Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Best DIY Projects for Brides

Let's all be honest about the fact that weddings are expensive. Food, decor, attire- it all adds up and fast. It's understable that couples would try to save a little money here and there. Obviously, the most effective way to keep costs down is to narrow down the guest list, but truthfully, if your closest family and friends are all there to celebrate, you'll end up regretting that cost-cutting choice down the road. The second most effective way, when done right, is to DIY certain portions of the wedding. We've all seen dozens of DIY "Fails" all over the internet, so today on the blog, we're going to give you our advice for how best to DIY your wedding.

STEP 1: Prioritize!

Once you've put your wedding day budget together, sit back and look at all the elements. Discuss it with your fiance and decide what is most important to you. For example, if it's crucial to you to have a specific look for your bridal bouquet, it's likely you should choose to spend a little more and hire a professional florist to get exactly the look you want. Unless you're remarkably skilled, don't risk trying to DIY something that's really important to you. By the time you realize it was a bad idea, you may end up out of options due to time and budget constraints. You do not want that kind of disappointment, so it's important to be realistic from the get-go.

STEP 2: Organize!

Now that you've decided exactly what you will DIY, it's time to organize all the details- this includes determining what supplies you need, what research needs to be done, what tutorials you need to watch, and of course what time needs to be scheduled for these DIY projects to actually be completed. Ask ANY bride who's DIY'd anything in her wedding and she'll tell you to get it done ahead of time. The last thing you want is a pile of projects to complete the week of the wedding. That's the time you should be spending with your family and friends, especially if some of them are coming in from out of town. And trust us, there will be PLENTY of items on the To-Do list the week of the wedding to keep you and your bridal party busy. Don't overwhelm yourself or your 'maids with extra DIY projects in the last few days. Just don't.

STEP 3: Execute!

Before tackling ANY wedding day DIY project, do a test run. Make one mock-up of the centerpiece design and look at it objectively. Make adjustments and get the design just right before moving on. Order a sample of the invitation design before printing all 150 of them! Whatever the DIY project, practice it enough that you feel confident you can create the look you want given your skill level. Let's be honest- we're not all Martha Stewart, right? However, if you have a friend or relative who IS as good as Martha, don't hesitate to enlist his or her help.

If you plan appropriately, you can end up saving yourself hundreds or even thousands of dollars, depending on how much you choose to DIY. With that in mind, we've compiled a list of what we feel are the best parts of a wedding to DIY, and not just for the super crafty brides, either!

1.) Paper Goods- Lots of brides are using their own software and inexpensive printing sites like VistaPrint to design their own invitation suite. You can choose to do something simple like the Save-the-Date cards, or you can do everything including your full invitation suite, escort cards, table numbers, menus, etc.

2.) Centerpieces- If you like the idea of a centerpiece design that doesn't necessarily incorporate fresh flowers, this can be an excellent DIY option, since they can be done at any point and stored away in your basement or attic until the big day.

3.) Favors- Much like centerpieces, as long as there isn't anything perishable involved like food or flowers, you can DIY the favors and then box 'em up until the big day. And it will feel pretty awesome to have that major item on your list checked off early in the planning process.

For the average bride, there are definitely some ways to save money through DIY, but there are also some aspects of the wedding that we feel very strongly about leaving to the professionals.

1.) Food- Unless your family owns their own catering business and is accustomed to handling large scale events, definitely leave this to the professionals. When it comes to food and drink, there are so many things that professionals will do and take into consideration that you could never imagine in your wildest dreams.

2.) Flowers- Even if you're a skilled floral designer and can put together a beautiful bouquet for yourself, that doesn't mean you should. Aside from the pressure of spending the morning of your wedding creating boutonnieres, bouquets and centerpieces, you also have to consider the logistics of picking up the flowers prior to putting the designs together AND delivering them to the various locations- bouquets to the bridal party, boutonnieres to the men, corsages for special guests, centerpieces for the reception, large arrangements for the church- that's a LOT of running around. A professional florist can plan for those logistics while keeping your flowers fresh in their climate-controlled vehicles.

3.) DJ- It's becoming increasingly popular to create various playlists for your wedding- one for the cocktail hour, another during dinner, and then of course the playlist to get all your guests bustin' a move on the dance floor. However, we don't recommend this particular DIY for one big reason: a DJ is not just there to hit "play." A DJ is there to facilitate the flow of your reception- from announcing the bridal party and introducing the couple, to letting guests know when the buffet is open. Most importantly, a DJ will read the crowd and respond accordingly with appropriate song choices. A playlist can never do that.

Are you a DIY bride? Do you agree with our advice? Why or why not? Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts!

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