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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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