Buy or DIY: How to Decide


(Illustration via Austin Wedding Blog, where you can find instructions for a cute tissue paper cherry blossom centerpiece)
Here at Manolo for the Brides, we’re big fans of the wedding DIY project. Virtually everything I was capable of making for my own wedding, I did make… including the lace for my wedding gown. To me, handmade things give a unique air to an event, and all the moreso when the hands belong to the people giving the shindig.

But not every bride is a DIY diva. Not every bride is good at all the things that go into making a wedding pretty and unique. Not every bride has the time or the inclination to create very much by hand. And you know what? Any one of those things is a good reason to leave the work to the experts and have it done for you.

And then there’s the bride who really wants to make at least one or two things, but isn’t certain what projects to pick. How do you choose what to make for yourself and what to give to a professional to do?

As per usual, I’ve got a few thoughts on the subject.

First off, think about what you’re really good at. Do you have a unique skill that could come in handy? Whether that skill is flower arranging, baking, sewing, woodwork, graphic design, or tying a really gorgeous bow, chances are you can work it into something to do with your wedding.

Think, too, about how you want your event to feel to guests. It’s easier to work the handmade into a theme of ‘rustic fun’ than ‘Tiffany’s’ just as a f’rinstance. In general, the more laid back you want things, the easier it is to make it work with basic level DOY skills. Since Mr. Twistie and I were doing a picnic in the woods, simple rustic foods and hand-tied sheaf bouquets were exactly what we wanted and easy for me to create with a couple helping hands. If we’d been doing Disco Glam, yeah, that would have been a bit less successful, I think.

Consider your budget and where you want to put the most money. If you’ve decided to put most of your budget into photography and a spectacular cake, then making DIY centerpieces can save you some money on decor, allowing you to stay in budget… so long as you plan thoughtfully. And that brings me to another thing most of us don’t think too hard about:

Figure out if it will cost more or less to DIY the project you have in mind. Yes, sometimes it actually winds up costing more, depending on what you’re trying to do and what resources you have to hand. If it’s going to cost more and it’s not terribly important to you to do the project yourself, then save yourself both time and money by buying. If it’s available cheaper, but it’s important to you to do it yourself, make sure you include everything in your budget and go right ahead.

Really consider the time available. If Mr. Twistie and I had decided to get married six months after he popped the question, I wouldn’t have been able to make my wedding lace. The lace took a year. The gown took another six months. There wouldn’t have been time. Most women are really busy on a day-to-day basis. Jobs, school, kids, hobbies, social lives… not everyone can do everything they need to do in a day and then add in two hours of working on making their own wedding invitations or sewing up fabulous linens for the big day. Triple the stress involved if the wedding date is close.

Making projects for your wedding is great fun, so long as you think carefully about what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it. Pick your projects with care, and you’ll be able to enjoy them with pride on your big day.

3 Responses to “Buy or DIY: How to Decide”

  1. Lisa in Berlin January 13, 2012 at 5:00 am #

    I couldn’t agree more! Especially about being realistic about what you have time to do. I was overly optimistic with my DIY skills and paid for it when I was crouching on my fiancee’s apartment floor, painting picture frames 5 minutes before leaving for my bachelorette party.

  2. Paint Colors January 13, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    My fiancee and I decided we would save a great deal of money on the wedding/ reception by hosting the big day in our new home! Well finding the house of our dreams and in time to prepare for moving and a weeding was a bit of a stretch. Two weeks to show down and I still have walls to paint! Yes be very realistic on what you want to make DIY time for. A wedding should be an enjoyable experience even through the preparations. Saving a few bucks isn’t worth a marriage.

  3. DIY Wedding Favors and Invitations January 16, 2012 at 2:45 pm #

    Great article. This will be very helpful for DIY brides. Thanks for sharing.