If you’ve started planning your wedding day, you will have quickly realised that there are many hidden (and not-so-hidden) costs involved in paying for your big day. From the venue hire to the bridal party gifts, the wedding breakfast to the corkage fees, the costs will really start to mount up. This is inevitable. But one way to cut down on all those costs is to go down the DIY wedding route. Or even better, DIT – Do It Together. Get all of your friends together to help you make, bake, and create all of the little aspects of your wedding day. Not only will planning a DIY wedding save you money, it will mean that you have a truly personal wedding day that your guests will love.
Get wedding decor inspiration from Pinterest, wedding blogs and magazines, but don’t overwhelm yourself. Be realistic – don’t attempt to take too much on yourself. If you love the look of elaborate flower arrangements, know that you’re probably going to need to get a florist involved rather than try and pick them yourself, and arrange them on the morning of your wedding day. If you fall in love with an unusual intricate paper decoration, by all means have a go at making one yourself, but just understand that the creator has probably been honing their skill for years, so you may be better off buying a special piece directly from them, and saving your DIY skills for another wedding project.
Have a think about your friends and family and who out of them has the skills you need to make your day a DIY wedding success. Do you want to create DIY wedding invitations? Ask a designer friend to help you with your invitation/save the date designs. Do you have your heart set on DIY wedding centrepieces? Ask a green fingered friend to help with the wedding flowers. Does your mother-in-law-to-be make the most delicious lemon drizzle cake? Ask her if she’d mind doing your wedding cake. Your friends will jump at the chance to be involved in your big day, and if you ask them to give you their time and skills rather than spending money on a traditional wedding gift, they will be happy to oblige. The feeling you get when you look around on your wedding day, knowing your friends and family have helped make it possible, will be second to none.
Once you’ve decided on the decor style for the big day, whether that’s a bright, floral inspired wedding, or a pastel, geometric affair, you can start planning which decorations you’d like to make. Host decoration-making evenings at your place and invite all of your super creative friends around to get stuck in to some wedding crafts. Puffing homemade paper pom-poms will take half the time if you have some help, and will cost a fraction of the amount than if you were to buy them readymade. All you need is tissue paper and string, lots of it. If you know someone who’s handy with a paintbrush, get them over to help paint personalised wedding signs – your guests might need a few pointers of where to go for the ceremony, which side to sit on, and what time the speeches will be. Hand painted wedding signs will make things easier for everyone. As long as you supply wine and snacks, your friends will be happy to spend some evenings helping you with wedding DIY.
It’s a good idea to have everything you plan to make completed at least a month before the wedding day itself. With so many loose ends to tie up in that time, you won’t want to sit around stuffing personalised wedding favours into bags. You should be concentrating on final wedding dress and suit fittings, answering questions from wedding guests and vendors, and finalising all of your plans. If you’ve decided that you are going to tackle the wedding flowers yourself (and you’ve got a friend who’s willing to get up early to go to the flower market with you) remember that there’s no need to pull an all-nigher on the evening before the wedding – fresh flowers can be kept in a refrigerated environment for up to two days, so you can arrange all of your bouquets ahead of time.
Make sure you have a plan of action for the day itself. Who’s job it is to decorate the venue in the morning is entirely up to you. Some brides prefer to stay at home and take their time getting ready, with the husband-to-be and a few mates doing the installation. If you know you’d get stressed out with too much to do on the morning of the wedding, ask a trusted team to get the venue(s) ready for you, so you can concentrate on staying calm and enjoying the day. However, if you know you couldn’t relax sitting around at home, and you’d much rather get stuck into the decorating, by all means go. Just leave yourself enough time to get home and get into your dress without working up too much of a sweat. Either way, the key is to choose a brilliant team of friends and family to support you. If you’ve got a bossy bridesmaid on hand to organise people, that’s ideal. You’ll find that most people will be willing and eager to lend a hand.
You will also need to organise a cleanup/teardown crew for the morning after the wedding. If this is a truly DIY wedding, you may not have any venue staff on hand to help with this, and getting up early to tear down all of your lovingly prepared decorations will be the last thing you want to do after all the joy of the day before. So make sure you ask a crew of lovely people (non-drinkers are a good choice for this job) to help you out. It won’t take anywhere near as long as it did to put them up.
So if you want to organise a DIY wedding, get stuck in. Give yourself plenty of time to prepare, and be realistic with your time management and skills – there are some things that are best left to the experts. Asking an amateur photographer friend to take a few snaps on your wedding day may seem like a great idea, for example, but in reality it’s a huge job, your friend wont be able to relax and enjoy the day, and so many important shots can be easily missed.
If you would much rather your friends and family gave you their time and skills than bought you a traditional wedding present, contributed to your cash gift list, or donated to a honeymoon fund, you can set up a Patchwork registry showing them all of the elements of your wedding day that you would like some help with. Then your wedding guests can pledge to help you out. Your mother-in-law can commit to making the cake, your mate from school can pledge to do an hour’s DJ set, and your bridesmaids can tell you that they’d love to help you out making decorations. And you can keep track of who’s doing what in your Patchwork account.
We charge a 3% fee on all cash contributions made through our online cash gift list, but if you choose to only include ‘make and do’ items, we won’t charge you anything. We only collect money if you do. Read more about our fees here.