Here are my priceless tips to consider before embarking on a DIY Wedding Extravaganza:
You may be a creative genius but resist the urge to spend the 50 hours before the wedding hand making bouquets, baking cakes and tossing salads – you will be cranky, exhausted and so over celebrating! Make the most of friends and family who volunteer to help; give them good instructions and leave them to it. They’ll appreciate being able to express their creativity too and who cares if it’s not quite 100% what you had in mind; it’s unique and made with love
My general rule is: DIY the Fabric Art but hire the labour; meaning make stuff but don’t try to do it all on the day; hire bar staff, dishwashers, people to clean up etc. Make use of students behind the scenes by contacting your local student job services office. At the last family function we threw it cost NZ$60 (about US$40) to hire two students to wash all the dishes and clear the tables so we could spend more time relaxing and catching up – bliss!
2. Set aside some serious DIY space
Hog the spare room/ office/ or a table in the corner of the lounge for all your DIY bits and pieces, make sure you have all the tools you need handy and in one place so when you sit down to work you can get straight into it. Keep everything together in labelled boxes (or flash scrap booking bags if you must) and cover with a throw/sheet when you’re not working on your DIY Craft Projects For Adults. Make time to sit down at your DIY desk for an hour every night and the big pile of “Oh-my-god-I-have-to-make-that” projects will melt away.
3. Cost it out
Math may suck but it always pays to cost out what you are doing; you may be surprised how often buying all the pieces from a haberdashery and making it yourself is more expensive than buying something ready made. How much extra do you want to pay for the privilege of making it yourself? Consider some 50/50 projects where you buy something ready made and attack it with pliers/scissors to customise it to your taste.
4. Make a foraging list
When you start out you may be tempted to buy anything shiny, cool or cheap before working out whether it will be of use for the wedding! Making a foraging list of the things you want to keep an eye out for laser targets your hunting and allows you to get what you need in the numbers you need it without blowing the budget. Remember to get your groom/bridesmaids/men’s measurements if you plan to buy them stuff on sale.
5. Look at DIY Exchanging
If your skill is in website design rather than hair and make up, post an ad on a labour exchange website or in your local paper for a swap. You could be designing a website for your local hairdresser and make up artist 3 months before the wedding in exchange for relaxing on the day while someone else tries to tame your crazy hair!
6. Allow double the time you need
My rule of double is vital! Always allow for way more time – best case scenario you have a quiet week leading up to the wedding and worst case scenario you still have time to get things done. Anything that will store for a while (hair pieces, dresses, non-floral bouquets…) consider making well in advance and store well out of sunlight and moisture and wrapped in acid free tissue until you need it. Save some of those little crystal packs that come in new sneakers and tortillas and throw them in the box too (and eat the tortillas…yum…).
7. Look at your last minute prep – and halve it
You may want to bake a cake, make fresh floral arrangements, do your mani and pedi and make canapes for 100 people the night before the wedding but imagine you only have one hour to get all your last minute stuff done and either cull or delegate those final tasks. Find ways to do last minute things earlier like bake and freeze the cake and get a friend to ice it; you’ll thank yourself for it later.
8. Realise you can’t do everything
Once you start looking at Bridal Porn you’ll see a hundred ideas a minute but you won’t be able to tackle them all. You don’t need to make and wear a tiara, veil, ribbon hair piece, bracelet, necklace, shrug, wrap and coat all at once! Realise when you’re going overboard; get some fresh air and think about what’s really important. Just because someone else had a Mr Whippy Ice Cream truck and flame throwing belly dancers at their wedding doesn’t mean you need to fit them in to yours.
9. Schedule “Wedding Planning Holidays”
Living miles away from my friends meant every time we caught up we talked weddings for hours until FH was ready to tear his hair out! We agreed on “wedding planning holidays” where for a set number of days or hours per month there’d be no talk of the wedding day, at all. It gave him a break from endless discussions about how to make roses out of scrap paper and made me realise there is life outside the Bridal Zone…
10. Am I Interesting enough?
Somewhere between “Lets just run away to a registry office” and “We need to book 16 buses for the guests’ murder mystery bus trip to Glandoch Castle on Day 3” you start to question everything you do. Half of you will wonder if you’re too boring (ie straight out of a bridal magazine) and the other half if you’re too over the top (leather wedding dress and bridesmaids with whips…). Your wedding only one day (ish) and no one else has the right to say whether they think your too crazy or too normal; you don’t need to go overboard proving to your family how “you” you are. It’s also not a competition to see who is the most sexy/pretty/tattooed bride out there. Looking at a wedding forum you may think you need to “keep up” with the gals and guys in your forum but doing things out of your character just to feel more conservative/alternative is just going to make you feel uncomfortable on the day and you’ll shudder when you get the photos back. Your guests are going to remember their impression of the day; not how many sequins you used in the cake topper or what flavour the icing was.