Weddings are a perfect time to get creative and save some money by DIYing certain elements of your ceremony and reception. Unless you’re a professional and have a lot of experience, however, there are some things better left to the experts – these areas of decor will cost you more in time and/or money than it will a professional, the results will be pitiful at best or a disaster at worst, and in some cases they may even fall apart during your wedding or ceremony! Not to frighten you, but you need to be selective in what you choose to DIY. Here are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to crafting your wedding:
- Favours – Keep it simple, keep it edible. Something I always recommend to clients when they don’t know what to do as a favour (p.s. you can skip this element of the wedding if you choose – your guests probably won’t notice!). Small, intimate weddings often allow for more creativity and personalization with the favour, or donating to your favourite charity in lieu of favours is another increasingly popular option. Just avoid gifts that are customized with your picture or initials – guests will throw those away…if they take them at all! Although DIYing this aspect may take some time, it can be an effective way to cut costs and be involved in your wedding decor so round up your girlfriends and turn it into a fun night to chat and connect.
- The Programs – This simple stationery element can be done yourself. Find a coloured or patterned paper that coordinates with your wedding theme and print the order of ceremony on to it; cut and trim as needed. This also gives you the option to do something unique with the shape or texture and allows you to hold off printing until you have all the details in place if there’s any uncertainty. (But don’t put it off too long as it still takes time!) This is something most guests will throw away so you don’t need to spend a lot of time or money on it – just keep it simple and make sure it matches with your wedding theme.
- The Cake – Between baking, decorating, and transporting, there’s a lot that can go wrong when you try to DIY your wedding cake. It’s not as easy as it seems! Since this will probably be a key element of your reception and something your guests will want to see and even photograph, leave this to the pros in order to avoid a wedding cake disaster!
- Photography – Don’t leave the documenting of your special day to well-meaning relatives or guests. They may be a great source for candid shots, but high-quality images that really capture the essence of you as a couple as well as the vibe of your wedding day should be left to a pro who can deliver the beautiful images you’ll treasure in years to come.
- Day-of Management – Even if you made it through the entire planning process and have everything perfectly organized, when it comes to the day of your wedding, bring in a coordinator. You’ll never be able to relax and just enjoy the day when you’re needing to manage everything and everyone. Plus, the experience your coordinator will bring may be a lifesaver if something goes wrong. Let someone else tackle the setup, management, and clean up while you enjoy the moments.
- Invitations – This is the first glimpse guests will get of your wedding – make it a good one! With so many options out there, there’s no reason you should be DIYing your invites! Online sources like Minted and Shutterfly offer a wide range of affordable options to make your invitations unique and personal while still looking high-end and professional, and they’ll take less time than it would for you to design and print your own.
- Hair & Makeup – Unless you’re a pro, let a hair stylist and makeup expert handle your beauty game! This will help you avoid disasters like your up-do falling out mid-ceremony and makeup that disappears by the middle of the day or looks ghastly in certain lighting. Plus, it’s a lovely luxury to have someone else do your makeup and hair, and you deserve that pampering before you say “I do”.
- Catering – The reception can make or break a wedding, and it’s the one thing guests will most remember (and judge) your wedding by. Hire a reputable caterer; they’re experts not only in good food but also in ensuring it the meal is ready on-time, stays warm, and tastes delicious by the time it is served to your guests. Even if your father is an amazing cook, it’s important for him to be fully present to enjoy the reception and share in all the moments of your day.
Another thing to keep in mind: it’s a myth that you can always save money by DIYing. Sometimes, a DIY will cost you more than purchasing or hiring! Professionals can often access better prices and a wider variety of materials than you could ever access, and outsourcing tasks frees you up to focus on the elements that are most important to you. Even if a DIY is cost-efficient, remember to take into account your time cost (how much time you’ll have to invest in buying, making, and creating). Some things are just worth having a pro do!