Listen to All Episodes
When I came to write this for you, I had a slightly different topic in mind than 4 DIY wedding planning tips. I wanted to share with you my thoughts on what you should DIY at your wedding and where you should use a professional instead.
A million different examples came flooding to me and I thought “sweet, this one will be easy”.
Aahhhhh… yeah nah.
For every story I have in my brain bank of DIY go oh-so-wrong, I’ve heard or witnessed a story of it going oh-so-right.
And while the for the most part I’ve seen couples be over the moon and blown away with the above and beyond work a professional has created for them, I’ve also seen other couples be disappointed in professionals they ended up hiring.
So I’m not going to sit here and tell you “you must hire a professional florist” and “you’ll be safe to DIY your cake”.
There are so many tiny little factors that can sway things either way.
I’ve come to the conclusion that there are four common threads to how a do-it-yourself option is successful (or not!).
Pour yourself a wine (it’s 5pm somewhere right?) as I pour you out some wisdom!
DIY WEDDING PLANNING TIP #1:
There’s a difference between doing it yourself and asking someone you know - who has the skills already - to do it for you.
Doing something from scratch means having to go buy all the gear and sit on YOUTUBE all day watching tutorials, figuring out how it all works so you can try and do it yourself. This is the type of DIY you should be cautious about (we’ll get to that in the next tips).
Calling on your wider network of friends, family and colleagues, who may have the skills to do it for you - perhaps for free or at a reduced rate - is different.
For example: in every instance where I have seen DIY flowers work, it has been because a friend or family member has worked as florists or stylist of some description – and they’ve been the ones called upon to do it.
Which means in all cases the bride had very little to do with the actual task itself.
Do you hear me ladies? The bridesweren’t responsible for purchasing the flowers or creating the bouquets. They called on people they knew who had the skills and took them up on their offer of help.
In many instances this service was gifted; or the bride only had to pay for the materials.
The key to making it work with getting help from someone you know (who is skilled to do the job!) is this:
1. Be clear around your expectations (with yourself as well as your helper)
2. Be sure to gage how comfortable your helper is with these expectations.
3. Give them an out if they don’t feel like they can meet them.
Which brings us to the next tip:
DIY WEDDING PLANNING TIP #2:
Ask yourself “How attached am I to the outcome?”
We’re all human and sometimes we make mistakes.
The reason you hire a professional is because their skills, knowledge and experience means they are significantly less likely to make them.
When you call on a friend or family member you don’t put them through the same vetting process you would a professional right?
They might be able to arrange flowers, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they have the same talent as the florist you’re drooling over on Pinterest.
When you’re calling on a friend for a favor, you run the risk that it won’t be quite as you picture.
So you need to ask yourself: how attached am I to the outcome?
The reasons you hear stories from couples devastated that their friend didn’t take many good photos is because it was so important to the couple to have a document of their day to look back on.
You don’t hear as many stories of couples devastated that their friend didn’t make a good enough cake because a dry tasting sponge is easier to shrug off.
So if you have a Pinterest board full of flowers, you’re probably not a candidate to DIY in any sense. Go find a professional; you’ll thank yourself later.
DIY WEDDING PLANNING TIP #3:
Use skills you already have
I mentioned at the start some people think DIY means buying all the gear and sitting on YOUTUBE all day watching tutorials to figure out how to do it. 99% of the time that scenario never works out.
Even if it does it’s nowhere near as cost effective as you might have thought. You have to practice, which means you have to purchase more materials, which means it ends up costing more. And worse, you might find you’re not really good at it in the end anyway.
A key to successful DIY is using skills you already have.
I had a client who prior to her wedding created a whole dessert table worth of treats PLUS a three tiered, fully iced wedding cake.
For someone who’s never baked before, this scenario could easily spell disaster.
But this lovely bride to be knew her way around a kitchen aide like you wouldn’t believe. She pulled it off because it was nothing to her to whip up a batch of brownies or rocky road - she’d done it so many times before she didn’t need a recipe, it was all in her head.
See what I’m getting at?
DIY WEDDING PLANNING TIP #4:
Only work on projects you can complete prior to the wedding
When you’re looking at where you can DIY rather than hiring professional, ask yourself: can I complete this project before or after the day?
You can’t be in the moment enjoying your wedding day if you’re running around trying to make it all come together.
There are not many projects you can complete after the wedding, but creating your own wedding album is one! Check out artifact uprising where you can design your own beautiful albums for a steal.
Most of the stuff you can complete before the wedding falls into the invitation/stationery or non-flower related styling item categories.
If you’ve ticked off tip number 3 then by all means have a crack.
The final key to successful DIY is time management.
You need to get stared on projects waaayyyyy earlier than you think, or it’ll be a mad rush at the end.
I don’t want you to be the bride who stays up to 3am the morning of your wedding! That’s why I’ve mapped out enough time in Wedding Planning Masterclass for you to complete all your projects (with tips on how to handover to your helpers, professional or otherwise).
As a final side note: considering DIY doesn’t necessarily mean you’re trying to scrimp and save.
DIY can be a great way for you to let your creative side have a run around for a while; and add personal touches to your day.
Most of my clients – with budgets from $20,000 to $50,000+ - all add some kind of personal ‘DIY’ touch to their day.
I’d love to hear – what have you been DIYing? Have you started any projects yet? What do you need help with? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Because I believe if you are better informed and better prepared you will have a more joyful wedding planning experience. And more joy in the world is a good thing.
Hi, I’m Amanda Vodic, principal planner at We Heart Events and founder of Wedding Planning Masterclass. I work with couples that are CRAZY EXCITED about creating beautiful, meaningful, all-kinds of wonderful weddings. I help you get more joy from the wedding planning experience - while making it feel like it’s so easy you could become one of the pros yourselves.