Today, I’m contemplating DIY weddings. Handmade weddings are a big deal and there are many gorgeous ones out there which people have done a fantastic job on. Indeed, my own wedding was really quite DIY and, if you’re on a modest budget, it is a fantastic way to make those all-important pennies stretch a bit further. But, there are limits to what you can do yourself and the skills and expertise of those wedding professionals cannot be underestimated. So, what’s doable and what should you really leave to the experts?
Speaking as a DIY bride myself, I know how tempting it is to want to do this part of your wedding yourself. Styling the venue is something crucial to those who like to have control of their big day but the logistics of this really needs to be considered. The evening before my wedding, my bridesmaid literally had to come and drag me out of the marquee to go home and relax after spending two whole days setting out china, hanging bunting (with lots of help from brilliant friends & family) and installing the music system! Our venue was a family space so we didn’t have professionals around us to direct, but a decent and approachable wedding planner could take all the stress out of this aspect of the wedding. You really don’t want to be six feet up a ladder the morning of your wedding nor should any of your guests be stressing about it either! Let your day be relaxing and enjoyable for all your guests, including the bridal party. Meeting the venue’s coordinator or your own wedding planner and ensuring they are on the same wave length as you and your theme is absolutely crucial. Creating mood boards on Pinterest that you can share is a great resource to help with this. Also, consider whether you want a china collection for 200 hanging around afterwards and the hassle of having to sell everything you’ve bought for one day!
Follow my boards here
I was very lucky to have a mother in law and aunty who were super creative and clever with our pedestal and top table flowers and did a fantastic job with homegrown flowers from the farm. If you don’t have family members with green-fingers, this is certainly a side of the styling I wouldn’t meddle with! We’ve all seen terrible bouquets which are patchy, bald and fall apart as soon as that 3 year old bridesmaid looks at them and I really think this is an element to your big day that a professional should be in charge of! Yes, they can be a significant chunk of the budget if you’re going for full on floral arrangements, but remember that there are really nice alternatives around now and that flowers aren’t the only decoration you can have as table centrepieces. A beautiful bouquet can really set the tone of your theme and add that splash of colour to the bridal party. However, if you’re going for an alternative bouquet, handmade really can be rather charming, as illustrated by the very clever Andrina (one of our recent real brides!). Take a look at her incredible DIY bouquet here
Lots of people can bake, and there are so many cake decorating workshops available now that a DIY wedding cake is more of an option now than ever! The very talented Charlotte from Restoration Cake runs amazing DIY wedding cake workshops in London – see here. Pool the resources of your friends and family with this one. Sometimes, the older generation in your family have hidden talents you may not even know about, and baking is generally one of these! Alternatively, a plain iced cake can be bought at a fraction of a price from a professional baker and can be decorated to fit any theme. Plain, iced fruit cakes are available from Marks & Spencers for a great price and all decoration suited to the special couple. Bear in mind, though, that you may need to hire a cake stand suitable for your cake which can be pricey! Our white chocolate 3-tiered wedding cake was a creation from my very talented sister-in-law (you can ask her how stressful it was to have that responsibility!)
Getting your friends and family involved in making items for your wedding is a great way to make everyone feel valued and that they are contributing to the special event. It’s also a great way to fall out when you don’t agree over the shade of pink for the buttonholes or how symmetrical the bouquets are. I guess what I’m saying is, know you’re limitations. Know who you can trust to do what and have a fallback just in case. If you want to learn a new skill to make something bespoke, then that’s great but remember you need time to practise and refine those skills or you may be disappointed with the results. DIY truly is a great way to add personality to a wedding but make sure you are happy with things not being perfect or exactly the way you envisaged. And, remember, professionals are just that for a reason and have a wealth of experience to make your day run with a lot less stress and drama!