In the last few years, a fabulous trend for personal touches at weddings has emerged – and it’s getting stronger every year. Online advice about everything you can do yourself has multiplied a hundredfold, and we say – that’s fantastic! Weddings are no longer required to follow a strict script and traditions, and couples can now personalise as many aspects of their wedding as they wish. Are you interested in some DIY, but not sure what to do and were to start? Here’s some great advice for beginners.
What you can DIY
The most popular things to make yourself are, in no particular order: stationery (save-the-dates, invitations, place cards, orders of service, thank-you cards, table plan, table numbers), cake, favours, bouquet (example – paper, fabric, or brooch) and table décor. Ambitious brides with bigger projects in mind can go for: venue or marquee décor, bridesmaids’ gifts, and even their own wedding dress.
First, think of the number of guests you will have – this will affect how much time you’ll need to invest into many DIY projects, such as stationery or favours – the more guests, the more work; or table décor – the more tables, the more work.
Second, pick the things you’d like to do most, and think of the time investment. For example – you want to make stationery for 200 guests? That’s a big project. If you want to do something else, pick a smaller project , like the table plan – definitely doable, as you need only one of these, maximum two if your venue has two entrances. Do you want to make the wedding cake and favours for 100 guests? Groovy, and definitely doable. Do you want to make your own bouquet and table centrepieces for 12 tables? Great idea, and also doable. Do you want to make it ALL for 300 guests? You best get super organised and give yourself loads of time, otherwise you’ll still be tying those ribbons on the favours at 4am the morning of your wedding – and ‘bags under eyes’ is not a good look for a bride! We recommend maximum two projects, one larger and one small.
DIY doesn’t mean you have to do it all YOURSELF – it also means unique and not store-sourced items and ideas. It’s all about WHO you know! So – think of your family, wedding party, friends, work colleagues – do you know anyone crafty, creative, with great ideas, who can make magic out of scissors, glue, some paper, or eggs and flour (for the cake, not for the invitations obviously…)? We ALL know people like this! However, it would be in bad taste to ask someone who’s not invited to your wedding to help with the DIY, just keep that in mind!
If you don’t know a single person who can MAKE stuff for you, then you surely know some people who can HELP you with the making of it. Get the bridesmaids around the table to help with the stationery, the favours, and anything else that doesn’t require a surgeon’s precision, but will help you save lots of time.
Wedding DIY doesn’t have to mean doing it all from scratch – adding a personal touch to pre-made items goes a long way to create that custom look! You can add trims, ribbons and embellishments to items you have already bought, to make them completely unique. This works best with invitations and stationery – for example, if your theme is butterflies, get plain stationery you love, and draw, paint, stamp or attach butterflies to create a completely unique item. It doesn’t matter if they aren’t perfect – the guests will love them. Favours are certainly easiest to personalise – you can transform any plain favour box into a keepsake gem with some clever additions!
Think of storage space and freshness first and foremost. Are you making edible favours, such as cookies or cupcakes? They will need to be made as close to the wedding as possible. Leave those to be done last. Your bouquet? It’s best to make it about a month before the wedding – if you make it too early you may change your mind on the colour scheme and all your work will have been in vain. Also, it must be stored very carefully, or you may find it squashed in the attic just days before the wedding. Any kind of stationery can be made well in advance of the wedding, as it’s easily stored and chances are you won’t be changing it much. Decorations such as bunting, centrepieces, etc. can be made as soon as you decide on your theme, and in order according to the required numbers – you’ll need to get started on those 12 centrepieces first, before you put together that table plan.
Image courtesy of Evolve Photography
What to avoid
Don’t take on very complicated projects – keep in mind that most things you find online have been made by professionals who know their way around crafts very well. Keep it gorgeous but simple – this will help you avoid frustration, stop you from wasting time, and save you money too.
In case of making multiples of something – favours, invitations, thank-you cards, place cards – make a few first to see how it goes, how long it takes to make a perfect sample worthy of being displayed at your wedding, and the total time to make one single perfect item too. Then multiply by number of guests, then add about 5 hours more. That’s your estimated time you’ll need to complete your project.
Don’t expect miracles from helpers who haven’t held scissors since they were in kindergarten. Those who are eager to help but not very crafty can take on simpler tasks – sticking stamps onto invitation envelopes, or mixing batter for your cookie favours – you’ll decorate them after.
Don’t take on too many projects that need to be done just before the wedding – it’ll cause you endless stress if they’re not finished.
Don’t make a final copy of your table plan and place cards until just before your wedding – make them too soon, and you’ll find you may need to cross names out and add new ones. Make a backup copy of the table plan and a few extra blank place cards, just in case of last minute guest list changes.
Don’t delegate too many projects away, or you’ll lose sight of it all and the end result may be disappointing.
Finally, any DIY project you undertake for your wedding should be, most of all, FUN – so don’t forget to enjoy yourself, and don’t forget to ask the groom or the best man to mention something about your efforts in the speech!
Visit our Inspiration pages for even more wonderful ideas!
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