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DIY | Manolo for the Brides - Part 7
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DIY Demon Or No? How To Decide

In a recent article, I talked about how to decide whether to use a professional planner to help create your wedding dreams. It seemed only fair that I also talk about how to decide whether to create most of your wedding from scratch or not.

I’m going to come right out and say that I was a total DIY diva for my wedding. I love to make things by hand, and I hate to spend money on paying someone to do something I’m more than capable of doing for myself. Further, I felt that putting my handwork into the day was part of putting my heart into the event. On top of all that, we had pretty much two shiny nickles to spend on making a day that our friends and families would remember fondly. We just plain didn’t have the bucks to spend on a lot of pros…but even if the budget had been more flexible, I think I would have done the DIY thing pretty much to the level I did. See above in re: putting my heart into the day.

I’ve known brides who have made their own gowns, grown the flowers, deisgned and printed invitations, baked their own cakes, made the wedding feasts in their own kitchens, designed and made all the decorations…I think about the only thing I haven’t seen yet is a bride who cobbled her own wedding shoes. I’m equally sure that somewhere out there is a lady who has done just that.

Still, it’s not for everyone. And that’s why you should ask yourself the following questions when deciding whether or not to DIY and to what extent:


Fun With Flowers

One piece of advice brides hear over and over again is that choosing flowers that are local and in season is a great way to save money on your florist’s bill. That’s very true. Having orchids flown in from halfway across the globe or insisting on the most delicate of summer blooms in the middle of a stormy winter is going to cost you extra.

But what to do if you don’t know what’s in season in your area? Well, a good place to start is right here. This interactive tool allows you to give a very general idea of time of year, region of the US (sorry, non-USian readers, but I’ll be on the lookout for something that covers other parts of the world, too, because it’s fun) where your wedding will be held, or even what color the bridesmaid’s dresses are. It then spits out a list of flowers that match your criteria, with links to pictures of said flowers. As I said, it’s not the be-all and end-all, but it’s a good place to start if you can’t tell a hyacinth from a hydrangea or aren’t certain if iris grows in your area near your wedding date.

Another fabulous way of saving cash on flowers is to do very simple arrangements yourself with a bit of help from handy friends and family members. Real Simple has a great feature showing you how to make beautiful bouquets from grocery store flowers. The one piece of advice I would add to their ideas is that if there’s an open-to-the-public florist’s supply within a reasonable distance, you can get a greater variety of higher-quality flowers without having to pay the middle men. If you need a lot of a particular flower, it also means you’re far more likely to be able to get precisely what you want in the amounts you need.

Still, the tying instructions are clear and simple to follow. Besides, who would ever have thought baby’s breath could look this spectacular?

Baby’s Breath Bouquet

A Crowning Glory On a Budget

I admit it. I’ve never liked wedding veils. I just generally don’t. I never even considered wearing one at my own wedding. They aren’t my style.

On the other hand, I’ve known many a bride who wouldn’t have felt she was getting married without one. It’s traditional, after all, and many women consider them romantic. Who am I to say they’re not?

One thing I think a lot of us will agree on, though, is that wedding veils are darn expensive. I wouldn’t argue the price tag on one trimmed with antique, hand made lace and held in place with a tiara richly bejeweled with sapphires and rubies…but it’s easy to plonk down upwards of $150 on a square of tulle with a bit of ribbon trim and a couple plastic combs to hold it in place. That makes my thrify heart wheeze.


She is fabulous. Color me jealous.

Audrey, who hangs out on Craftster and is is mega crafty herself, pointed me toward a selection of wedding photos posted on the aforementioned boards by one Showmehelen. When I looked at the small sampling of wedding pics Showmehelen posted on Craftster, I immediately became entirely too envious and vowed to begin taking all sorts of creative classes.

A net with which to capture the attention

See her guestbook, rings, super-fly headgear, bouquet, and decor in the post referenced above. Find advice on replicating the guestbook here. Then go check out her invitations and favors here. Once you’ve done all that, have a second look at her utterly freakin’ stunning post-morning ceremony ceremony garb:


DIY bouquets

Or, as I have been so fond of calling them, DIY buckets.

I sat down with a friend this past weekend and constructed my bouquets. While I did print out instructions, we never actually read them. Instead, we just laid out all of the materials at our disposal (which included some $150+ worth of silk flowers, florists wire, and florists tape) and experimented wildly with differing combinations of color, size, and greenery. I am actually amazed at how wonderfully our efforts turned out, as neither of us had ever created a bouquet. Observe:


Sorry about the pisspoor image quality — my camera is about a thousand years old and photography has never been my strong suit. The first one is the bridal bouquet and is actually quite a bit bigger (and heavier!) than the bottom one, of which there are two. At the last second, I put together a matching tosser in case I unexpectedly find myself facing a herd of rabid female relatives asking me when I’ll be throwing the bouquet. The Beard and I discussed tossing the actual bridal bouquet and then realized that we don’t need to start our lives together facing endless rounds of personal injury litigation.

I will say that the whole bouquet-making process is rather intuitive, as you end up having to use wire to keep your early efforts from falling apart while you look for more blooms and there is no better way to wrap up a mess of unruly stems than with tape that only sticks to itself. The ribbon-wrapping, which I did myself, was somewhat harder as I was using pins to secure the ribbon.

If you plan to follow in my footsteps, I suggest looking at lots of pictures of wedding flowers online and in books like To Have & To Hold: Magical Wedding Bouquets or Creative Wedding Florals You Can Make.

Now, if I can just keep the cats from gnawing on the aforementioned bouquets, everything will be peachy.

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