DIY: The Dos and Don’ts

DIY paper flowers, wedding photography, wedding details
Adriane White Photography

While it certainly may not be for every event, there is a charm to DIY projects that I absolutely love. It can be a great opportunity to share your unique style and personality with your guests. That being said, there are things to keep in mind and be aware of before starting DIY projects for your event. These are my personal guidelines that I share with my clients to help them along the way.

Do your homework!

Often I find couples starting projects that they have no previous experience with. Doing new things is great but not when you wait until the last minute. This is an instant recipe for stress and disaster; the last thing you need before your wedding. Instead I suggest planning out your projects in advance and practice, practice, practice. Want to create paper flowers for a backdrop? Why not make some for your friend who just got that new job! Wanna take a stab at making your own invitations? Isn’t your friend hosting a bday party soon? Volunteer to help them out by making their invites. You saw that awesome floral design on Pinterest and you wanna have that for your wedding? Awesome! Why not make it for your friends baby shower?

Whatever projects you want to do, I really highly suggest doing them beforehand. This will help you understand how much time it will take to make these items and you can better gauge your ability to do so. Remember, the things we see online are created by people who do this every day. It looks easy because they have done it a lot. It looks good because they have practiced and have the skills to execute those designs.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew

So you want to make a backdrop, do all your favors, your own floral arrangements and placecards? Great. Do you have the time to do it along with sending out your invitations, speaking with vendors, going to pre wedding celebrations? Will saving some money doing projects yourself be worth the added time it will take to get those items accomplished?

Your time is valuable and isn’t an endless commodity. There are limits and should be limits to what can reasonably be accomplished by one person. By doing your homework (see above!), you will have a better understanding as to how much time your projects will take. You will understand your skill set and be able to set realistic goals for yourself.

Don’t get too hard on yourself if you realize you are not a DIY wizard that can do it all without breaking a sweat. Be open to accepting your own limits and knowing when you need to ask for help, whether that be asking friends or a professional.

Whenever I face a project I ask myself, ‘is it worth my time to do it myself’? If my skills can be better used somewhere else or if I accept someone else can do the task better than I could, I know what my answer will be. There comes a point when in the DIY process it is prudent to step back and let someone else take over. It doesn’t mean you failed—it means that you value your time.

Do keep things organized and stay realistic

The worst thing you can do when doing DIY is be disorganized. When you finish your projects, place those items in clearly labeled boxes so the event staff won’t waste time rummaging through bags. I cannot stress it enough. DIY projects already add to set up time. So it is vital that those items are where they need to be, they are completed beforehand and not being worked on the day of the event, and placement instructions have been properly address to the event staff ahead of time. Handing a couple of bags stuffed with random objects to someone and saying “make it work” will definitely result in it NOT WORKING the way you had envisioned. Save yourself and everyone around you the stress and have your projects completed and labeled well in advance. You will thank me for it, believe me.

Don’t expect your friends or family to do EVERYTHING for you

Just common decency. You know your friends and family love you. Don’t take advantage and make them do everything because you want to save some money. Be sure to show your appreciation by offering to assist them with the projects they offer to help you with, show them your gratitude by hosting them at your house for joint crafting sessions with beer and pizza, your treat. Understand they have their own things to do as well. Don’t put more on their plate than they can handle. Listen to them and their needs. These are people who are offering to help. By taking time to show them you appreciate that you will make the process smooth and enjoyable. We wouldn’t want anyone to feel taken advantage of.

Do have a back up plan and remember to have fun

Sometimes things just don’t work out and that’s ok. Having a back up plan in place will save yourself loads of stress down the line. Give yourself a deadline. If you see yourself approaching that deadline and you know that realistically you won’t get your tasks accomplished, move on. Let it go. Hire a vendor, purchase items online, make it work.

If you aren’t able to get your projects done that doesn’t mean you failed. Don’t be hard on yourself. DIY projects shouldn’t be done just to save some money. It should be fun. You should be doing it because you want to not because you feel you have to. They don’t need to be grand. It doesn’t need to look like wedding blogs where things are staged by professionals who do those projects EVERYDAY. You should only do DIY if you want to express yourself and have fun doing so. At the end of the day, if you tried and you put in the best you can, your wedding will be stunning no matter what. Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t look perfect. You put time into creating something for your friends and family to enjoy and that is beautiful.

Have fun and happy crafting!

seat sign, wedding signage, DIY, DIY wedding
Adriane White Photography