Once upon a time there was a savvy, no nonsense bride. Let's call her Jackie* (*bride's name has been changed to protect the overly ambitious). Jackie was planning the wedding to the man of her dreams on a pretty tight budget, but she knew what she wanted and figured; "hey, I'm a pretty smart/creative/resourceful woman. Why should I pay an arm and a leg for some things if I can learn how to do them myself AND get the satisfaction of having worked hands-on on our decor/flowers/signage/invitations/midnight snack boxes/hot chocolate spoons/limoncello cocktail favours etc.?"
Sure, it sounds reasonable. And it kinda makes sense.
But, my dear friend, unless;
a) you are trained in the exact art/service/profession you require
b) have weeks to achieve your desired result and have a team of willing helpers
or c) are Martha Stewart
it's probably a bad idea.
Let us count the ways...
1) It is like comparing apples and oranges
As smart/creative/resourceful you are, the professionals that create wedding decor/flowers/dresses/cakes etc. do so EVERY DAY. And most of the good ones, have done been doing it for YEARS and YEARS. They've made the mistakes, they've taken the courses of study, they've worked for next to nothing, they've honed their craft and they've paid thousands of dollars for their equipment.
There is no way you can compare 6 months of internet research, an afternoon shopping for supplies and a trial run before the big day with the products and services that they can provide. If you're not too worried about quality or finer details, then this point will be less of an issue for you.
2) The week before your wedding will be stupid busy.
It's hard to imagine, but I have seen it happen time and time again; anywhere between 1/3 and 1/2 of your wedding guests will make contact with you in the last week before your wedding.
Yep. Those 7 precious days when you thought that, because you took time off work, you would have some down time. But guess what?
Uncle Warren wants to meet up for a coffee to reminisce about when you were 5, your friend Krista just wants to share in the excitement of the countdown with you via text (Eeeek - 3 more sleeps! Are you getting excited?!?) and your Mum wants to have one last family dinner with you before you're married. Your to-do list, including the final dress fitting, picking up the suits and the rings, your beautician appointments, tweaking of seating plans, paying your vendors, finalising numbers for catering, packing for the honeymoon, and even more will still be pending.
Please trust me; there won't be any spare time to arrange flowers or bake the rest of the wedding desserts. That is, unless you go without sleep. And Jackie did that too.
3) Do you want to experience your wedding as the event planner/stylist/baker etc. or the bride?
As a wedding celebrant, I wear my 'supplier's hat' when I am working. This means that I rarely look around and enjoy what's going on from an observer's point of view. I am always on the lookout for potential problems, slip-ups or short comings so I can rectify them before anyone else notices.
When your wedding day arrives, you will have 24 tiny hours to revel in all that has been planned for months and months prior. In my humble opinion, the last thing you want to be doing is running into the commercial kitchen to see if your fondant cake decorations have melted in the heat. That's not the memory you want of your wedding day, right?
Given a 'do over', would I (I mean, 'Jackie') do it differently?
Well, yes and no.
I loved (almost) every minute of the creative side of our wedding planning. But 48 hours before the big day, when my now-husband and I both would have preferred to have been just soaking it all in and savouring the presence of our family and closest friends, we were knee-deep in printing issues. Not exactly the romantic start to our almost-married life that we'd imagined.
So, knowing that you can be the amateur florist or D.J. at every wild shindig that you and your spouse throw for the rest of your life, if you can mindfully choose to take a back seat and immerse yourself in the decadence of being the guest of honour at your own wedding, it may be the most fulfilling role you could possibly embrace.
How does your experience of DIY wedding projects compare to mine? What were the pros and cons? Let me know in the comments.