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.
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.
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.)
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.)
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!)
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.