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DIY Wedding Dos and Don'ts

  |  By Chantale Montgomery

{Photography courtesy Milkpod Studios.}

To DIY or not to DIY. That is the question, isn’t it? Once a bride gets into DIY mode, it can be quite a high. It’s easy to think, “Hey, why don’t I just do EVERYTHING myself!” However before you take up permanent residents at your local Michaels, it’s important to consider a few questions:

Can and should everything be a DIY project for a wedding?  If your reasons for DIY-ing are monetary—is DIY-ing always cheaper?

Well based on feedback from our brides over at La Belle Bride, I’ve assembled a little breakdown of items to consider when contemplating some popular DIY projects:

Invites:  So you fancy yourself a bit of a graphic designer OR your BFF has offered to design your wedding invites for you. AWESOME! However, before you install that 30-day free trial of Photoshop on your computer, it’s a good idea to get some pricing on paper and printing. Over the past few years the cost of paper has greatly increased. So it’s a good idea to get some quotes before you dive into it. Thankfully Staples, Michaels and some other reliable chains offer invitation printing services at an affordable rate. The card stock options may not be top of the line however they’ve streamlined the process to make it easy for the DIY bride.

Another new option that has increased in popularity as of late is DIY printing.  You can find a number of designers on Etsy that offer a variety of invite designs which they will customize and send to you in PDF format, leaving you with the option to shop around for a printer. Costs for DIY print invitations start as low as $35. But again, getting some print quotes before committing to a design is suggested.

All that being said there are some seriously competitive pricing out there for invitation services so weigh out your options. No matter which route you go, ALWAYS make sure to ask for a proof before all your invitations go to print. I learned that tip the hard way!

{Photography courtesy Andrea Dozier Photography.}

Flowers and decor:  A topic near and dear to my heart. Many of us LOVE decorating, so jumping on board to create DIY centrepieces is an easy decision. However some words of caution: If you’re set on having fresh flowers for your centrepieces, enlist the help of some close friends and family. The last thing you want to do the day before your wedding is whip up 30 floral centrepieces all by your lonesome! The headache involved can easily make hiring a florist a viable option  If you’re looking to tackle a smaller floral project, making your own bouquet or corsages for your bridesmaids may be a better idea.

Flowers are expensive, even if you’re buying them wholesale. That being said, I am a big proponent for non-floral centrepieces as well. The cost savings for opting out on flowers is HUGE and there are some seriously cute alternatives. Think outside the box: Stack a few old, vintage books in the center of your table and tie a ribbon around them. Arrange some aromatic candles varying in heights as your centrepiece. Or make your own “tree” centrepieces by gathering sticks from a local forest. Place them in a vase and decorate them with tissue flowers or ribbon. Believe me when I say that the aforementioned options can look stunning with a little time and effort. AND they can be done well ahead of time, which means less stress for a hard working bride, like yourself!

{Photography courtesy Phat Dog Visuals.}

Bridal Accessories: When shopping around for a veil and hair accessories for my wedding, I noticed an annoying trend. A pin that would typically cost $20 in a regular store would suddenly cost $120 in a bridal store. I felt the similar sensation of being ripped off when shopping for my bird cage veil—$300-$400 for a tiny piece of netting? Let’s face it, some girls fall in love right away with a specific veil or hair piece, however if you’re creative juices are flowing, making your own hair accessories can be simple and beautiful. There are many online tutorials that can help guide you through that process. I personally purchased the cute netting for my veil on ebay for $4. Not exactly breaking the bank, right? My last post also featured a great example of customizing your jewellery. My sister-in-law, Kristen fell in love with a Vera Wang cuff but unfortunately the $2,000 price tag wasn’t in her budget. Thankfully a close friend whipped up a gorgeous knock off of the bracelet using a broach from Club Monaco and a few strands of pearls.  Beautiful!

{Photography courtesy Phat Dog Visuals.}

Photography:  I love DIY-ing however this is one category where I firmly believe you should dish out some coin and hire a professional. A picture is definitely worth a thousand words, and the price tag that goes with it. What I hear over and over again from my brides over at La Belle Bride is how happy they are that they spent the money on their beautiful photos.  Years later, those pictures will still put a smile on your face.

So the bottom line is this: map out your DIY strategy before diving into any project.  Weigh out the pros, cons and costs associated. If you’re turning you into a DIY-zilla then it may be time to delegate or hire a pro. One of the most important things is to minimize and manage your stress before a wedding so make sure you have fun with your DIY task!

xoxo Chantale from La Belle Bride

This article was originally published on Apr 14, 2010

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