(Closed) Bride on a Budget – is DIY a feasible choice

posted 5 years ago in DIY
Post # 3
221 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

@missmegpit:  I think it all comes down to what is important to you and how much time you are willing to devote to the wedding.

My best  friend got married in November (booked her venue in August) and she made her own ribbon roses for the wedding and DIY centerpieces. She was pretty stressed and spent the majority of her free time making the roses.

On the day of we were all running around setting up the centerpieces and other wedding items which turned out fine but it was a bit chaotic.

For me I’m willing to cut my budget in other places to make it work to use a vendor. I can work long hours at times and don’t want the stress of worrying about anything on my wedding day. Someone is bringing in all my stuff, setting it up and taking it away and in the end our budgets are not that different. I’m lucky in one way as my venue includes an event coordinator who is awesome and takes care of a ton of stuff for me!

Post # 4
82 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

I’m doing a lot of DIY, be we have a longer engagement (15 months) and I started early.  I know what most of my projects will be, and I will go through spurts of feeling really crafty and getting a lot done, then not doing anything for a couple of weeks.  To me, it is totally worth it because I am saving a TON of money.  However, if I had less time to get everything done I would probably be much more stressed.  

As far as setting up on the day of, my centerpieces are going to be very simple (put down table runner, vase, put flowers in vase, scatter petals and tea lights).  We are estimating we willl have 25-30 tables, so it may take some time.  I’ve already been recruiting my aunts/cousins/friends, and I have a solid group who is going to take care of that for me so I can be stress free on the morning of the wedding.

Not sure how much this response helped.  I’m also in the recently graduated/holy crap I have a lot of student loans, so DIY was definitely the way to go for me!  I think if you schedule everything out (and spend maybe an hour or two each evening working on projects) it shouldn’t be bad.  Do you have friends/family that you could enlist to help out?

Post # 5
2508 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

It just depends how much time you have and if you have people helping you.  I don’t have much time at all, but we have an 18 month engagement, and I had friends and family helping out with various things, and I’m only able to take on a few DIY (I’m picking the huge money savers) or I’d be way too stressed (I’m also working on my PhD).  I’d prioritize them, and do the ones that you have to have first, and save the ones you could potentially due without to the end.  And definitely don’t procrastinate.  I love DIY personal touches to a wedding, and wish I have more time to incorporate more into mine!    

Post # 6
9181 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA

@missmegpit:  DIY can be awesome, but also

a) can get super time consuming

b) can also get expensive, just for the supplies

c) can be super stressful the day of the wedding unless you have a team of family & friends who are committed to helping set up all your DIY stuff

I did a lot of DIY (barnwood signs, paper garlands, centerpieces of flowers out of my dad’s garden, ceremony decor, etc).  I mostly did the actual DIY myself, although my husband did a few things (made a photobooth backdrop and our ceremony arch).  I loved having that personal touch, and all the guests thought it looked amazing.  But without the crew of like 20 people arranging flowers and setting up all the decor that morning, it would have been a disaster.  So make sure you think through how all your projects will actually get to your venue and set up…

If you’re getting overwhelmed with all the projects, I would make a list in order of priority.  Even a few DIY touches look awesome – you don’t need them ALL.

And congrats! 🙂


Post # 7
4192 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: July 2012 - Baltimore Museum of Industry

I had a six month engagement, and the way I kept my sanity was NOT to have too many DIYs! I did our invites/all the paper goods, since I used to be a graphic designer, and that was easy for me (and a lot of fun.) Also did DIY flowers, but I had three helpers the day before. The simpler you keep things, the easier it will be.

Not sure what you’re looking to do, but you can make a list and prioritize. You make DIY silk flowers, or you can buy calla lillies from Sam’s Club, which practically arrange themselves.

I had people lined up for helping with the flowers early on, and had a girlfriend who wasn’t in the wedding help me assemble the fan programs one afternoon. Pick the items that are fun and that you’d have willing helpers for, otherwise…


Post # 8
9549 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

You need lists. I separated my projects into “Must do”, “Really want to do”, and “If I have time”. That makes it much more manageable. And if you don’t get to the stuff on the lower priority lists, it’s no big deal!

Post # 9
8446 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

@missmegpit:  worth it, as long as you cross utilize materials, don’t purchase anything pre-made and keep everything in house (design, print, assemble, etc).  My total decor cost was $400 including flowers.  This is my DIY list:

  • cake topper
  • boutonnieres
  • bouquets (bridal, 2 Bridesmaid or Best Man, 2 nosegay (moms), 1 toss)
  • aisle decor
  • altar arrangements
  • centerpieces
  • table decor (luminaries)
  • Invitations
  • Programs
  • Tissue packets
  • Escort Cards and stand
  • Guestbook table Numbers
  • Table number stands
  • Custom hangers
  • Groom’s Gift (boudoir scrapbook, cufflinks, sock label, etc)
  • Bridal Jewelry
  • ‘will you be my bridesmaid’ gift boxes
  • Bridesmaid’s jewelry and gifts (macaron coin purses)
  • Gifts for Parents (scrapbook)
  • Pop-up gift card holders for wedding party
  • Favors (Caramel Chex Mix)
  • Sweet n Salty buffet items (cheese straws, dipped pretzels, cake pops, etc)
  • Sweet n Salty buffet container signs
  • Buffet Item Signs
  • Menus
  • Bar Menu
  • Cardbox
  • Welcome Bags
  • Map and itinerary (for welcome bags)
  • Thank You cards

I’m sure I’m forgetting a few things, but I was able to do this with a 10 month engagement and had plenty of time to spare.  Here are a few pics

Post # 10
1270 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 1994

I think some of it depends on the timeline, and you have to figure if you will really save substantially in the end. Also, if the end results are what works for you. Try and keep things simple I think.

I did my own bouquet prior to my elopement. My first try I did not like the results. So, I wound up buying a completely different kind of flower, and that was better. Not perfect, but better. I’d probably do it again though.

I have another friend who had a DIY wedding, and while she was thrilled with the results, I am not sure that I would agree so much with her, especially in comparrison to all the other weddings I’ve attended. But some people are more crafty than others.

Post # 11
23 posts
  • Wedding: June 2014

@housebee:  I am in LOVEEEE with your arbor, I have seen it in several posts and I lust a little more each time. WHere did it come from? Was it the venue’s / DId u buy or make it? PLease share oh great one 😀 

Post # 12
8576 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

Im kind of picking & choosing which stuff to diy – when it comes down to it.. everything isn’t worth it for me to DIY. But some stuff is!

Invites for instance.. are worth it for me to DIY – when I search for the invites that i wanted [pearl embellished, lace wrapped on card stock], it was well over $500, I won’t even break $100 making them myself.

I did pomanders, they cost me around $6 each and they look very real because I used foam flowers.

I’m doing all of my centerpieces.. and getting them from the dollar tree – I get the same 11″ vases that micheals sells for $20 for $1! We’re loading up with tons of candles for our centerpieces.

Food, photography, dj and flowers were things I did not want to do myself. Because they wouldn’t be professional, or it would just be too much work at the end of the day.

Instead, we are having fazoi’s cater [which we LOVE and so does our family].. we’ll be hiring a photographer, but not a top-grade one, as well as a dj.. and getting our flowers from sams club.

I’m DIYing our candy/dessert buffet, cigar bar, outside seating area & hay & bonfire areas… as well as 2 of our guest books [wishing tree & signed mirror].

Post # 14
8446 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

@Zaraj_Will:  Thanks 🙂  It’s actually a permanent structure at my venue.  They also provided the fabric (they had red or white) and the little white pillars as part of the ceremony package.  The floral arrangements are actually in decoupaged shoe/storage boxes, and instead of floral foam (which I’m not good with and is expensive) I used six solo cups with a paper towel on the bottom, which you can kind of see in this picture (looking down into the box)

Post # 15
424 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

I DIY’ed almost everything about my wedding: invitations, veil, garters, wedding cake(s), a personalized figuring cake topper, all the reception decor and flowers, photobooth props, programs, the ring bearer pillow and a set of clutches that were part of the bridesmaid gifts.  I’d also thought about making paper flowers for the reception, but was sick of it after making like 10 of them.  Instead we bought flowers from Costco and my mom and aunt and I prepared and set them up.  I had 8 months and 5 days from the time I was engaged to the day of the wedding, so it is definitely possible on a short schedule, as long as you are willing to put in the time.

Looking back, I’d definitely say it was worth it to DIY so much (huge money savings, especially for the veil, reception decor/flowers and the invitations (150 very custom invites for about $150 said and done-the ones I based the design on were ~$10 each)) and it made everything a little extra personal.  HOWEVER, the wedding did pretty much take over my life for months leading up to the wedding – I spent SO MUCH TIME working on wedding stuff – and the days in the week leading up to the wedding were extremely stressful trying to pull it all together.  

One key to successful DIY is that you have to be very careful about where you are buying supplies for your crafting and  really do your research to make sure you’re actually getting a deal or it can definitely be MORE expensive (ex: I shopped around for invite printers and found that the university would do it for 1/2 the price of kinkos but I had to do more of the set up of the printing files and I also waited to buy the paper from Michael’s until I had a half off coupon).  

The other advice I’d give about DIYing so much, is that you’re going to need A LOT of help getting everything set up for the ceremony reception the day before/day of the wedding.  I think for us it would have been almost impossible to get everything done if we hadn’t been able to get into the venue to set up the day before (although I had a very early wedding, so there was really NO time to set up the day of, it would be more doable with a late afternoon wedding).  I was VERY lucky to have a bunch of family come in early who were all willing to help set things up (mom and my aunt worked on the flowers, my dad and uncle hung the chinese lanterns, my brother put all the linens on the table, Fiance and another groomsman set out all the mirrors/vases/wine bottles with candles/table numbers on the tables, brother finished the escort cards, organized them and set them up, one of my bridesmaids helped set up where certain tables were going and hung up wall decorations…etc…).  I was definitely grateful for all the help setting up, but directing that many people is very stressful, especially because they are all really wanting to do it how you want it done so you’re constantly being asked questions and called away from what you’re wanting to get done – don’t plan on personally accomplishing much yourself!  One thing that could definitely have helped is to have a list of each task needing to be done (for you, so that you can see what’s been done, what’s left to do without having to think about it) and also have each task written out on a note card with details about how to do it, a picture of how to do it, and a labeled box with the supplies for that task.  That way you can just sort of hand off a packet to someone with instructions and a visual of how its supposed to be. 

If you’re feeling really stressed about the time you have left, I would recommend scheduling everything out that you’re wanting to get done (i.e. shop for supplies for escort cards on Monday, Dec 10, start cards on Tuesday, finish Wednesday) and include a little extra buffer time in your scheduling for when things go overtime.  Doing that will hopefully help you 1) keep making progress and 2) allow you to see what is feasible for you to get done and what isn’t.  Prioritize your projects and get the ones that are most important done first, that way if it gets close and things aren’t done you can drop them and not feel too bad.  

The other thing I would recommend (that I did not do very well) is to communicate with others that you need help and delegate if you can. If you expect all your bridesmaids to help you set up be sure to (clearly and nicely) tell them that (and buy some breakfast for everyone while you’re all working!).  A lot of people are very willing to help out with stuff if they just know that you want and need their help. 

Anyways, good luck on all your projects!

Post # 16
1285 posts
Bumble bee

My wedding is a DIY.

I’ve found 2 types of vendors to work with that are budget friendly and cheap.  These are people that work out of their homes.  

1. Bakers – Cake/Cupcakes 

2. Florists

Both of these people I’ve hired, work out of their homes. They are SAHM’s with side businesses.  They are so personable, they reply quickly, and they do fantastic jobs.  They also give you that one on one treatment.

I was dead set on Sams club for flowers and DIY, but I thought about it. I really don’t feel like doing flowers a day before my wedding.  This florist will be charging me as much as I’m spending at Sams Club for flowers. So I will have less stress! 

I think hiring this florist this week, has relieved a ton of stress! 

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