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DIY wedding Dreams and Dramas

Posted by Hay Brunsdon on October 7 2013.

Our friends at Reflective Bride tell us all about wedding crafts and DIY Weddings.

The Age of Pinterest and why less was more on her wedding day. 
When the Reflective Groom and I first got engaged, I dove headfirst into all the wedding literature for ideas and inspiration for our big day… and quickly got swept up in DIY wedding fever. Wedding magazines regularly wrote about how to add DIY touches to your day, websites included galleries of DIY wedding projects, and Pinterest inspired a frenzy of arts ‘n crafts pinning. I loved the idea of our family and bridal party laughing and bonding over a DIY assembly line, and was soon dreaming of centrepieces made up of our favourite books (how personal!), themed cake pops at our dessert table (how sweet!), and bouquets hand crafted from flowers bought at the supermarket the day of the wedding (what a cost saver!)
DIY Wedding ideas

However, it wasn’t long before the feeling of inspiration turned into a feeling of pressure. With our wedding taking place in my home-town on the opposite corner of the globe (we live in my groom’s country), anything we DIYed would push our luggage limit and not necessarily survive the flight. We also had limited time for DIY wedding projects, and no offers of help shrunk our capacity further. Another fly in the ointment to my DIY aspirations was the Reflective Groom’s concern that ” do it yourself ” means ” do it badly “, and that anything homespun would clash with our formal theme. And, significantly, I remembered I’m actually not very artsy… and neither are our guests. I don’t have a friend who can DJ for us, a brother who can bar-tend some signature cocktails, or a bridesmaid who can bunt.

In the end, we (ahem, I) had a reality check and wound back our DIY delusions of grandeur to stationery: welcome letters, ceremony programs, seating chart, table numbers and escort cards, which I had the big idea to write trivia on the back of, as a conversation starter. This seemed the perfect DIY wedding project. Paper would be easy to transport (though send our luggage weight sky-rocketing) and save money compared to professional printing. And, while I may not know my way around Photoshop, I can certainly do a mean Word document.

And, by golly, are we glad we didn’t try to do more DIY! Making a template for the stationery didn’t take long… but content, printing and assembly did. What information do we need in the welcome letter? What are 10 fun facts about us for the escort cards? Also, printing all that paper for 65 guests in high-quality mode – which you need for a nicer finish on your home printer – takes a looong time and sucks up a lot of ink. We had to use thicker, fancier paper and replace all our ink cartridges halfway through the print… jacking up the price on our “money-saving” DIY. Once everything was printed we had to fold all the ceremony programs, stuff welcome letters into envelopes, slice and dice escort cards, and put table numbers into photo frames. It took a couple of months for the two of us to complete it all, and we were working on it down to the wire. And was it worth it? I think our stationery turned out looking quite professional (though I’m obviously biased!), but I didn’t receive any compliments about our handiwork.

DIY wedding Table Number

Photo credit: booklicious blog

In hindsight, I’m overjoyed we scaled back our DIY wedding plans and didn’t try to tackle more. Lovely and romantic though wedding planning may be, it’s also time consuming and stressful, especially in the final weeks. It would not have been practical to spend Saturdays during our engagement scouring second-hand stores for mason jars, and with all the other errands it would have been impossible to use the days before the wedding to make cookies or pompoms. I’m particularly glad we didn’t squeeze anything extra into the wedding day… trying to fiddle around making bouquets that day would not only have been stressful but also ended with some seriously dodgy bouquets (like I said: not artsy!).

My Reflective DIY wedding tips? Sit down as a couple at the beginning of your wedding planning to discuss your DIY aspirations. Where is it most important for you both to add personal touches to your special day? Can you rely on your family and friends to join a DIY wedding working bee? What talents can you (and they) contribute to the day? And, crucially, how much time (and patience) do you have for craft projects? My second tip is don’t feel you have to cave to the pressure to DIY; your day does not require your arts ‘n craft blood, sweat and tears (or glue, sequins and feathers) in order to be successful or personal. If you feel you would like the look of DIY (or simply something unique) but don’t have the time, there are many wonderful craftspeople out there who can handle the tasks for you. Help is just a google away! Most of all, remember that wedding planning takes time and there are many other things to be done… so if you’re not truly passionate about DIY, there are plenty of other exciting ways to put your personal stamp on your big day.

 Reflective Bride
The Reflective Bride is a real-life bride writing about how she did her wedding planning and how it turned out, aiming to share her learning points and advice to make life a little easier for other couples planning their big days. Check out the Reflective Bride blog.

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