The D.I.Y. Dilemma

Weddings are complicated.  I know we’ve said it a million times, but it’s still true and until you have planned one you probably have no idea how much goes into this single day.  As a guest, you show up, have a good time then go home.  As a host, you plan for a year then work your tail off to make it a success.  Along the way you have to make the decision over and over again as to whether to do something yourself (D.I.Y.) or hire someone to complete the task for you.  The food, flowers, favors, photos and so much more can either be put on your to-do list, the list of family and friends or handed over to a hired professional.  Here are some considerations and cautions to think about as you decide who will do what for your event.

D.I.Y. Considerations

I’m sure you or someone close to you CAN do all the tasks associated with hosting a wedding.  That isn’t the question.  Instead, the question is whether you WANT or NEED to do it yourself.  It may be less expensive to do things yourself, but it does come at a cost.  I have seen first-hand the stress, exhaustion and sometimes even disappointment associated with doing everything yourself.  You and your guests should be able to enjoy your wedding day with as little stress as possible.  This is why I suggest hiring wedding professionals for as many tasks as you can.

Professionals in the wedding industry exist for a reason.  They offer a valuable service and must be good at what they do for their business to survive.  The product of an experienced and well trained vendor is usually higher quality, more reliable and less hassle than that of D.I.Y.ers.  Paid vendors can advise you on what choices you have based on your budget, venue, season and style so you can make educated decisions.  Their established supply chain can also provide more options or better prices for certain items.  You can trust that wedding professionals will provide what you ask for, when you ask for it.  That being said, there are still low risk tasks that you can delegate to family and friends.

If you’re thinking about asking a friend or family member to do something for your wedding be sure to consider the skills required, the scale of job and the importance of the outcome.  Match each task with those who have the skills, facilities, time and resources to do the job.

D.I.Y. Cautions

Somehow everything ends up being more complicated and taking longer than you thought it would.  Beware that when you do something yourself there may be last minute costs and stresses due to your lack experience.  Be realistic with your time and talents so that you don’t have to deal with the cost to fix a problem or repair damages.

You and everyone around you will want you to be happy with your wedding day, but unpaid helpers also have their own interests to consider.  They may not be as prompt, particular and professional as paid vendors who are passionate about their work and business.  If you decide to have a friend or family member do a task traditionally done by a professional, you may need to be flexible and adjust your expectations.

Show appreciation for your wedding helpers regardless of how much or how little you have asked of them.  I’m sure they aren’t helping you for a gift, but your helpers should feel appropriately appreciated.  You never want a friend or family member to feel used or annoyed by your lack of consideration for their time and energy.  Be sure to cover all the expenses related to their task and give them a thank you note at the very least.

4 Things To Leave To The Professional

From our experience, these four tasks should be done by professional if at all possible.

  • Catering  |  Catering isn’t just cooking.  It is planning, storing, preparing, transporting and cleaning up food on a large scale.  Professionals have the experience, equipment, and employees to make sure delicious food is safely prepared, served in a timely manner and presented beautifully.  This allows all your family and friends to enjoy the event without having to replenish trays or worry about washing dishes.
  • Photography  |  Good wedding photos preserve the memory of your wedding day in a beautiful way.  They capture the look and feel of the day for you to revisit and share with others for years to come.  Professional photographers catch once-in-a-lifetime moments and all the details that make your day unique and worth remembering.
  • Floral Design  |   Flowers play a huge role in the overall aesthetic of your event.  Florists have access to a larger variety of quality blooms at lower prices than the average person.  Good florist are also equipped to properly handle and arrange flowers, a perishable material, so they will look their best for your event.
  • Day of Coordination  |  It takes a very organized and authoritative person to manage an event.  When emotions are high and so many elements are coming together, a professional event coordinator is able to control the chaos.  It is a lot to ask of a friend or family member to take on this task. And we never, ever recommend that the bride be the point person for the wedding day.

3 Things to D.I.Y.

Any wedding task may end up being a D.I.Y. task, but it really depends on what skills you, your family and your friends have.  Here are the top three things we think you could consider doing yourself.

  • Hair & Makeup  |  You may not need to hire a hair and makeup artist if you are a bride wanting a simple, natural look.  Everyone has family or a friend that is obsessed with hair and makeup and would love to help out.  Just make sure you do a trial run a few weeks before the wedding so that you look exactly how you want on your wedding day.
  • Music  |  For some people music at their wedding is a big deal, but for others, it isn’t.  If you fall into the latter category then maybe you could get away with not hiring a DJ.  There are plenty of places that rent sound equipment and tell you how to use it.  All you’ll need is a playlist and someone you trust to control the microphone and timing. Particularly for the ceremony.
  • Cake  |  Right now it is common for couples to have a small cake to cut then serve other desserts (cupcakes, sheet cake, cookies, etc.) to their guests.  I think it is a great idea to have a D.I.Y. cake if you want something simple and small.  Go with a professional though if you want a bigger, more elaborate tiered cake.

We love hearing from you!  Comment below with other D.I.Y. tips.  If you’re planning a wedding with the help of lots of family and friends, you may also find it helpful to read our post on Wedding Weekend Helpers.

*Feature image by Cassie Lopez Photography

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