Broke-Ass Category: DIY & Handmade Weddings

8/7

So, one thing I wanted to wrap my head around before I got into the nitty-gritty of wedding planning was my list of DIY projects. I wanted to give myself plenty of time to do a test run for each project so that I could determine if:

  1. I had the skills or could learn the skills needed to create the item. I consider myself a crafting veteran, but I haven’t done EVERYTHING.
  2. I had the time needed to create all of the items before the wedding without pulling out my hair from the stress.
  3. I will actually save money by doing it myself, or if the money and time would be better spent on buying it ready made.

I’m lucky in that I have a lot of family and friends who have offered to help with my various projects. But of course, I don’t want to take advantage of their generosity. So, while I have the option of outsourcing various projects to my loved ones, I want to use that option sparingly. My wedding isn’t the center of their life, and I don’t want to stress them out with a million projects.

I don’t have money, but what I do have are a very particular set of skills.

So, with that said, I sat down with my wedding binder and wrote down everything that I could possibly DIY. I’m not going to do all of them, but I wanted to see what my options were. Once I wrote everything down, I started moving items into two buckets:

  1. DIY Projects – these are projects that I felt my fiancé or I could take on ourselves.
  2. Outsource To Family & Friends – these are projects that I have asked people to take charge of because it involves a skill set that they already possess.

I love making lists, it’s a sickness.

Putting my inner crafting goddess to work.

I’ve always loved decorating for parties, from my mom’s 50th birthday to my daughter’s 1st birthday and everything in between. I love, love, LOVE it! Therefore, decorating for my wedding was a no-brainer. Immediately, I placed ceremony décor and centerpieces into the DIY projects bucket. Next, I added stationery to include: Save-The-Dates, Invitations, RSVP cards and Thank You cards. I made the invitations for my daughter’s baptism, and I felt with enough time, they wouldn’t be a problem. Then, I added the backdrop for the sweetheart table. I’ve made backdrops before, for personal use and work events, and I felt that making one for the wedding was doable. 

Lastly, I stuck the selfie-station and the paper flowers in this bucket as well. I’m a little worried about making all of the paper flowers I need to decorate the ceremony and reception space. So, I might end up making some and buying some, or swap them for something else. We’ll see how the test run goes. As for the selfie-station, I haven’t decided what that will look like yet, so I have more work to do. However, I know I want to make it myself.

Next at bat: my fiancé.

I chose two projects that I had my heart set on, but doubted I could do them by myself. Since my fiancé is a whiz at building things, I asked him to build the ceremony aisle arches and door-frame ceremony entrance. I know you are probably asking yourself, what the hell are those? I wanted to give my ceremony aisle that wow factor, by adding some arches draped in fabric. Something you don’t see often. Since we plan on the ceremony being outside, I wanted to create the illusion of “entering” the ceremony space. Hence the doorframe.

My blueprint for the ceremony aisle arch that my fiance is going to build.

Outsourcing: No need for references.

The first project I added to this bucket was the wedding cupcakes. At first, I was going to do them myself. I used to work in a grocery store bakery as a cake decorator so I knew I could make them. But, I was worried about the timing and being stressed on my wedding day. One of my bridesmaids was also a cake decorator, so when she offered to make them I said, hell yeah! She’s going to do a tasting and everything, just like going to a bakery. I can’t wait. 

Next, I added the wedding signage to this bucket. My sister/ bridesmaid got a Cricut last year for Christmas, and it has upped her crafting game significantly. She doesn’t want to be “in charge” of the signage, but she can take the lead. Then, when she is busy, she can pull me in, which is just as good. If I had to do all of the signs by myself, I probably wouldn’t do half of them.  

Finally, I added the ceremony canopy where we will stand while we say our vows. My future sister-in-law/ grooms-maid is going to knock out this project for us. She is also handy, like her brother, and I thought she would do a great job with it. We are going to tag team it, she’s going to make the frame, and I am going to make the drapes.

My plan for the centerpieces, this is an early draft.

Don’t rush me, I’m still thinking about it!

Now, there are three projects I’m still mulling over, and I go back and forth on them:

  1. Flowers – I don’t want to make my bouquet, but I am unsure about doing the flower arrangements. If I can get some reasonable quotes, I would prefer to hire someone to take care of them, and not have that hanging over me. If I had more experience with flowers, I wouldn’t worry so much, but I seriously lack a green thumb.
  2. Favors – I want to have some type of edible favor, but I don’t want the stress of baking something in the days leading up to the wedding. That’s why I outsourced the cupcakes. I am mulling over the idea of using candy, and have to hit up Pinterest for some more ideas.
  3. Bridesmaid tank tops – I like the idea of my bridesmaids having matching tank tops on while we get ready the day of. I love those pictures and think it would be fun. However, I don’t know much about making them, and I haven’t researched ordering them, so they are still an unknown at this point.

Commence with the crafting parties!

Now that I have my list, I can start testing projects. My plan is to do a few each month so that I have time to come up with alternative ideas if needed. I would like to have a game plan in place by the New Year, so I can create a crafting timeline. I will make an offering to the crafting gods, in the hopes that they will bless this massive endevor. Luckily, nothing is set in stone and if some projects have to go, then they have to go.

Wish me luck!

  • 5/10

    Pinterest is a wonderful wedding planning tool.

    There are so many options, suggestions and design ideas that quite possibly anyone, even without a “crafting thumb” could follow the instructions and make something wonderful.

    For months, I have collected these ideas on my special secret wedding planning board and I even shared with others that my planning progress was right on track, primarily because I had this board with a million ideas “pinned” and I felt somewhat accomplished.

    Then I had a lightbulb moment and I sat down to read through all of my pins and figured out what ideas would become a reality.

    It was a mess!

    I was all over the place and needed to figure out what DIY projects would fill my to do list. I tried to do this by myself by printing out everything, laying it all out on the floor and checking to see how much it would cost to make my design dreams come true. Again, the process was a mess!

    I needed help.

    I called Leigh Strong a real life Superhero but also known as a designer and stylist. Leigh assured me that she could whip my plan into shape and we scheduled a meeting.

    Leigh Strong, Designer Extraordinaire

    We started talking at 7 a.m., and two hours later I had a solid plan and realized that I would save tons of money by focusing on what I REALLY wanted vs being solely inspired by my Pinterest board.

     

    Planning on a budget? Make sure you think about the following:

    • Pinterest ideas still require time and money. Do your homework before you commit to the DIY project, price out how much the materials will be as well as the investment of your time!
    • It’s amazing how a little instruction/how to lesson can open your eyes to the additional items that you will need to make DIY project come to life! When I made my wedding budget, I  didn’t plan on buying power tools or a Cricut machine.
    • DIY + non-DIY projects, are not always created equal. Take inventory on what you plan to make, buy and/or rent and ensure there is a good design flow. You don’t want some things to look better than others.

    How did you organize all of your creative ideas? What tips do you have? Share in the comments below!

     

     

  • 5/2

    Within a week of selecting our venue and wedding date, I started daydreaming (and night dreaming) about save the date magnets. I wanted to send out magnets with a photo of us with our date in a cute font and the wedding website and they would be perfect and cheap and so cute!  Everyone loved the idea. But then we told the Germans about my…

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    3/3

    Place card holders are a great way to dress up a place setting, but if your guest list is more than, uh, 20, it can quickly add. But creating your own diamond place card holders out of cement makes for a unique aesthetic. This simple DIY combines a couple of my favorite trends -- the industrial-chic look and modern, geometric shapes. Bonus: They're a functional gift once they've…

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    2/27

    Hair trial I have reached a weird point in my wedding planning. It's March, and all of the boxes are basically checked. Venue, check. Dress, yep. Hair trial, been there. Vendors, nailed it. It's basically empty nest syndrome for wedding planning. I keep glancing over my shoulder and looking around expecting some giant forgotten thing to come knock me on my ass. All you ever…

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    1/31

    My Pinterest board is filled to the brim with ideas. I've considered everything from building an altar from used pallet boards to growing my own rose garden and assembling the bridal bouquet. It's time for an intervention! I've known for years, well before I was officially engaged that I would be a "do it yourself" bride. Not just because of the cost savings but also…

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    1/10

    I mentioned a while ago that we planned to use fake flowers when it came time for bouquets, bouts, corsages and decor. So that's what we did. Other than my bouquet, every other piece of flowery goodness was made with artificial flowers, and we were insanely happy with how they all turned out. We had two separate seating areas since dinner was outdoors, and dancing…

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    1/9

    As I mentioned in my first post, I've planned to make my own wedding cake. I realize this is not an easy undertaking, and have been warned by multiple friends that this could add additional stress to my wedding day. DIYing is awesome, but making a cake is something you have to do basically the day before and can end in multiple disasters. However, I…

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    12/20

    Our wedding was the best day ever, so naturally we wanted some really fun ways to remember it. I talked about my way too expensive Instax guestbook a while back, and while it did cost a pretty penny, I am SO glad we ended up doing it. I am obsessed. There was a time when we had no idea where the guestbook was going to…

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