When this bride contacted me and said she was having a “simple” wedding that was all about families and fun I was on board. When she told me she was going to DIY most of it, I was like a cartoon character skidding to a halt and turning to run the other way. I know from a lot of experience that doing it yourself, means doing everything yourself, including the stress! She used her calming way to assure me it would be okay and somehow she convinced me to photograph it. I have to tell you she was the most calm bride I have ever witnessed, because she knew exactly what she was signing up for. That isn’t the case for most people planning a wedding.

This was the first time I had ever seen a bride or groom DIY their entire reception to transform a space into a classy and elegant party that completely fulfilled her vision.

Here are some Do’s and Don’ts for DIY’ing your wedding day.

  1. If it can be done a few months in advance do it! Anything that has to be done the day of hire out.

    * * * I get it this totally goes against the above photo (she pulled off decorating the entire reception without the help of a planner but this bride is a unicorn. This momma/bride would not tell me the challenges but let’s be real, it wasn’t a walk in the park to make this vision a reality.

  2. Flowers. Be realistic, do you love flowers? Is your dream to be a florist? Think of the logistics. Imagine a hot day in July. Spending the days before your wedding picking up hundreds of blooms, keeping them cool and transporting them (and all the vases) to the venue. Most brides are arranging them on their wedding day morning with bridesmaids and moms. Ask your mom if that’s how she wants to spend her day. Usually what happens is the moms and bridesmaids will be racing until the end to finish and leave their own getting ready until last. They love seeing your happiness, but I know that they are exhausted!

    Instead- hire a professional florist to make your bouquet (it will be such a joy in all the photos) opt for non-floral centerpieces.

    Hire a florist.

  3. The Cake. Your aunt is a really great baker. See tip 2. Do you want your Aunt stressing out and messing her entire kitchen up days before your wedding making hundreds of cupcakes? Do your aunt and yourself a favor and find someone to make the dessert.
  4. Before you attempt to try to DIY anything for your wedding host a dinner party for 15 people. Sometimes we need a little reality check before we try our hand at a party for 100 of our closest friends and relatives.
  5. Photography. Trying to DIY your wedding photos? Don’t. There is nothing you will regret more than having a family friend take your wedding photos and then trying to edit them/salvage them for the next 3 years. I have seen friends work so hard trying to salvage those shots they want to represent their wedding day because they were trying to save a few thousand dollars. I get it. It’s expensive. But you won’t ever get those photos back. Taking a joyful thing (enjoying your wedding photos) and making it into a stressful, regretful thing, is a sure way to ruin a perfectly wonderful wedding.
  6. Your dress, pants-suit, suit, totally wear whatever makes you feel like a princess, prince, vixen, bride, bombshell. Whatever you want to wear, wear it! However you want to feel choose that style. Make sure to take photos from ALL angles after each fitting and sit down in your dress and dance! Nothing is worse than not being able to enjoy your party because you can’t sit down. Also don’t rely on the fact that your photographer has amazing photoshop skills to fix a bad fitting dress.
  7. Favors. See rule one! If you can get them done months in advance, do it! Then assign a bridesmaid to bring them day of. A really responsible one.
  8. Wedding Planner. Do yourself a favor and hire a planner! At least get a day of planner. How many times have I been at a wedding (very upscale weddings) and the venue’s coordinator is coordinating something and the bridal party is wondering how to line up. Inevitably they ask me because I know this stuff. If they aren’t walking down the aisle, I am not going to be able to take photos, so I find myself lining people up. But that totally takes away from the photography. Make sure you have a planner, at least a day of. May I suggest http://www.detailleweddingsandevents.com/

    So now that you’ve read all of these tips let’s go over a few things, actually one thing. If you can’t do it months in advance, don’t attempt to do it! Throw that dinner party and see how exhausted you are and times that by 100 if you need more convincing. Your day will be amazing, but you have to treat yourself and take off your superhero(ine) cape for just one day.

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from the moment of I Do

joyfully captured