So, I am a huge proponent for the DIY wedding. There is no better way to stretch your dollars while incorporating your personality into your wedding/event. And many times while working with clients I will give them DIY homework, for this reason. But oh, how many times I have been on the wrong end of a wedding week meltdown when a bride has taken on too many projects to finish. Time is of the essence when wedding projects are concerned, and please take this advice to heart, you will thank me in the end. Get as much out if the way as possible, and stay organized with unrelenting dedication.
Below I have listed some of my top tips for planning, organizing, and completing your wedding projects without turning into the much feared “bridezilla” or sacrificing the appearence of a styled event or “blogworthy” wedding:
1. Fluid concept- This is more of a wedding planning tip than DIY tip, but when you are brainstorming and researching projects for your wedding it’s important to stick to a common concept. Do all of your menu selections complement one another? Do your selected flowers look good together? Are your bridesmaids wearing similar styled and complementary colored outfits? (They are allowed to be mismatched, but should be complimentary.) It’s important if you want to have the appearence of a professionally styled event, to keep your concept fluid, versus random. I’m a firm believer in throwing in a few random goodies, just not ALL random goodies!
2. KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid)- Don’t take on projects that might not fit into your specific skill set. For example, if you have never been able to boil water, then don’t try to bake your own cake. If you aren’t familiar with a sewing machine, then perhaps taking on the task of sewing your own linens isn’t a good idea. If you wouldn’t call yourself a crafty person, then stick with projects that fall within the scope of your ability. Example: When I got married programs weren’t a priority for us. It was about a week before when we decided to incorporate some traditional Filippino customs into our ceremony, and we needed a program to explain them to our non-Fillippino guests. So my fiance’ and I did an at home print job. We actually got quite advanced with incorporating our engagement photo and bows and everything. I now keep samples of our programs as an example for my brides of what NOT to do!
3. Restraint is a beautiful thing- This kind of goes off of our first point. It is easy to get lost in your preferences when planning projects for your event, but your guests will appreciate a bit of restraint. There are so many trends that seem like a great idea, but having too many trends incorporated into your event can be visually overwhelming for your guests. For example: you may love mason jars, bunting banners, vintage china, and silouettes. They are all trendy and fun, but finding a way for them to fit together and not clash can prove tricky.Remember that old fashion tip, “Before you leave for a night on the town, always remove one accessory.” This goes with designing your event and selecting projects to incorporate as well. The effect of your decor will be much more dramatic when a little restraint is shown in the selection process.
4. Don’t skimp in your materials where it counts- One of the biggest mistakes DIY-ers make is skimping on materials. If you are going to save money by making your own centerpieces, spend the little bit of extra on quality materials. I love, love, love upcycling. Give me a spent tomato can, and I’ll give you a unique sconce, or cover it in vintage fabric for a fun flower holder. But, if you do use items such as recycled cans in your arrangements, fill them with luscious flowers to give them a luxurious appearence.
5. Enlist some help- Have you bitten off more than you can chew with your wedding day projects? It may be time to get together with some of your crafty bridesmaids and co-workers with a bowl of hummus, bottle of wine, and sissors to spare. Plan a “craft night” for you and your gal pals to get together and get a head start on all of those big projects. They are most likely more than willing to pitch in and help do this. After all, these are the fun parts of wedding planning. Assign each lady a task, and ease up when they make jokes about you cracking the whip!
6. Timing is everything- Time is of the essence. I advise anyone who wants a fun DIY wedding to have EVERYTHING done at least two weeks before the wedding. Procrastination is not a pretty word when weddings are involved. Trust me, as someone who is a former bride, and wedding planner of almost nine years there will be a lot of things that come up in your last two weeks before union and you don’t want decor projects (or the stress of decor projects) getting in the way! And you will be able to relax and really enjoy your last minutes before the big day without the stress of unfinished projects.
7. Be organized- I am quite literally one of the more OCD people I know. I’ve had almost 29 years to deal with this fact, and I’m not only OK with that now, but proud of it! For all of my events I instruct all of my brides to organize everything they have for me into boxes with detailed instructions for what to do with the contents in a manilla envelope. You have to go this way about all of your wedding projects. Don’t start a project until you have all of the materials you need for it and the time to complete it, because most likely if you start it and don’t finish it will be forgotten until the last minute. Once it is finished have it organized (by box) with the rest of your DIY projects. This will save you stress of forgetting about something or losing something that you have put so much time and effort into. Most importantly, organize your projects as if a complete stranger with a second grade education will be picking up your things and setting them up at your wedding. That way there is no room for mis-interpretation should something come up and you can’t be there physically for the installation on your wedding day.
Hopefully these tips will help get you a good start on your DIY wedding projects. And if you do get in over your head, call a professional! If you can’t afford to have someone complete the projects for you you can at least get some guidance for a small hourly fee.
While researching information for this blog I came across this first hand account of one Bride’s DIY Hell. It is lengthy but invaluable advice.