Picture this: A kitchen table strewn with gorgeous fresh flowers, neatly lined up spools of ribbon and lace, all your bridesmaids sitting around laughing and sipping wine while you create breathtaking bouquets that rival the blooming buds of the Versailles gardens.
Now open your eyes and take in the reality unfolding around you. Flower petals and greenery covering EVERY surface of your kitchen, the dog trying to steal the long stems off the table, your bridesmaids heatedly debating the bouquet sizes, tangled balls of unworthy ribbon on the floor, the headache you feel coming on and the bottle of wine you just drank trying to keep you from a full on bridal meltdown.
It’s not your fault. You were sucked in by the magic of Pinterest and its easy tutorials and step by step instructions. But the perfect wedding boards of Pinterest lack one vital thing, reality. No one posts the amateur, unedited photos they got from the “aspiring” photography student they hired for their wedding. Or the bride who paid thousands for a photographer, but skipped the hair and makeup and despite all the editing attempts will forever look like the ghost bride haunting the wedding, rather than the actual bride. Or how about the time and money that goes into the projects that never see the light of day. That being said, of course there are DIY wins, as well. The bride who made the stunning gilded gold vases for her centerpieces. Or the groom who built a stunning arbor for his vows. As a recent DIY bride myself I’m here to give you some tried and true tips on when to DIY and when to call in the pros.
- Know your limits. I see it all the time, women who have never picked up a curling iron in their life get engaged and then decide to do their own hair for the wedding. Or a bride who is known for being less than organized decides to be the “Day Of” coordinator. Or even the bride who has never had an artistic bone in her body decides to calligraphy her invitations. I’m not saying these amazing women aren’t capable of the tasks they are setting for themselves, but overall it’s a recipe for stress and disappointment. Utilize your strengths. If you have always had amazing handwriting, you should definitely make that chalkboard seating chart sign. If you spend the spring and summers in your garden, those bouquets will be a breeze. Best rule of thumb, “If you wouldn’t attempt it before you were engaged, you probably shouldn’t try it now.”
- Talk to former brides. Brides are much more forthcoming with the DIY challenges they faced POST-wedding. The stress is over and they can relax and even laugh at the things that went array, myself included. For my wedding, I had to have these floral aisle runners, but the cost was out of our budget. I recruited my bridal party and armed with thousands of silk petals from Ebay, rolls of tulle and spray glue, we went to work. It was awful. It took months to finish, my mom was furious that her kitchen floor was constantly sticky and our backs hurt from the long hours sitting on the floor sticking petals to tulle. They did turn out beautiful, but looking back they cost me and my bridal party a ton of unneeded stress. Talk to former DIYers. They will give you the real scoop.
- DIY isn’t always less expensive. A lot of brides opt for the DIY route to save on cost. Being in the wedding industry I’ve seen a lot of weddings and worked with a lot of brides. Sometimes taking that DIY route can actually cost you MORE money in the long run. This happens all the time with hair and makeup. The bride decides to save by opting to do her own. Then she goes to Sephora, sits down with an artist, the artist creates the look and the bride buys everything she needs for the big day. Cost: $100-300. She goes to Sally’s invests in a new curling iron, hair spray, bobbi bins, hair accessories. Cost: $65-110. It’s then a month before the wedding and she decides to do a run through of her wedding day look. Complete Disaster. No matter how hard she tries, the curls look kinky, the eyeliner is crooked, the brows aren’t right and the vision in her head is just not translating. She now has to rush and scour to find an available hair stylist and makeup artist a month before her wedding. YIKES. She ends up paying $95-125 for makeup and $85-100 for hair. That’s less then what she spent on purchasing hair and makeup products on her own, not to mention all the stress she could have saved.
There’s a reason professionals charge what they do. You’re not JUST getting a top of the line service. When you chose to hire a professional, you’re getting years of experience, trouble shooting, and at times crisis management. You’re receiving a connection to a vast network of other skilled wedding professionals. You’re paying for peace of mind and stress relief, which in my book are worth their weight in gold. Find your balance and go easy on the glitter.