10 Tips + Tricks for DIY Brides
Now more than ever, couples are opting to add their own DIY spin on their wedding days. Some choose this route due to budgets - who wants to spend what could be a down payment on a first home on a one day event? Others opt for getting a little crafty to make all their Pinterest dreams come true (I was that bride). And then we have the couples that just truly love doing all the things - you go, girl.
If you fall under any of the categories above, this post is for you! Creating things yourself for your wedding can be so special + add a unique touch that represents you and your future spouse. But, if it isn't approached well, it can also be a nightmare... which is why I'm here to tell you my top 10 tips if you decide you want to DIY part or all of your event.
1. Stay Organized
This is HUGE. If you're opting out of having a wedding planner (which we'll talk about in tip 10), staying on top of plans + appointments is going to make your life so much easier. Invest in a beautiful planner or notebook, make a binder, or utilize digital resources (if you have questions about our virtual consulting tools, shoot us a message).
You'll want to pay special attention to dates + deadlines, such as
When your dress will be ready
What dates to come back for alterations
Vendor deposit + final payment due dates
When to get your marriage license (make sure to research for your state)
Deadlines to mail save the dates + invitations
If you're delegating some of the DIY tasks (like having your bestie cut out the programs you're printing from home), make sure to take note of who is taking care of it + when to check in to make sure it's accomplished. If you do opt for a wedding planner or coordinator, they will handle most of this for you - if you find yourself overwhelmed at any point, it's never too late to find someone to hire to help take over.
2. Get Advice
This is one of the most helpful tips for any couples planning their wedding, but it can save a lot of money + stress for our crafty brides especially. Take the time at the very beginning of your engagement to get feedback and advice from those you know that have gotten married before you. Some things that would be perfect to hear from them are:
What vendors are you so grateful you hired rather than tried to tackle that project yourself?
Is there anything you would have done yourself instead of hired out?
Knowing what you know now, would you have done anything differently while planning?
What things were you stressed about that ended up not being a big deal at all?
There is so much wisdom to be found just by taking the time to ask others who have walked this amazing (and sometimes terrifying) path before you.
3. Look at Schedules
Take a good luck at what you + your future spouse's calendars look like in the months leading up to your wedding. Are you finishing a degree? Remodeling a new home? Working overtime to add to the wedding budget? Make sure to really sit and talk about how much you two can take on. Delegating tasks to family and friends is always an option, but remember that also takes time assigning projects, gathering supplies, giving instructions, and checking in for deadlines. Engagement is SO MUCH FUN, but it is such a short season compared to the lifelong marriage you are heading towards. Make sure to really reflect on how much you can take on without feeling overwhelmed + discouraged. Once you know how much you can commit to doing yourself, plan your DIY projects accordingly.
If you have a set budget that isn't flexible, make sure to really plan out your expenses. Weddings aren't exactly cheap - but there are great options out there for saving money. I always encourage my brides to write down the top 3 things they care the most about - aside from the whole getting married thing. It could be the photography, the food, the flowers, the dress - sit down as a couple and brainstorm about what you value most. After you've made that list, plan your budget accordingly. Let those foundational elements be the first deposits you pay + book. If your #15 priority item doesn't fit in the budget, you'll feel so much better knowing you have what really matters to you.
5. Delegate Well
Friends and family are going to be so excited to help you with wedding prep! It is such a fun time to have work parties to fill favor bags, girls nights making signs, and weekends planning + inspiration searching with your family. Let them help you! But make sure to delegate tasks well - the extra help can save you a lot of time if it's done right. First of all, make sure not to put too many tasks on one person's plate (especially family). Even if they offer to handle everything under the sun, try to lighten loads evenly - this will save you so much stress if they accidentally over commit or have a family emergency that leaves their tasks uncompleted. When you get down to the line, and it's approaching wedding week, try to make sure family tasks are done - mom might love to help by baking dessert for 300, but you will both treasure the memories so much more of a relaxing wedding week together.
6. Ditch Comparison
This one is huge, my friends. In a world where Pinterest shows us thousands of perfect weddings at a moments notice, we often forget it isn't reality. The wedding of your dreams does not have to look like the movies. The wedding of your dreams does not mean you have to worry about making sure it looks like what you see on Instagram. You will have the wedding of your dreams if you focus on the real reason you're throwing the biggest party of your life - the love you + your future spouse share, and the community that surrounds you. I promise you that even if you feel like it won't be "good enough", all anyone else will be focused on is the beauty of how your wedding uniquely reflects you two as a couple. Go back to step 4 and remember that you've got your bases covered (and as long as you two leave married, you're golden).
7. Make Time to Date
One of my favorite gifts I received during our engagement was a gift card the month before our wedding with cash to be used for a date day - and a date day only. Sometimes in the midst of planning for the wedding, we forget that we are also planning for forever. Go out to dinner, or pack a picnic. Don't mention the words "budget", "venue", or "guest list". Take time to breathe, date, and remember that your marriage is much more important than your wedding day (but both are going to be AMAZING).
8. Weigh Pros and Cons
If you find a DIY idea, make sure to think through the cost for materials and the time it will take to create it. If you're trying to save money, look for things like printing your own invites. You can buy a customized template on Etsy, send it to your local print shop, and stuff envelopes with your bridesmaids. It doesn't end up costing more in supplies than it would have to buy the item you wanted (anyone else do this all the time with Pinterest crafts?), and it doesn't take up days of your engagement. Find ways to be creative that excite you + your future spouse, that don't overwhelm you, and that will end up being worth it in the long run.
9. Hidden Expenses
When you're wedding planning, there are quite a few expenses that don't always make it into bridal budgets. Here are some top items that often are forgotten to take note of:
The cost of postage (always take a sample invite to the post office to see if it requires extra for weight or size - having all your invites stamped with postage due upon arrival to your guests is no fun at all)
Alterations + undergarments. Make sure to leave room in your dress budget for fittings, corsets, and lingerie.
Your marriage license. The cost varies depending on your state, so do some research to plan for this expense.
Tip + gratuity. If you've never planned a wedding, you may not know that it's common to tip various vendors for their services (photographer, florist, planner, etc). Make sure to budget for this, and have the money ready to be distributed on the day of (your coordinator or appointed family member should handle this).
10. Hire a Planner
As someone who got married without the help of a planner or coordinator, trust me when I say I really wish I had invested in one. I know, I know - obviously I'm biased. But I truly encourage you to talk to other brides you know who have + have not had a planner as well (you don't just have to take my word for it). I completely understand that budgets are overwhelming and money is hard. If you don't have room to hire someone, I highly recommend finding a trustworthy friend (who isn't in the wedding party) to field day-of questions and requests. If you are looking for assistance, but don't have much to spend, consider options like wedding consulting or day-of coordinating. Our wedding consulting packages include online resources, timelines, and unlimited emails with our planning team to ask any questions you may have. Our day-of coordination package gives you 2 hours of rehearsal dinner + 10 hours of wedding day coverage, where we will answer all the questions, guide all the vendors, and make sure you get to truly enjoy your day. Both of these packages are great options for DIY brides who don't need someone to handle the entire planning process, but still want a little help to reduce stress + make their wedding dreams come true.
Have any other helpful tips for DIY brides? I would love to hear from you in the comments below! Feel free to share this article with your sweet engaged friends, and as always, I'm always here for any questions you may have.