Welcome to Ask Emilie, here you can ask any question to our wedding planner Emilie. Emilie will answer your question no matter the topic. It can be about anything from styling, general wedding questions, cultural customs, planning, wedding budget and more. This week is about the choice between having a DIY wedding or using a professional stylist.
Today’s question is from Sharon S who asks:
Hey Emilie, I know exactly what and how my wedding will look like. I was going to go down the DIY wedding route. However some of my my friends who were recently married (who did do DIY for their wedding) advised against it. Whats your take on DIY Weddings?
A DIY wedding is fine but it is not for everyone. The real question you should ask yourself is not “to have a DIY wedding or not to have a DIY wedding” but rather “Which elements of my wedding shall I DIY and which elements shall I leave to a professional”. There is often a misconception that a wedding must be ‘DIY or not’. That a very ‘black and white” viewpoint that is very misleading to newly engaged couples.
What Can You DIY
Firstly you should choose which elements of the wedding to DIY or utilise a professional. You can literally DIY every aspect of your wedding right down to the celebrant. This is assuming if they are a friend who is willing to ordain your wedding. The most common elements to DIY for you wedding are the invitations, favors and decorations for your wedding.
Some of the best things to DIY for your wedding are invitations, place cards, seating chart, thank you cards. The reason for these items is that you are in complete control of these items and do not have to rely on others (although it makes the process a lot faster to complete). Also these items are small and compact. It’s fine to keep a few as a memento after the wedding but unlike buying wedding decorations and props, they will not take much space in your house and can be kept in a keepsake box.
Time = Money
What you save in money from doing if yourself will cost you in other ways. We once had a bride say “If I provide you with the materials I will pay you $50 to put all our invitations together as it will only take a few hours”. We advised her that it will take 2-3 nights with a team of friends. This person did not believe us and tried to do this with her brother in one evening. They ended up giving up after 3 hours after realising how long it would take them to complete.
The allure of saving a dollar is great but please realise you will be giving up your weekends and also weekends of your close family and friends to help you out with this project. Take time and read up on what is worth the time for you to go DIY. This leads us to a very valuable resource.
DIY Wedding Blogs
DIY wedding blogs promote the cost effective nature of DIY weddings and how ‘easy it is’. I advise that whatever you decide to DIY… to look at at least 3 different blog on the same topic. What these blogs fail to mention is either the time, the money or the scope required to complete the project.
A great example is this ‘Building a Wedding Photo Booth for $200USD‘, while is seems like a cheap and great solution there are a few things they forget to mention. Firstly they happened to have many of the components at home. While they technically built a photo booth, they do it in the cheapest and worst way possible. They used a webcam which does not compare to a DSLR used in many photo booths. If you want you wedding to have a touch of class, this booth is made of visually obvious plastic pipes.
The best comment for this video blog is “I don’t find this comparison fair at all, while i find a photo booth rental at 1000$ to be on the pricey side, your total 200$ did not include the computer, a printer, tripod, props, or even a proper camera / light“. In other words to make this a click-bait article appealing they had to leave out MANY of the items required, which in turn makes the $200 cost misleading”.
Lastly (just like DIY wedding styling) what are you going to do with it after your wedding. So you just built this photo booth that you will probably never use again, do you store it, throw it our or sell it on Ebay?
The Set Up and Logistics
Another thing to remember with DIY element at your wedding reception is who will set it up for you, look after it and pack i all away and transport it home? Do you really want to have to run over before your hair and make up appointment to set it u and them ask family to pack it all away at midnight?
After The Wedding
So you just got married and have come back from your honeymoon. You now have all these DIY wedding props and decorations in your living room. What are you going to do with them? Many couples try to keep onto it for a while as it is a memento from their wedding but end up either throwing it out or selling it online.
When To Hire A Professional
The general rule of thumb for when to hire a professional is “If its a specialised service, highly detailed or expensive equipment is involved then hire a pro”. Elements such as a photographer / videographer, catering, wedding cars, photo booths (as mentioned above), lighting and so on.
I can personally say that working in the industry for many years that if you DIY many elements of your wedding you can (if done properly) save yourself a lot of money. This can also stretch you budget a lot further. What I do not recommend is to skimp on a photographer. As we have mentioned on previous blogs that one should never skimp on a professional photographer. Even if your cousin is a amateur photographer and shes doing it for free. If they deliver bad results you can not only ruin a relationship but risk not having any decent photos of the day. Its not like you can re-shoot your wedding and that is taking a huge gamble, in my opinion.
It’s Up To You
Take my advice as a rough guideline for a DIY wedding but remember that its up to you, your personal connections, time available, finances and skills. If your cousin is truly a professional photographer then go for it. Just sit back and write a list of everything at your disposal such as your skills, income and so on. See how you can creatively utilise these skills together. But do not push your luck and take risky gambles on your wedding day. If it get a little too much then you can always contact us for wedding planning or styling services as we are always happy to help 🙂
How much DIY did you do for your wedding (or are doing for your upcoming wedding)? Any additional tips for the balance between DIY and using a professional? Let us know and join the discussion below 🙂
Do you have a question for Ask Emilie then email her here? Alternatively, fill out the form below and have your question answered in our wedding blog. Also, check out the other Ask Emilie Blogs here, they may also contain what you are looking for or give you ideas and inspirations for other wedding-related questions.