, ,

Wedvice: D.I.Y. . . . A “What To” Guide

*Please be aware that this ENTIRE entry today is from my cute little soapbox. You don’t have to agree, take my advice, or even listen… but I’m just looking out for you and your best interest. Promise!!*

Classic NOW Tabletop, to see more, scroll to the bottom of this post!

That’s right, I said it. NOT a “How To”, but a “What To”. It seems as though weddings bring out the crafty side in all of us [brides, moms, friends, aunts, neighbors from across the street and the ladies at churches]. But some things are just better left to the pros. I hate the be the bearer of bad news on this, I just have to say it! Read the below guide to determine ways to make your life easier by NOT doing it yourself.

Now, there are items that are perfectly acceptable to D.I.Y. that we must not discount. These include:

Paper Products such as invitations, programs, place and escort cards, menus, table numbers, and any other details you may think up. Should you have the capability, time, and resources, I am 100% for your D.I.Y. project that will likely be fabulous, personal, and inspiring to us industry folk.

Table Runners or other small fabric items. If you know a great seamstress or ARE a great seamstress, then by no means let us stand in your way! Make table runners, place mats, table overlays, center squares, napkins… whatever you’d like. I support this thought and notion!

But, really, my bigger concern is the things that should NOT have the corners cut on them, no matter which way you slice it. Here they are, and more importantly, WHY:

Slideshow. I’ll be honest on this: I’ve had probably 10 to 15 slideshows in the past few years that the couple has toiled over putting together themselves. I cannot honestly think of ONE off the top of my head that went smoothly, according to plan. This is because, as I repeat myself which is common, the couple is typically not wedding pros. It’s almost inevitable that something will be forgotten. Most times, it’s the audio hook up. I beg, I plead, I implore you… HIRE your DJ to run your slideshow. They will have proper equipment. A screen, a way to play your DVD, and a way to run the sound from said DVD. Typically the situation is that we’re using the venue’s screen paired with Uncle Lou’s projector [that he borrowed from work] and then the slideshow is saved on the groom’s laptop, which is dead and needs to be charged because we were up all night finishing it…. Can you sense the nightmare about to unfold? At some events just to figure out the slideshow, it can take up to one hour!! Talk about throwing off a timeline. And all to save a few bucks to not have the DJ involved. It’s not worth the time and stress to try and assemble all of the pieces when you really aren’t sure about the whole puzzle. Go ahead and CREATE the slideshow yourself [though I have seen some incredibly killer slideshows created by videographers- mind you], but when it comes to putting it together and playing it on the big day- hire, hire, hire!

Cake or delivery. Do not be fooled: creating a tiered cake is difficult. Please do not try to re-create something out of Martha Stewart Weddings unless you do so on a regular basis. And more often, be VERY aware of the fact that cakes are difficult to transport and set up on one’s own. It’s common to find a father of the bride’s thumb print on the side of a perfect cake that had to be set up by him. He’ll feel awful. And that’s the BEST case scenario. Please, just pay the delivery fee.

Anything involving ceremony “assembly”. This includes the bamboo arch that your dad is making and bringing with him on the day-of. I have, in my experience, had to wait and hold the wedding until the dad has returned from showering and changing. I have had a groom bring their arch, in pieces, with him in the limo when he arrived, 20 minutes before the scheduled walk. I have had family members pick up chairs from rental companies and be setting them up themselves, in their formal attire. I tell you this much: it’s never worth it. Give that project to someone capable. Even if it means handing it off to your planner who can designate someone to do these things, please do it. Do not leave that pressure on yourself or your family. The goal of the day is to show up and be there, be FAMILY. Greet guests, shake hands, kiss babies, watch you get married.

Flowers. I know, this seems like the first on the list for the ultimate D.I.Y. bride. But, hear me out. There’s a reason I’m opposed. First off, the knowledge of a florist is a big deal. They may seem “pricey” but flowers themselves aren’t cheap. The “mark up” the florist’s are chagrining you is threefold: for their time, their design experience, and their skill to execute. Add that to the fact that the more experienced they are the more they are the more connections they have and yes, they’re an important vendor. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve worked with a few D.I.Y. flower brides. But, I’m no advocate. If you don’t know your way around flowers, it will be difficult. Really though, my main reason for being anti on this point is pure and simple: time constraints. Flowers are delivered and assembled anywhere from one or two days before your wedding. Who, in their right mind, wants to be spending that precious time being engulfed in a stressful situation that they really aren’t 100% confident and comfortable knowing their way around? When you’ve got family flying in, a mani/pedi appointment, rehearsal dinner, last minute projects, and everything else jammed into that final week, I beg of you to grab your sanity back and hand over that flower project to a pro! In the end, even if it’s $500 you’d be saving by D.I.Y.ing those petals…. It’ll be worth every dime!

Moment of reality for you all: I will, however, say this: if you’re insistent on D.I.Y. flowers, armor yourself with as much knowledge and skill prior to the big day as possible. There are wonderful opportunities these days at local community colleges- and even through florists- to take a crash course on how to assemble and care for your flowers. A one-day seminar for you and a couple VIPs will help immensely! I know Christine Saunders of The Spiraled Stem has just launched a new side project called Flower DIYvas for this exact reason! One of my personal clients actually took a course [a small, one day group lesson] through Casey at Flower Duet. As long as you’re willing to research and really dig in there properly… at least you’ll be much more aware of what you’re in for!

Basically, the idea behind all of this is, for me, to allow you to BE on your wedding day. When I’m working with a client, even for just the Day-Of, I want to know that I can pick up their items the week of their wedding, and be picking up their WEDDING the week of their wedding. I want your last few days as an engaged couple to be filled with love and family and the inevitable feelings that come with marrying one another [a little nerves, a lot of excitement, a little stress and anxiety… but mostly an overwhelming notion that this is all really, really happening]! The few things that I chose to mention are merely examples of token pieces that a bride often thinks they can take care of. But as someone who cares for you, who wants to see you nothing but happy on your big day and wants the best for you and nothing else: don’t give in! If it means re-working the budget, cutting money out of other areas, or downsizing your guest list… in the end, it will all be worth it if you let us do what we do best.

Now, for pretty pretty pictures! I honestly can’t remember which ones I used to post with my other blogs, so bear with me if these are repeats. Yikes!!

This table top was 100% inspired by the chairs. These chairs are the “new” chiavari chair and, although not as available or popular- yet, they are fabulousness like nothing else. I found the fabric for the aisle runner and quickly whipped it up along with the matching napkins.

As the design, in my head, started to flesh out more, I wanted the color scheme to reflect an Alice in Wonderland feel. Simple, traditional, classical, and yet a playful color scheme and really cute combination of elements. Kristin at The Treasured Petal totally loved the idea that I had of making the centerpiece an oversized bouquet that was placed on top of a classic ivory square cake stand.

We wrapped it with a huge thick silk bow in our blue, and then went one step further for the favors- mini bouquets for each guest, on their napkin. The guest plates matched the cake stand but were long rectangles- a modern element which I love. Something unexpected and untraditional paired with such classic ideas became a refreshing picture.

Of course, Jonilyn was there, working her butt off to get the amazing angles and details that you see in the pictures. We loved that this table was “no fuss”- truly a clean and simple design that easily blends the modern to the classic.

Deep burgundy/mahogany and french blue. What can be better??

Hope you loved! Don’t hate me for my soap box! Love me for my honesty [and my pictures]!! We love you for yours!


A. Auer

*all images by Jonilyn Photography