Do I, DIY?????

Like most brides on a budget, I am looking for ways to save money but still have a classy and tasteful wedding. In these recessionary times, it seems the trend is to try to DIY (do it yourself) some aspects of your wedding accessories.

I have been to some of the blogs like Budget Savvy Bride (who is an extremely talented graphic designer IRL) or the Buckeye Bride (same profession) and I am highly impressed with the level of creativity with some of the pieces that they have created. The Budget Savvy Bride even has step by step tutorials on her blog, complete with pictures!

I am, however, not that creative.  Nor am I that patient.

I really don’t have a strong desire to DIY my own bridal bouquet or bake cookies as wedding favors. I am not sure what I would do with 4 custom designed monograms and a cake table cover. Yet, some of these things I am going to need for the wedding. Invitations and save the dates are expensive! I have to have wedding programs. I want a bouquet. My bridesmaids can’t walk down the aisle empty handed. So, I feel I need to take on some sort of project to save money. Perhaps I’m just overwhelmed with all the information I’ve been taking in over the last few months.

What do you guys think would be most cost effective? What should I be focusing on in terms of trying to conserve cost on some the ancillary things needed for wedding but will likely only be in use that day or tossed soon after (like invitations to guests)?



20 thoughts on “Do I, DIY?????

  1. I am new to your blog and I love weddings…so i had to comment. I was married in 2008 and I DIY’ed my entire wedding. From centerpieces, to invitations, to jewelry for the entire bridal party…I did it all. Here is my advice.

    – Save the dates are useless. Most people know you are getting married already. Don’t waste your money.
    – Your invitations can be simple yet beautiful. Make your own & print them. Cut card stock in your coordinating color ( 1/4 of an inch larger than the invitation stick the invitation on there and…viola!
    – Go to a local upscale grocery store with a floral department and have them do your bouquets. That’s what I did for my bouquets and boutonnieres. My bouquet, 4 bm, 2 jr bm bouquets, 7 bouts, and 2 corsages cost me $320. And they were GORGEOUS.
    – An easy thing to do for favors is donate money to a charity…its a tax write off AND a great thing to do. Create a small card that is put at ea. place setting that says something like “in lieu of favors, a donation has been made to *Charity*”.

    Just a few ideas….hope they help.

  2. Hey Tiffany, I thought I would DIY all sorts of decor items and then I realized that: (A) I’m lazy, (B) I have zero DIY skills, and (C) I have even less patience.

    After budgeting out the cost of DIYing my invites (adding in extra $$ for mess-ups, ink and my time) I decided to go with a SortaDIY situation. I bought the paper wholesale, drafted out a design, and let a professional designer tweak my concept and print it using her commerical printer. And, I know folks who have had great success with DIY Martha Stewart invites from Michael’s.

    I plan to DIY our programs and signage and take them to Kinkos to print.

    I don’t recommend DIYing flowers since they have to be done day before or day of and kept chilled…you need to focus on your wedding and not on wrapping flowers and what not. We are incorporating more fall folliage, leaves, and vines than flowers to cut down on the cost.

    Def skip favors. Our favor is our dessert bar, I found inexpensive kraft paper take out boxes…I’m making a sign that says, “Love is Sweet…Please take some treats to enjoy later” or something like that.

    And finally, I emailed local colleges with music programs and got hooked up with student musicians to play for our cocktail hour! They were 1/4 the cost of professionals and have fabulous websites and myspace pages with samples.

  3. Definitely poll your friends, family and sorors to see who’s good at what. You can ask them if they’d be willing to share their special talent with you. Just make sure that if you choose to rely on loved ones, have your coordinator stay on top of their assigned task to ensure that it will be completed in time.
    Wedding favors…eh? The only person I know
    that keeps them is my 92 year old grandmother. Lol Instead, you and M2 might want to select a charity( or several) and make a donation in the name of your guests.

  4. Get what is necessary!! Save the Date stuff is not necessary.. Either the people are coming or they are not. If it is someone who travels often, then just call them and tell them to put it on their calendar. Matchbooks,Napkins, and tableclothes that have your initials on them..Forget about it. What costs is that reception.. Lord forbid you decide to have an open bar.. You may just want to do wine….

  5. For my sister & brother’s wedding we pretty much did a lot ourselves. I was donned for the invitations and the favors for the showers and wedding. I have to say Michael’s and also a few local spots I found when I was in NY gave great options as well as the dollar store (for the netting only).. my sister did all of her own bouquets and centerpieces.. TRUST you can definitely make it work and I’m sure your friends would be willing to help out.

    If you decide to go with Michael’s sign up for their newsletter and you will get tons of coupons and they also have a DIY workshop on centerpieces/bouqets

  6. All I can say is; God bless you and I wish you the best.

    I got overwhelmed just reading this post. Whenever I even think I might be shortchanging myself for not having a wedding – I’ll come back to your blog. Thanks for sharing.

    Sorry I don’t have a helpful comment…

  7. I bought invitations from Michaels. They have a large selection, and are basically $40 a box — if you have a coupon they’re half off! They also come with RSVP cards, and some with thank you cards. For $75, I bought 90 invitations (w/ a copuon).

    I’m going to forego save the dates.

    For bouquets and centerpieces, I’m doing bunches only. And I’m leaning towards learning how to do that myself.

  8. Lurk mode off- Congratulations!

    For favors I got the little brooms from the garment district, had ribbons printed with our names and wedding date (eBay) ans a glue gun. It made pretty favors. I had something else but I can’t recall.

    For programs I did a single side program on vellum. I did the design and had my printer create them. For thank you cards I took a wedding photo, and created a post card with our names and wedding date. I used the same printer. It’s been 4 years and I go to people’s homes and they still have the post card on their
    My coodinator was also worth her fee. She made a beautiful broom and got very creative on other things. The caterer wanted $2 per slice to cut the cake. The coordinators mom is a baker so she cut the cake as part of her service.

  9. Here is a website that I have used to make high quality cards, invites & more…
    You can put together a very lovely invitation, save the date cards, whatever there and it won’t cost you an arm & a leg.

    Forget the “party favor”. If you can solicit friends to help “create” centerpieces for you – do it…or do them yourself. The Bouquets can be as simple as some (for example) tulips gathered together with some ribbon. That can be put together by anybody.

    There is beauty in simplicity.

    Remember…this is YOUR (you & M2) day. Your friends don’t need a whole lot of bling – YOU are the bling. The rest is just dressing and, like the dress, will be a forgotten memory down the road.

  10. My friend got roses for our bridesmaid bouquet’s from sam’s club. Her mother put them together and I could not tell the difference.

    Also could you skip the save the dates and just spread the date by word of mouth and email? If you tell someone the date do they need a postaged designer card to remember it if they really want to be there?

    I’m sure if you polled all your friends, associates, etc. you could find someone to help with what you don’t want to do yourself.

  11. I did my own invites and that saved a bunch of cash and there is so much more stuff for diy weddings then there was 5 years ago. A lady from work did my flowers for me she has a side business as a wedding florist. My formal cake was done by a lady who made wedding cakes at home ( I purchased my reception cake from costco.)

  12. I’m happy to help with any printed materials if you need it! I don’t do graphic design full time anymore but I love to dabble on the side. There’s some pretty cool paper stores out there too where you can find some good stuff.

    • Forgot to add… one of my cousins saved a ton of money on flowers by ordering them wholesale from another country where they were shipped directly from the farm. Friends and family cut the stems and put them in water and they bloomed beautifully in time for the ceremony.

  13. I would suggest buying your flowers wholesale (if you can) and doing your own centerpieces and bouquets. Now I am not creative like that but I have friends who are. Poll your friends and find that aspiring florist among them. 🙂

    Or buy your own flowers and vases and hire 1 Florist to arrange and you will be his/her assistant.

    Like others have said make your own invitations.

  14. Ditto on doing your own invites. I bought a pack of cream colored, embossed with a scroll, cards (4×6 I think), did the wording and paid a guy in the print shop at my Mom’s job $20 to run them with green ink. I don’t think I spent $50 total.

    Flowers – we got married outdoors, so didn’t “need” decorations per se. We used bud vases on each table with just a few flowers in each. Gerber daisies are my favorite flowers so that’s what we all carried. Got up the morning of the wedding, went to the florist bought a bunch and tied them with ribbon. Again, not a lot of dough.

    Photos – get in touch with the art department at a local college – you can look at student portfolios and hire them for much less than a pro.

  15. I agree – do your own invites, save the date cards, programs and name tents/table cards (if you intend to have those). Your local craft store has tons of beautiful paper and weekly 40% off coupons. Collect coupons from family, friends and neighbors and buy as much as you need. My local store knew me and let me use more than one coupon per visit, but some may not.

    Other tips – I used fresh potted plants as centerpieces instead of flowers. Bouquet – using something like a single calla lily with a beautiful ribbon is much cheaper than a bouquet and it’s quite elegant. Favors – I suggest skipping them.

  16. Definitely do the invitations yourself. There are plenty of websites where you can get simple, beautiful invitations.

    Skip the wedding favors. Have you ever kept a wedding favor? Me either.

    Keep your wedding party small! That means fewer flowers, gifts, headaches, etc.

  17. I’d DIY your save the date cards and invitations. To cut other costs, incorporate some fake flowers (yikes, but they are much less expensive than real flowers) for your bridesmaids’ bouquets. Your bouquet should be fresh flowers, though.

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