Big thanks to the Newstalk team for having me in on this glorious bank holiday Monday.
I was thrilled when I heard of this weeks topic… DIY…. My favourite! I was asked to share my experience and some tips so here you go!
There are three levels of DIY
– Full blown where you replace a venue and dress and feed everyone
– Hybrid is where you have a venue but you bring in your own style
– A sprinkle is where you might do one or two things to bring a personal touch.
For myself, I went whole hog and did ‘Full Blown’ DIY. You can read all about my DIY wedding right here.
I made all the mistakes and learnt so much from the process. I want to make sure people really understand what they are getting into before they take it on a big project as there are a lot of things to consider.
I’m seeing a lot of couples coming to me asking about DIY and where to start. That could be for a number of reasons, some are telling me they are looking to save on costs and others are now more exposed (thanks to Instagram) on what DIY can be for a wedding and there is a big big movement for personalisation.
It’s so important at this point that I call out that there are certain things for a wedding that people think, sure I can do that (e.g. floral artistry for example) and the reality is that it quite simply cannot be rivalled to that of a professional. The wedding industry here in Ireland would have a long standing body of professionals with world class experience and sometimes it can be better to let the professionals do what they do best. If you are trying to recreate like for like with a professional wedding professional, you more than likely won’t be able to achieve that standard.
Next to point out, don’t let your only reason to DIY be to save a few bob…..you may not save a a cent, do DIY because you love DIY and want to release your creative juices and put your stamp on it. The pay off needs to be more than saving a few euros.
I did DIY because I love getting creative and I wanted that homemade / rugged style. Plus, having worked in hotels for many years, I just wanted something different on my own terms.
DIY is not always a happy clappy activity. It’s full on, you will be pushed to your limits, your body will ache, your head will be wrecked, there’s a lot of work and to keep your costs efficient, you need to know what you’re doing.
You will buy a lot and I mean a lot of ‘stuff’ such as materials to make it and of course the end product – that could be table centre pieces, ceremony arch, favours etc you name it. You need to have a plan on what you will do with what’s left after. I had a million lanterns, glasses…. And I was stuck with it for years after.
Also, this is a huge one with cakes….. many would love their friend or aunt to make their cake. Luckily I had a very talented friend who did mine but you need to check with your venue on what their policy is on storing and serving as the venue is liable for any food poisoning etc so most will only allow for a registered professional/insured vendor in. This is from the food regulations that apply to those in the provision of serving food.
In saying that, it is a real labour of love and for those who are just born crafty, it’s an absolute joy….by the time you get through it.
- It’s all in the planning: Map the end results – many just start letting the creative juices flow and that end up with a mismatch of pieces when you should have one clear vision and know what exact materials and quantities you will need. Mood boards are great and then spread sheet out all of the items you need to buy, beg, steal or borrow. This is project management 101.
- Always allow for additional pieces for practise and for when some items go wrong.
- Try and get as many pieces made (obviously those that don’t require fresh produce – food / flowers) and stored as you don’t want to be doing any heavy lifting in the run up, you are going to be really busy in that last month to few days.
- Delegate good and early, I had a lot of help with all of my sewing and I had a lot of sewing. My mum basically showed me from scratch how to sew using a machine but we did that and shared the work load a few months out. I could not have imagined trying to do that close to the wedding. Now, where you can, if you have people that have a bit of creative skill i.e. can even glue things to paper, if you give step by step instructions, written down with images, they cannot mess it up and you are guaranteed an efficient run.
- Be really careful of your spending, log everything you are spending as when you end up buying several glue guns, they all add up.
- Make use of what you actually already have. We found a load of old jars from god knows when, we used granny’s old furniture and made mini living rooms and we raided the attic for old bits and bobs.
- IKEA is your friend, the amount of things that can be transformed for a wedding at a very good price is boundless. There are great pinterest boards on ikea wedding hacks and I also have some posts on my site on IKEA hacks that have the faux flowers and plants right through to table centrepieces.
- I bought all of my glassware from IKEA but doubled them up as place cards and favours. It cost way less than renting and potential breakage fees. I hand wrote everyone’s name on their glass.
- Look at the likes of the wedding buy and sell groups, charity shops and done deals etc for other people’s wedding décor and DIY as that can save you a huge amount
- DIY wedding invites are great, I have a demo on my instagram reel on how you can do this with minimum effort
- Anything to do with food or beverages you have to check the policies of your venue if you are hybriding but doing full blown knock yourself out. I got all of my wines in the post Christmas sales and Prosecco from Newry.
- You can do great classes such as Kay’s Flower School / Flower Pop etc and learn how to do some basic floristry for your big day. But remember, you need to source the flowers. You can go to a flower whole seller or if you’ve access to a nice garden then clip away. There are some great Irish growers and suppliers that will advise you on the best flowers for your DIY efforts and season you are getting married in.
Other than that, a few shops for supplies: IKEA, Hickey’s, Art & Hobby Shop & Etsy.
Pinterest for inspiration of course!
Happy Crafting xx
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