A wedding can be large and formal or very small and very casual. Each of them requires a lot of planning. In fact, most weddings require a lot more planning than a couple might initially realize.
As we pointed out in our blog, "10 Things No One Tells You about Wedding Planning", no matter how casual a wedding is intended to be, it always requires the same decisions and steps as a larger formal affair. This is not something to ignore if you are seriously considering a "DIY" or Do-It-Yourself wedding.
After all, it is not unusual for a couple to think something along the lines of "how tough can it be to rent a hall, hire a caterer and organize a wedding?" The truth is that there are dozens of tiny decisions in addition to much larger ones, and each one of them requires time, clarity of thought and a serious look at the budget.
Does this mean we don't advocate for the DIY wedding? No, we think it is a great idea…but only if you go into it fully aware of the actual hurtles ahead. If you tell yourself it is going to be that proverbial bed of roses, you'll be shocked when you find a few thorns. So, to help you see the full picture, we'll take an honest look at the various pros and cons in a DIY wedding.
As we look at each Con, we'll then flip it around and look at the Pro.
One of the worst experiences for those doing a DIY wedding is that they end up juggling a lot more vendors than they thought they would. This is often because they are not using any "package" deals.
For example, you rent your space, but that may be all that you get, a clean and appealing space.
Then comes food, drinks, music, décor (with tables, chairs as well as actual decorating), photographer/videographer, transportation, and more.
So, there is an obvious "con" in having to handle so many different vendors, and yet there is a very obvious "pro" to this. And that is all of the money saved by doing so. One of the biggest reasons people opt for the whole DIY option is that it helps them to keep costs low. In truth, it does.
After all, if you go with a "package" at a wedding venue, you'll probably overpay for almost everything. Yes, it is wildly easy to rent the space with its tables, chairs and stock decorations, and turn to its in-house catering, recommended musical performers and all of the rest. Yet, you'll pay a tremendous amount for that convenience.
This is true particularly where things like DIY invitations, flowers and even items like the wedding cake are concerned. A couple being charged $500 for a cake at a venue might be able to privately source it for half that, or less.
Anything you do DIY is going to begin with the time you put into it, and nowhere is this more obvious than with the DIY wedding. We just looked at the con of having to juggle all of those vendors, and that also means taking time to meet with them, choose them, and get them on your wedding schedule.
You'll have to dedicate many days just looking for the right providers and making sure it is a good fit. For example, you do need to vet a few wedding photographers, meet with several to see how you feel about their personality and attitude, and more. This takes time.
Of course, on the pro side of this issue is the simple fact that every choice you make will give you comfort as the day approaches. You'll have confidence in the caterer, the photographer, the flower people, and any others you've hired. It gives your wedding a far more personal feel and touch.
And let's not overlook the simplest fact that a lot of DIY include friends and family doing a lot of the work. You might have a friend making the cake, you and your family could be making the wedding favors, everyone might pitch in to decorate, and this can be an amazing gift as well as one of the big pros of a DIY wedding.
Here we need to say that one of the cons of a DIY wedding is that you can start out with very high expectations and visions of your ideal day. This is not at all unusual; no matter how you approach it.
Of course, with websites like Pinterest tempting almost everyone to go as DIY as possible, your expectations can get very high! Those great guest favors or that gorgeous table design are wonderfully appealing, but they may end up consuming a lot of time and/or budget.
This is one of the reasons that a precisely detailed timeline is such a powerful tool for anyone planning a wedding (and this holds true whether you are a doing it DIY or working with an official planner). Of course, the pro to this issue of overly high expectations running into realistic budgets, schedules and even skill levels is that you can get help without giving up the DIY.
One of the nicest pros of any sort of DIY event is that you will be require to work with and trust others to bring your particular vision to life. This can be an amazing thing, allowing you to spend a few evenings making those favors or decorating the venue.
The important thing to remember, though, is that there are tasks you can realistically ask others to help you accomplish and those best left to your well vetted vendors.
A DIY wedding is a big job, but if you are realistic about your time and budget, your expectations and your resources, and the other pros and cons of this decision, you'll probably have a fantastic wedding that will be packed with great memories of the different activities it took to make it all happen.