Not every bride and groom has the budget for a planner to organise their fairy tale wedding, and the idea of a hotel package deal simply won’t do for some creative couples, which is why the DIY route is growing increasingly popular.
But it’s not just a case of stringing together some bunting and pom poms, oh no. Everything from venue decoration and entertainment to stationery and catering can be carefully considered, coordinated and created.
Stress-, cost- and time-management are key considerations, but the results can be more memorable and impressive than you could have ever dreamed.
Check out SoBristolWeddings’ list of pros and cons to see whether a DIY wedding is the right for choice for you…
From stationery, flowers and cakes to beauty, entertainment and favours, you can design, make, organise and buy most of the must-have details for a fraction of the cost that you might pay from specialist wedding suppliers.
Shop savvy, rummage around boot sales, craft and charity shops, and become familiar with sites such as Notonthehighstreet.com and Etsy – as these will be your go-to places for inspiration, along with Pinterest. And most of all, be prepared to haggle and negotiate bulk-buy deals.
Even if money is no object, some couples choose the DIY route simply to put their own stamp – or have complete control – on their special day. Little touches such as illustrated invites, hand-crafted centrepieces and a ‘no-cheese-allowed’ playlist will make the day memorable and allow the bride and groom to showcases their personalities.
The sky’s limit on how creative you can be – modern brides may want to switch traditional flowers for a button bouquet, while the more whimsical ones may want a scattering of mismatched vases each containing a single flower instead of one grand centrepiece.
Planning a DIY wedding provides the perfect chance to bond with friends and family members, as long as they don’t mind being roped in to help. Got decorations or favours to make? Ask your bridal party. It’s a great way to keep in touch with your nearest and dearest, and can even be quite a hoot once the production line is in full swing and the wine starts flowing.
Try to make the most of your loved ones’ talents, without asking too much, whether it be granny’s baking prowess, your mother-in-law’s dress-stitching skills, a crafty cousin or friend who’s a whiz with Illustrator.
If you’ve ever wanted to learn a new skill such as flower arranging, make-up artistry, origami or baking, then what better time to than for your own nuptials? You don’t even have to sign up for an expensive course, as there are blogs, tutorials and how-to videos for just about anything online. The results might not be quite as perfect as the professionals’, but your guests won’t be able to tell the difference and you’ll have a talent for life!
When it comes to DIY weddings, what you save in money, you’ll lose in time. Planning a wedding can take months, even years, and doing things yourself can take a toll on your free time.
You’ll need to set aside enough time to research all those little details; create spreadsheets and lists to keep on top of everything; shop around for the best deals; coordinate with suppliers; design and create any handmade decorations, details and stationery; taste menus and wines; practise hair and make-up… the list goes on and on as the weeks and months quickly slip away, so be prepared and plan well ahead! If the thought of organising all of this has left you feeling exhausted, then DIY probably isn’t right for you!
DIY weddings are not always as cost-effective as you might think. Even with proper planning and budgeting, unexpected costs such as delivery, fees such as VAT, creative mistakes and things you simply forgot about can pop up, so think about having an ‘emergency’ contingency fund, just in case.
Choosing colour schemes and tasting menus can be difficult enough, but doing everything DIY is even more stressful because the buck stops with you. The last few weeks before the wedding are key and will pass by in the blink of an eye, so get as much as humanly possible booked, confirmed and created well in advance, leaving you to concentrate on the final details and more importantly, get some beauty sleep.
If the idea of a totally DIY wedding is as scary as tripping down the aisle, then consider hiring a coordinator for the wedding day alone to ensure everything runs smoothly.
While a vintage-style reception complete with sandwiches and homemade cupcakes might be just your cup of tea, the couple probably can’t put all this together on the day itself, and you can’t necessarily expect family and friends to be able to either.
While your nearest and dearest may initially offer to help in any way they can, be careful not to burden them by asking too much – and then there are those who might just let you down, unintentionally, of course.
You’ll need some serious man power on the day before to decorate the venue, and even more to clear up afterwards, so double check your volunteers have the time and motivation to spare, because they’ll want to be celebrating too, after all.
By Shelly McCatty
Friday 13 May 2016
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