The concept of DIY projects for a wedding isn’t exactly groundbreaking — in fact, it’s been a big “to do” on many couple’s lists for the last decade. But for every perfectly handcrafted favor, there is a cringe-worthy Pinterest fail lurking in the shadows.
The real question you should be asking yourself isn’t whether or not you can pull off a DIY cake pop display, but why you might feel DIY itself is necessary. And if it’s a “must do,” how can you do it smartly?
Reasoning Behind DIY
For some, DIY projects help your wedding budget’s bottom line, allowing you to save in one area and splurge in another. For others, they’re chosen on a whim after a late-night Instagram binge or sudden spurt in confidence in your Pinterest hack skills.
Whatever the case may be, the next step is to think about the resources and time that will ultimately go into achieving your desired product.
Heather Rouffe of Atlas Event Rental advises that you take a long, hard look before you start crafting. “While you may save a little money, it may not be significant enough to warrant the DIY project, especially if you don’t have the time and skill to complete it.” She adds that, oftentimes, you’re actually better off renting versus DIY-ing or purchasing. “When you rent, you also alleviate the problem of what to do with the items AFTER the event. Do you really want to keep your linens and decor pieces that you made? Do you want to pay to launder the linen? Where will you store everything? Is it worth the effort of trying to sell after the fact?”
On the other side of the coin, you may find with a little research that certain DIY projects can favorably impact your savings, making it a very easy yes.
Joan Wyndrum of Blooms by the Box reminds couples when pricing out line items for their wedding, that you’re paying not only for the product, but expertise. “When working with a florist, you need to consider the other expenses that come with running the actual floral business — from labor and transportation to supplies, preparation and production. If you’re up for exploring the DIY route, you can save more than half by ordering flowers in bulk at a discounted rate and having them sent directly to your home.”
No matter which way you decide to go, it’s essential you take the time to figure out which projects really make an impact on the big day, while also keeping your stress levels in check.
Who Can Advise Me?
Still on the fence about what you may be able to take on yourself? Talk to your wedding planner so they are in a position to talk it through with you and advise based on extensive experience.
“You have to remember that we’ve seen it all,” explains Emily Sullivan owner of New Orleans-based Emily Sullivan Events. “We work with quite a few destination couples and if they are eager to bring in handmade touches, we have the ability to anticipate any challenges that may come with it, such as transporting from long distances.”
Heather Jones of Wente Vineyards adds that the point of contact for your venue can also be a great resource. “Letting the property know early allows you to work out any kinks. After all, if you’re putting together your centerpieces, you’ll want to speak with the venue about the potential for on-site storage, as well as the labor associated with getting your creations where they need to be.”
Easy, Lesser-Known DIY Project Ideas
If you’ve talked yourself into tackling DIY projects, start small with projects you can make early on in the planning process when things aren’t so hectic. Little touches can go a long way when done well, and there’s no substitute for that feeling you get when you check something off of your list. Rouffe says this is especially true with table numbers and little creative touches that don’t require as much effort.
Don’t Overdo It
Wyndrum shares that it’s easy for couples to fall prey to the idea that if they DIY one thing, they need to DIY it all, but that’s simply not the case. She expands, “Don’t hesitate to outsource some of the most important elements of the day. You could make your own boutonnieres and bouquets, but still have a professional work on your centerpieces.”
The Key Is Organization
With DIY, it’s crucial that you really plan out the process thoroughly. Wyndrum advises that you plan for a large safety net of time when it comes to DIY flowers. “Collect photos for inspiration, watch video tutorials, find out what flower varieties you’ll need to achieve the look of your arrangement, and if they’ll be in season for your wedding date,” she says. “Try doing a test run for your arrangements if you can, this will allow you to estimate how many flowers you’ll need and how many varieties and colors you’d like to work with.”
Jones also shares that as you get closer to the wedding day, it’s important to check back in with the venue to see where you are with your projects and what, if anything, has changed.
Ultimately, the decision to DIY (or not!) is in your hands. By doing your research, staying organized and tackling projects early, you can enjoy handmade touches to your celebration, with little to no stress.