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DIY Weddings - The Brutally Honest Truth

Updated on April 7, 2015

The DIY Wedding

Weddings have never been as thoughtfully planned out and personal as they are today. Nowadays, we can have a true dream wedding complete with a cupcake cake, candy bar, photo booth, and a unique hashtag on instagram. Of course, all of that comes with a cost and sometimes downsizing the guest list to rein in the budget just won’t work. The natural solution is to have a DIY wedding. It’s never been easier to come up with ideas with helpful sites like pintrest and theknot.com.

However, as a soon-to-be bride myself, I need to be honest; there are some serious downsides to planning a DIY wedding.

It's A LOT of work

Planning a wedding is never an easy feat, and that’s just talking about booking a venue, caterer, and band. When you add arranging the bouquets the day before, making each individual centerpiece, handcrafting a thousand paper flowers (is that one just me? Okay, just checking), and folding 100+ invitations you’re basically taking on a full time job. In fact, a wedding planner is a legitimate career. So when you decide to take on the increasingly popular DIY wedding be forewarned, it takes a lot of time and energy. Plan twice as much time as you think you’ll need to complete a project.

Sometimes it just turns out wrong...and that's okay

Remember that thing I said about a wedding planner being an actual career path? Consider that they have years of experience doing the exact same thing you’re taking on as a complete novice. It is inevitable that your plans will occasionally not work out as expected.

The same goes for any one object or service that you have opted to do yourself. It took me half a pack of paper before I started making paper flowers that I wasn’t embarrassed to show at my wedding. If I’m being completely honest, there are decorations that will no longer be at my wedding because it wasn’t nearly as easy as pintrest made it out to be. For example, after trying several times to make a pearl chandelier I came to the conclusion that it would have been cheaper to just buy one in the first place. I ended up spending more money on new supplies every time I goofed than I would have if I had just bought a new chandelier.

Avoid frustration and wasted time and money by only taking on DIY projects you’re sure you can handle. If there is something that is expensive to purchase, but you know someone who has a knack for that particular project, ask if they would like to take care of it as a wedding gift. My fiancé and I are saving $300 on a cake delivery fee by having his sister pick it up for us. She used to work at a bakery and doesn’t have a lot of extra cash to splurge on a gift anyway. This is a way everyone wins.

Photos make it look so easy...
Photos make it look so easy...

Not all of your helpers will be as motivated as you are

Enlisting family, friends, and bridesmaids (of course!) is the most sensible thing to do when tackling big wedding projects. However, not all of your helpers will be as meticulous and detailed oriented as you are when it comes to wrapping silverware in lace napkin rings or folding two hundred ceremony programs into fans.

Save yourself a headache and avoid asking these people (you know who they are) to help you. Stick with those close friends and family members who take your wedding as seriously as you do. Those who don’t want to help will be happy you didn’t ask, and you’ll be happy your wedding crafts don’t look like they were made by third graders.

When DIY actually turns out well
When DIY actually turns out well

Stress Overload

You’ve booked the venue, you’ve made the bridal bouquet, and now it’s time to set everything up. Even with a lot of happy little helpers you’re still the one in charge. That’s great if you’re a control freak like Monica from “Friends”, but most brides want nothing more than to show up and enjoy their wedding.

There are a few solutions to this problem. The first one is to make sure that you have all of your DIY projects done well ahead of time—think several weeks. The second solution is to have a master and mistress of ceremony to manage your wedding day itinerary. Lastly, and most importantly, be organized. Knowing exactly where everything goes and when it needs to get there will save you hours of unnecessary stress.

In Conclusion

You needn’t fear a DIY wedding, but you should be diligent with your planning. Know what your limits are and be willing to compromise if a project doesn’t work out as planned. Be realistic when you decide what projects to take on. It's okay to replace that failed project with something store bought. Just swear your bridesmaids to secrecy and move on. Most importantly, choose good people to help with your wedding. You want someone who is caring and dependable and won’t leave you hanging by a half-hung thread.


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    • vhayward profile imageAUTHOR

      Valerie Hayward 

      3 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks :)

    • linfcor profile image

      Linda F Correa 

      3 years ago from Spring Hill Florida

      Looking forward to seeing how your plans progress...wish you lots of luck as you work through the process

    • vhayward profile imageAUTHOR

      Valerie Hayward 

      3 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks for your feedback linfcor. I agree that there are many rewards to having a DIY wedding, one of which is having jaw-dropping decorations at a fraction of the retail price. I'm currently in the middle of planning my own DIY wedding and it is fairly exhausting, but also enjoyable. The over-sized paper flowers pictured are my own handiwork. I'll be posting another hub fairly soon about the different DIY projects I've found to be easy to accomplish and the ones that I jumped ship on.

    • linfcor profile image

      Linda F Correa 

      3 years ago from Spring Hill Florida

      I did a DIY wedding in 2011 and had a great time doing it. I agree that you have to take a lot into consideration. The rewards were that my guests were awed by my décor and my efforts

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