5 Ways To Own Your DIY Wedding

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We all know that wed­ding costs can run away from you. Quick­ly. Just try this lit­tle exper­i­ment: run a quick price com­par­i­son on your favorite search engine for “par­ty invi­ta­tions.” Then throw the words “wed­ding,” “engage­ment,” or “save the date” in front of said query, and watch the prices jump faster than a brides­maid for a bou­quet.

In a way, the prices are under­stand­able. Your wed­ding is one of the most impor­tant days in your life and you want every­thing to be right. You also don’t want to fill your head with pet­ty con­cerns (is that cheap‑o chair going to hold up to Uncle Pauly) or what-ifs (bet­ter light­ing would’ve made that first dance pho­to real­ly pop). But unless you are expect­ing an all-expens­es-paid wed­ding from some crazy rich nup­tial bene­fac­tor, the cost does need to come into the equa­tion.

With more and more young cou­ples tak­ing their wed­ding plan­ning (and financ­ing) into their own hands, the good news is that the DIY wed­ding has become—in our age of arti­san cock­tails, Edi­son bulb chan­de­liers, mason jar life hacks, and reclaimed wood—both eas­i­er to do and down­right hip. Don’t believe me? Just vis­it any Pin­ter­est board ever cre­at­ed by any­one.

There are still logis­ti­cal pit­falls that can arise when you take on the DIY wed­ding, but the cost sav­ings are not to be under­es­ti­mat­ed. And grooms, you are dudes who can pitch in and bring prices down. So put those wood­work­ing, leather-emboss­ing, moun­tain-man­ning, pio­neer­ing, equip­ment-haul­ing, badass cal­loused hands to work and watch the sav­ings roll in.We present to you a com­plete­ly incom­plete, slight­ly biased, high­ly ran­dom, but still pret­ty use­ful list of five ways you can save mon­ey on your do-it-your­self wed­ding.

bride and groom share kiss at wedding  on lake

1. DON’T BUY “WEDDING”-SPECIFIC PRODUCTS

Just search for the best prod­ucts for you and your needs. Like we said ear­li­er, slap the “W” word in front of prod­uct A and it becomes prod­uct B, with a price of at least dou­ble. That’s a lot of let­ters, we know, but we think you get math. This one truth can inform so many of the rest of your deci­sions. Keep it in mind. Believe it. Take it to heart. Save and repeat.

2. DON’T PAY FOR YOUR WEDDING VENUE

Or get cre­ative if you do have to pay some­body. The venue can be your largest expense for your big day or your most awe­some way to save. Besides, back­yard wed­dings have gone from shab­by to chic in recent years and free­ing up all that mon­ey means more bud­get for the impor­tant stuff. Think booze. Think big. Hell, think bounce house.

Also, one thing peo­ple often don’t think about is what a bum­mer a lot of wed­ding venues can be. Qui­et hours, time lim­its, and all kinds of extra fees can creep up until your wed­ding isn’t look­ing so fun any­more. One-size-fits-all venues don’t have any­thing on your aunt and uncle’s sweet back yard, where you can unwind post-cer­e­mo­ny with­out wor­ry­ing about some stingy land­lord.

3. FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU CAN REASONABLY DO YOURSELF

This will be dif­fer­ent for every cou­ple or sit­u­a­tion. You may have the time and patience to fig­ure out logis­tics like light­ing, music and seat­ing. Or you may have zero expe­ri­ence with any of these things and just want to have them tak­en care of. You may have a pri­vate venue at a friend/family member’s house where you can stage and pre­pare for days in advance. Or you may need to hire some pro­fes­sion­als just to get every­thing done in a day. You may be a great graph­ic design­er (or know one). Or, you may opt to splurge on wed­ding invites.

What­ev­er you decide, make the deci­sion well in advance of the wed­ding day, and be sure you’ll be able to fol­low through. You do not want to end up two days before your wed­ding, won­der­ing how you ever thought you could set up a karaoke sys­tem. Set rea­son­able expec­ta­tions and stick to them.

table decorations at nautical themed wedding

4. DO NOT SKIMP ON DISHES, GLASSWARE AND SILVERWARE

We real­ly rec­om­mend you rent these from a local par­ty sup­ply com­pa­ny who will deliv­er crates of clean cut­lery and haul away the dirty dish­es the next day. Because we don’t care how DIY you want to go: nobody wants to think about clean-up on their wed­ding day.

The same goes for the facil­i­ties. If you’re doing the wed­ding at somebody’s home, just rent a cou­ple of portable toi­lets. Keep drunk­en rev­el­ers stum­bling through your host’s home to an absolute min­i­mum. They will thank you. Besides, there are some super classy portable toi­lets out there these days.

5. FIND FRIENDS AND FAMILY WITH SPECIAL TALENTS

Peo­ple often have trou­ble ask­ing for help when plan­ning some­thing big like a wed­ding. And that’s real­ly a shame because a wed­ding, like no oth­er event in your life, is a time when peo­ple are in the mood to come togeth­er, pitch in, and gen­er­al­ly be tak­en advan­tage of.

Remem­ber that you’ve got spe­cial wed­ding super­pow­ers, plus a strong bar­ter­ing chip: your wed­ding gift. In lieu of gifts, ask your bud­dy with the sound sys­tem to DJ, or your home-brew­ing broth­er for a few kegs of beer (if it’s not as skunky as it used to be). You’ll be sur­prised how hap­py peo­ple will be to pitch in and get involved, not to men­tion show off their mad skil­lz.

Also, activ­i­ties like bar-tend­ing can be fun. Pull a Tom Sawyer and rope some friends into the job. They’ll end up being the life of the par­ty, whether they actu­al­ly have any tal­ent or not.

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