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Wedding DIY vs. Buy: When to Do It Yourself vs. What to Spend Your Money On

What's worth paying for or what to do yourself for your big day? Check out this list of suggestions for doable wedding DIYs vs what to buy!

wedding diy vs buy

When it comes to planning your wedding, there’s no greater reality check than comparing your dreams for your big day to the reality of your budget. The good news is, DIYing some of your wedding tasks can save you a ton of money without leaving you feeling let down on your big day. 

And, if they’re done right, it will give your entire event a more personal and memorable touch. But, don’t go too far or you’ll wind up putting unnecessary stress on yourself… and you might be disappointed in the outcome. Some things are just not worth the risk.

Here’s a look at the wedding details you can do yourself, versus what should be left up to the pros.

✂️ Wedding DIYS: Details You Can Do Yourself

According to San Diego wedding planner, Evelyn Francesca, tasks you can handle well in advance of your wedding day are perfect for DIYers. If you can sit at your dining room table and complete a task well in advance of your wedding day, go for it! Here are some ideas to help you get started.

Your Veil

Bridal veils can put a huge dent in your budget. If you would rather put that money towards your dress, why not make your own veil? Pull up some inspiration on YouTube and Pinterest to help you get started and go with a simple design. Stay away from expensive and complicated embellishments like beading or lace to keep costs low.

Bridal Party Accessories

If you’ve got some sewing and crafting skills, you could make accessories like bow ties, belts, drawstring handbags, jewelry, or hair accessories for your wedding party. If you make things they can wear again, they’ll double as a gift, saving you from having to buy those separately. You could make some of your own accessories, too… and don’t rule out borrowing a gorgeous necklace or some earrings from one of the women in your family.

Flower Girl Details

 Your flower girl doesn’t have to carry a pricey pomander bouquet or posy. Decorate a little basket with some pretty ribbons, fill it with flower petals, and have her scatter them as she walks down the aisle.

tissue paper pomander
DIY Wedding Aisle Decorations

Pew Decorations

You can save yourself a lot of money by making your own decorations for guest seating at the ceremony. Keep things simple with large ribbon bows and long ribbons with some little silk flowers tucked in. If your venue is already ornate, feel free to skip them altogether.

Entryway Décor

There’s no need to blow your budget on elaborate entryway décor. Simply hang two pomanders or wreaths on the door handles at your ceremony venue. Then, put someone in charge of moving them to the reception venue to decorate the doors there. Table signage and other reception focal points are also great DIY projects, as long as you do them well in advance and don’t wait until the last minute.

DIY wedding favors
DIY Wedding Favors

Wedding Favors

Don’t buy expensive favors for your guests when you can easily DIY them! Edible wedding favors are a great choice because no one wants a monogrammed shot glass or tchotchke. Make individual goodie bags with candy in your wedding colors and put them on the tables or by the door. Or, make a donation to your favorite charity on behalf of your guests instead and have your master of ceremonies announce it during the reception.

Check out these DIY wedding favor ideas:

Invitations

If you’ve got access to a computer and a printer, wedding invitations can easily be done on a budget. You don't even have to be particularly crafty to pull off this DIY wedding project. Check out Etsy for customizable printable invitations and look on Pinterest for endless inspiration. Use beautiful scrapbook paper to cut your own envelope liners or make a rubber stamp of your menu and apply it to paper doilies. The ideas are virtually endless, and you can even do fancy calligraphy with your computer at a fraction of the cost of hiring a pro.

Your Makeup

Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t have to look like a totally different person for your walk down the aisle. There’s no reason you can’t do your makeup yourself, especially if you’ve got a knack for it and know what you like. Watch some YouTube videos for tips and ideas. Be sure to practice your look ahead of time so it’s easy to replicate on your big day. As added insurance, make sure you like the way your makeup looks in photos. Your engagement photos or bridal portrait session would make for a great test-run!

💰 Wedding Buys: What to Leave to the Pros

Some things are best left up to the pros, especially things that have to be done at the last minute or during the celebration. If you're struggling to decide what to DIY vs buy for your wedding, here’s what's best to spend your money on:

Food

You will have so much on your plate during the last days leading up to your big wedding. Don’t add to your stress by trying to make all the food for your reception. Catering is one area that is best left to the pros if you want to feel relaxed on your big day. If you’re looking to save on your food budget, consider one of these cost-cutting catering ideas:

Photography

Of course, you wouldn’t be doing your own wedding photography, but you might be tempted to have a friend take the photos to save a few bucks. Unless your friend is a professional wedding photographer, just don’t do it! You will be looking back on your wedding photos for years to come, and there’s nothing worse than being disappointed in how they came out. Hiring a professional is definitely the way to go when it comes to your wedding photography.

FiftyFlowers Bridal Bouquet
pre-arranged wedding flower collections from Fifty Flowers.

Fresh Flowers

If fresh flowers are an absolute must for you, don’t try to do the arranging yourself. Even if you’re a talented floral arranger, fresh flowers will need to be arranged at the very last minute. That’s a lot of pressure to put on yourself, even the week leading up to your wedding. If all you have to do is snip the flowers and put them into vases, it could still be a big job on the morning of your wedding. Wouldn't you rather be relaxed and pampering yourself while getting ready for your big walk down the aisle? If you're on a budget but you still want fresh florals, consider the pre-arranged wedding flower collections from Fifty Flowers.

Music

A professional wedding DJ can make all the difference in how memorable your reception is. A good one will have lots of tricks up his sleeve for getting guests out on the dance floor. Choose a DJ who knows how to double as a master of ceremonies to keep things moving. Music coming from an MP3 player just won’t have the same effect.

Editor's note: If it's simply not in the budget and you're cool with going a more casual route, we've got advice for DJing your own wedding, too.

How to Decide what to DIY vs Buy for Your Wedding

One common money-saving tactic for weddings is to do it yourself when possible, but what aspects of your big day should you leave to the pros?

Wondering how to decide when the DIY route is worth it vs buying or hiring someone to help for your wedding? We've got some advice for making that choice. Consider your skill level, time availability, the funds you have at your disposal, as well as the potential stress on the big day. Use this Venn diagram below to help you decide what to DIY vs buy for your wedding day.

Should I DIY this thing for my wedding? Use this venn diagram to decide the best course of action.

At the end of the day, only you know what is best for you when it comes to your wedding decisions. Go with the route that feels best and least stressful so you can be present and enjoy every minute!

Happy planning!

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is a newlywed and a former writer for a wedding planner; she’s conquered the realm of wedding coordination and is now fully immersed in married life. Donna loves sharing the insight she’s learned from past weddings she's worked on, along with anything she tackled in her own planning process.