It is once again wedding season -- that time of year when every weekend starts to hazily blend together as a mixture of rose petals, champagne toasts, and the occasional hora. It's no wonder that brides these days are looking to do something different, something DIY to make their special day truly a unique occasion. As a DIY blogger, perpetual crafter, and recent newlywed, I've devised my top six tips for personalizing your wedding... one DIY project at a time.
1. Pick the top three wedding elements that are most important to you.
Before breaking out the glue gun and seven yards of diamond white tulle, take a minute to think about what elements of your wedding are most important to you. Maybe you feel strongest about your dress, the venue and signature cocktails, or maybe you're more of a food, dancing, and entertainment kind of bride. Now that you have identified what elements are at the top of your "wedding wants" list, see how you can incorporate some DIY touches into these most important areas. For me, I knew my dress was of the utmost importance and making it "different" from the 74 other dresses I tried on was at the top of my DIY list. No, I didn't hack off the bottom half of my dress. I did, however, create and attach a cobalt blue fabric flower to the field of white silk dupioni flowers that made up the bottom half of my dress. What can I say, I wanted a very obvious "something blue."
2. Doing it yourself is cool. Telling your vendors what you're up to is even better.
Now that you have identified what areas you plan to DIY, make sure you tell your vendors upfront what it is you're up to. I know this sounds counterintuitive, but it's important that you let those in charge of many of these elements in on what your vision and plan of attack look like. For example, if you want your grandmother to make your wedding cake, it's important that you check with your venue coordinator as many places (especially hotels and other indoor wedding halls) have contracts that don't allow for outside food to be served to guests. While this may upset you at first, realize that your venue likely has a purpose -- like health code violations! -- for shooting down your special touch dreams. On the other hand, let's say you want the table centerpieces to be a trio of mason jars filled with fresh cut flowers. Rather than order a case of mason jars online, try calling your florist. He/she may already have the jars you are looking for and will allow you to use them for free!
3. Realize that most DIY projects are not as easy as they seem.
Perusing the thousands of Pinterest wedding boards for DIY inspiration is great but, before you max out your credit card on floral tape and acrylic paint, know that most projects are not as simple as they seem. No I'm not telling you this to scare you off, but I do think it is important to be completely aware of the fact that a woman who has been sewing for fifteen years will likely do a better job at making a wedding veil than you, the bride to be, who has never used a sewing machine let alone threaded a needle before in her life! This is not to say your DIY dreams are doomed. Just keep in mind that it might take you a few tries to make your project a Pinterest worthy masterpiece (and that's okay!).
4. DIY is sometimes spelled DIWH -- Do It With Help.
One of the most important things to remember when "doing it yourself" is that you don't actually have to do it yourself. It's okay to have your bridesmaids, mom, or other helping hands help you out with your DIY endeavors. In fact, if someone you know is an expert in an area where you've chosen to tackle a project yourself, it might actually be a good idea to get him/her involved. Case in point, you want to have a signature drink at your reception but you don't know where to begin: fruity, refreshing, strong, sweet? The options are endless but your time, not so much. This is when calling your friend who moonlights as a bartender is the way to go. Not only will he/she feel as though you value his/her opinion but, come the big day, you can be rest assured that your guests will be sipping on the perfect cocktail creation.
5. Wedding weekend touches can be fun, too.
Your special DIY touches don't all have to revolve around your wedding day. In fact, it's not a bad idea to add some DIY lovin' to your entire wedding weekend! This is because, looking back on your wedding, most of your guests will remember not only your big day, but the rehearsal dinner, sendoff brunch, and all of the hours in between as well. Actually, the night before my husband and I walked down the aisle, we had a dessert and DC bus tour planned for all of our out-of-town guests. Seeing how my mom used to have her own baking company, she gleefully volunteered to make a buffet of sugary treats. With small pastry boxes in hand, guests were able to pack a dessert goodie bag of sorts and bring it with them onto a fifty-person coach bus that later drove us around DC's famous monuments. As much as I'd like to take credit for this idea, it was actually something that my parents did the night before their wedding twenty-something years ago. Tradition or not, the dessert bus tour was definitely something our wedding guests remembered and proved to be a special wedding weekend touch that will keep all of our friends and family talking.
6. From scratch is not always best.
Not all special touches need to be completely DIY to be special and scream YOU! When I first thought of giving out hand sanitizer as a wedding favor, I knew I liked the concept but needed to work on the actual execution. After some online detective work, I came across a company that manufactured mini personalized hand sanitizer bottles (less than three ounces so out of town guests wouldn't have to worry!). All I had to do was determine what I wanted the label to say -- ended up going with "Signed. Sealed. Sanitized." -- and, for me, that was enough of a personal touch.