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How Much DIY To Do {and not to do} At Your Wedding

Who doesn’t love a good DIY project? Whether you want to save money, or just love to craft, using DIY projects for your wedding can contribute so much personality and detail.

With that being said – not every aspect of your wedding should be DIY even if you’re a crafting fanatic. If done incorrectly, it can actually end up costing more {financially and in terms of stress/time!} than hiring a professional. We use a basic rule of thumb to avoid DIY overload – if it can be done months in advance on your own time go for it! But, if it has to be done only days before the wedding when you have so many things going on, please leave it to the professionals.

We’ve come up with some DIY dos and don’ts to help guide you through your DIY decisions!

DIY Dos:

Your Seating Chart:

Your seating chart display can sometimes be a GREAT DIY but also sometimes a tricky one. Mostly, it’s great!

Typically we recommend you request an RSVP deadline 1-2 months out from the wedding date. This gives you another week or so to track down those “who forgot” to respond, and still more time to create your seating chart. Once you have all the RSVP’s in order, you’ll know exactly who will be attending the festivities. With that, you’re able to make the table arrangements and get crafty with the seating chart!

We absolutely love what our bride, Maggie, did here with her’s. We utilized a gorgeous vintage door provided by the venue and she hand wrote the rest herself! Saving her tons of money by not outsourcing and allowing her to get the DIY itch scratched leading up to the wedding day.

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{Photographer: LUMI Photography / Venue: Beatnik Studios}

You may ask, how is a DIY seating chart not a good choice? Well, as you get closer to the wedding date and you’re finding you have a particularly uncommunicative or flakey crowd when it comes to giving their final RSVP. You could find yourself a week out with a totally different set of names to arrange. Unfortunately, we do see this happen. If your DIY project allows you to erase names and make edits (window panes with chalkboard paint for example) you can do this up until the day of. However, if you can’t easily edit and you’re a week out, we recommend purchasing a print off Etsy – take one less task off your to-do list!

Your Stationary:

Another awesome DIY to try is your wedding stationery {invitations, save the dates, menus, order of events, etc}. Not only will this save you loads of money, but making them yourself allows you to personalize them exactly to your liking. You can be as fancy or as simple as you’d like while utilizing free font templates, free postcard layouts, and so many downloadable freebies from the web! Back in April we chose to try a DIY Calligraphy Save the Date showing just how easy it is to make your own styled stationary – which is just one of the many options you have!


Your Signs and Non-Floral Decor:

There really are so many fun and doable DIYs for your ceremony and reception decor. Some of our favorites include calligraphy signs on mirrors or wood, personalized table numbers and centerpieces, and decor for your guestbook and gift table like this cute card banner shot by the lovely Carmen Salazar last Spring. You can even make fun props like the themed piñata shown in this article’s main photo – there are no rules!

We encourage brides to take on these types of DIY projects because they can not only be done months in advance, but they also are a great area to save money and stay within your budget. After making all of your custom decor, just tell your planner where you want them displayed and we’ll make it happen on the day of your wedding!

Even better? Leave a few pieces up to interpretation. Things always look different on the day-of, and we LOVE styling. Let us use our expert design eye and arrange your decor/accent pieces with a little freedom. Trust us, you’ll be less stressed about specifics and pleasantly surprised to see your projects come together in a cohesive look!

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{Photographer: Carmen Salazar Photography / Antiques: Tin Roof Farmhouse}

Your Backdrop:

There are so many ways to use a backdrop at your wedding! Some of our favorites are as your ceremony backdrop, behind your sweetheart table, or with your photo-booth to name a few. Making your own DIY backdrop can be a lot of work, but it is also a lot of fun! With so many options ranging from a simple cloth or tool curtain to something as elaborate as a Floral Wall like the one we made back in May of this year. Regardless of your styling choice a backdrop will pop in photos and serve as a focal point.

Disclaimer: we do however recommend only going the DIY route for this element of your wedding if you’re patient, love crafting, and have the extra time to put in to make it right!


{Photography: Sage Dove Photography / Design Space: Botanica Specialty Rentals}

Your Favors:

Your wedding favors are another one of those DIY projects that can be done in advance – plus there are so many fun options to get creative, personal, and maybe a little “punny”. From favors like flower seeds to succulents to hot sauce, favors are an area to let your personality and the nature of your love shine! Once you have a guest count estimate, get going on making your custom wedding favors.

With that said, if you’re planning to go the “perishable” route with your favors, we highly recommend NOT DIY’ing these. If you plan to make cookies, or single flowers, or something that requires you to piece them together the week of your wedding, don’t do DIY it! Absolutely hire someone for this, you don’t need to be arranging favors instead of being with family, getting your beauty appointments done, and all the other last minute items. Again, only do DIY if it can be done in advance!


{Photography: Sweet Marie Photography / Venue: Old Sugar Mill}

DIY Don’ts:

Your Music:

When thinking about your wedding music your two choices should be a live band or DJ, never an iPod! Some brides who are looking to cut costs, come to us with the idea of DJing their own wedding with some music source like a laptop or iPod. And although this may save money, it is 100% not a good idea because there are too many opportunities for it to go wrong!

For the full skinny on the reasoning behind this, check out our linked blog above, but we’ll give a little info here as well. It’s always worth it to hire a professional for your wedding music because they will know how to prepare, what songs to play when, what to bring, how loud it should be, will have backup plans, and will even allow you to make last minute song requests!

Just imagine – you made the perfect Spotify playlist but now at your wedding you press play and the song cuts in and out because of a weak wifi signal, or your speaker system isn’t actually loud enough to allow a good dance party. You could have these simple technical difficulties that a hired DJ or Musician would be prepared for.

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{Photographer: LUMI Photography / Venue: Beatnik Studios / Musician: Ryan Hernandez}

Your Flowers:

Because flowers are perishable and need to arrive at your venue shortly before your wedding ceremony, that leaves you only a day (if you have proper cold storage space) or most times even just hours to DIY your own wedding florals… on the DAY OF your wedding. This is the main reason why choosing DIY for your bridal bouquets and centerpieces is not a good idea – even if you’re a natural with florals. Hiring a professional florist, or at the very least a friend who is a natural and not needed for any photos prior to the wedding, will ensure beautiful bouquets designed in advance that require no setup or work from you the day of your wedding.

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Your Cake:

Yes it would be much less expensive to buy a few boxes of cake mix yourself and mix them up the day before your wedding, but there are a lot of areas for stress and mistakes. For one, if you want the wedding cake to be fresh it needs to be made very close to your wedding day and depending on the size of the cake this could be a huge task to bake! Not only do you have to bake it, but you have to ice it and style it which is much harder than it looks. Even if you manage to bake and ice the cake, you then will have to worry about transporting it safely to your venue without damaging it on the day of your wedding. Hiring a professional to bake your cake is the safest option because they have experience creating beautiful confections,  delivering them, and setting them up safely.

BONUS TIP: make sure you have your caterers hired on for “cake-cutting services” if you plan to have a cake you want guests to enjoy as their dessert. If you’re not going with a full service caterer, check with your venue and see if they have the service available.

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Your Food:

Whether you choose to have a buffet, plated meals, or even a taco food truck like the photo below, your wedding food should absolutely be left to a professional. Not only does your food have to be made the day of the wedding {a huge task for any size guest list}, but you want it to taste amazing and be a hit with your guests! Preparing your wedding food yourself and tasking your mom or Uncle who “loves to cook” with the day-of responsibilities is not a wise DIY decision – trust me. This goes for all things food related as well, i.e. serving, bussing, cake cutting service and bartending. Although it has the potential to be one of the more expensive items in your budget, it is one aspect that should NOT be DIY’ed and with the right vendor, worth every penny!

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{Photographer: LUMI Photography / Food Truck: Chandos Tacos / Venue: Beatnik Studios}

Your Wedding Coordination:

So maybe you’re an all star planner and have managed a lot of coordination and planning for multiple other events, you should still hire a 3rd party, professional wedding coordinator. By professional, we mean hire through a licensed official business, not your friend who’s the one to always organize the birthday parties or a Craig’s List planner.

Hiring a wedding coordinator is always a necessary part of the budget! You will be able to relax and enjoy your once-in-a-lifetime wedding moments without having to worry about vendor communication and the planning details that can consume a lot of time and stress when attempted alone. Events by Rebecca offers day of coordination, partial planning ,full coordination, and boutique creation providing whatever range of coordination best suited for you. We even can create a custom package to fit your specific needs, all weddings are different of course! 

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{Photographer: Carmen Salazar Photography / Venue: The Maples}

Knowing when and, more importantly, when not to incorporate DIY elements for your wedding can be difficult, so we hope these tips helped to provide some general guidelines and food for thought. Remember our rule of thumb: if it can be done in advance, go for it! But if the DIY project requires attention the day of or even the week of your wedding, leave it to the professionals – you won’t regret it.

{Feature Photo Photographer: LUMI Photography}

{Design + Coordination: Events By Rebecca}

{Article Written With Love By Events By Rebecca Blogger: Monica Nelson}


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