While DIY elements may have been around since the dawn of weddings, we saw them become a mainstream addition in the early 2010s when Pinterest brought DIY to the forefront of our culture. It wasn’t long before people everywhere were inspired to get their hands dirty and create fun crafts — not just for their home or self, but for their weddings!
Although we’ve seen this trend decline in recent years in favor of big-and-bold professional design schemes, the pandemic has pushed many people to revisit their hobbies, experiment with new ones, and reclaim their creativity. As we navigate recovery, many engaged couples are putting their newfound talents to work in their wedding plans.
“DIY projects are a great way to save money and add your own personal touch to your wedding celebration, so it's no wonder why now, there's another surge in their popularity,” says Jen Avey, VP of Marketing for Destination Weddings Travel Group. “The pandemic caused a major strain on most couple's finances, so thinking of ways to cut back their wedding budget remains a priority, and DIY'ing a few elements of their wedding decor is a good start.”
Avey adds: “Couples are also wanting to personalize their celebrations now more than ever, because so much was taken away from their dream vision; they want to make sure their personalities shine bright so their guests truly understand the magnitude of the love the couple shares amidst a COVID-19 wedding.”
But, if you’re thinking about DIYing some elements of your wedding, the big question is: Which ones are the most doable?
We spoke with wedding industry experts about the growing DIY trend and how couples can have their creative fun without stretching themselves too thin or making a mistake that has a major impact on their big day.
There are a lot of moving pieces in a wedding, many of which lend themselves to fun DIY projects for both beginners and more experienced hands. From stationery to décor features, consider getting crafty in one of these areas.
“An easy and doable DIY project for couples to take on for the wedding is the guestbook,” says Bri Marbais, bridal stylist at The Bridal Finery. “Couples can get really creative with what they want to use as their guest book, which can be personal to them as a couple. For music-loving couples, incorporating their favorite records into the wedding for guests to sign is a fun and easy DIY project.”
Joan Wyndrum, owner of DIY Flowers from Blooms By The Box, suggests taking on some floral projects within reason: “Floral arrangements can be a great DIY project. If you’re not sure about doing all of your wedding flowers yourself, you don’t have to! Maybe DIY all of the bridesmaid bouquets, but have your bridal bouquet done by a floral stylist or florist. Perhaps you’d like to tackle boutonnieres, but not the centerpieces? Do your research, talk with someone, and only take on what you’re comfortable with. Remember you can always recruit family and friends to help!”
“Favors or cute welcome gifts for their guests!” says Syrie Roman, owner of Social Maven. “You can get creative and truly make your guests something deeply personal, representing you and your loved one. Love cooking? Why not make a fun hot sauce, bottle it, and put a personalized label on it. Small but meaningful things that are not part of the logistics are great choices for couples to DIY.”
Of course, there are some areas that are best left to the professionals. Signing up for more than you can handle is the most effective way to find yourself overwhelmed with a wedding that doesn’t meet expectations. This is particularly applicable to projects that must be done in the days leading up to the wedding.
“A couple should never DIY something that has to be done a day or two before the wedding, like baking a cake,” stresses Jamie Chang, destination wedding planner and owner of Mango Muse Events. “All DIY projects should be completed at least a few days before the wedding because things really pick up in those last few days. Having to worry about a DIY project when you should just be focusing on yourself, your partner and celebrating with those you love is not something you want to do.”
“Never ever try to cook for your event,” states JoAnn Gregoli, owner of Elegant Occasions by JoAnn Gregli. “Caterers are the professionals and they have the staffing to handle setup, cleanup, and execution. If you’re feeling anxious about costs or the typical, ultra-formal brand of catered, plated wedding meals, know that there are lots of ways to offer options to feeding your guests. You could do a dessert-only reception, a breakfast one (they’re usually cheaper), more casual food stations, or cocktail-party-style foods. Consider hiring your favorite food truck!”
“Couples should definitely invest in hiring a professional photographer to capture the wedding,” says Marbais. “Photography is an art and should not be taken lightly. The photos taken are the only tangible part that is left after the wedding. These memories cannot be replaced and knowing a professional is taking care of them is priceless.”
Sarah Blessinger, owner and designer of Kindred Weddings & Events, stresses the importance of a pro makeup artist: “Only DIY your makeup for your wedding day if you have experience doing your own makeup for photo shoots! Wearing makeup in front of a mirror always looks different than when captured on camera. It may feel like a makeup artist is putting on more makeup than you are comfortable with. But they understand how shading, contouring, and contrast show up on a face in photos and video.”
So, you’ve got your marching orders and you know exactly what you want to DIY for your wedding (perhaps with the help of some friends?). Regardless of which elements you choose to DIY, make sure you start early.
“The last things you want the week of your wedding are unnecessary stressors and sleep deprivation due to trying to hurriedly finish projects,” assures Nora Sheils, founder of Bridal Bliss and co-founder of Rock Paper Coin. “Not only will the project not turn out as well, but no one needs that stress in their life! Make sure to have your supplies on hand and create a sample before fully diving in. You will get a clear picture of the end goal, how much time it will take, and what the process will be.”
And, of course, there’s nothing wrong with getting a little support. Sheils adds: “Also, ask for help! DIY projects are fun for moms or bridesmaids to not only get together and bond over glue guns, but also kick back, drink some wine (but not too much), and have a great time.”
As for keeping yourself on top of your projects, Lizzy Liz, owner of Lizzy Liz Events, recommends adopting a system to stay organized: “Using apps with checklists are helpful so you and your partner/wedding party/friends who are helping can see all the moving parts. I’m a fan of Google Docs. You can load everything on there, from materials needed and inventory updates to checking off what has been purchased and what else needs to be done. All of it is updated live for anyone with access to the document.”
Once you’ve got your projects mapped out, it’s time to get started! From gathering materials to putting your DIY crafts together, make each step enjoyable so you look forward to getting it done. Tack on a cocktail brunch to your shopping day or turn your crafting night into barbeque for the family — whatever you do, have fun with it!
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast. As always, thank you for supporting our sponsors.