My fiance and I are totally excited about including some DIY elements in our wedding, but I am wondering if it makes sense financially.
What are your experiences?
Did your DIY projects save you money or cost more?
Yep, it's the hidden truth of wedding DIY: you think it's going to save you money, and then you can end up spending more to make your invitations than you would have if you'd just gone and bought some simple pre-designed ones. (And don't even get us started on the whole “duplicate it yourself” thing… or the realities of DIY burnout!)
We'd love to hear from Offbeat Bride readers: is DIY saving you money?
Comments on Does wedding DIY save you money?
It saved us a lot of money. Decorations including centerpieces were probably under $200 and venues wanted $80 per table. Origami flower materials were probably under $100 and I know florists can charge that much just for the bride’s bouquet. I made my headpiece for $5 in materials and even on Etsy those can run $80-$100. There’s more, but the main answer is YES.
This topic makes me laugh. I just got married two weeks ago and went through a year of deciding what to DIY and what not to. You basically have to break it down by project to see if it works for your wedding budget/needs. Some things, like my wedding cake and my wedding programs/menus did cost less for me to do myself. Other things were more or about the same as buying a premade version. Such as my brooch bouquet but I had a lot of family brooches to include so it was important that I do it myself. What really makes DIY expensive is when you buy all of the supplies to do a project and then start and realize you took on too much or even worse you don’t have the time to start it period. Then with either scenario you end up buying a premade version when you could have just done that in the first place. So my suggestion is to really prioritize what you want to do yourself and know what you’re capable of doing or what your fiancé is capable of doing 🙂 and go from there
I agree. We are doing a mix of DIY, asking friends and family to DIY, and buying things. It helps a lot that our friends are gifting their talents to us. It’s also key that we have a lot of the equipment to do what we want (i.e. looms for weaving, tools for sewing, brewing, jewelry making) and that we ware bunch of crafters anyway. When deciding what to DYI and what to buy, we considered what would bring us joy, costs, and what would be reused post wedding. I can guarantee you some things could be done cheaper but I love the fact that what we have chosen to to do represents us and I get warm fuzzies looking at the things made for us in love.
YES. This is soooo true. I thought I could do without a florist entirely — just gonna buy some wholesale RealTouch stuff online and do it myself. WRONG. Our wedding is less than 3 months away, and I still have to finish making all our personalized RSVP cards so I can mail out the DIY invitations (mega $$ saved there), make my lace capelet (about $1500 cheaper than the Jenny Packham piece it’s based on), headpiece (probably should have gone with a $100 Etsy piece instead of spending $60 in supplies to do myself), AND assemble the bridemaids’ flowers (which, of course, is some crazy ikebana-inspired shit I fell in love with on Pinterest and then redesigned in Photoshop, so by no means EASY). I finally spoke to a florist on Etsy to make bouts and corsages, ended up falling in love with her OUTSTANDING customer service, and hired her to take on centerpieces (my mom can’t be trusted with anything) and my crazy-madeup-ikebana bouquet. Since she’s a startup working out of her house and (re)uses all RealTouch, I’m basically paying her a rental fee for everything — WHICH IS A STEAL. Oh, and did I mention I have a full-time job, a dog, and a fiance who wants to spend time with me? It’s a lot to take on. (Thank goodness my fiance was smart enough to wait until my Master’s degree was pretty much done, before proposing.)
So, long story short, DIY can be great for your budget, but don’t forget to factor in your stress threshold, too. If you’re telling yourself now that you’ll have time/energy to learn — and master — a whole new craft just for your wedding day… might be worth it to talk to a pro.
Hello….I never considered using Etsy for my daughter’s wedding, but that sounds like a great idea. Would you be kind enough to share the vendor you used? Thanks so much!
Great tips! Can you share the etsy vendors name? Thanks!
Me too! My wedding was almost exactly two weeks to the day, and I noticed often in the home stretch that a lot of rapid-fire “Can we do this in the time we have? Is it worth it?” discussions popped up. I will co-sign what Rachelle has said to do a frank assessment of your particular skills, your chosen partner’s skills, and decide from there what you are capable of doing with your individual levels of expertise, resources, and (really the biggest if factor) time available.
I would add that, if you have awesome people in your life who offer their help in any way like Crime Partner and I do, don’t be shy about taking them up on their help. Very early on in my planning process, a dear friend all but decided for me that she would be making the food at the wedding. It turned out to be a vast learning experience for her (me too) but I wasn’t going to say no to someone whose culinary skills are way more advanced than mine. My MIL offered to make chair decorations for our aisle seats when she heard that we hadn’t planning to adorn the chairs. It was important to her, and she was willing to take on the project independently, so we let her. And plenty more loved ones helped us with the tedious parts of the very basic DIY stuff we did – adding LED lights and batteries to mason jars, folding the place cards, passing along alcoholic beverages when I started to visibly stress out. 🙂
My short point: We often talk about DIY, but I think the approach that will really save you money (and time) is more about DIT.
I’m making my own cake, and it’s definitely cheaper. for a cake big enough for my wedding it’s $300-$400. Just for the ingredients and stand (borrowing the pans from a friend) I’m spending about $150, but including all the test batches of cupcakes i made to pick out a recipe, it’s probably going to cost around $250 when all is said and done. I love baking and i’ve really enjoyed the process of making my own cake, but if there weren’t an enjoyment factor it wouldn’t be worth it.
I’ve made 2 wedding cakes, for my sister and a friend, and just have to back up that that the costs are accurate, about 250 ..for me it was a practice cake for the first once to be sure I could pull it off! Both were for weddings of about 100-150 one had a grooms cake, one was 4 tier and one was 3 tier. If you are into baking, it’s a really fun project to do. I don’t know that I could deal with the stress as a bride, but if think I can I am totally making my own cake.
I’m having a DIY-minimal wedding (we’re only doing DIY invitations, I think) and so far I have spent WAY MORE money on these damn invites than I would have had I just gone through Minted or something. It’s mostly costing more because a. I needed to invest in some small crating supplies first and b. I have made so many mistakes and had to run out an buy more supplies and c. I made the mistake of wandering aimlessly though Paper Source and fell victim to the awesomeness of expensive stationary.
But, I also wasn’t trying to save money- I just had a gut feeling that I’d rather do them myself. I bet I could have saved a bit if I’d bought cheaper stationary and pre-planned a little better (maybe had the help of a more experienced crafter). Also, I think in many cases DIY seems cheaper because you’re not paying someone else for the labor- but I had to remind myself that I would be paying in my time rather than my money. I have money but not time- so I decided against a lot of DIY projects. but I can see how if my situation was reversed, I would choose to take on more DIY.
We are heading to Paper Source today to make our invitations. We only need about 35, so for us it makes sense to DIY. I have totally fallen victim to the gadgets, though. DID YOU KNOW YOU CAN EMBOSS!? Good news is, I’m a high school teacher, so I can reuse most of the stuff. At least, that’s the plan. Probably not the embossing stuff, though, but I’m down to do that on like EVERYTHING I OWN.
You know, once I got the stuff for embossing, I found Christmas cards were a lot more fun,… 😉
Heck yes! I’d never heard of embossing before hitting a schmancy print store to get ideas, but it’s totally badass! I mean, you get to use a heat gun! A GUN THAT SHOOTS HEAT! It’s like using a sweet phaser that makes things more glittery and awesome! All the exclamation points!
Also, we didn’t like any of the designs we saw online THAT much. There was always some weird wording (no, our parents aren’t inviting you; we are) that couldn’t be fixed due to font size or something, or we liked part of one and a different part of another, or it didn’t come in the right color. Plus, we’d have to buy at least 50. And I’m off for summer break. So for me, DIY makes more sense. Plus, I LOVE crafting. And my fiancee and I are going to make them together, so that’s fun.
How hard would it be for these websites to make the colors completely customizable?! I’m DIYing my invites simply because I want navy and grey and NOT nautical. (Okay…I also made a cool design.)
I half-ass DIY’d our invites.
I bought pretty stamped blank cards from etsy (~$15) and then put in some colored cardstock ($1 yay for dollarama) and printed my wording off on the nicest paper they had at Staples (~$2). Oh and double sided tape (~$2 because I lost the first $1 roll!)
I paid around $1 per invite and I loved them. I probably would’ve spent about $1 per invite regardless of how many I made, using this method.
But if I had bought the cards and envelopes myself and stamped the cards, I would’ve easily doubled that or more, because big stamps are expensive and nice blank cards are expensive unless you know where to look or buy them by the hundreds and nice ink is expensive.
Half Assing it for the win!
“Half Assing it for the win!”
MY new FAVORITE!!!
I like this new term: HADIY, for Half-Assed DIY.
It really depends on the project, as I am learning!
We’re DIYing our centerpieces from things my parents already own (they live on the beach and it’s a beach wedding). We’re also using things we’ve already found on sale and painting them with those cheapo craft paints. I’ve managed to get some good deals building the whole wedding myself, booking every vendor from the wait staff to the stand alone venue.
If you decide you have to take on some huge DIY project where you’re buying all of the “ingredients” from scratch, it’s probably going to be more expensive (and time consuming) than you wanted. But if you have some of the pieces, you can make it work!
Topic I feel passionate about – I’ve done my share of DIY for myself and a co-worker is also doing a lot of DIY for her upcoming wedding. The amount of time we’ve invested shopping for what we need to DIY + the amount of time it takes to actually make the items – is A LOT of time invested. She has put in almost every weekend designing her invites – it makes us wonder is DIY really worth it?
I think it really really depends on what you want and what your resources are. If you want wedding invites on fancy paper with inside envelopes and all the bells and whistles you’d get just having invitations made…. you probably won’t save any money making them yourselves, because you’ll be paying for all these little components that will add up to the same as the package deal you could have gotten.
However, we saved a TON of money by doing our wedding invitations ourselves. We did a simple, single sheet, on recycled chipboard (it looks just like brown craft paper only it’s thick like card stock. we also got about half of it for free because it’s often used as a packaging material) with a two-color screen print. We paid for ink, about half the chipboard, and a few other supplies, had a lot of help from friends and went through a lot of trial and error and PANIC about whether or not it was going to work the way we wanted… and they ended up costing less than fifty cents a piece to make, and everyone loves them.
We also saved money making our own dresses – but again, I don’t think we would have saved nearly as much if we had gone to the fabric store and bought a ton of special occasion fabric, notions, and patterns. We got pieces from thrift stores, stuff we already had, and were gifted a ton of totally awesome vintage lace, and we are getting dresses we LOVE out of it.
I would say DIY stuff you actually like to do, stuff you are excited about doing, that way even if it doesn’t end up being a TON cheaper, you’ll have had a good time and be excited about the result being more personal. Also, if you are unsure, you can price out the supplies for most projects ahead of time and compare them to the cost of just buying the thing. That happened to us with tablecloths – we were going to make them, but then we started pricing the fabric and realized we may as well just buy some damn table cloths.
and also, on a related note, if you are looking to save money working your network is going to go a whole lot further than taking on a ton of projects will.
Yes; this. I did this, and hardly bought any table decorations. My mom and grandma have similar taste, and they just brought all their cool stuff and added it to mine! Friends gave me stuff from their weddings, and I used soem stuff the venue had. All told, I *might* have spent $150-$200 total on decorations. After the wedding, it all went back where it came from and I didn’t have extra stuff everywhere. So, beg/borrow/network…it is worth it!
As others have said, I think it depends on the project.
I sewed paper heart garlands to hang from the arch at the ceremony site, and hang behind us at dinner. I priced premade garlands, and they were too expensive. Buying a 2″ paper punch would cost $30, plus I would have had to buy the colored paper I wanted. So I just bought paper hearts pre-punched on etsy and sewed them together myself.
Instead of buying a feather hair fastener, I just bought feathers and had my hair stylist just work them into my updo.
I think another thing to keep in mind is that if you are buying on etsy (or wherever) pre-made, the vendor/crafter often has an edge on bulk pricing. They are almost always going to be able to buy more of something for less because it’s what they do, and they get larger quantities than you would for your wedding. Additionally, if there are any start up costs (like a stupid $30 punch) they have already covered that.
I made a few things for my wedding and bought a few others from Etsy. It was a happy mix of DIY and purchased.
It depends on what the project is. My DIY brooch bouquet cost more than I expected. My DIY invitations cost more than simple vistaprint stuff. But for those, I knew exactly what I wanted and knew I could do it myself for a lot less than it would have cost to have hired someone to do the same thing. My dress was a LOT less expensive to make myself than to buy something from a store (my dress cost less than my groom’s shoes). Our tables built out of free pallets: way less than renting tables. I do think our DIY is saving us a lot of money, because if we had found other businesses to hire to make the same things it would have cost more to have them create our vision. Sure, we could have hired out and gotten something simpler, but it wouldn’t have been our vision. The extra time to create exactly what we want has been totally worth it.
Do you have more info about those tables you made?
Yeah. The tops of the tables are two 40″x48″ with a 2×4 through the entire length of the top, spanning the two pallets through the inside of the pallet…does that make sense? We dismantled pallets and used slats from those to fill the gaps in the pallet tops ( using a table saw to rip the slats down to the correct width to fill the gap). We used another slat to finish off the each end of the pallet top to give them a more finished look. For the bases we cut pallets into three parts. The middle section we pulled apart to use the slats. The two ends of the pallet we used for feet on a trestle style table. We used scrap wood 2x4s to make one leg on each side of the table (in the middle), attaching to the pallet feet, with a long 2×6 down the center connecting the two legs/feet. They are really sturdy. We are making 25 of them, using about 80 pallets (3 for each and then some for extra scraps). We’ll have to sand each of the tops. After the wedding we will use the tops to build a porch, so the work we are doing now will live on after the one day. That helps to make me feel better about the work we are putting into them now. 🙂
We are in the midst of assembling our ceremony and I have found that DIY ***can*** save money depending on how you do it. We found that hand making our invitations costs more than ordering them. That said, I am still making them because that is important to me. That said, making our own favors saved a lot of money, because I want them to be something our guests really like. To save money, use recycled and repurposed things as much as possible. Anything new or packaged in a DIY kit will be expensive. All of our vases, centerpieces, etc. are being placed in mason jars and cool wine bottles. Find sources online rather than craft stores. Pick things that you can use again. I am making table cloths out of cheap muslin rather than renting them, and then reusing the muslin for other projects. A friend of mine decorated her back yard with her DIY votives.
Unfortunately I was cack with the budgeting for our wedding so I can’t give a definitive answer; however we pretty much DIYed everything (including friends giving food, flowers, cake, DOC and music as wedding gifts) and our wedding still turned out eye-wateringly expensive compared to what we had intended to spend!
If I’d had outside suppliers they would have been under more pressure to stick within a pre-defined budget, whereas I kept on picking up things here and there willy nilly and incurring unexpected expenses. Stupid things cost so much more that I thought they would, like tablecloths, and glue guns and drinks trays and whatnot.
I would strongly encourage anyone planning their wedding (DIY or otherwise) to do their utmost NOT to be a dumbass like me, and do a frigging BUDGET.
That said, my wedding was TOTALLY awesome and I’d pay for it all over again in a heartbeat.
Now granted, when I got married, it was a tiny affair. My hubs and I eloped to the beach for a handfasting, but I still wanted personal (and cute) touches as much as possible.
I made my own bouquet, our handfasting cords, and parts of our wardrobe. I did save money by diy-ing, I just had to plan ahead. Keep your eyes out for large craft-store coupons, like “Take 15% off your entire order.” I was able to buy a lot for not much at all when a store near me offered a 40% off coupon.
And be flexible. Don’t fixate so much on one idea that you’re unwilling to change or evolve it. Just because your center-piece doesn’t look just like that one on pinterest, or Offbeat Bride, doesn’t mean it’s not good. Do you still love the elements you’ve found? Then it’s a great center-piece for YOUR wedding.
I am DIYing my flowers, which is going to save me a ton of money. However, I have a source for gorgeous, inexpensive, local flowers and don’t have my heart set on specific types. Also, I have some experience working with flowers and already own most of the non-flower supplies.
I am making my own cake. Cakes, actually: 3 different flavors of nice cake but not a multi-tiered fancy thing. After doing trial runs of all three flavors it will probably come out to a similar price for having bought comparable cakes, but I’m enjoying the process and it matters to me to have made my own cake.
I’m doing this too!!! Both in regards to the flowers and the cake. I’m making my first test batches tonight- devil’s food with peanut butter mousse, and lemon with raspberry & lemon curd filling.
Wish me luck, and have fun with yours!
(Sorry for the extra exclamation marks- I’m just excited to see there are more brilliant minds out there.)
Do tell us who your flower source is.
The paper flowers that I’m planning on making are going to end up costing about $10 each…which sounds completely insane for one flower, but they’re GIANT and each one will be the size of a whole bouquet. I’m hoping to be able to do all the flowers for my wedding for the cost of what one more traditional bridal bouquet costs.
It really depends on the project.
We definitely spent more on our invitations doing them ourselves than if we would have just gotten an inexpensive custom design from etsy or something and just got them done at an cheap printer. But as a designer doing them myself was important to me, I really wanted a specific paper (Neenah Classic Linen… mmm….) I also had nice linen envelopes which weren’t that necessary (but looked fabulous!) I also invested in a decent paper cutter, and in between that and new ink and everything the $$ add up. But I’ve already used the paper cutter for other things and though it was a lot of work and time, I loved our invites and got a ton of compliments on them and how unique they were, which made it worth it 🙂
Now we are definitely saving money in the arena of centerpieces and flowers. I never wanted real flowers (plus FH has allergies) so I’m doing paper ones, and even if I only end up using the ones I already have for my bouquet(s) and don’t have time in the next month to do all the ones for tables I want (very likely scenario) I’m still saving money because OMG flowers are expensive. Centerpieces we’re just putting these little “love” typewriter place card holders in the table with fun love quotes I’ve printed off on the extra paper we had, and HOPEFULLY extra flowers if I can get my butt in gear with those but we’ll see.
Our card box is probably costing us a bit more DIY also, than if I were to just have gotten a cardboard one from a craft store with a nice pattern or something on it. Still pretty cheap, just a couple more materials (we’re doing a Mario ? box)
Other than that we’re not really doing too much DIY, our venue is a ship/museum so we can’t really put anything up. I would have saved some money doing our guestbook fingerprint tree by myself but that one came down to a matter of time, I’ve already got enough to do and didn’t even think about it until just recently, so it was easier to just get that off etsy.
I think time can play a big factor in the whole “is it worth it financially?” thing too. Like, if it takes you all day to do X project but you really only save a little bit over just buying it, and you could have made more money say, taking up an extra day at work or whatever then that’s something to consider.
TL;DR It really depends on the project / your situation. The one piece of advice I can give though if you want to DIY is START EARLY. Don’t be like me and wait until a couple months before, because some things will probably go wrong and/or will take you longer than you think. And you want to give yourself some buffer room to come up with a plan B if it turns out a certain project just really isn’t working out.
You have to think not only of the cost but of the labor (the labor is what you’re really getting “for free” with DIY). How much do you make at work? How many hours of work does a DIY take? Is it worth $10, $20 to do an hour long project? How about 8 hours or more? Is it really worth your time, (and stress), not just your money? I made 75 ribbon wands that cost me $50 in supplies and took probably 8 hours over several days. I love them but would I do another 75? Probably not. Unless it’s really, really important to you, at least consider just buying.
Another really critical point for me is that a lot of “cute!!” DIY projects are stuff you don’t really need, i.e., lots of embellishments (including my own ribbon wands!) and crafty things that will end up going…where after the ceremony? (garbage?) DIY is no savings in that case.
I’ll grant that time certainly should be taken into account, but I would dispute that simply because it only sees one day of use, as with your ribbon wands, that it’s not worthwhile. By that logic, everyone should dispense with just about every element of decor and whatnot; how much of ANYTHING sees reuse after a wedding? I’m not saying that nothing can be reused, just that I would disagree that reuse has to be a qualifier for inclusion in your day.
I totally agree. BUT for me, it does. Since my DIY expereince I’ve decided not to spend any more money on paper/plastic things just to throw them away. To me that seems wasteful and doesn’t fit in with my priorities. I recognize that may not be a priority for others but certainly should be at least considered.
I applied this to my venue as well, picking a location that did a lot of the “decorating” for me by being really lovely to begin with rather than a place that needed a lot of decoration to look festive.
‘Course, you could do what my friend did, and put your too-willing-to-please bridesmaids to work. I spent several days designing table cards in Photoshop, sending them to the printer, spray-mounting them on cardstock (because I ordered the wrong weight paper), and cutting them out with X-actos. And stenciling bunting. And spray-mounting a map on foam core. And going shopping with her. And making spread-sheets in Google Docs.
*Ahem* not that I’m complaining, because I love my friend… but I must agree that you’ve got to consider the labor involved in these oh-so-simple projects.
totally agree. Im not into spending money on things that will end up in the trash. Even $1 per invite, seems insane when you need 80 of them. I am lucky that my parents are helping with the majority of the costs, even so i feel guilty about spending their money (i prefer eloping, but FI is against it)
My mom is making my bouquet, we will do very simple center peices (mason jars with flowers) and im not planning on doing much if any ceremony decor. We are getting married in the woods, which i think is beautiful enough.
My best advice is if you are doing DIY with the intent of saving money make sure to do your research. I found with things like my invites it was more cost effective to order them online and then add my own personal touches (we got a wax seal and added some pretty ribbon) rather than printing them myself at home. Same went for making my dress and bridesmaids outfits, it was less expensive to make the skirts ourselves, but buying the corsets was a better deal both the cost and the time department. Don’t forget how much do you value your time as well, if you love to have an excuse to craft than DIY can be great, but I had many ideas for my wedding that didn’t actually happen because I ran out of time and energy.
i did a mix of DIY & buying pre-made. our invites i bought from a discount page & they were seal & send which included the RSVP cards- all i had to do was put addresses & stamps on, fold them up & put a sticker on the seal. it was $100 for 125 (plus the cost of the postage to mail them, but that was a cost anyway) i couldn’t make a simple invite for that cost! & they were beautiful & had the raised print which made it so elegant! i made the boutonnieres for all the men out of a mixture of feathers & paper flowers- they were exactly what i wanted & it was cheaper to make them than buy. it is satisfying to make things because you can look around and truly understand how much work went into it, but on the flip side, you can end up spending a fortune trying to “remake” something you’ve seen and it not turn out how it should. the most important thing i feel when choosing DIY vs. pre-made is to know what your skills are & be able to identify if you’re able to make what you’re envisioning. hope this helps!!
Honestly, it all depends. Some projects were a BAZILLION times cheaper with us doing it ourselves, and some were just not worth the hassle. It helps to have an army of crafty friends and family you can shanghai into service, though, as your time is worth money as well. What I mean is, sometimes it is more than worth it to spend a little extra just to not have to worry about it. On the other hand, sometimes projects can cost about the same whether you do them yourself or buy them; if they’re fun projects, why not use them as an excuse to hang out with your friends and have a crafty party? What I learned is that you have to find your own balance of DIY and pre-fab. Do what makes you happy, and ditch anything that stresses you out. Also, use the living daylights out of your friends and family. Usually, they’re all super excited about your wedding and would love to help in any way possible: TAKE THEM UP ON IT. And if you have a bunch of people working together over multiple sessions (especially if you feed and/or booze them while they’re working), no one needs to get stressed about anything.
It kind of depends on exactly what you’re DIYing.
Example the first: My gown’s being made by a friend of mine. I would HAVE to order custom to get what I want, or settle for an off-the-rack that’s based on the idea of my gown, but isn’t my gown. Off-the-rack for not-quite-what-I-want usually goes $1000-$1200. My friend is making my gown for the cost of materials, bringing it down to about $300 when all is said and done. If I’d been paying for labor, it would have been more than that, I’m aware, but still probably less than the off-the-rack-and-still-not-exactly-what-I-want.
I can’t speak to the invitations because I seem to have misplaced the receipt from that trip. Save the Dates, however, we pulled off crazy-cheap by DIYing them. They don’t have to be complicated; ours are a photo of our cat in a bowtie with a brief explanation of what’s going on (namely that his humans are getting married and want the recipient there). Used about half a box of post-card sized photo paper, and half a box of envelopes of the appropriate size for said paper.
Example the second: In place of flowers, I am DIYing duct tape roses for the bouquets, boutonnieres, and corsages. By shifting away from flowers, which are REALLY BLOODY EXPENSIVE for something that dies in a day (if you really want to go there, it’s already dead when you get it), we’re saving money, but we are sacrificing (if you choose to view it that way–we don’t) the real flowers.
Example the third: http://offbeatwed.com/2009/07/floral-head-wreath-how-to. Again, this depends on what you’re comparing to. I won’t lie, this bloody thing’s a lot more expensive than I expected, but it is A) more enduring than real flora would be, B) exactly to my specifications, unlike a renn-faire bought wreath would be, C) cheaper than commissioning a custom wreath because I’m only paying parts, not labor.
My mom’s donating her calligraphy skills to our place cards, but she also has an extensive collection of calligraphy pens to start with, so we’re only paying for the cards.
DIY DJ’ing is going to cost us $10 for the month of Spotify.
It’s all about what you Do Yourself, and what you want from it. To me, paying as much, and even a little more, is worth getting exactly what I want. I’m a very particular creature. When I have a vision, I’m unstoppable.
When I was pricing our invitation suite, I was seeing huge numbers in the $2,000-4,ooo range. When I looked at the raw materials and factored in my time, I realized I could do our whole suite for about $300 and maybe 48 hours of my time. That’s a huge savings, but I’m also a graphic designer by trade and had a lot of supplies on-hand already and had a list of suppliers and resources for budget-friendly products that most non-designers wouldn’t know about. I did a lot of other DIY things for our wedding, but they were all things I had technical experience with first. I think if you’re doing a project from scratch with no experience, it might not be worth it financially.
I’m lucky (in a way) I’ve been unemployed/trying to start my own business for the past year. So my time is my own and I have made a lot! Our invites took two and a half weekends and cost the paper and ink for the printer probably less that £50. Our decorations have probably cost around £50 to and are made from things I already have or collected items like tin cans. My Mum also works at a castle that holds weddings so shes saved me a lot of things like feathers, candle holders, material etc that i’ve re purposed for our wedding.
I’ve also crocheted loads of mandalas in the evenings while watching tv. These will go on the tables but after our wedding I will crochet them together to make a blanket so they wont be wasted.
I’m lucky that I had the time. The year before I was working and commuting long hours so although I don’t doubt I would have made something I’m so happy to have had the time to make as much as I have.
I’m in somewhat the same boat on time; I’m a school teacher… during the school year. It’s been hard for me to find part time work that’s compatible with that because my primary job costs me the ability to work any time that a high school student can’t, so I’m no more marketable, and I’m expected to be more likely to leave in favor of something better because I have the degree and life-experience to potentially do so, where the high school student does not. The bright side is that this has left me with the better part of the summer to DIY pretty much anything I want.
Our reception and vow exchange is a mix. Hubby is a graphic designer, his best man illustrated the cards and then he did the layout and text and we had it printed online. I cut up old comics to make the flowers for the bouquets and boutineres. Between his sister and I we had a ton of old mason jars, which I spray painted assorted colors, and put bands from comics. His sisters helped on decorations and mine are helping on favors. I had a ton of paper cranes my Art students had made that I created flowers for the centerpieces. We are creating bunting from comic book postcards that I already had and we bought. I’m making the card box from an old suitcase my grandma left me and decorating it with comics. My dress I bought at JCPenney, because it happened to be what I was looking for and was on sale, still got to order Wonder Woman converses and find a colorful sash to put on my dress. We are ordering cupcakes from a local baker that we met at the farmers market. So we had a relatively low budget, and our parents chipped in for the cupcakes, dress, supplies, and the catering, but total it will be somewhere between 1500 and 2000, I think. I teach high school and am out for the summer so I had time to invest in making stuff. DIY is great if you have the time, supplies and skill, but if I hadn’t been out for the summer, I would have had to make time during the busy school year, which would have been a lot harder and would probably have me making less of the decorations.
I DIY’d my invitations, centerpieces, menu/place cards and cake topper. For what I wanted, I spent a lot less than I would have for something similar from a florist etc.
I had candelabras topped with balls of dried hydrangeas on a moss “hillside” with little nooks to sit candles in. They took forever and probably still cost me about $50/centerpiece in materials. But when I had talked to florists about what my vision was, it was looking like $200/centerpiece.
For the invitations, I designed and printed them myself. I did invest in a nice paper cutter and some fancy pattern scissors etc. Because I made them myself, I was able to make them fit with the theme of my event and also make my menu cards and reception cards match them. I’ve also used the equipment since then on other projects. I probably spent about $1/invitation, but again, having something custom made for me would have been a lot more expensive.
Like everyone else, I’d say it depends: on what you want to DIY, your skill level, and how much time you have.
For example, I used to work in publishing so I’m pretty good at design. I did all the seating cards, menus, programs, bathroom signs… and it only took about a day and $30 at Office Max. I didn’t do the invitations: while I have the skill, I was completing graduate school and my time was more valuable for studying than for doing time-consuming and detailed work I could hire out.
If you’re so good at something you KNOW it’ll come out right, or if you have the time to spend learning a new skill, then DIY. But if you’re short on time or not craft-y, hire it out and don’t you dare feel guilty about doing so! You can save money on something else (Used dress. Non-wedding dress. Cheaper venue. Friendors.)
DIY saved us money, but I also took into account tradeoffs with time and stress. I enjoy baking and other crafty pursuits so I decided to tackle the cake and some big decorations. My stepdad loves cooking (and is so good at it) and he provided the most delicious brisket.
I wanted bright tissue pom poms to hang from trees. The sets in local craft stores were very limited with colors and so much more expensive. Oriental Trading Company sells sets of 6 for $7.25. They had bright pink, orange, lime green, but not my fourth color, turquoise.
I ended up buying packs of tissue paper directly from Nashville Wraps. I spent $38 which is more than I would have spent with OTC if they had the colors I wanted. In making the pom poms (which only took one Sunday), I ended up with lots of triangles and strips of tissue paper. I used the strips to wrap cutlery bundles. I made a cake stand out of a Dollar Store serving tray and a pint glass and decoupaged it with the triangles. I also made tiny little papel picado banners and tiny pom poms to decorate the cake. Plus, I bought a larger pack of the pink tissue paper than I needed, so now I will probably never have to buy tissue paper again.
My other big DIY project were the cakes. I knew this would be the biggest stressor and time commitment for me. I made a large vanilla sheet cake and a tiered mango orange cake. The cakes were a hit, but I’m not sure I would do that again.
I decided that making pinatas were too much trouble, so I bought those at a party store. I do wish we had spent a little extra money to get the invitations printed because we had so much trouble running the paper through our printers.
Not getting married anytime soon, but I would love the mango orange recipe…
I think people forget to factor in paying themselves (hypothetically). Example, one of my friends wanted to knit her niece a sweater. The time she bought the material (llama wool) and the spent the next three months when she HAD the time to knit the sweater (she think she put in 20 hrs in total just knitting it, never mind getting more wool, which was maybe another 1 hr driving to get it), then added up if she paid herself min. wage. It would have been cheaper to just buy her a llama (or similiar wool) sweater than it would have been her knitting it herself. Maybe something to consider when DIYing certain things.
Here’s the thing, though. Many of us craft to relax. YES, all my various DIY projects would be prohibitively expensive if I was “paying” myself anywhere near my usual hourly rate. Hell, they’d be prohibitively expensive if I was paying myself minimum wage, and I make 3 times that.
However, DIY projects are a stress-reliever and source of pride for me. I LOVE that I will be wearing a necklace and ribbon veil I made myself, that I spent hours perfecting my cake topper, that I handmade my invitations and decorations, and that I grew my own live herb centrepieces. No, I couldn’t have afforded to pay myself to do those things, any more than I could have afforded someone else to do them for me (in fact, given my usual hourly rate, it would be MUCH cheaper to pay someone else, if I factored in time). But if I wasn’t doodling a guestpage for my wedding, I’d be doodling something else on my spare time, that would stay hidden in a sketchbook. If I wasn’t sculpting my cake toppers, I’d be scupting the same figurines to give to my brother as toys. Paying myself my hourly rate would only be a fair comparison if my crafting was taking up time and energy I would otherwise dedicate to paid work.
Many are saying it depends on the project- so I won’t add to that- but I will smack on there as an addendum it also matters how valuable your time is. If you’re self-employed, for example, DIY can actually cost you more in the long run- particularly if you’re not an expert on said project and will have to research, practice, and/or do test runs. I bit off a large chunk of DIY pie and realized after spending many hours researching options for one of them that I had just cost myself the equivalent of a small freelance job. After that, I only picked projects that I feel confident I can do without much practice. It’s easy to say “I could make that myself!” but I now limit it to… “I know I CAN make that myself.”
Saving money compared to what? DIY is often significantly more expensive than the cheapest “generic” option, but far cheaper than the more expensive “customized” purchased options.
I will have many DIY touches at my wedding. Many of them I could not have afforded had I been going for the absolute cheapest, most barebones wedding, but they are unique, and PURCHASING a similarly unique/personal equivalent would have been significantly more expensive.
Some examples :
1) We made our own invitations, start to finish. I hand-drew the design for the border and crest, scanned it, my fiance and I painstakingly touched it up and designed the wording and layout, I had the invitations printed at a local printshop. We paid $1.30/invitation, because the printshop fleeced me. If I had gotten totally generic invitations at the dollar store, I could have paid as little as $0.20/invitation, but if I had paid someone else to make a custom/personalized layout similar to what I did, we’d have paid upwards of $9.00/invitation.
2) My mom made me a chuppah (Jewish Wedding Canopy). It is absolutely beautiful and perfect for us and our ceremony – iridescent silk with a lace ruffled edge, maypole-like poles with long streaming ribbons in our wedding colours. Between the fabric and ribbons and poles and paint and edging tassels, she probably spent $400 on that chuppah. We could have rented a basic polyester chuppah for $100, but to purchase a chuppah of similar quality to the one we designed would cost upwards of $1000 (and still wouldn’t include the level of customization we were able to achieve).
3)I made my own jewelry for the wedding – a multistranded confection of freshwater pearls on knotted wire – it looks like the pearls are floating on my neck. With my beading store discount, I paid $70 for all the beading supplies, and have about half left over for future projects (which I will use). I could have bought a simpler necklace made of artificial pearls at any retailer for $20, but the necklaces that inspired me cost $80 +
4) I made my own cake topper – two air-dry clay dinosaurs in our wedding colours. I could have picked up a generic topper at the party store for $2. I spent about $40 on materials (I have a fair bit left over). A similar customized topper (https://www.etsy.com/listing/115497095/custom-made-dragon-wedding-cake-topper?ref=shop_home_active) would cost $95 after shipping.
Certainly, DIY touches did not make my wedding the cheapest ever, but they were the cheapest way of adding in the personal touches I wanted.
So much this! All over the place. My invites ended up being about $2 each after postage. To get comparable invites made for us would have been closer to $10 each. Our wooden pallet tables: $5/each for us to make. To rent the nice wooden tables: $20/each. And it goes on. Doing the things myself has allowed us to have the quality we want while not spending a ton.
It depends what you’re doing. And how valuable your time is.
We made our own invitations from scratch, and it ended up costing about a dollar per, I think (fancy gold envelopes and scrapbook paper backing were the expensive parts, and I was able to borrow equipment like stamping supplies and paper cutters from friends for free). It also took us a good few solid days to get them done.
I also did ornament bouquets. My mom and I planned way ahead and bought clearance ornaments from Canadian Tire after Christmas a year before the wedding. We got a good assortment of ornaments for about $14 a box. We bought two boxes but only ended up needing one, so my partner and I got some ornaments for our new place out of the deal! With bouquet holders, tulle, and other supplies I’d say it was probably about $60-$70 for 4 bouquets, and my mom made the boutonnieres to match, but I don’t think she needed much in the way of extra supplies. My mom, my dad, my partner and I got them done assembly-line style in an evening, but they are not as easy as they look.
We also did favours (loose leaf tea in little tins, with a ribbon and a name tag) which ended up being definitely less than $1 per guest. Loose leaf tea can be really cheap in bulk, and the tins were 40% off at Michael’s when we bought them. Putting the tea in 150 tiny tins didn’t take long, but making the name tags and tying them on did. Especially because my mom and I were the only ones who could get the ribbon tight enough.
It can be a lot cheaper, but make sure you factor in unexpected costs (like buying florist’s wire when you really needed floral picks) and your time. And the time of your family and friends, because you can’t do it all alone.
I am a bridesmaid in a wedding coming up in two weeks and was asked to make a piñata for the wedding. The bride gave me some inspiration from some of her finds on Pinterest. All of the piñatas she found were around $200 and I was able to make a comparable one for $60. It’s been a lot of fun, but it did take a bit of time, so I recommend thinking about who has the skills/will enjoy doing the project and giving them a considerable about of time to plan. Offering to compensate them for materials is important to- they are already investing a lot in terms of labor!
For us, DITing was totally worth it. For some projects, like 150+ Doctor Who-inspired Save The Dates and dozens of fabric flowers for 6 bouquets, 10 boutonnières, and 12 centerpieces, it was more about saving money than the esthetic of the final product (the former costing only about $50 in raw materials and the latter about $100 in raw materials). For other projects, like our Minecraft card box and the Periodic Table of Elements seating chart, we wanted to DIT those to fulfill our own vision of what we wanted. We didn’t save any money on them, necessarily, but we knew the final project would be exactly what we wanted.
I just did the calculations for our invite/RSVP combos, and I have to say that for this particular project, yes, yes DIY did save me money. I added the cost of the personalized stamps I ordered from Etsy (including the return address stamp, which I will be able to use long after the wedding) and the paper versus a similar style of invites/RSVPs on Wedding Paper Divas. I saved $30, BUT I got nicer paper and envelopes (thicker cardstock, and “lunch bag brown” envelopes that near cardstock weight versus plain white envelopes on WPD). I guess I did not count the one growler of beer I bought to split among myself and the fiance and the friends who helped me… Okay so I saved $20.
Not sure about the numbers for the other DIY projects I’m working on, but this in particular makes me happy 🙂
I am not at ALL crafty, nor do I find crafting fun, so DIY wasn’t a part of our wedding agenda at all. In fact, until I started thinking about this question, it didn’t occur to me that we’d actually ended up DIYing a few things. But I’d describe it more as Not Doing It, Really than Doing It Yourself.
– We got our flowers from the farmers’ market the morning of the wedding. We didn’t have any sort of vision about what they would look like; it was late October, in Maine, and totally possible that there wouldn’t be anything available. But there was and they were pretty. Unbeknownst to me, my aunts arranged them into nicer bouquets than what they came in, so that was nice. Savings = huge, if the alternative was buying flowers from a florist; none if the alternative was no flowers.
– I did my own makeup. I was actually really worried about this – I don’t wear much makeup in real life, but I wanted to look more put together than usual and didn’t want to trust my face to a stranger in a rural salon I’d never visited before, so I just practiced a lot. Savings = less than zero, since I had to buy all that makeup, and it wasn’t a part of my usual routine.
– I made my wedding Crocs! I wanted sparkly shoes, and I’m a fanatic about comfortable shoes, so I Modge-Podged my Croc ballet flats. Savings = not the point; comfortable sparkly shoes didn’t exist without my intervention. Total cost was like $5, though; I used shoes I already had and just had to buy the glitter and etc.
We did our own Save The Dates for about $20 (printed onto marble paper, stuck onto blue cardstock, designed a little logo that embodied the two of us, wax sealed – which we already had).
We were going to do our own invites and get FH’s brother, who is a graphic designer, to design them, then we found an amazing price on Etsy for exactly what we would want anyway, so we decided to go with that instead.
I’m making the centrepieces and bouquets. Empty wine bottles (free, our own that we would put in recycling anyway, plus a bunch filched from my parents’ recycling bin), wrapped in our colours of yarn (about $12), flowers folder from an old dictionary and sheet music (about $20), with bead centres (about $10) on florist wire (about $12). Bouquets will be same flowers wrapped with ribbon that cost me $2. Also in the centrepieces are little jars (empty tomato paste, mustard, salsa, whatver jars!) with aforementioned sheet music modge podged around the centre with LED tealight candles in them I bought with a voucher on super special.
It is taking A LOT of time to do the flowers, so I just do one flower every night while I’m on the computer or watching TV or whatever, it’s all slowly coming together. And whatever isn’t done by October, I’ll have a crafting weekend with the girls as my hen’s night!
I’m making cake pops instead of having the cake made as it’s way cheaper, and I can make and freeze them ahead of time.
We ended up going DIY for a lot of things for our wedding, though that wasn’t really the goal. Here’s a basic rundown:
Flowers: DIY is definitely saving us money on flowers since I am making them out of paper. That said, I am only making flowers for myself and the wedding party (3 bouquets and 3 lapel pins). I think that if I were planning on more floral elements then I would have to reevaluate the time and money cost of DIY. Currently this projects is costing me less than $20.00 and less than an evening of crafting. Worth it.
Attire: I am a costume designer with a lot of experience with sewing, much of it bridal. I opted NOT to make my dress. Between the costs of fabric and the time it would have taken it just wasn’t worth it. I mean, if I’m going to put that much time and effort into sewing something I want to get PAID.
That said, I have been putting my sewing skills to good use to save us money. I am doing the alterations on both mine and FH’s attire (though I did fork over $20 for a sleeve alteration because I hate doing them) which is saving us about $150. I also made my own veil and headpiece out of an old 80s dress and my mom’s dress for a total cost of $13. Something of similar quality would have run me $400 or more on Etsy.
Favors: Our favors are hand drawn coloring book pages and heart shaped crayons that I molded from pre-school discards. We had previously priced jars of honey at around $5 each. For 80 guests that was not feasible. This way the whole project costs us about $3
Invitations: We ate it on this one and ended up going about $50 over budget. but FH is a graphic designer and good paper was important to him.
Refreshments: We were going to do a cash bar and champagne toast for the reception because it was all our budget allowed. Then some friends stepped up and offered to donate beverages. Our previous choice would have costs us around $200. The friend won’t tell us how much he is spending but I’m sure it’s more. We also lucked out in that our caterer does not charge extra to serve DIY beverages.
Our cake is done by a friend so that it also free. That saved us between $150 and $300.
The thing to remember here is that where we did DIY, it was because it was a skill that we had and we knew that we had the time to make it happen. Friends can be a real blessing in this area as well because they often have talents that you do not (like my friend the baker, or another friend who is officiating). So don’t think that DIY has to mean that YOU personally have to do it.
We are still double checking figures, but by the looks of it our DIY wedding is coming up slightly more expensive than having our wedding at a gorgeous venue. What has suprised me is the cost of food – while not entirely DIY we thought getting a caterer would be cheaper than a venue. The caterers are wanting $80 per head for a BBQ – not including cutlery.
I have found that most DIY stuff that “saves” money is superflous. We don’t need a wedding arch to get married under, or 6 million pom poms from a tree.
DIY that has definitely saved us money however: Invites – I got quoted $3500 for the invites that I want. DIY is maybe $500. It is still more than what I wanted, but being a calligrapher, invites are very important for me.
Cake – $800 from most cake makers. About $100 if we do it ourselves (I don’t have much baking stuff, so have had to buy things from scratch and stuff to practise with)
I also moonlight as a makeup artist, and some advice for brides who are DIY’ing the makeup front – if you don’t normally wear makeup it can be really expensive buying quality makeup that doesn’t react strangely or look bad on camera and sometimes a professional makeup artist can work out cheaper 🙂
The DIY invites probably cost $1 each but they’re not overly fancy, no inner envelopes and no RSVP cards (wedding websites are awesome). I’m making the bouquets/centrepieces from paper and I’m pretty sure that it will be a significant saving. I’m making candles for the favours too. For me though, it’s more about the DIY stuff being fun than a cost saving, that’s just a bonus. It’s actually surprised me (and others!) that I have this creative element that’s now had a chance to come out.
As I’m sure everyone else is saying, you’ve gotta pick and choose. We’re doing reception flowers from a local farm in thrift store vases and I’m designing and printing all our invitations and things. I also made our website. All those things will and have taken time, but for us at least it’s worth it. I have a lot of time, and not so much money. 🙂
As others have said it definitely depends on the project and on your timeline. We knew we wanted to DIY as much as possible and that some projects would take longer so we started months ago. Now, with less than 2 months to go, I just have to print programs and finish the escort cards. Everything else is done.
We did all the stationary for under $100 including all the thank you cards (shower and wedding), programs, invites, and postage. We handmade 4 bouquets and 6 boutonierres for under $10, the card box and table numbers were under $5. All of it was homemade but came out amazing and looks like we bought all of it at the store.
Oh and one other big thing is to really know what you want to do before you start investing in supplies. You might love some DIY thing you saw online, buy all the supplies, and then decide not to do it because you love something else more. Be sure to finalize your idea before you start working on it.
We definitely saved money on flowers. We spent about $250 on ALL of the flowers and materials for arranging them—my bouquet (which was quite large), three bridesmaids’ bouquets, boutonnieres for a ridiculous amount of people (bridesmate, groomsmen, family, ushers, etc.), corsages for a slightly smaller number, and all of the centerpieces* (which were inspired by this tutorial: http://apracticalwedding.com/2012/05/how-to-make-a-simple-colorful-tablescape) If we had a professional do all of that, well, it would have been a lot more. Based on my research, a similar bridal bouquet would have cost what we paid for all of the flowers.
The invitations would have cost a lot more (we spray painted gilded edges, tea-dyed the envelopes and added custom liners) but since we didn’t really need fancy invites, the amount of time spent on them was -almost- not worth it.
I also DIY’d a flower crown (fake flowers) and certainly saved a lot on that, since most of them are $50+ (probably spent about $15-20 on materials, of which there were lots leftover.)
The rest of the little things I DIY’d I did more so I could have exactly what I wanted rather than to save money. I did save money DIYing things rather than, say, buying them, but if I didn’t have the opportunity/skills to DIY them, I just wouldn’t have had them, so I don’t know if it really counts as saving money.
Overall, I would highly recommend DIYing your flowers IF you have the time to. We were able to do all of the bouquets, corsages, and bouts the day before and kind of had to scramble with centerpieces in the morning. It worked out okay but I could see it going terribly wrong. I also had a team to help me with them, and my mom and I had several practice sessions. But I was able to have the beautiful flowers I wanted without having to spend a ton. Highly recommended!
*the cost of the vases, bottles, and jars are not included in the total flower cost. I don’t know how much we spent on them, but we had at least 100, probably half of which we purchased for an average of a dollar a piece and the other half were re-purposed/found/etc. If you started saving your bottles/jars early enough, you could easily do it with all re-purposed ones.
I think it depends, making peacock fans, boutonnieres, etc rather than go with flowers, that’s a huge savings. Making all our clothes for both ceremony and reception? Oh I’m likely spending as much on them as we would for normal formal wear, but they are custom made and the likelihood for finding these clothes, and affording them if I were not making them, nah not gonna happen. I think we are “saving” money simply because if we were to try to buy this stuff, it would be crazy expensive. Plus finding historically accurate Persian outfits is nigh on impossible. and steampunk stuff runs crazy expensive if you want good quality.
I anticipate saving a ton on flowers. I really don’t care that much about flowers so I’ve been collecting up different wildflowers and grasses from around our yard and our parents’ yard (and the side of the road, etc) and drying them. Whatever dries well will be turned into bouquets and boutonnieres. Whatever doesn’t dry well can be tossed straight into compost. 😉 We’re saving money on linens by using vintage bedsheets. Decor will be all DIY (jars full of candy on each table that guests can take home with them and a photo bunting around the lodge). No plans to have hair and makeup done professionally. I think we’ll save a ton.
We save a TON of money on our invites. We did all of the artwork ourselves and printed with vistaprint.com. We also DIY’d some of the smaller details like the sign for our herald and our centerpieces. The centerpieces are probably going to cost about the same as they would have if done by a professional but there is no way I could have gotten what I wanted with a professional.
technically, we saved money with diy stuff. the only problem is the amount of diy projects we have been doing. that’s where the cost is adding up. the more time we have til the wedding, the more creative we get and add something else.
DIY absolutely saved us money, because we made everything but our clothes and cake. However, we’re very crafty people already, so we had a lot of the material we used just sitting around, or got it as donations from our workplaces. (My husband is a scenery builder in a theater, I’m a graphic designer) I think that people who don’t already make things often might actually spend more in the materials to make stuff than they would to buy them, just because craft stores have high markups and you’re not buying wholesale.
The other thing to take into account is that your time has value. Every hour you spend DIYing for your wedding is an hour you’re not doing something else, including enjoying time with your fiancee. Because we made so much, pretty much a year of our lives was taken up with wedding crafting, and we were dying to do anything else!
In the end, it paid off in spades. Our wedding was completely unique, completely us, and under $5K. But think it through all the way to the end when you decide what to DIY and what to buy!
My DIY are mostly little extras that I want to add to the wedding, so they will be costing me a bit more. I’m not very crafty, so I made it a point to not get too carried away with awesome DIY things that look amazing. It would probably cause me too much stress to be worth it in the end.
So, instead of getting fancy decor, centerpieces, programs I will probably have some DIY to give them more of an ‘US’ touch. Adding a couple of Navi faeries in our potted plant centerpieces, making a Zelda treasure chest as a card box, getting our save the dates printed online then adding some finishing touches, some sort of short activity book for our guests at the reception, having little flags for guests to wave after the I do’s. Possibly adding some LEDs to centerpieces, the cake table, and maybe the sweetheart table.
I will probably only really be saving money on seating cards, guest favors, and some ceremony decor. Luckily I am actively involved in my church where we are holding the ceremony, so I know a few hidden props that we’ve used for past concerts that can be reused.
I think that Ariel has a good point. If you have a craft room full to over flowing with stuff and can just say, “Well I need some feathers, some silk flowers and about 80 yards of Art Silk.” and happen to have those things on hand, well it’s not only saving you money, it’s stash buster projects!
Saved a butt load! Made my postcard invites myself, cost me $37 for 100! Cheaper postage made that a big savings! Making hair accessories for my girls (tiny top hats!) and myself, as well as the card holder for the reception. I’ve looked each time at pre-made options, and so far, these DIYs are saving me mucho!
Yes, in the long run DIYing some things will save you money but pick what you do and make sure is _is_ that part that you want to do.
I was going to make over 100 paper/card boxes and fill them. In the end I went with buying small voile bags and filling those instead as I personally didn’t have the time/patience/stress to do the boxes. You might though.
Do a test run with a small amount first before you buy all your supplies. Then you’ll know if it’s _really_ what you want.
I made the card box. Sure it wasn’t the Tardis box I wanted originally, but instead of taking me days it took about half an hour to do. (And even then half our guests didn’t use it…..
I think we saved a lot on DIY, but we wanted to give our wedding a personal touch and also enjoy the crafting, I think if you aren’t people that enjoy that kind of thing then t becomes more stressful.
Our invites might have been cheaper on minted if we just did paper invites, but we wanted to do screen printed hankies, so DIYed them and they come out great, and were less expensive than if we had ordered them from somewhere. Came to about £2 each to make, would be £20 each to buy them.
DIYing centrepieces and bouquets, which is saving hundreds.
DIY photo booth for around £120, where a rental was at least £500.
DIYing some other bits and decor, but spending money where it makes more sense for us – cake, clothes, food
DIY I have seen go a few ways. If you are truly going DIY and come home with cartfuls from Joanns, Michael, Hobby Lobby, etc then my hat is off to you and you will certainly save a buck doing it yourself! If you like the DIY look but end up dropping a few hundred at a time getting things from Etsy, then No lol. You are not saving money. You’re best off by undertaking a small project first, then decide how much you reaallly want to diy. Time is money!
I was worried about the same thing and it turns out that it can be pretty hit or miss. We are saving MUCHO dineros on the invitations by buying card stock and printing them out (for our pirate-themed wedding we had to design them ourselves anyway) and the decorations were insanely cheap DIY. That being said the “lets make all the wedding party clothes” has turned into a big stress and though it cost about the same, it might have been worth it to let them go searching solo. I think the important thing about DIY is the personal nature of it. Making so many things ourselves I feel really connected to the process and it’s keeping anything from getting too cookie-cutter.
Aisle decorations; paper flowers made from free craigslist books, put into blue wine bottles that I had been collecting (I did need a few more than I had, but I just bought some wine and drank it; my family was stressing me out so a win-win!). Got ribbon half price, tired it around the bottles…voila! I maybe spent $20~25 on the entire thing, and it looked awesome! After the wedding, I assigned a friend to take them to the reception hall where they were used for decoration there!
Table decorations; I assigned my mom, grandma, sisters, friends, mother in law, (whoever wanted one) a table. I told them theme, colors, and approx size. I wound up with centerpieces that were unique, matched in a mis-matchy kind of way, and got everyone involved. My theme was books and bottles, and I had those in abundance around the house! I used lace, different colored table clothes (shhh, don’t tell anyone there were sheets from the thrift store!), and made a layered, shabby chic look. I also used lots of candles (thanks, craigslist, for the 35 votive holders for $5!) and Christmas lights.
The thing about this is…you have to set it all up. I was allowed in the day before to set up, and had a team to help me clean up afterward. I almost had a meltdown when I discovered about a week before the wedding that I needed to make about 15 more paper flowers and I was running out of time and hot glue. Balance, know what you can reasonably do and DO NOT overextend yourself. Its worth it sometimes to pay for something. I did not get to a project I wanted to for the wedding, and I’m okay with it. I made a priority the things that mattered the most to me, and did those first.
I did save money DIYing…but I mostly used the things I had; I did not buy much. So if done that way, you can save tons of money!
If you are not normally a big DIY person and whatever project you’re looking to take on is not going to save you a substantial amount of money – don’t even start it. Our 50% diy wedding has been a breeze to put together because I’m the craftiest and have lots of artsy lovely hardworking friends helping with the legwork. Yet, I’ve still scratched most of the decor projects in favor of a more ‘minimalist’ look because aint nobody got time for that. As long as you are flexible with your projects, keep tabs on how much they are costing and leave yourself some room for error/practice, any DIY project you take on should be a success.
We are making all our own centerpieces (for free), stationary ($150), decor ($40), dessert for like 120 people. Enlist friends and provide wine 🙂
It does as long as you prioritize! But yes! Definitely in my case! I took several publication design classes in college and so I designed our save the dates, invites, and RSVPs (my husband designed the logo I used on them) and we printed them (plus matching envelope stickers) through Vista Print using their “design your own” option where you upload your own design and saved at least $1000. We also saved that much because I only ordered when they had 40-50% off sales. And our invites looked super professional!
I didn’t save as much money with my guest book alternative and additions to the cake table, but it wasn’t much more. 🙂 All in all, the things I added were much cheaper than having someone else do them for us!
Things that saved lots of money:
–Flowers. Did’em myself; easy.
–Dress. Sewed myself, got this gorgeous silk and lace thing for like $400.
Things that didn’t save money:
–Invitations. We did ours ourselves, and really it’s just better to order some stock invitations. Price difference negligible.
I think it depends on the project and how much experience the person has. For example my future husband (I hate the F word) and I both know how to sew. He can do the basics and one day I want to have my own fashion line. Guess which one of us is more likely to sew a dress.
But on the other hand we found one of those free diy instructions papers at a craft store for floating rose centerpieces and then we found a florist who was charing $50 for the same thing. The diy version will be at most $30.
DIYing personal accessories and bridesmaid gifts can DEFINITELY save money. I saved hundreds of dollars making my own veil, bracelet, garter, feather hairclip, and crystal headband. I’m also making my bridesmaids’ earrings and feather hair clips. And purses if I have time (probably won’t have time).
DIYing decorations is debatable; there will be some projects you want to take on that get to be more expensive because they are not totally necessary and you go above and beyond to make them custom and special.
Don’t forget to factor in the cost of your time and sanity. You have to draw the DIY line in the sand at some point; I may have crossed that line last week and will be sprinting to the finish line in order to get all of these projects done in time. Choose the ones that are most important to you first, and then reevaluate how much time you have to take on less essential DIY projects.
You don’t neccessarily save money, but you do end up with something personal, and hand made. If you enjoy making stuff, solving slightly weird problems, and you have the time, then it’s probably the right thing for you!
My cousin did a lot of DIY for his wedding. His now-wife was going through her residency at the time and they were having a wedding on a tight budget. When I asked him about it, hoping for some tips for possible DIY of my own, his response was “I saved money, but it took me twice as long and gave me many headaches along the way. I liked the way everything turned out, but if I could do it all over, I think I would save myself the frustration and just get them pre-made.” So, to restate what many others have already said: be realistic, prioritize your DIY, and look for bargains from professionals.
I budgeted to DIY invites but a store who shall remain nameless screwed up so bad, i wound up at the wondeful Sam Flax, got exactly what i wanted in a simple invite and was the same budget I had originally set. BOUGHT linens on line, save $165 for what rental would have cost, and will resell them when finished with the wedding in april, same goes for dress, shoes and wineglasses no rental company carried – stemless – from dollar tree website (resell all after) so the money i’m spending on real flowers designed by a florist friend, cupcakes froma friend’s bakeshop is worth the DIY resell hassle i’ll have to endure,
I am DIYing my wedding too. I made my invitations (which I lucked up on) and saved a ton of money. I paid $4.99 for a box of 50 invites + RSVP & envelopes. I designed them and took them to officemax and had them printed. All together I paid$45 for invitations. I will have more in the postage than the actual invitations. I am also making (with the help of my Mom and sister) my favors which average around $0.89 each. We are going to also make the center pieces and the bouquets and corsages. We have an arch that is at the venue and we are decorating that ourselves and we are making the food for the reception (with the exception of the deserts and cake), with the help of friends and family. So it is a lot of work, but in the end it is going to be exactly what I wanted and I do not have to compromise with vendors on how I want things, and prices.
I DIY’d everything my self, with a little help from my King, and one of my oldest girlfriends. I did the table settings which had little riddles and stuff to keep the guests entertained, including a riddle to help each person find their table. I made all of the invitations and thank you cards, each one the same layout but different paper/colour scheme/etc.
We made all of the garden decorations (flamingos, hedgehogs and white-roses-painted-red), including a rabbit hole that people had to walk thru to get into the main garden for the wedding. I painted signs to let people know where to go, made mine/bridesmaids/Mums headgear. The groomsmen/Dads lapels, My button,bead, and charm bouquet, earrings, and my Mum’s best friend helped me make my Wedding Dress.
We even made our desserts of cookies/cupcakes/and put together a lolly buffet.
And I planned it all in 8 months, (mostly by myself, along with working) :o) I would say with all of that, I saved myself a lot of $$$ if not time. I am a crafty person, so I probably spent the same amount of time I would have spent on other random projects anyway.
We’re getting married abroad, so we *can’t* DIY anything . With getting the two things we are making ourselves there, it’s not going to be cheaper at all, but we’re not going to have what we want if we don’t make it, and because we *are* getting married away from home and are a little more detached from the process than we would be if it were in the UK, it’s important to me to make our favour boxes and place card holders ourselves.
It really all depends on what your ideas are! I totally am all about diy some things can run more butIit means more to me than a meaningless piece made by some one else then bought at a store wheres the emotion in that!? And you will get exactly what you dream of! Sign up at all your local craft stores for thier email program and start getting thier coupons via email, they will scan the coupon right on your phone so you get to keep it and most craft stores except eachothers coupons as well so this is what me and my fiance did. Every time I would get a 40 or 50 percent off one regular priced item coupon I would send him the coupon and sometimes my bridesmaids and mom too and we would map out what store was where and first ect. What was at each store how much before and after coupon ect then we would hit each store up to 3 times a day sometimes to get each item at 40-50 percent off it saved us a huge deal! Now everything has turned out amazing our diy toast glasses ring bearer boxes centerpieces clutch purses for bridesmaids flower girl baskets and flower girl dresses! Stop by my facebook page and check out my pics glad to give tips if you need anything! Look me up under chellie reeves pics are in mobile uploads!
Saved us so much. My invitations were bought as a file off Etsy and I had Catprint print them saved 10% with a code. Doing vintage shabby chic helped too. We are doing real plates and silverware too. Since our reception will be at my parents’ in their back yard bought white lights after Christmas. Doing our own linens too bought at monthly sale at a textile shop. But I also looked at things I liked and compared price made to supplies I would need. Also every week I work on something so I don’t get over whelmed.
Some of the things I’m looking at, DIY wouldn’t save me much money if any at all, plus it adds a lot of worry & hassle. Each individual contract, vendor, source, etc. means one more place for something to get screwed up (just like each bus transfer means more risk of not getting to work on time). I’m looking at $5000 to have a park venue with tent & tables & linens, plus catering which charges an extra fee for being in a park just because of the hassle, and alcohol is prohibited. Catering could be $50-150 per person of just food and drink. OTOH, I could get an all-inclusive package with ceremony & venue & catering & unlimited cocktails for $165 per person AND not have to set or clean up, which then my budget is more easily adjustable by simply inviting fewer people. That’s for one of the two weddings.
The second of two weddings we might be DIYing almost entirely, at least the food and drink, because my brother can (with a little notice) brew all the beer for free and I’ve got plenty of people who would not mind being asked to do the preparatory labor for 1 dish if I buy all the ingredients. Not entirely pot luck, but definitely community-catered. At that point I legitimately CAN use a backyard and rent a tent, even a portapotty, and still save money over any of the venues I’ve deemed acceptable. But the first one, I don’t have access to anyone’s backyard, so it’s either an indoor venue or a park.
I can DIY a lot of decorations just because that way I can use them for both weddings and because there isn’t much I really even want beyond nice table centerpieces. As a former desktop publisher, I have no qualms about designing all my own paper supplies. I only wish I was skilled enough to make my own wedding dress.
What did save me money:
DIY Pom pom garlands: if I had purchased them on etsy, I would have spend somewhere around $500 getting as many as I made. It took a long time, but it cost less than $100 in supplies.
semi DIY invites: If I had paid Minted for the fun color on the back of the cards, and paid for their directions, etc cards, I would have spent maybe $150 more than what I did on some paper and printer ink. It was worth it to get the front of the main invite though, I never could have made something so pretty.
FLOWERS: Some people are afraid of flowers, but it was SUPER easy. I spent $275 and made 4 small bouquets and my big one, with a long table filled with flowers. It was fun, easy and my photographer (who shoots many weddings with bigger budgets than mine) was complimenting it all night, and asked who our florist was. I got to say “Me!!” If you want something super structured looking, maybe go for a florist, but if you want something organic looking, it’s WAY worth it to DIY.
What didn’t save me money:
DIY cloth napkins. I could have just rented some ugly ones for cheaper, or used the paper ones provided by the caterer. It was about $50-$60 and a real pain in the ass. They looked nice, though!
I bought bulk flowers for centerpieces for about $250from Sam’s club compared to about $150 per centerpiece from a florist! Then got $1 vases from Dollar Tree(free shipping) and spray painted them. Bought cloth bulk napkins from amazon and saved about $100 that way.
We’re having the wedding on a Dallas Mexican restaurant rooftop(elFelix) and are saving about $8k that way! It’s a beautiful location with food, liquor, and venue for about $3500wh!
Hmmm. There’s a LOT of discussion here about “your time” vs “the project” in the preparation stages.
What I want to remind every DIY Bride to consider is: HOW YOU’RE GETTING ALL THESE DIY PROJECTS TO THE SITE, SET UP/PUT OUT, AND HOME AGAIN. So many Brides prepare all these wonderful items, then realize at the last minute that they can’t just “drop them off” at the site, without thought to who would take care of placement, etc. Likewise, they didn’t consider (let alone make an inventory) what things needed to be gathered up at the end of the event and where to take them.
So, when you’re deciding whether to DIY or not, please remember you will have NO TIME on your wedding day to put out centerpieces (what if you have to wait for the table cloths to be delivered?), decorate the arbor (where’s the ladder? wire? floral tape? did anyone make the bows?), line the aisle with flower-bedecked lanterns (take them all out of their boxes, assemble, find the candles, put them in, remove all the boxes and packing materials to…where? and who’s going to light the candles?), put out individual place cards (what if someone changes their “plus-one” that morning or a strong wind comes along and blows them all off the tables?), fix the frosting on the cake where it fell during delivery. These are only a few of the hundreds of small things that can, and do, occur at every event.
THEN you will be gone at the end of the reception, when everything is over and your family is exhausted (if they even stay until the end…yikes).
I know you think you will have time to do these things, but you need to be getting yourself ready — not running back and forth, making sure everything is in its place. In addition, there will be last-minute things and emergencies (every wedding has them) that will take up whatever precious spare time you THINK you may have that day.
I’m not saying, “no” to DIY projects, just cautioning you to do more than “craft” the items….you have to be organized and delegate. There’s a reason some of these items are more expensive when you have someone else do it. Because they’re going to deliver them, set them up, go back to the shop if they need more wire, wine glasses, flower petals, or to replace that hurricane the waiter just dropped. They don’t have to be at the beauty salon at 11am or driving to the airport to pick up Grandma, who was delayed coming in from Atlanta.
Best of all, they will come back to the venue, with an inventory, gather it all up and remove it. Sometimes, it’s worth the expense. Either way, be sure you consider all the “costs” (and not just $$) of DIY-ing.
Oh shit, tablecloths! Thank you.
Also, I’ll be sharing your comment with my fiance who keeps saying “we” about day-of setup, like I’ve got time for that. Or I’d want to do that.
Its saved us money so far. Who knows if it will stay that way but our wedding is entirely run on my craftaholicism… and favors. My job is arts though so I had a bunch of the supplies to start. If that is anything…? Plus the madness has not finished yet *cough*
But so far I’ve made my invites, programs, escort cards, table numbers, centerpieces, table topper and I’ve spent $5 for clay… I have the paper for invites. I am making ties for groomsmen for our touch of nerd style which will double as favors and as I am buying it from a site I upload my designs to its a fraction of cost plus I am getting paid…
If you have the motivation, the time, the space and the skills, absolutely !
I’ve started seeing some beautiful DIYs but this thread has helped me remember how useless I am creatively. I’m just going to stick to spray painting jars, leave the rest to the experts (including family members who, while not professionals, are certainly experts).
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