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DIY Weddings

Newly Engaged/Extremely Busy Lady

Hi all! My fiancé and I are planning about an 18 month engagement in order to allow for time to plan everything since I work and go to school full-time. I also would like to DIY as much as possible. Does anyone have an tips on starting? How do you spot venues that are DIY friendly?
KnotRiley

Re: Newly Engaged/Extremely Busy Lady

  • Why would you want to DIY if you are so pressed for time?  DIY doesn't necesssarily save you money.
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    MesmrEwejaprincess24
  • You should start by figuring out what your budget is before you do any planning.  Once you have that you can search for venues near where you want to be married and get an idea of the style you like.  I found it helpful to browse through my local board and read about other's experiences at different venues.  
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  • wandajune6wandajune6 Chicago-ish member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    Worry about the basics first: budget then officiant, venue, food, and guest list. You won't know what DIYs make sense until you have that worked out.

    Also, as @CMGragain mentioned, DIY isn't always cheaper. In fact, I found that all of the projects I DIY'd I could have easily skipped or bought cheaper.

    Finally, remember that the DIY needs to fit your wedding. Burlap and lace (*shudder*) don't work in an elegant setting. Incredibly fancy invitations don't match with a casual backyard wedding. Until you know the basics of your plan, nothing you work on will make a lot of sense.
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    CMGragainjaprincess24
  • I based all my DIY's on my venue, and ceremony space.. Be sure that you have a guest list so that you pick a venue that fits all intended guests.. I have not heard of a Venue that strictly wont allow DIY unless it is something dangerous.. 
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  • You can ask venues if they will set up your DIY's. Mine for example included a day of coordinator, and she would set anyrhing up I brought (just had to be doable as a one person job). So she set up my homemade photobooth, set the programs out, etc.

    I def. agree that DIY is not always cheapest! Keep and open mind, and remember your time is valuable too.
    SP29
  • kimmiinthemittenkimmiinthemitten Detroit, MI member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    It goes budget, guest list, venue, in that order (unless you want a church ceremony).

    I searched for venues that allowed off-site catering (I also had a caterer I wanted to use).  Typically those types of venues give you more room for creativity.   

    We took all of the associated costs with that venue and subtracted it from the budget for our reception.  We then divided that amount by our guest list and that told us how much we would have for food + bar per person at each venue and we decided from there.  Ironically, the most formal place we visited, allowed us a max food budget.
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    MesmrEwecanadianteacherSP29
  • Before you even buy one clearance aisle pack of invitations - Start with your budget, then your real-world guest list (yes, all your singles need a "plus one") with all variables added in (plan that you're going to have some people added), THEN, start looking for a ceremony/officiant, then venue/caterer..  Having a space too large is better than a space too small, it's easier to add than it is to subtract guests. 

    As for DIY - the value of your time has to be factored in to any project you're going to consider DIYing.  You aren't saving a penny if you're stressed out from working your wedding instead of getting to enjoy it.  While I love DIY projects and am a mini-Martha, there's a time and a place for DIY and a time to hire it out.  From hindsight, you do not want to work your wedding, you want to enjoy it as the bride!  Do a DIY project because you're passionate about them, not because you're "trying to save money" because 9:10 it's going to cost you double or triple what just paying someone to do it for you once the right way the first time would have without factoring the value of your time in. 

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    kimmiinthemittenjaprincess24
  • If you are busy, find a venue that offers the biggest bang for your buck that will reduce your stress. Doing DIY won't always save you money, and it for sure adds stress as that kind of stuff takes time to do. My venue not only provided the food & open bar, but all the linens including chair covers, centerpieces (I liked one of the options they had and all I had to do was provide a Pillar candle for each one), they did the cake too and I used their card box. It was wonderful, only other vendors/things I had to worry about for the wedding day was dj & florist.
    MesmrEweSP29
  • How did you do a homemade photo booth?
  • Well, i suggest that since you're 18 months out, start reading wedding planning books. Around book 3 you'll get a much better understanding of what your priorities are.
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  • blabla89blabla89 Atlanta member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its Name Dropper
    Get organized. Start by figuring out your budget (how much you can afford to spend), your guest list, and the things that are most important to you. Then find a wedding organizer spreadsheet online (I think A Practical Wedding has a good one) and use it to figure out the specifics of your budget, determine which venue will work best, track your guest list, decide which items to DIY, etc.

    Assuming you want to DIY your decor (for the love of everything, please don't DIY the catering) pretty much any venue should be okay, unless it's an all inclusive that requires you to use their florist or something. But if you're really that busy, you may be better off to look for vendors that minimize the amount you have to do yourself.
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  • A lot of places that are like public parks or shelterhouses, or owned by the city, will let you do a lot of DIY. We found a place that is kind of like a nature reserve but a very modern building that leaves a lot of room for DIY. Some of these places you have to book way in advance since they are public places but you can find a lot of cool stuff that way! I know a lot of people say that DIY doesn't save you much money, and in some ways it does not, but I got all my save the dates done in under $50 (minus the stamps) and they are so cute :) Congrats and good luck!!
  • I agree with PPs that you need to set a budget and think about your guest list first.  You'll definitely need to take capacity and affordability into account when looking into venues.  
    Once you've taken care of that, I think a good place to start would be thinking about whether you see yourself using a venue that is all-inclusive (aka provides food, rentals, etc) or whether you'd prefer to bring all that in yourself.  I personally think the latter is more DIY friendly, and it's what we're doing at our wedding, but it is also more work.  Mind you, we've found it to be a lot cheaper as well.  Our venue allows us to bring in our own food, alcohol, decor, music, and pretty much anything else because it's on private property, so it's a lot more flexible that way.  
    Good luck!
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  • SP29SP29 member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited December 2015
    What do you mean by DIY in regards to venue?

    Pretty much ANY venue will let you do anything DIY except for food and drink (because that's where they make money too). But if it's decor, extra food, etc, that can be done anywhere. 

    If you are trying to save time and stress (and money!) I also suggest checking out a venue that has wedding packages. We had our ceremony and reception at the same venue. The price we paid for person included meal + bar + table/chairs + decor + set up + tables for other things + serving of our cake. We hired an officiant, bought our wedding cupcakes, hired DJ + photographer, made programs and place cards, and had a candy bar. Beyond ourselves and WP, everything else was done by the venue- easy peasy, and it was actually a VERY reasonable price (yes, the decor was basic, but who cares? And we *were* married in January). 
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