You're eyes are not deceiving you, this is a DIY wedding blog, kicking-off with some guidance on when DIY can go all sorts of wrong- but don't worry, I've also got some tricks up my sleeve on how you can make it go all sorts of right. First up though (and this is the important bit) is a big dash of honesty when it comes to DIY-ing your day:
It is a LOT of work.
Yep, sorry to rain on the parade, but what all those beautiful images you've pinned to your mood boards and planners aren't telling you is that, designing, organising and creating a wedding day is no mean feat - it's not impossible, absolutely not, but it can turn into a bit of an ogre if you're not prepared. Saying that, there really is no better way to have the wedding day you've always dreamed of by doing it yourself! So sit back and relax, here are the top 3 big DON'Ts for success in the run up to your I DO's:
1. Don't be a Monica
So, Millenials, remember that moment when our favourite super-organised Friend is about to head down the aisle as a bridesmaid with her headset on? That was me. Except I wasn't the bridesmaid, I was the bride and, to be fair, I didn't have a headset- no one else was willing to wear one. I decided to DIY because we were on a tight budget (no problem) but also because I'm a complete perfectionist and basically didn't trust anyone else to do it (big problem), so, from day dot, I was in charge and that's exactly how I wanted it.
Now that all sounds peachy, right? Well, it was, to start with, in fact I got a real kick out of being a bride-turned-wedding-planner-girl-boss. However, it did start to take it's toll, and I remember waking up the morning before 'day zero' panicking about how we were going decorate the venue (sans venue manager), decorate the cake (sans cake-maker), set the tables (sans caterers), build the outside dance area (sans builders - see the pattern emerging?) before emerging from it the other side as the serene, swan-like bride I'd dreamed of being.
Safe to say, we got it all done, however come the next day I was a tad more 'headless chicken' than 'swan' and the reason? I'd taken on too much. Yes, it sounds obvious, but when it's your wedding day it can be easy to convince yourself that anything is possible, that you can pull off whatever day you want without spending a dime on professional assistance, however I am here to tell you, unequivocally, you are almost definitely wrong. There is no shame in asking for a bit of help, even if it's just someone to make some calls for you, to make your cake or even just to make you a stiff drink the morning of, and the only way to truly have a wedding day to remember is to not have your head so full of schedules, costs and responsibilities that you can't actually remember it. So we salute you, Monica, but there is a reason why Vogue has never featured a Bride with a Walkie-Talkie and it's probably best kept that way.
2. Make Time for Making Time
There's nothing wrong with not wanting to hang about for your nuptials, but a healthy dose of realism on how much you can achieve in, say, 6 months, is needed. You're average wedding can take anything from 250 - 400 hours to plan from scratch, and that is not including you hand-stitching each of your guest's names onto miniature knitted animals, or sculpting an elaborate 5 tier cake out of buttercream, so if you're wanting to do the whole she-bang, you'll probably want to set yourself a good 18 months at least. However, if there is a shorter time limit for whatever reason, that's no problem, but it's always good to remember not many of us are blessed with Delia Smith baking skills and Blue Peter presenter craft abilities.
Similarly, figure out what kind of elements you want to make yourself as early as possible, and divvy up the workload - I was saved by my lovely bridesmaid who didn't bat an eyelid when I turned up on her doorstep one afternoon with a bin bag full of tissue paper and a crazed, 300-pompoms-can-be-made-in-a-week look in my eye, but not everyone has such forgiving pals! Decide on your theme/ scheme as soon as you can and research, research, research - find all of the images that inspire you and build a vision (and a plan!) from there, rather than deciding two days before the wedding that you absolutely cannot live without 80 metres of felted bunting...
3. Don't fear the B word
No, not Bunting: Budget! For some reason, there appears to be a bit of silent horror around discussing the cost of weddings, on one hand there is the school of thought that it's a once-in-a-lifetime event and should therefore have no expense spared, whilst on the other there are those who believe that one big party shouldn't have to cost you the equivalent of a house deposit (you might be able to tell which camp I fall into). The important thing to remember here, is that it doesn't actually matter how much money you've got, it's about how much you feel COMFORTABLE in spending - for some people that's £500, others its £50,000 and that's no problem, you just need to be open from the start, realistic about what you want to achieve and have an understanding that whilst a limited budget may mean you have to make more sacrifices, throwing more money at something doesn't always improve it either.
One of my top tips for wedding budget-busting is to write down (together) what three things are the most important for your day, it could be food, music and a decent photographer, or it could be the dress, the flowers and having an open bar! Once you've done that, you have to build around it, and be realistically flexible with the other bits - et voila! Budget- friendly big day!
So there you have it, how not to DIY your wedding, but as you'd probably imagine, I'm pretty PRO a DIY'd day, so if you're still not put off and want a little more advice, or even a helping hand, why not drop me a line...
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