DIYing Your Wedding: What to Try and What to Leave to Pros

DIY elements are an excellent way to add a personal touch to your celebration, but there is a limit to how much you can handle on your plate. After all, planning a wedding can feel overwhelming even when relying on a team of professionals. 

If you add on countless projects and to-dos, you’ll end up with undue stress in the weeks leading up to your big day when you should be feeling excited and overjoyed.

So, where do you draw the DIY line? Here’s what the experts have to say.

Photography by Amy Kolo

Do: Welcome Bags

There’s nothing like a thoughtful welcome bag to greet your guests in style! “Welcome bags are a great item for destination couples to put together,” says Tonya Hoopes of Hoopes Events. “It can be fun to add your favorite items to the bags to share with your guests.” 

Think local baked goods, personalized koozies, weekend itineraries, and more. “Just make sure the hotels or lodges can distribute them to your out-of-town guests, or you have a place such as a welcome party to distribute them,” Hoopes adds. 

Do: Paper Goods

While you may not be a professional calligrapher or know the difference between vellum and parchment, there are still ways to DIY paper goods for your wedding. Nora Sheils of Bridal Bliss and Rock Paper Coin suggests couples focus on some aspects of their stationery. 

“Stuffing your invitations rather than hiring them out is pretty simple and difficult to mess up,” she says. “Some printing can be done as a DIY project like table numbers, programs, etc. Just be sure that you leave plenty of time in case it doesn’t turn out how you like to either remake them or hire it out!”

Photography by Elizabeth LaDuca, Planning and Design by Timeless Event Planning

Do: Favors

Putting together sentimental favors is a sweet way to send your guests home with a token of appreciation for their attendance. “These gifts do not need to be very expensive and could be fun to do together,” says Monika Kreinberg of Furever Us

Kreinberg offers a few examples, suggesting that “couples could make little hangover kits together, add a little note to a small liquor bottle, or even make specially shaped chocolate gifts. Making personalized items can be very easy using the latest vinyl cutters. They can add their name to many different things without buying them personalized. This helps save some money and can be fun.”

Don’t: Floral Design

Flowers are an integral part of the overall event design, so it’s not an area to cut corners — especially when you consider that they’ll star in your wedding photos!

Sarah Blessinger of Kindred Weddings and Events explains, “If you want stunning florals at your wedding, hire a florist. Florists truly do some of the most backbreaking work in the wedding industry, as the scope of the physical work is so condensed. Buying bulk and wholesale flowers yourself can save some money, but there’s so much knowledge behind a florist’s work.”

Photography by Kelly Hornberger

Don’t: Photography

Your wedding photos should last a lifetime, and you’ll want to show them off to future generations for years to come. Make sure they are timeless and professionally shot!

“There’s nothing worse than getting the photography back from your uncle and it not being what you had hoped for!” assures Jenna Porter of Jenna Noelle Creative. “These investments are priceless. If budget is the issue, I recommend scaling back the size of the event rather than cutting corners with vendors. Remember, the vendors you DO hire cannot do double-time for those you choose not to.”

Don’t: Desserts

You may be a pro baker in the kitchen, but that doesn’t mean you should DIY your wedding cake. After all, it’s not like you can make your cake months in advance!

As Kreinberg recommends, “It would be best to leave anything fresh such as cakes and bakery items, to the pros. These items not only perish in a few days, but couples barely have time to enjoy the few days before a wedding. Additionally, transporting any of these can require quite a skillset.”

Whether you’re a crafty maven or you prefer to be hands-off, know that DIY details are key to personalizing your wedding day — but keep it within reason to avoid taking on more than you can handle. Your engagement should be filled with love and celebration, not never-ending to-do lists and errands!

Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.