DIY weddings are extremely popular right now; many brides have found that “Do-It-Yourself” makeup, decorations, and party favors not only save money, they often add a personal touch to the wedding ceremony or reception that wedding professionals simply can’t capture. On the other hand, some things – like baking your wedding cake and taking photos of your special day – are better left to the professionals. To know which wedding preparation items are worth spending the money on and which you can take care of at home, consult our helpful list of Wedding DIY Do’s and Don’ts.
When It’s Okay To “Do It Yourself”
#1: Doing Your Makeup
Though a professional makeup artist can bring wedding-specific knowledge (regarding makeup in different types of lighting, waterproofing, etc.) and lots of high-quality beauty products to the table, many brides who have their makeup done professionally later say they feel they could’ve done a comparable job (and for a fraction of the price). Doing your own makeup in the comfort of your home or hotel room is also preferable to hustling out of the house for a 9 a.m. appointment on morning of your wedding. Save yourself the money and anxiety by checking out these makeup tips, or do a quick Google search for inspiring pointers.
#2: Decorating Your Ceremony & Reception
Gone are the days of bloated decorating budgets spent on professional floral arrangements and flashy, over-the-top centerpieces; modern brides want to add a personal touch to their wedding weddings ceremonies and receptions, and this (thankfully) translates into cost-effective DIY decorations over pricey, professional decor. Hand-picked wild flowers in mason jars and candles in uniquely-decorated glasses are great alternatives to $200-a-piece bouquet table decorations, and colored ribbons, hand-painted signed, and christmas lights can turn any event space into the perfect place to celebrate. Just don’t forget to enlist friends and family members with the decorating duties – actually doing it all yourself would be a monumental undertaking!
#3: Picking Your Party Favors
While giving guests 18k gold bracelets (like Eva Longoria and Tony Parker did at their wedding) or $500 bottles of Bollinger champagne (like Kim and Kanye) to your wedding guests would be nice, few of us have the resources to make such extravagances possible. Instead, rely on your creativity and DIY sensibilities to create personalized wedding favors that your friends and family members will cherish – and actually use/eat/enjoy – in the short term. Homemade soap wrapped in ribbon or little succulent plants in customized pots are lovely take-aways, and granola baked in your own kitchen is something every guest can enjoy. When in doubt, start baking – cookies and brownies are always excellent party favors!
#4: Creating Your Invitations, Programs, and Save-the-Dates
Not only are hand-crafted invites less expensive, but your guests will appreciate the time and thought that went into your wedding’s notifications and stationary items. Specialty stores like Paper Source usually have great selections of colored papers, envelopes, stamps, and pens, as well as knowledgeable employees that can help you plan your project within your budget. Pro Planner Tip: When deciding on the size of your DIY invites and “Save The Dates,” be sure they fit in a standard-sized envelope; oversized envelopes cost extra to mail which, depending on the size of your wedding, can add hundreds of dollars to your mailing expenses.
When You Should Leave It To The Professionals
#1: Baking Your Wedding Cake
Let’s face it: There are some skills that take years to perfect, and baking might be one of those skills. Your “Grandma’s Secret Recipe” butterscotch cookies might be a hit at office parties, but baking a full sized wedding cake – not to mention decorating and transporting it – generally takes more expertise than most amatuer chefs possess. Don’t risk ruining one of the most important aspects of your wedding just to save a few bucks; your future self will thank you when looking at the photos of your professionally designed and decorated cake.
#2: Taking Your Wedding Photos
50 years from now, your wedding photos and videos might be some of the only tangible things left to remember your wedding by; do you really want to leave something so precious in the hands of an amatuer?! Worse still: actually trying to organize and take your wedding photos yourself! Though quality photographers – along with their multiple/backup cameras, professional lighting and flashes, and top-of-the-line photo editing suites – usually come with a large price tag, consider the extra expense as an investment in your future happiness. Memories fade, after all, but photos of your wedding day can last for decades.
#3: Your Reception Catering
Don’t be naive: feeding hundreds of people (or even 20 people!) is a massive undertaking; not only do you need a space to prepare all your wedding reception food (and workers to help you do it), but you also need a way to store it, transport it, and keep the hot foods hot and the cold foods cold. If you want to actually enjoy your wedding, better to hire a professional catering service to take care of all the nitty-gritty “behind the scenes” work. Pro Planner Tip: If you have a special recipe that simply MUST be included in your wedding meal, catering service and banquet halls (like Olivia Restaurant) will usually work with you to make your culinary dreams come true. It never hurts to ask!
#4: Your Musical Entertainment
In the digital age of iPods and Spotify, any pre-adolescent with thumbs can theoretically manage the music at your wedding reception; this does not, however, mean that allowing your 10-year-old nephew to dictate the atmosphere of your wedding party is a great idea. Opting for a professional DJ will ensure that all the right songs get played at the right times, and the best DJs will help you cultivate a custom playlist that features the Sinatra early in the evening (while Grandma is still awake) and saves Lil’ Wayne for later, after all the kids and grandparents have retired.