We have had some do it yourself projects on the blog and no doubt we will have more. After all, no better way to make a wedding your own then to make it yourself! We’ve featured everything from to ideas to printable invitations to weddings with lots of DIY touches. But, the pretty pictures don’t always tell the whole truth. There are some realities to doing things yourself. As you begin to plan your wedding, I’ll offer a few bits of DIY advice. If you read nothing else in this post, know this: Your wedding will still be special because you are marrying your partner, not because you made all of your own save the date cards.
Photo credit: Kate Haus Photogrpahy
Are You Crafty?
This is the single most important question. If you aren’t crafty, if you don’t like glitter and glue guns, then perhaps DIY-ing it for your wedding isn’t the best time to start. If you really are in love with a DIY project, but don’t consider yourself crafty, start out small like photobooth accessories. Pick something simple and see how it goes. Crocheting your ring pillow is probably not a good choice. If it goes well, then you can try something a bit harder. It is discouraging and can waste time and money when you start with something well-beyond your skill level.
Start Early & Plan Ahead
Nothing will ruin a project faster than not starting early enough. You need time to experiment, get it right, or give up. Expect that your project will take (a lot) longer than you think. You don’t want to be up all night before your big event tying favor boxes. Spend some time looking for inspiration and thinking in advance about the little touches that you want. Thinking and dreaming is the fun part! Make a list of those items that you will/want to DIY. Once you see the list, you’ll know how far in advance that you need to start. And, you might decide to take a few things off the list.
Shut it Down
I probably shouldn’t be saying this because I edit an inspirational wedding blog. But, I’ll say it anyway, because it is important. Once you make your DIY decisions (or any wedding-related decisions, for that matter), shut down the inspiration. Wedding blogs and magazines are overloaded with inspiration and they will have more tomorrow and the next day and the next. At some point, you need to end inspiration cycle and love the choices you made. A week before your wedding is not the time to decide that you want to make 200 s’mores kits.
Once you get going on your project, it might not work out how you envisioned it or be as perfect as the pretty inspiration pictures. Even if you have the best directions in the world, unexpected things will happen. The glue won’t stick right or the paper cutter won’t cut straight enough. With any project, there will be lots of samples and multiple trips to the craft store. Just keep at it and be flexible with the results. Your glitter favor boxes will be special, not because it is perfect, but because you made it.
As you budget for your DIY items, always always always get more than you think you will need and then some. You will mess up and you will need to practice. By the time you get to the end, you’ll be a pro and the ones that you made in the beginning won’t be as nice. If you are baking whoopie pies, your guests will gobble them up faster than you think. Save yourself some time on the front-end and over purchase supplies. Save your receipts, because you can return what you didn’t use.
DIY can be really fun, especially if make a party out of it! Remember those bridesmaids who said they’d be your friend no matter what? This is the time to call in the favors. If you are brewing your own Irish cream favors or making garland, invite some friends. It always goes faster with friends!
It Doesn’t Save Money
I know it doesn’t seem possible, but DIY doesn’t always save money. Materials and supplies to plant all of your centerpieces costs money. It can really add up when you need to purchase items that you might not otherwise have, like a glue gun or power saw. Before you get your heart set on something, do an honest cost-benefit analysis. Consider not just the money, but also the hours invested. Ideally, you should make your own birdcage veil not because you want to save money, but because you truly want to do it. If you are DIY-ing to save money, choosing the right projects is the key. Pick ones that match your skill level, so that materials aren’t wasted. Budget out all of the materials for the entire project before investing and starting, because once you get going, it is hard to stop.
You know those gorgeous photos that inspired you to make your own tissue pom poms? Well, they aren’t real. Many of the DIY photos in magazines and on blogs are staged. They took hundreds of photos to get one or two that looked perfect. Often the directions aren’t quite right or they make it seem so easy. Just snip this, whip it up and you are all set, how hard could it be? Many DIY directions are written by those who are otherwise crafty and they don’t always give you the full details. There are definitely some really great, well-crafted DIY projects out there. But, keep in mind that the pictures only show the end product, not the labor that it took to get there. Make sure you read the directions entirely before starting. What materials and products will you need? Just how long will it really take you? If you can, try to do a test run before investing in the materials.
Many DIY projects for weddings can be practical and effective, even fun. The trick is picking the right projects for your skill level, available time and total budget. With that, my last piece of advice is to assure you that your wedding will be special and lovely, and your guests will feel appreciated even if you don’t make all of the boutonnieres.
What about your experiences? What DIY tips did I miss?