—but unless you’ve got an ounce of graphic design skill, they might turn out looking hokey or generic. So, should you DIY your invitations?
You should DIY your invitations if:
- You know enough about graphic design or even just font design to make something you will be proud to send out to your guests
- You find a template online, either a free one (Microsoft Office actually has a number of attractive free templates available) or a cheap one (again, purchased from Office or from a website like Etsy), that makes it easy to just fill in your information, print them out, and send them off
- You have a high quality printer that won’t fail after printing half of your invites
- You have the time to make or find a template for your invitations
If you don’t have the time, the skill, or the ability, it might be better to pay the price for professional templates and printing from your local or online stationary store.
Flowers is another area of wedding planning that the industrious bride and groom might try to DIY. Flowers from a florist can be prohibitively expensive, and doing your own arrangements, centerpieces, and even bouquet can seriously cut down your costs, especially if you have a local flower market with reasonable prices. However, because flowers die so quickly, all arrangements, bouquets, and centerpieces will have to be made within one or two days of the wedding, which are going to be the busiest days of your engagement, even if you don’t decide to DIY this part of your wedding.
You should DIY your flowers if:
- You have a local flower market with reasonable prices
- You know exactly what you want your bouquet and centerpieces to look like
- The arrangements you want are not available at any florist in your area (for example, you want wildflowers instead of lilies or roses)
- You have time in those last couple of days to devote to this task
Time is really going to be your deciding factor here. If you do not have the time to put together your flowers, you may end up without any flowers at all. However, if you have a very clear vision of what you want and know that you can put the centerpieces and bouquets together quickly, handling the flowers yourself can be a great way to save a little money on your wedding.
With the proliferation of smartphones, just about everyone has an excellent camera in their pocket. High quality cameras are also more accessible than ever and there’s bound to be at least one person in your wedding party that has DSLR that takes great photos. This can make nixing a wedding photographer an attractive prospect.
However, asking one of your guests to play photographer usually means one of two things. Either they spend their entire time taking pictures and do not actually get to celebrate with you, or they spend their entire time celebrating and you don’t get any pictures. It’s also important to mention that having a great camera doesn’t make someone a great photographer.
You should DIY photography if:
- You have a guest who is both a great photographer (and has the right gear) and is willing to give their photography services as a wedding present
- You do not want a traditional photographer and would prefer to ask all of your guests to become your wedding photographers (perhaps even creating an Instagram hashtag so you can find and download all of your pictures), even if some of your guests are slow about sending you the snaps they took
A photographer can be a big expense, but unless you’re perfectly fine with enlisting one of your guests or having your wedding documented just on Instagram, it might be an expense you should be willing to pay.
China and flatware are another major expense for most couples. Some will try to go with plastic plates and utensils, but the wrong items can make a wedding feel more like a barbecue than a celebration of your love for one another. If you can find high quality plastic party supplies, however, like the ones sold at our party supply store, you should be able to find plates, cups, flatware, and even fancy napkins that can all just be thrown away at the end of the night. Instead of buying fancy china, you should DIY your place settings if:
You can find high quality plastic party supplies that you actually like and which won’t make your wedding look trashy.
Don’t let Pinterest lead you astray—you’re a bright, capable person, but that doesn’t mean you should try to DIY your entire wedding.