DIY wedding projects are all over the place, thank Pinterest for that. Oh the magic of the internet. I've seen some really awesome DIY details, but more and more, I see brides taking on too many projects for themselves and it's stealing the fun out of their engagements, not to mention their wedding days.
While hand-making the welcome bags, favors, program fans, centerpieces, and so on and so forth sounded cute, fun, and economical; the truth is that it added a lot of avoidable stress to my planning process and took a lot out of my budget.
I understand wanting to add unique, personal details to your wedding day and I know that DIY is a great way to achieve this. However, my personal and professional advice is to evaluate the situation first. Look at your timeline, your schedule, and your finances before committing to anything DIY. Once you have a good grasp on what kind of timeline and budget you are working with, choose 1-3 DIY projects to work on and leave it at that. Choose what is most important to you and also the most personal. By limiting the amount of non-essentials that I was taking on, I might have actually enjoyed my DIY projects instead of seeing them as a huge burden.
Here are a few of my own DOs and DON'Ts when it comes to your wedding and do-it-yourself projects:
DO Limit DIY To A Few Items
Like Kelly said, choose only one to three DIY projects that you can realistically accomplish based on the amount of time you can commit to them, your talent and ability to complete them to your liking, not to mention, they should be fair to your budget.
DON'T Leave Things To The Last Minute
Once you've chosen a few projects, get started on them right away. Trust me, time flies. You will have lots on your plate. How embarrassing if you don't have time to finish the awesome favours you dreamed up and now you don't have enough for each guest? If you run out of time to work on a must-have, you'll be scrambling and paying up for a last minute option that's good-to-go. Set a deadline for yourself - that's well ahead of the wedding date - and stick to it.
DO Let Friends & Family Help
Take a deep breath. Put down the hole punch. You don't have to do everything all by yourself. I repeat:
You. Don't. Have. To. Do. Everything. All. By. Yourself.
For my own wedding, I chose to make our programs and wedding favours . I had plenty of friends willing to help, but this OCD control freak was afraid of being branded a bridezilla, so I insisted on doing everything alone, rather than risk insulting friends if their work wasn't up to my crazy standards or subjecting them to sweatshop-like work conditions. It was a struggle just to let my fiancée-now-husband insert ribbon in to the programs before I insisted on tying the knots. If I had been willing to accept more help, I would have found the entire process a lot less stressful.
DON'T Forget About Set Up And Tear Down
So you've glittered every mason jar you could get your hands on, the "pick a seat, not a side" sign is perfect (three tries later) and you've collected a small warehouse of vintage furniture. These items will not magically transport themselves to the wedding venue, or be flown in by birds Cinderella-style. Realistically, who is going to get those to the venue for you? And set them up as beautifully as you've imagined. You'll be busy getting beautiful along with your friends and family and your fiancée and in-laws deserve to enjoy the day too. Try to limit the amount of work that you, your family or guests, will have to do the day of the wedding, or the night before.
DO Check With Your Venue & Planner
Confirm whether your venue will allow you to drop items off prior to the wedding day and that might make things a little easier. But a biggy that a lot of couples forget is what will happen to all of their items after the wedding. This goes not just for DIY projects, but also items you've purchased directly from vendors, online or wherever. You've danced the night away, everyone's ready to grab a slice of cake for the road and get home to sleep. The last thing you'll want to do is spend an hour tearing things down and loading them in to your car or a rental truck because your venue won't do it for you, or even store them, they probably have another event to prepare for. Also, most planners do not include tear-down services in their packages. A venue coordinator once told me anything left on-site would be headed straight for the garbage! Plan ahead. Trust me, the last thing you, or your guests, will want to do at the end of the evening is tear things down or lug them home. The same goes for the day after.
DO Consider The Cost
Be honest, how much do the materials required for your desired DIY projects cost? And not just supplies and equipment costs, but how about in time and sanity? What if you can't get it right on the first few tries and you need to buy more materials later on? What if the materials you purchased before are no longer readily available and you're going to spend a weekend visiting every craft store in the greater Toronto area for just one more pack of printable invitations? Planning a wedding is time-consuming with out the added tasks of creating every detail from scratch. Trust me, the "oohs" and "ahhs" of admiration for a job well done will fade quickly, while glue-gun scars and painful memories of being overworked when you should have been enjoying your engagement, those last forever. In a lot of cases, things are better left to the professionals. Do your research and consider if paying someone versus doing it yourself is really worth it.
In case I haven't convinced you, check out this post, To DIY or Not To DIY, also from Every Last Detail.