Ever since the financial crisis in 2008, couples have increasingly turned to DIY wedding decor and planning, eschewing traditional wedding industry vendors in search of lower cost, more personalized weddings. We have seen a rise in quality resources and materials, affordable, stylish wedding gowns, and in general, an attitude that you don’t have to spend as extravagantly to have a cool, meaningful wedding. What started as a financial necessity for many couples, has now turned into its own industry fueled by blogs, Etsy, & Pinterest. It is amazing to see the personality that some people are able to infuse throughout their wedding, both in the decor and the event itself. I am all about a DIY wedding, but before you dive in, here are five of the most common mistakes that couples make and I have even made myself.
1 – DIY is more work than you think.
This right here – probably the biggest thing to consider when you are thinking of making all your decor, favors, flowers, fashions, etc… Recently, I worked with a bride to create 10 unique paper flower centerpieces and 4 bouquets for her wedding. The flowers themselves took over 300 hours of work, a team of friends and bridesmaids, and a lot of trial and error. The final result was honestly pretty cool, and definitely reflected the couple, but I don’t think anyone (including myself) was prepared for the amount of work that was required to create the look.
Consider also that a lot of elements for you wedding will need to be arranged or created within the last few days and hours before your wedding. Self-catering, making your own cake, and arranging fresh floral centerpieces and bouquets all have to happen at the last minute and are time consuming tasks. Have a plan and a team appointed to handle these tasks and be realistic about what you can accomplish on your own. Planning a wedding can sometimes feel like a full-time job, and when you also want to DIY it becomes a full time job plus a side hustle. It is a labor of love and you can’t do it all on your own.
2 – DIY can be just as expensive as hiring vendors.
Time for some real talk. Craft supplies are expensive! Silk Flowers can cost as much or more as their real life alternatives! Remember that vendors can buy wholesale, and you might not have access to the same discounts. While there are some fantastic resources for buying bulk decor, flowers, and linens online, you will definitely have to invest some serious time finding the best bang for your buck.
3 – Pinterest Fails!
We have all had a good laugh at the “Nailed It” memes that make the rounds on Facebook and Pinterest. We have all even probably had some similar experiences! I tried to make a crepe cake with my dad once. We worked super hard on it, my dad making the crepes and I made frosting and stacked the layers. It tasted great, but my sister lovingly said it “looked like something Molly Weasley would make.”
Before you set out to spend a bunch of cash on craft supplies, make sure you practice the DIY craft or technique well in advance. You have to be confident that you can do it consistently and well enough to be worth the time and money! This may mean you initially have to invest a little money in practice supplies. A few popular projects that I have found take more practice than you might think are hand-lettering on place cards, paper flowers, and baking your own tiered wedding cake.
4 – Overlooking Important Details.
The choice to throw a DIY wedding requires a ton of organization and research to make sure you don’t miss any details. Leave yourself more than enough time to complete projects, test your ideas and do mock ups, and find a planning detailed checklist to follow so you do not forget any important elements. Finally, hire a Wedding Coordinator to help you manage your planning process, make sure you haven’t missed anything big, and to assist with set-up so you can actually chill out and enjoy your wedding! If you can’t afford to hire a Coordinator, see if you can book a design or planning consult to look over your DIY plans and get suggestions from an expert!
5 – Losing focus on the true meaning of the day.
I think this is the biggest mistake couples can make when they decide to DIY everything for their wedding. Choose projects that are meaningful to you and your partner and work on them together (anyone can use a glue gun). Involve your friends and family in the projects! Throw a Crafts & Cocktails night with your bridal party! If you are choosing to make an element of decor or a favor just for the sake of saving money, evaluate whether the project will be something that you enjoy, that adds to the authenticity of your wedding, or whether it will just be another chore on the to-do list.
DIY the things that are important to you and your partner, the most meaningful, and that allow your personalities to shine through. Leave the stuff you aren’t as invested in to professionals or buy pre-made. Ask for help when you need it so you do not get overwhelmed and burnt out. Weddings are about love and your future with your partner, it’s not about bedazzled wine bottle centerpieces or 200 burlap chair sashes that will likely end up in the trash the day after the wedding.
Ok, got it! And I still want a DIY Wedding!
Fantastic! A DIY wedding can be super amazing and authentic, as long as you have a solid game plan, stay organized, and get help. I think it is wonderful when a couple and their family pour their hearts into creating unique, personalized decor and design elements for the wedding. Know your limits and capabilities and enlist the help of a Wedding Coordinator to make sure you haven’t missed anything and so you don’t personally spend your wedding day setting up the whole event! Happy Planning!