First of all, let us just squeal for a minute because we are so excited to collaborate with Wedding Party as a guest blogger! Wedding Party is such an amazing resource for couples and their guests to capture and remember their precious wedding moments; if only we had known about it for our wedding 3 1/2 years ago…
We are Carlen + David, owners, designers, and makers at host & toast, an online wedding decor shop for creative brides. Each one of our products is designed and produced in our Denver, Colorado studio by combining laser-cut, handmade, and hand-finished methods. Our intention at host & toast is to help couples with some of the many distracting details so they can focus on each other and their future together.
As you are all aware, countless DIY projects have flooded the internet over the past several years, along with the illusion that couples can (and maybe should) do everything themselves. As a couple who planned their own wedding, we are here to tell you from experience that you can’t do it all, nor do you really want to. So, you are on a budget (realistically, who isn’t?), but you desperately want that gorgeous Style Me Pretty-esque wedding?
We are here to share a little insight and help you navigate which wedding decor DIY projects to take on yourself and which undertakings to pass on to the professionals!
DIY DO: make 1-2 items for your wedding day
Everyone loves a handmade, personal touch that you had a hand in, and it makes your wedding day truly yours. Feeling really creative? Try making a DIY Getaway Garland like this one from Once Wed. If you’re short on time, handwrite your wedding vows to frame and display in your home afterwards. DIY Tip: Turn a afternoon into a crafty date and spend time together working on a project you both are excited about!
DIY DON’T: try to do everything yourself; ask family and friends or hire a planner
Coming from a professional maker, I can assure you that crafts and projects often take much longer than you anticipate. Your time is valuable and your wedding is not just about one day, it’s about the whole wedding planning experience, and who wants a stress-filled engagement? If you decide not to hire a wedding planner, consider hiring a day-of coordinator, or a wedding planner’s intern to coordinate and execute the set up of your reception decor. That way, you are sipping champagne and getting your nails done instead of hauling, hanging, and arranging.
DIY DO: design your day around both your tastes
If you do have a planner, stylist, or designer, make sure you take initiative and describe both you and your fiancé’s taste preferences so the professional can include both themes in your wedding vision. While this isn’t a hands-on “DIY project,” we think it’s definitely something all couples should "do themselves" so that their wedding day reflects who they are and what they like. For example, if you like pretty pinks and feminine flowers but your hubby-to-be likes clean, modern lines and dark masculine woods, try combining your styles like in the photo above from yesterday's Wedding Chicks feature to create something unique. DIY Tip: Consider how you would style your first apartment or house together!
DIY DON’T: over-do ceremony decor
Yes, we’ve seen the elaborate ceremonies all over Pinterest and wedding blogs, and if you are one of the fortunate brides who doesn’t have a budget, feel free to scroll on down. For those of us with a wallet to consider, let’s get practical here. Three reasons to keep it simple at your wedding ceremony:
1. Most wedding ceremonies only last for about 30 minutes or so, so don’t focus too much of your time and budget on this part of your day We are totally smitten with this effortlessly simple yet gorgeous arbor we found on Elizabeth Anne Designs.
2. The flowers in your bridal bouquet and your bridesmaids bouquets will serve as visual interest at the ceremony. You paid for all those fresh flowers; let them do their job!
3. As the bride, YOU are the best looking part of this ceremony, so all eyes will be on you anyway. Let everyone ooh and aah over that gorgeous gown that you only get to wear for one day.
DIY DO: make your own chalkboards with chalkboard paint
Making your own chalkboard is really easy; all you need is a piece of plywood or MDF, a can of chalkboard paint, and a foam roller from the hardware store. Large chalkboards make a big statement in person and in photographs, like this DIY feature on Wedding Chicks. Not only are you sure to make an impact, but you will also save on printing costs for paper programs, seating charts, and menus, and be able to utilize the chalkboard again. DIY Tip: Sand your surface with a power sander before giving your chalkboard two or three light and even coats. If you’re not into this particular DIY, or you’re looking for a more elegant, polished, framed chalkboard you can use and display in your home after the wedding, check out the chalkboards in our shop!
DIY DON'T: letter your chalkboard; hire a calligrapher
Now, it may seem like we are contradicting ourselves here with the chalkboard DIY, but hear us out. Your wedding day is fast approaching and you finally have all the RSVPs in hand, the seating chart organized, and the menus finalized. Now, you are supposed to spend your last few days as a single woman trying to conjure up your best third-grade penmanship? In the days and weeks before you walk down the aisle, you will likely have enough tasks on your plate, and as wedding planners know, many details, such as names of attending guests and seasonal menu items, are often finalized at the last minute. Long story short, leave the lettering to a professional; after all, it will take them way less time than it would take you, your chalkboards will look fantastic, and you’re saving that money on the paper goods, remember?
DIY DO: purchase or make items that you will use in your home
Your marriage will last long after your wedding day, and we think some of your decor should, too! Sure, those DIY paper flowers are inexpensive and catchy, but they take longer than you would think, and you can’t really use them again. Picture frames, like our walnut + coral set for a family wedding photo display, large signs with your names or a meaningful word, like love, centerpiece candlesticks,and chalkboards are all items you can enjoy in your home after your big day. DIY Tip: Personalize these lasting decor items with your name, wedding date, or part of your vows. You’ll love cherishing those items for years to come.
DIY DON’T: try to make all of your floral pieces
We can’t get enough of the current trend of overflowing centerpieces and big, bright floral crowns, like this one featured on Style Me Pretty; it’s any boho bride’s dream-come-true! However, for those of us on a budget, how do you decide when to "play in the dirt again" and when to leave it to a florist? Since flowers are expensive and don’t last long, here’s our thought: hire a florist to create a few eye-catching arrangements for the head table or that over-sized floral crown you’ve been eyeing on Pinterest, leaving the artistry of bouquets in their capable hands. Then, purchase stems of your favorite flowers and place single flowers in small vases for guest tables, food tables, and the bar. We admire the way this Style Me Pretty bride went big on the head-table centerpiece but used single stems on the guest tables, a project that is totally DIY-able. Plus, flowers are a last-minute to-do item, just like the calligraphy, so keep it as simple as possible!
We would love your insight! Future brides, which DIY projects are currently on your DO and DON’T lists? Married brides, which DIY projects should have been on your DO list? Which DIY's do you wish you had skipped?
host your present & toast to the future, Carlen + David