[Editor’s Note: Happy Thursday friends! Today’s post comes to us from one of ELD’s contributors, Emily of Emily Grace Design. Emily is an amazingly creative wedding planner and designer, and you’ve probably seen some of her work featured here on ELD too! Combining her experience as a planner and lessons learned while planning her own wedding, Emily has some AWESOME insight, and I’m so excited that she’s sharing it with us!]
I know that Lauren has discussed what a “DIY wedding” is in so many ways before, and I think that at this point we can all agree that DIY in the wedding world is defined as performing a task or creating some element for your wedding which is traditionally done by a professional. But here lies the big question…
I love my brides, and I love their super creative, detail-oriented, DIY brains! I absolutely love and embrace the idea of having a wedding that is totally and completely personalized with elements that have special meaning to the bride and groom, their friends, and their family. I am also completely supportive of a couple that is looking to save a buck where they can. Weddings can be expensive, and most DIY weddings are attempted with the idea of saving a few dollars along the way.
With a growing love for Pinterest, how-tos, and mobile wedding applications, the DIY wedding continues to be on the rise in more ways than just favors, invitations, or escort cards. However, there will always be some elements to your wedding that you should consider skipping the do-it-yourself route and go straight for leave-it-to-the-professional route.
Here are 4 important wedding elements that I recommend NOT doing as a DIY:
Sure, you’re organized, you know exactly what you want, you have tons of friends that are ready to help, and you have all of the checklists you could find online. It can’t be that hard, right? Whether you choose to hire a planner for the entire duration of the planning process or to just tie up the loose ends, it can mean the difference between a thoughtful, cohesive wedding that is warm and inviting, and one that feels disorganized and somewhat sloppy. A professional is there to dedicate themselves to execute your plans as you’ve envisioned, as well as form backup plans when something goes wrong (and something ALWAYS goes wrong).
They create detailed and structured timelines for the day, and in the days leading up to the wedding they ensure that every vendor knows what’s going on and that every detail is taken care of. They are there to ensure that you and your fiance have everything you need, and that your pregnant cousin doesn’t pass out because she’s had to wait too long to get dinner. Having a planner for your wedding day gives you the peace of mind that everything will be taken care of, and will take the pressure off friends and family that are expected to not only be guests, but to flawlessly execute the wedding you’ve envisioned.
Read more on this here: Six Reasons to Hire a Wedding Planner
We are beyond the days that only photographers have top quality cameras and equipment. It seems that everyone and their brother has a “nice camera”, and with all of the Pinterest photo-taking and editing tutorials, a professional photographer isn’t such a big deal. But there are so many qualities that set a professional apart from your friend-with-a-nice-camera that volunteered to photograph your wedding.
First, the professional typically won’t know anyone in attendance at your wedding. This means undivided attention to capturing you and your wedding day. A professional won’t miss any important moments because they’re catching up with the family, waiting in line at the bar, or enjoying the delicious food! Also, a professional photographer understands lighting, with be aware of different images to capture (like the details!), and might have different ideas for photographing family and friends. Additionally, when you’re paying a professional, there is a sense of urgency. You’ve completed a contract with them, and you have an idea of what can be expected. You know when they will arrive, you know their conditions, you know when to expect digital copies of your images, receive prints, and have an album completed. These are images that you’ll treasure for years to come- consider hiring a professional to ensure that they’re perfect.
People love to rave about how incredible the food was at a wedding, but they also love to complain when it’s bad. You might think that your mom makes the best macaroni and cheese in the south, and a great way to save a little money would be to DIY the food, but this is definitely something to leave to the professionals. I love the idea of having food that is meaningful and special to a couple and their families, but consider handing over some of your favorite recipes or having your menu created around these favorites.
A caterer has the knowledge of what foods are best for larger events, and knows unique ways to combine you and your partner’s different tastes. Not only that, but they can easily accommodate guest dietary restrictions, and will know the quantities to prepare to ensure that you don’t run out of food. Take time to taste the food of different caterers, check out the catering options for your favorite restaurants, and seek out reviews to make sure the caterer you choose is perfect for your needs and wants. Preparing, transporting, and setting food for 100 or so guests in the days leading up to your wedding will just add to your stress and outweigh any cost/benefit you might be thinking of.
[Editor’s Note: I recently helped out a family friend with a wedding in which they handled the catering themselves. There are SO many additional things involved with catering beyond just the food that you don’t think of right off the bat- some of which include making sure all food is served, busing tables, and more importantly cleaning up!]
I know this is a tough one for people. Music is cheap, and with portable speakers, iPods, and DJ apps, this seems like an easy item to DIY since it can be a big budget saver. The big difference is that a band or DJ adds more to your wedding than just some jazzy tunes- they add a layer of warmth, personality, and hospitality to your wedding. They are in tune with the energy and mood of the party, and play accordingly.
They ultimately dictate when things happen, and if they work well with your other vendors, your wedding is sure to run smooth regardless of what hiccups are thrown in. Considering all of these things, it’s pretty clear that an iPod will just fall short.
There are many, many other things that you can (and shouldn’t) DIY for your wedding, but I think the most important thing to take into consideration when determining what to do yourself and what to leave to a professional comes in form of this question:
Who will it impact and in what way?
Will it cause you additional stress during this fun and exciting time? Do you have the time to realistically take care of it, and is it feasible? Do you plan on using friends and family to fill in the place of professionals, and will this mean that they will miss out on some of the magic and fun of your big day? You have the commitment and passion for pulling off a perfect wedding, but will it put undue stress and pressure on your loved ones to perform up to your high standards? What happens if the day runs less than perfect – are you ok with it, or will you take it out on the person that flubbed?
Your wedding is one day of incredible love and celebration. If DIYing aspects of it will interfere with any element of that love and celebration, I urge you to reconsider what you’re choosing to DIY!
So are you planning a DIY wedding? What elements are you sure to leave up to the professionals?
A version of this post was published in September 2013.