If you are the DIY type, it's easy to think that you can just do everything for your wedding yourself. There certainly are plenty of tutorials out there on how to make everything from your bouquet to your favors from scratch. While this can save money (sometimes), it doesn't always save time or sanity. Here are a few dos and don'ts on what you should make for your wedding - and what you should leave to the professionals.
Give Yourself Two Weeks
The rule of thumb I give to my clients is that they can make whatever they want - as long as they can do it at least two weeks before the event. This means that anything perishable is out of the question, such as cake, flowers, food, etc.
There is a post going around the interwebs these days suggesting that you buy your flowers wholesale, but that could very well be some of the worst advice out there! Do you really want to spend the two days leading up to your wedding stripping stems and cleaning vases? Not to mention, who is going to bring the flowers and set them up? Florals, while they can be somewhat expensive, should be left to the professionals. If they are just out of your budget entirely, then save yourself the headache and find a non-floral alternative. Terrariums, lanterns, and pots of succulents or herbs can easily be put together long before the wedding (as long as you maintain them).
Your cake is another one that you most definitely do NOT want to take on. Even if you freeze the cake, it won't last for more than a few days, which means that you would be spending the time you should be drinking mimosas and getting a manicure on frosting a three tiered monstrosity - and believe me, I've never seen a good looking DIY wedding cake.
While I obviously wouldn't recommend DIYing any type of floral boutonniere, there are plenty of alternatives that you can make far in advance! These fishing lure boutonnieres by the Easterdays are absolutely adorable and can be purchased or made far in advance if your groom is an avid fisherman. Other options would be to use paper flowers, buttons, or even feathers instead of a fresh bloom. They would make a wonderful keepsake as well!
While I'm not always a fan of wedding favors (they should always be consumable, in my opinion), putting them together a few weeks before your wedding is usually an option. Unless it's something perishable, such as cookies or another type of food, you shouldn't have a problem putting labels on jars or tying ribbon around mini bottles of champagne the month before your wedding. Just make sure you keep them in the right place - you don't want your airplane bottles to go bad because it was too hot in your garage!
Stationery & Signage
Putting together a full invitation suite may take time, but you'll definitely save money by doing it yourself rather than having your designer or planner do it. Consider it a party, and invite your friends and family over to help stuff envelopes, with a few bottles of wine, of course. And as long as you plan it out beforehand, you can handwrite or design the signage to be displayed at your ceremony and reception as well.
The only item that may be difficult to make two weeks before your wedding would be the place or escort cards, so those may be best left to a professional that can customize closer to the wedding.
Okay, so this might not always be a good idea, but there are a few instances in which sewing your own linens might work for you! If you love to sew and don't have a huge guest count, why not consider making your own napkins or tablerunners? Mismatched napkins in different patterns are perfect for a more rustic event, and could be used for years to come in your own home. You can always give them away after the fact as well (once you wash them, of course).
While this may work in small batches, renting bulk linens is usually best left to someone that provides them professionally, rather than purchasing them on your own. Read this post for a few reasons why.
Who is Setting it Up?
As a wedding planner, this is probably the biggest issue I have with DIY elements. They can be beautiful, don't get me wrong, but they can also be a pain! Think of it this way - you have crafted this incredible escort card display out of recycled wood and it reaches almost eight feet tall! How are you going to get it to the venue? Who is going to make sure that it's steady and set up correctly? Who is going to transport it after the wedding?
These are real things that need to be taken into consideration before you DIY everything for your wedding. As a planner, I can only do so much for you, and that doesn't usually include installing elaborate pieces or large amounts of decor. Unless, of course, you pay for additional hands which can negate the cost savings anyway.
DIYing your audiovisual needs is also a BIG hassle. Again, it may be less expensive to create a playlist on an iPod, but someone will still need to set up speakers and manage the music. Made a slideshow of photos from your relationship? Great! Who is going to make sure that the projector is working while everyone is eating dinner?
You may say that [insert guest or family member here] has experience doing such-and-such, but do you really want them worrying about how the centerpieces are looking or whether or not the music is too loud during cocktail hour? No! You want them to mingle and enjoy themselves. That's what your wedding is about, after all.
So, before you go about making plans for hanging 1,000 origami cranes or putting together bouquets and corsages for you and your eight bridesmaids, think about how it's going to work out in the end. Is it going to cause you more stress than necessary on your wedding day? If so, I promise it won't be worth it.