Hey y’all! Another week in the books. It’s been an interesting week! Halloween was Monday: I learned that the kid version beats the adult version hands down! Ellie and I dressed up in our costumes and handed out candy to the trick-or-treaters, and even got to take the cutest little dinosaur for a lap around the block! 🙂 As we start our journey towards growing our family, it was a nice “peak through the window” of the future we are working for. I hope your Halloween was filled with sweets and lots of fun, whatever that fun may be! This week, we’re going to talk a little about DIY projects in your wedding, and some important things to think about before taking on all those well-intended projects. Let’s get to it!
First off, I’m a huge promoter of DIY, but I am also a huge promoter of having a plan and knowing your strengths. If done well, DIY really can be a budget saver. There are lots of things that fall under DIY that aren’t huge overwhelming projects. Many things can save you lots of cost with minimal effort and a trip to your local craft store. As if we *really* need another excuse to go to Hobby Lobby?!
One really great example is all of the signs you’ll need for the day. There are many awesome templates available online (Etsy is absolutely your friend) and filling in your wording and printing is a snap. Also, you can purchase fonts on Etsy and create templates for you to trace in Word. Print them out, buy some contact paper, a good pen and a few good Sharpies in different sizes, a blank wood sign or canvas: instant beautiful script or print sign for way less than a custom order. This was probably my main DIY project I chose to take on for our wedding: I created all of the signs for the day. I researched a method, bought supplies, did a couple of practice runs, and then got to work with plenty of time to accomplish my goal. It was minimal stress, and they came out pretty amazing, I thought! I didn’t want to bite off more than I could chew, and I accomplished that for myself.
Of course, one of the main pitfalls of DIY projects is that they take time, and usually lots of it. Know your skill set, and be realistic about how much time you have available to devote to these projects. I love a good DIY project, but one of the best things I could do for myself was to limit the amount of things I had to put on my to-do list. It was already miles long! My plan of attack was to DIY all of our signage; for our favors, we had lighter wraps made with our names and date and ordered the lighters from Amazon: so of course, someone(s) had to strip the labels and wrap all 120 of those lighters! We also had to make the time to stuff, address, stamp and wax seal (that totally counts as DIY it takes forever) about 87 invitations. For me, with our lifestyle and schedule, plus the actual planning of the wedding, that was more than enough in my DIY corner! I would certainly have taken on more projects had I had the time.
One awesome place to be able to DIY (but it isn’t always possible) is with your bar. This is pretty much dependent on your venue choice. Purchasing your own alcohol is a huge savings as opposed to utilizing a bar. Of course, this comes with its own caveats: you should also purchase an insurance policy for your wedding day, and most likely you will need to set up for self-serve. In this case, it’s usually best to steer away from liquor and stick to beer and wine. Also, another huge savings for the budget! If open bar with the liquor flowing is more your style, then nix this thought and make sure to place your bar tab squarely in the “most important” column in your budget! Our bar tab certainly was! 😉
Taking on a project and getting a beautiful result is an amazing feeling. It should always feel that way: not stressing and panicking, running out of time or just not feeling like its coming out quite right. There are some projects that you really should just avoid DIY altogether (in my humble opinion, of course). The top two: the flowers and the food. In regards to the flowers, there is a lot of intense work that all has to be done RIGHT before the event. Working with live flowers, they have to be taken care of just so, and assembled and placed: making all of these arrangements is a huge time commitment during a time when you will be completely preoccupied with a million other things. This is one of the best reasons to pay a florist: they will be trimming and watering and placing and combining and assembling all of these amazing florals for you, and then setting them up in your venue space (your wedding coordinator will also love you) while you are busy enjoying your time with your family and loved ones and soaking up the events of the day. With food: basically the same shpeal y’all! You’re talking lots of time, and its all gotta happen right in those immediate hours leading up to, and even during, your event. It’s just a huge undertaking, especially depending on the size of your guest list. Space can also be an issue when considering DIYing your menu: where are you going to cook/prepare that amount of food, and how are you going to keep it hot/cool, serve it, keep all of the options stocked and trash picked up? Whew, I think I’m making a pretty good argument here! Those are lots of big issues to handle, and hiring a caterer wraps them all up in a one-and-done package. When dealing with the number of moving pieces it takes to bring a wedding together, these are life savers, time savers and stress relievers.
While we’re on this topic, I want to take a little blip to tell you a little bit more of my experience, and where exactly I gleaned all of this information from. This is my second marriage, so I’ve had the whole wedding planning experience twice on my own. There was at least a decade in between the two, so when I say they were two totally different experiences, I don’t know if even those words can quite capture how different it was! My first wedding I was much younger, and much more alone in the world. We were both young and starting out, no savings and no financial support from either side of family where a wedding was concerned. We were on our own, so as you can imagine, DIY was my best friend. I did not have a coordinator, we did not drink at the time or hang out with people that did so there was no bar, my employer gifted us his catering services, my flowers were fake and my dress was $250 before alterations (I think it was like all of 400 after them), the invitations were templates purchased, created and printed by me, I made programs (that took literally forever and was the biggest waste of time/little bit of money)…every aspect of my first wedding just about had some DIY element to it, or budget saver. Now, I’m not saying all of that to trash my first wedding: for what we had and the point I was at in my life, I did a pretty darn good job pulling it off. But again, it was worlds different from my second experience, and I would hands down take the second experience over the first any day of the week (for many reasons!). The second time around was probably such a different experience also because I was a totally different person at this phase of my life: my first was in my early 20’s, my second in my early 30’s. A lot happens in a decade; we change and grow (hopefully) and our perspectives reflect our newly found experience in life. All of that to really say, the amount of DIY was overwhelming and SUPER time consuming. Being able to use local vendors with Ellie and my’s wedding not only took so much stress off, the end result was really amazing and came together much more smoothly with people there to play each role. It was a totally different vibe all the way around, and to say it was perfect is an understatement! With way less of a work load on me, and the right people to do the job hired, I was able to be so much more present for the good parts the second time around. I was surrounded by love, family and friends and I was able to soak it all up, every moment, at every party, right up to the big weekend!
I also wanna take the time to stick this little note in here: but disclaimer, this is strictly my opinion, and we know what people say about those! 😉 But I still think it needs to be said so here it goes. DIY has a really important word in it: yourself. If you plan on taking on a bunch of DIY projects, even if you have a good friend or two to help you out, you should assume that most of the responsibility/work/effort is going to fall on you. Don’t expect everyone else to want to spend their every moment making arrangements or assembling projects: hopefully you have a few good friends that offer up some time to help but don’t set yourself up for a bunch of disappointment, heartache and stress. It is, after all, YOUR wedding: show a little grace and save a little face where your expectations are concerned. That’s just my two cents about that!
Well, I think we’ve covered all the bases on DIY for the big day. Pick certain projects, know your strengths, be prepared to put in the work and give yourself plenty of time. You got this! Ask for help, and be super grateful if/when you get it. It’ll be just enough to get you through, I promise.
Happy planning y’all!