Resourceful Bride: What to Buy and What to DIY?

Do not DIY your dress. Do not allow your mom or grandmom or anyone, but Vera Wang herself, to DIY your dress.
09/10/2013 03:30 pm ET Updated Nov 10, 2013

Choosing to DIY your wedding can be a great way to add personality to your big day. It's important for DIY brides to realize that, unless you are Martha Stewart (meaning you have five assistants and a few million dollars in the bank), you are going to have to pick and choose the DIY projects that won't cause you to turn into a bridezilla.

Here are a few tips on what to buy and what to DIY for your wedding;
The Dress
DIY or Buy?
Do not DIY your dress. Do not allow your mom or grandmom or anyone, but Vera Wang herself, to DIY your dress. Why? Because no matter how nontraditional you are, no matter how awesome your Mom is at sewing curtains, and no matter how amazing you think a DIY dress will be -- a DIY dress can be spotted a mile away, and not because the hemlines are impeccable. You shouldn't spend your entire life savings on a dress, however, making a dress is far too stressful and there are better ways to save a buck. Acceptable alternatives to DIYing your dress are: buying vintage and getting the dress professionally altered, buying second hand and getting the dress professionally altered, and adding DIY pieces to your store bought wedding attire (i.e. veil, jewelry, sash -- pretty much anything except for the dress).
The Cake
DIY or Buy?
Because I work in the events industry, I have heard some real DIY horror stories, and none are worse than when the cake goes wrong. Unlike the dress, however, I do believe that a DIY cake can work. This is not to say that you should take your wedding as an opportunity to "figure out" fondant. Instead, think about how you might be able to express yourself in a cake-like fashion. I am a big fan of cupcake towers, Krispy Kreme donut mountains, or how about a cookie bar that goes as far as the eye can see? When it comes to wedding cake alternatives, the world is your ice cream bar.
The Flowers
DIY or Buy?
If you are a bride on a budget, flowers can become the bane of your existence. They are fragile, not eco-friendly, and they cost a ton of money. I have some friends who had good luck buying flowers from a bulk store and arranging them a couple of days before the wedding, but that requires putting faith in a lot of unknown factors. If you are a bride that will freak out two days before the wedding because your perfectly pink azaleas wilted while being flown across the country, then do not DIY your arrangements. If you are like me, and you could care less about having fresh flowers, you can easily order some gorgeous dried bouquets on Etsy for you and your bridesmaids and brainstorm some unique centerpiece alternatives.
The Favors
DIY or Buy?
Some wedding professionals say that favors are a complete waste of money and that half of your guests will probably leave them behind at the end of the night. Well, they may be right, but darned if I don't love a creative party favor! Let's face it, jordan almonds are gross, and there are a million other ways that you can creatively capture your wedding theme in a small, yet unique, favor. Etsy is full of some clever ideas, simply type in "wedding favors" and have at it!

All told, DIYing can really enhance your wedding experience, just don't let it get overwhelming, and remember to ask for help -- after all, bridesmaids should do more than just sit around looking pretty in taffeta.