5 Things to Consider Before Planning a DIY Wedding

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Considering the DIY route your wedding celebration?  Whether you want to DIY a few things, or the whole wedding... there are a lot of things to consider (read:  it's not just about the money!)  There are pros and cons, of course -- it just depends on how you look at the situation and what is right for you.  Check out our handy guide to help you navigate whether having a DIY wedding is the best choice for your wedding celebration.

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  1. DIY -- THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE UGLY

    Most brides usually start down the "do-it-yourself" (DIY) path when one of the following occurs: 1.) they see something cute on Pinterest, 2.) they want to save money, 3.) they saw a friend/family member do something similar for their wedding, 4.) they consider themselves "crafty" and want to create cute / meaningful / thrifty things for their wedding. I'm sure there are other reasons, but these are the big ones.

    Sometimes, the DIY path is a fantastic option... when a bride is particularly crafty, can create a budget and stick to it, is very well-organized, understands how to delegate AND ask for help, and compliments (not overwhelms) the wedding day. DIY elements can help save money, too!

    DIY can be a not-so-great option, too -- when a bride is a perfectionist (read: can't give up control or has to do-it-herself-or-it-won't-be-done-right), doesn't delegate well (include your bridesmaids, moms, family members in this!), has poor time management, or simply overbuys many things because they're a great "deal".

    In short: there are pros and cons to every decision with your wedding -- read on for more considerations before you decide on a DIY wedding.

  2. MONEY

    For most DIY brides, SAVING MONEY seems to always be the single biggest concern and motivator to have a DIY-filled wedding. In some cases, yes, making / baking / creating your own decor / baked goods / cake / flowers can potentially save you money. When you are able to buy items at wholesale prices, you can dramatically cut your expenses in certain areas.

    But there is always the opportunity cost to consider -- is the time spent, the logistics needed, and the money saved, going to be worth what you're considering DIY'ing?

    (FUN FACT: I purchased all of my own floor-length satin tablecloths for my reception. The price was FANTASTIC.... but then we had to steam about 40 tablecloths the night before our wedding when we were setting up... a logistical nightmare! I wish I had just rented them instead. Wasn't worth the headache to save some bucks.)

  3. TIME

    Are you good with time management? Are you good at me

    One *major* consideration before you DIY your wedding is TIME. I see it all the time -- bride goes on Pinterest and begins pinning every cute, money-saving, adorable decor item she sees. Puts plan in action to make / create / bake, etc.

    As the wedding day approaches, her DIY list is still a mile long and she has barely made a dent in it or has forgotten all about certain things... and now it's a time crunch and things haven't been completed in time for the wedding.

    (Full disclosure: THIS WAS TOTALLY ME FOR MY OWN WEDDING! Not only was I working basically two full-time jobs, but I was also violently ill the week before my wedding. I was travelling out of state for work, and didn't have time to finish the meal place cards, ceremony programs, and a few other things on my To-Do list. Ya'll, none of those things got done because I ran out of time and my To-Do list remained unfinished prior to my wedding.)

  4. WEDDING DAY LOGISTICS

    Once you've created your DIY decor / baked goods / flowers, etc..... it's extremely important to think through all of the logistics related to your DIY items when it comes to the wedding day: Packing the items up to transport to the venue, unloading items at the venue(s), and repacking items up after the wedding is over and tear-down has commenced.

    This is THE #1 most overlooked consideration when it comes to a DIY wedding.

    If you're considering arranging your own floral bouquets -- you'll need to know how to properly design and tie a bouquet, how to choose blooms that are seasonably appropriate, plan enough time to actually CREATE the arrangements, and most of all -- have a proper place to store the bouquets and arrangements prior to the wedding day, AND transport all of the flowers to the venue(s).

    If you're considering baking your own cake or baked goods for the reception -- your venue may not allow baked goods from an unlicensed bakery / home. If you run out of time to bake, what happens when you don't have your desserts ready, and your wedding is tomorrow? Definitely make sure you know how different frostings, creams, and fondants react to the air temperature -- if you have a summer wedding in a barn, your buttercream might just slide right off the side of the cake before you even get a chance to cut it.

    If you're considering doing your own catering -- proceed with caution. Most venues will not allow an unlicensed caterer to bring food into their venue (for liability reasons, for health + food safety reasons, etc.). Not to mention, preparing food for a very large group AND figuring out how to transport, set-up, dispose of, etc. said food can be a tremendous undertaking. Don't forget about all the plates, cups, utensils... who will serve? Will anyone be on water duty? Unless your family is in the catering business, I strongly discourage the DIY food route!

    When it comes to transportation, set-up, and tear-down of your DIY decor... who will be responsible? How will all of the furniture / decor / florals / etc be transported? By whom? Don't forget, at the end of the wedding, you'll also have many gifts you'll need to have the ability to transport home, too.

    (FUN FACT: Remember to blow out the candles at your reception BEFORE the final dance of the evening.... because hot candle holders are not easy to pack up and transport!)

  5. RESELL OR REPURPOSE

    One of the best parts about a DIY wedding is the ability to resell or repurpose the items you've created or purchased just for the big day. Whether in bridal resale stores, in the Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist ads, or a friend who is getting married... there are plenty of places to sell your gently used decor and wedding items.

    You can also re-purpose some wedding items, like furniture, cake stands, etc. But more often than not, you'll likely want to sell the items and hopefully make back a nice amount based on what you spent (when possible).

    If you're willing to put in the "elbow grease", time, and talent, you can save a bit of money when it comes to your wedding budget.

    But don't be fooled.... a DIY wedding can easily run up the tab, when you start adding up the money, the time, the logistics, the personnel involved in making this wedding happen....

    .... Also, you may have an entire room of your home that is crowded with wedding items, before and after the big day.


    A DIY wedding can be great for some, or an unrealized pain for others. It really comes down to your attitude, your budget, your vision, and your support system.

    Happy planning!

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9 Wedding Planning Secrets (that NOBODY Tells You About)

In the crazy world of weddings, there are literally ENDLESS resources that are available to help you plan your dream wedding.  But sometimes, you really just want someone to cut through the BS and give you the reader's digest version of what you NEED TO KNOW.

Here's a quick list to get you started -- 9 wedding planning secrets that nobody tells you about.  (Good news -- I will!)

Elopement vs Intimate Wedding: What is the difference?

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"Intimate weddings" seem to be a buzz word in today's culture.  The idea of casting aside the large, expensive wedding hoopla for an intimate, backyard wedding, or small wedding with just close family and friends seems very appealing to many modern couples.  Modern wedding culture places so much emphasis on the dress and the venue and the florals and the cake and the pomp and circumstance -- many millennial couples are opting to go for a lower key and more thoughtful wedding celebration versus the big party.

So what is the difference between eloping and an intimate wedding?  (Yes, there actually is a difference or two!)

While they tend to be used interchangeably amidst wedding planning couples, we'll break down the differences between elopements and intimate weddings (and which one may be right for you!). 
 

ELOPEMENT

Guest Count:  Typically bride + groom + officiant, sometimes a few witnesses
Location:  Anywhere, but popular elopement locations include the courthouse or city hall, or vacation destinations.  Many couples opt for a picturesque location, like a tropical island or a mountain peak.
Planning:  Minimal.  Elopements are typically more spontaneous in nature and don't involve a lot of planning or details.  Typically, it involves a ceremony and portraits, but no reception of any kind.
Lead Time:  30 days or less, typically.  (Remember, semi-spontaneity is a big part of this!)


INTIMATE WEDDING

(AKA - basically the same as a "regular" wedding, with a smaller guest list)

Guest Count:  75 or less, give or take.  30 or less seems to be comfortable for immediate family and just very best friends!  An average "regular" wedding guest count is usually around 130-150 guests.  An intimate wedding is generally a bit smaller and kept to just immediate family and very close friends.
Location:  Anywhere.  As long as there is a smaller guest count kept to just family and close friends, many venues are appropriate for an intimate wedding, including hotels, bed and breakfasts, backyard weddings, cabins, restaurants, breweries and more.
Planning:  More extensive and thoughtful than an elopement, as it is basically a regular wedding, simply on a smaller scale.  Many couples are choosing to forego the massive guest lists in order to have a more meaningful celebration and splurging on a much smaller (and more affordable) scale.  Oftentimes, the couple simply wishes to keep the guest count small for budget reasons, or to be able to splurge on their day and enjoy it in ways that they could not with a 250+ guest count.  Many of the planned details are more thoughtful and intricate, since the scale is much smaller than a regular wedding day.  A bride planning a wedding with 30 guests might splurge for a fancy invitation suite, since it is far more affordable to send just a few really great invites versus sending 100+ suites out to many family + friends.  Many couples also opt to enhance the menu and overall experience and treat their guests more indulgently than a larger wedding guest list.
Lead Time:  Varies... Intimate weddings generally are pre-planned 3-6 months + in advance, and the primarily difference between a standard wedding and an intimate wedding day is really truly just the guest count. 

 

IS MY WEDDING AN INTIMATE WEDDING OR AN ELOPEMENT?

Are you are having a reception or a meal?  It's an intimate wedding.

Are you pre-planning your wedding day several months in advance and booking a venue and sending out invitations?  It's an intimate wedding.

Are you deciding to get married rather spur of the moment and with little notice?  That's an elopement.

Are you planning a smaller wedding with lots of thoughtful details and only close family + friends versus a big, fancy party?  That's an intimate wedding, but not an elopement.  If you're pre-planning a lot of details and inviting guests more than 1-2 months in advance, that is not an elopement.

Are you having a destination wedding and only inviting close family + friends?  Unless you're deciding to hop a plane with little forethought, this is an intimate wedding, not an elopement.

Are you keeping your wedding a secret and running away to get married somewhere?  That's an elopement!  Many times, they are secret until after the wedding occurs.

 

STILL NOT SURE IF YOU'RE HAVING AN ELOPEMENT OR AN INTIMATE WEDDING?  DROP US A LINE!

How to Choose Your Wedding Officiant

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When you're trying to figure out your wedding ceremony details, there is one very important decision to make -- who will actually perform the ceremony and marry you?  Your wedding officiant will set the tone for your guests and can create an incredibly memorable experience for you and your soon-to-be-spouse. When you are choosing a wedding ceremony celebrant, there are a few things to consider.  For some, this decision is a no-brainer; for others, it is a daunting, stress-inducing task to check off the wedding To-Do list.  Some couples leave this very important To-Do until later in their wedding planning process, but it is can be slightly more involved than one might imagine — so be sure to book your officiant early in the wedding process.

Here are a few ideas on how to choose the right wedding officiant for you

  1. Your pastor / priest / rabbi / clergyman / religious leader

    For some, this is the easiest decision -- they have known their pastor or religious leader for many years and want to have this person perform their wedding ceremony.

  2. A judge or justice of the peace

    Legally speaking, it is easy to look up who can marry you through your local government. For many, this often involves a trip to the local courthouse. In some cases, you may find a retired judge or a justice of the peace who can legally perform the ceremony for you. In a few states, a notary public can officiate a ceremony.

  3. A family member or friend

    For those who do not have a relationship with a religious leader or want their ceremony to be more personal / secular, it is easy to have a family member or a friend get ordained online with a few clicks of a mouse and the payment of a fee. Note: the laws and regulations to be able to perform a marriage ceremony do vary from state to state, so please check out your state’s laws first (or more specifically, the laws of the jurisdiction where you will actually apply for your marriage license and get married).

 Laura Robinson Photography | www.laurarobinsonphoto.com


A few other tidbits to know about wedding officiants…

  • Your wedding officiant does more than “just” marry you. Typically they are responsible for the actual filing of your marriage license, once signed, as well.

  • A great wedding officiant has experience with weddings in some capacity and understands the flow of the ceremony, is engaging, and won’t forget to bring copies of readings or other ceremony materials.

  • Your wedding officiant will usually do a rehearsal with you to ensure you know what to do during your wedding ceremony — after all, while you may have seen or been in other weddings, this is (usually!) the first time YOU have actually been the one getting married. When do you hold hands? When do you hand off flowers? (I’ve personally seen couples standing a solid 6 feet apart during the ceremony. No joke. A quick rehearsal on where to stand could have solved that!)

  • If you’re having a friend or family member officiate your wedding, work with them on exactly what you want said/performed / instructed during your wedding ceremony. This does typically take more time and legwork than, say, having your pastor or someone with more wedding experience officiate your wedding.

  • If you’re having a religious leader marry you, be sure that you’re living and engaging in the faith and practices of that religion. Some will refuse to marry those who cohabitate (live together), for example. Others require you to be a member of their congregation for a specific amount of time before you’re qualified to be married within that church or religion. Some religious leaders will not perform ceremonies outside of their actual place of worship.

  • Some couples want their ceremony to be personal, but don’t want to jump through the legal hoops — so they have a quick courthouse wedding with a justice of the peace to get the legal part out of the way, and then have a family member or friend “perform” the ceremony for fun, but without any of the responsibility legally required.

 Laura Robinson Photography | www.laurarobinsonphoto.com


I hope you find this helpful on your quest to determine who will marry you!


The Modern Bride's Ultimate Guide to a Perfect, Stress-Free Wedding Day

The Modern Bride's Ultimate Guide to a Perfect, Stress-Free Wedding Day

CONGRATULATIONS!  You're getting married!  To help you have the BEST DAY EVER, we've created this comprehensive guide to all the little secrets you should know about how to create an optimal environment for a stress-free, perfect wedding day.  As you continue planning for the best day of your life, keep these handy tips in mind and we promise that you'll avoid several unnecessary wedding-day headaches and hiccups.  

How to Add Pops of COLOR Into Your Wedding Day Color Palette

How to Add Pops of COLOR Into Your Wedding Day Color Palette

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Some brides prefer a very natural, neutral or subtle aesthetic, while others definitely trend toward a more vibrant color palette or jewel tones. 

Adding pops of color all throughout your wedding can help you infuse style and personality into your big day. From bridesmaids dresses to bouquets, cakes, invitations suites and more...Here are our favorite ways to add hints of color throughout your wedding day!

10 Things to Consider Before Planning an Outdoor Wedding Ceremony

10 Things to Consider Before Planning an Outdoor Wedding Ceremony

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5 Reasons to Hire a Professional Photographer For Your Surprise Marriage Proposal

5 Reasons to Hire a Professional Photographer For Your Surprise Marriage Proposal

Congratulations!  You've found the love of your life and you want to propose!  The magic and surprise of the proposal happens only once, and so it’s important to have someone who knows exactly how to capture that moment.  Here are our top 5 reasons to hire a professional marriage proposal photographer when you ask those four little words:  "Will you marry me?"