DIY Weddings

Planning DIY wedding from scratch... where to start?

My boyfriend and I have been talking about getting married for the past two years, so I thought I had leg up. But once I got engaged it kind of all fell apart. Good news is, we haven't picked a date yet.

Issues: 

1) My church literally has no building to get married in right now (long story).

2) I planned to get married on my father's farm but realized after a recent visit he's not willing to clean it up enough (junk everywhere). My saintly stepmom has found and suggested a similar venue, but it won't be free. 

3) My parents are willing to help, but I don't have number amounts from them. Mom has agreed to buy dress and possibly cake and Dad and stepmom said they will help out "as they can."

How do I plan without a firm budget or venue?

Re: Planning DIY wedding from scratch... where to start?

  • Thank you! Probably a dumb question, but I appreciate the help!
  • edited January 2016
    Ah we were all new at this at some point! Stick around, I've learnt a lot from these ladies.
                 
    MesmrEwe[Deleted User][Deleted User]
  • wandajune6wandajune6 Chicago-ish member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    What the others have said. Without money in hand and a plan for saving, it's very difficult/impossible to plan a wedding. The best way to get started is by figuring out who you want/need to be invited and start investigating options from there.

    Good luck!
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  • Wholeheartedly agree with the others - Budget, guest list, ceremony, reception, in that order.  And it's beyond true of when others offer to pay for something, it comes with strings, before you accept a penny be aware there will be a string.  Also, assume the money doesn't exist until it's in-hand or paid 100% to the vendor.  When it comes to all things wedding, remember the only things you NEED are two willing people, someone to marry you, a license, and in some states a witness.  The rest is gravy and window dressing!  The second you invite a guest, focus on proper hosting (i.e. all guests treated equally...  No one is to open their wallet to eat/drink/park...  restrooms, proper seating, climate control, and accessible).. 

    Now - for cheap reception venues - community parks/centers are your first cheapest option (many communities have "hidden gems" and this is why to post on your local boards asking about these..  That said, please remember your location and time of year and guest comfort.  Don't have an outdoor event in Texas in summer nor an outdoor wedding in winter in Michigan.  Think about places like the local Lion's Club, KC Hall, VFW Hall, Elk's, Moose Lodge, etc.  Or for that matter, if you have a small event - restaurants with gathering spaces.  Some restaurants will even rent out for an evening.

    Most of all remember that DIY DOES NOT save you money most of the time!  The value of your time is important!  Many projects cost more in nickel and dime supplies than it is to order something already done and delivered.  It's not so much about DIY as it is being smart about your spending/budget.  DIY because you love certain activities and already have everything you need collecting dust somewhere.  Don't DIY because you'll save a penny because at the end of the day, if you give a florist a budget of $50 to put a bridal bouquet together for you with (color) roses incorporated, you're going to have a lovely bouquet delivered without having lifted a finger. 

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  • MesmrEwe said:

    Most of all remember that DIY DOES NOT save you money most of the time!  The value of your time is important!  Many projects cost more in nickel and dime supplies than it is to order something already done and delivered.  It's not so much about DIY as it is being smart about your spending/budget.  DIY because you love certain activities and already have everything you need collecting dust somewhere.  Don't DIY because you'll save a penny because at the end of the day, if you give a florist a budget of $50 to put a bridal bouquet together for you with (color) roses incorporated, you're going to have a lovely bouquet delivered without having lifted a finger. 

    This! I read this before my wedding and thought to myself well maybe for some people but I've got a great idea and am really crafty! My DIYs turned out great but they were a lot more work than I expected and on most of them I spent more than it would have been to buy the exact same thing. The spot I did save was with flowers where I made them all out of paper but it took days of my life and my mom pitched in a did a bunch because she had surgery and was stuck in bed for a bit and wanted some crafts to do so she offered. And I had flowers and craft supplies all over our apartment for a couple months up to the wedding.

    In hindsight, I would not have DIYed much if anything.
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    MesmrEweCMGragain
  • There is a REASON people get paid to do wedding stuff.  It can be more trouble than it is worth.
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    MesmrEwe
  • blueeyedkatblueeyedkat member
    25 Love Its 10 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited January 2016
    Also agree with @MesmrEwe , unless whoever is saying they will contribute gives you the cash/check (which clears)/direct deposit as they're saying it, pretend it doesn't exist.

    Figure out what you and your fiance can afford yourselves. You've been talking about this for 2 years, you should have saved some money that you can use for the wedding. Figure out a budget, the guest list (and if you're paying for it, you can completely control the list - no "you must invite your 2nd cousin you haven't seen in 10 years"), and then select a date. Realize that deposits are crappy and unexpected expenses that nobody bothers to mention. We all see the end amount, but fail to realize that deposits are due at the time of booking (especially venues and caterers). So you have to have a chunk of money ready to spend earlier on in the planning process.

    Figure out your top three things for the wedding. For me, it was: venue with no preferred vendor list, good bbq caterer, photography. For others it can be venue, flowers, dj/music; food, music, drinks;  etc.

    Honestly, I'm DIY-ing, so I'm keeping my decor as simple as possible. Your decoration stuff can wait till the last 3 months of your planning, because you'll know then what you can afford, in both money and time. So go ahead, pinterest, save photos on TK, etc., but don't commit till you have a much clearer picture of what you want, and how much you can afford, and the time you can dedicate to making anything DIY. 

    DIY is extremely time consuming. I'm making origami bouquets (because flowers are outrageously expensive and were not my top 3 thing for the wedding), and while I'm doing most of the folding and such, I'm throwing a craft party for my girlfriends to helm me with them and put them together, etc. Make sure if some friends will help with DIY, that it's totally voluntary, you treat them nicely, provide food, etc.
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  • Compare pricing, sometimes DIY is not always cheaper. By time you figure out the time you'll have to invest in doing things yourself and spending the money to do things. Like PP said, keep things simple. There is something to be said about a simple classic event. The plus side to doing a wedding that fits the budget you and FI can afford is that you have total say on what goes on. Also think non-traditional, like a cake & punch reception. Does your church have another local church that it kind of works with that you can do your wedding there for free or a very low rate? Think of what things about a wedding are important to you. Keep your guest list as small as possible. And there is something to be said to being able to show up to the venue & everything is done for you.
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited January 2016
    The key to having a really tight budget wedding is in the initial planning.  You do not need to have the same wedding that your friends or relatives had.

    1.  Afternoon weddings are cheapest.  You can have a simple ceremony with cake and punch to follow at the reception.  These weddings should be held around 2:00 PM.  Dancing is not usually featured at these very traditional weddings.  No tuxedos!

    2.  The next most budget friendly choice is a morning ceremony with a brunch reception.  It is half the cost of a dinner reception, but your guests still get a full meal.  If you must have alcohol (optional), then serve mimosas.

    3.  It is really too early for you to choose a venue.  Get your real budget and guest list together.  The fewer guests, the cheaper your wedding, so don't get carried away by inviting the whole Persian Army.  Ditto about your wedding party.  Please tell us that you haven't asked your bridesmaids yet!  A small wedding party is cheaper than a large one because there are fewer gifts for you to buy.

    Remember you can have a beautiful, memorable wedding day without overspending, but it needs careful planning and realistic goals.
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  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!) member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    CMGragain said:
    The key to having a really tight budget wedding is in the initial planning.  You do not need to have the same wedding that your friends or relatives had.

    1.  Afternoon weddings are cheapest.  You can have a simple ceremony with cake and punch to follow at the reception.  These weddings should be held around 2:00 PM.  Dancing is not usually featured at these very traditional weddings.  No tuxedos!

    2.  The next most budget friendly choice is a morning ceremony with a brunch reception.  It is half the cost of a dinner reception, but your guests still get a full meal.  If you must have alcohol (optional), then serve mimosas.

    3.  It is really too early for you to choose a venue.  Get your real budget and guest list together.  The fewer guests, the cheaper your wedding, so don't get carried away by inviting the whole Persian Army.  Ditto about your wedding party.  Please tell us that you haven't asked your bridesmaids yet!  A small wedding party is cheaper than a large one because there are fewer gifts for you to buy.

    Remember you can have a beautiful, memorable wedding day without overspending, but it needs careful planning and realistic goals.
    This is definitely not always true.   I know some venues that do amazing brunches (that rival the food at dinner receptions!), and their prices are not much cheaper than dinner - they discount a bit due to the time of day, but that's about it.
  • My wedding (in like 50 days) is going to be a "budget diy wedding." That being said, it becomes really hard to do everything diy (especially on a budget), plus it becomes stressful really fast. So word of caution there...

    I would recommend coming up with a max number amount of how much you and your guy can spend on it. Then prioritize what is most important to you. I did my own invitations for ~$30 with a diy kit. I'm going to do my own roses by getting those from Sams Club and tossing them (literally) into clear glass Dollar store vases. The roses will cost me $100 for 125.

    Sams Club also has really good prices on cupcakes too, think...you could have a cupcake/candy bar!  :)
    What are you doing for food? Grocery stores sometimes cater, and it's reasonable.
    As to a venue, my hubby to be and I chose a small country church in a tiny town. It's not where we attend. But it is gorgeous and reasonable.

    Cities or Parks and Rec often have small halls/rooms that can be rented by the hour very cheaply. My hall will cost me $35 per hour.

    Just some ideas, but first create a budget, and keep in mind that the little things add up fast!  :s

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