Lots of brides to be love to get involved in the creative side of their wedding and make things themselves or with their partner, family and friends. This month, I will be posting lots of DIY ideas and handmade inspiration for weddings on social media (follow what's going on on Instagram, Tweeter or Facebook), and I thought I should really start by sharing my own experience of a DIY wedding.
Our wedding was massively self-made with lots of input from family and friends. Now that I look back, I just wonder, how on earth did we coordinate and do all this - but we did! Creative friends and family made our Save the Date and Table Plan. Musical ones played the music for the ceremony and put together the reception Music Playlist. My husband and I designed and printed our own Invitations, Wedding Programme and Table Numbers. We put together our own Table Centrepieces with fresh live orchids and goldfish bowls. Friends put together a make-shift photo booth with all the props everyone could gather. I did my own wedding bouquet of vintage brooches, my own dress (with the help of one of my bridesmaids for the finishing touches) and my own make-up. It took about a year, but it was well worth it, and I'd like to share my thoughts on this whole process.
1. Why do you want to make things yourself?
This is really the first thing you need to clarify in your head, because it does affect your whole approach to projects. For me, it was because I felt that I could save money by doing things myself; because I knew that we could do all these things that we did at a fraction of the cost of what suppliers would charge. When like me, it is budget driven, you can be a bit restricted in your projects because some DIY plans can turn out to be more expensive than buying ready-made. So, if saving money is your driver, cost each project up and compare with ready-made before committing.
I now often still have DIY projects, but they're not cost driven. They're here because I need a creative outlet, because I want to create something unique, or because I want to learn something new. And I need to accept that for some of these projects, the cost and time inputs are going to be way over the value of what's available on the market. Some brides will have this same feeling, and here, it is worth considering the time projects will take (as well as accepting they may not come cheap). Don't get engaged into a project that looks amazing, but is beyond the real amount of time you can allocate to it.
Some brides want to get their family and friends involved in the organisation and include a bit of DIY to get everyone to 'muck in'. It is a great way to bring people together, but choose your DIY project for this activity very carefully. Obviously if you can match particular skills to a project that'd be wonderful - e.g. arty nieces and nephews to make some room decorations, an expert seamstress to help with your dress, etc. But for shared projects which involves a lot of people of different skills levels, choose something that you're not particularly precious about - because it may get a little bit out of your control!
2. List what you are willing to compromise on, and what are the key essentials
This will help you decide what you can do yourself, what you should ask friends and family to help with, and what you should outsource to professionals.
3. Enlist help
You definitely can't do everything on your own! At the very least, one other person (partner, bridesmaid, mother, etc.) but ideally, as many people as you can, so you can distribute the stress and make it fairly stressless to everyone. However...
4. Involve everyone, but choose wisely when you allocate tasks
Don't bother relying on people who you love but know can't deliver on time for essentials. While it's all nice and good to make them feel good about being involved, at the end of the day, no one will be happy when the stress crunches in. Get these people involved in projects that are nice-to-haves but aren't going to be the end of the world if they don't materialise. For critical tasks, get those who you know have an innate sense of responsibility!
5. Delegate whenever possible
Keeping the above in mind, let go completely of some tasks and let someone else take full responsibility. This is easier said than done if you have a slight tendency to want to control everything (i.e. a little bit of a control freak!).
6. Be honest with yourself
If you can't stitch a straight line to save yourself, don't attempt to make your own wedding dress at short notice! I am joking about this (a bit). More seriously, the biggest challenges in having a DIY wedding are time and motivation. Do you have enough of both?
7. Start as early as you can
It is easy to put off doing small or big tasks when your wedding seems to be ages away, but believe me, it'll come fast! If you find it difficult to overcome the initial inertia, get people who are natural starters to inject a bit of energy.
8. Cost out a project before starting it
You might find that it would be a better use of your time to get a professional to do something that you thought would be cheaper DIYed. And it may help you keep track of your overall wedding budget. To cost out something, estimate the cost of raw materials, consumables and tools you might have to purchase. But also consider how much time you will be spending on the project.
9. What about equipment, setting up and carriage costs?
Don't forget to factor in the cost of hiring or buying equipment for your projects. Whether it is a printer for printing your stationery, a sewing machine for stitching together your buntins, or other equipment, getting new equipment in will bump up the cost of your DIY. If there is a possibility of borrowing from friends and family, explore your options fully!
And don't forget, if you are making large decorative items, or those that need to be hung from high ceilings, you might need to arrange transportation to the wedding venue, and equipment for setting everything up on or before the day.
10. Enjoy the DIY
I love the quote "It is not the destination that matters but the journey", and find it of some relevance to embarking on your own DIY journey. Although in this case you want to fully enjoy the destination, it is easy to forget to also enjoy every moment of organising the wedding. You will get stressed, frustrated and all sorts, but hopefully, there will also be lots of great satisfaction, and funny, happy memories!
With that, enjoy the DIY!
Photo Credit: Creature Comforts
Blue Lily Magnolia makes bridal accessories, both ready-to-wear and custom-made. Follow me on Facebook this month for lots of DIY ideas for your wedding: here.