How I DIYed My Wedding and What I Did First
Brides-to-be, I know how time-consuming, stressful, overwhelming, and never-ending wedding planning can be! I've been there, done that, planning my wedding in just seven months (crazy, right?)! Things were a little different before the pandemic. You didn't have to book vendors years in advance or have to worry about last-minute restrictions. But if I could plan my own wedding (I'm that type of person who just likes to do-it-myself, ya know?), then you certainly can too! Did I mention that we were on a budget (who isn't)? I'm sharing all the things I learned how to do while planning my wedding, from making my own bouquets to finding the right table linens. So let's get started...
After getting engaged, I immediately started planning our wedding! I made a Google Sheets checklist (I am the queen of spreadsheets) of our budget and used The Knot to keep track of everything we needed to do and when. We wanted to get married that fall, so I needed to plan things quickly! Here are some of the first things I checked off our to-do list:
Picked a date
Picked a venue
Hired a videographer
Hired a photographer
Hired a caterer
How We Chose a Date
We knew we wanted to get married that year (we got engaged in January), preferably in August for nice weather and to utilize sunflowers (my favorite flower). We decided that getting married on a Friday would probably save us money down the road and we landed on August 24th as our date. It also helped that Labor Day weekend would fall during our honeymoon, giving us extra time off work!
How We Chose a Venue
We visited a few different venues and ultimately came to two options. We could have our ceremony at the church and reception at a venue (which would mean we could have less people due to cost restrictions), or have both the ceremony and reception at the church, doing all of the decorating ourselves, while inviting more people. We ultimately decided that having the ceremony and reception at the church would be most cost efficient and make things easier on our guests.
How We Found a Videographer
We found a videographer couple through a mutual friend. We loved that there would be two people there to capture everything. I'd definitely recommend asking around for recommendations to find a videographer within your budget! You also don't have to record everything. We only recorded the ceremony in full and purchased a short 1-minute film recapping special moments.
How We Found a Photographer
My mom told me about a photographer who did a wedding for someone at her church. I looked at her album and the photographs were beautiful! It was definitely more than I had anticipated budgeting for a photographer, but I thought it was worth investing in. Think about how you're going to use your wedding photos. Are you going to print them and hang them up in your home? (I'll admit...I still have not printed any of my wedding photos). Are you going to post them all on Facebook (I did do this). Are you going to look back on your wedding photos and wish you had spent more on someone better? Keep these questions in mind when booking a photographer.
P.S. Make sure you like their vibe. Photographers have a particular way they like to edit. If you want "light and airy", don't choose a photographer who edits "dark and moody".
How We Chose a Caterer
My now-husband and I both love food, so this was something we wanted to make sure was great. We had our food catered through the venue we had originally visited, because they had great reviews and were within our budget. Unfortunately, we were not able to taste-test (I'll admit, I was a little bummed about that), but we trusted the reviews and they were great! We hired them to come set up and take down (highly recommend doing this). To be honest, I was so nervous on my wedding day that I barely ate any of the food. My guests, however, said the food was great! Instead of renting dinnerware and plates, we found some fake silverware that looked real and better-looking plastic plates we could throw away.
Now The Good Stuff...Let's Talk DIY
Bouquets + Boutonnieres
My mom's friend had made her daughter's bouquets for her wedding, so we asked her to teach us how to make our own! We had scoured Michaels and Hobby Lobby whenever they had a sale for florals, bouquet foam holders, wire, and twine. My main flowers were sunflowers and roses and we added some filler florals to add some bulk to the bouquet. After making one, it got easier and we made the bridesmaid bouquets. Instead of boutonnieres, I paid someone to to embroider handkerchiefs with the groomsmen's initials, which was also our groomsmen gifts!
I bought some wood from Home Depot and had it cut to size. Then I had my grandpa help me stain it the color I wanted. I looked up some videos on how to use chalk pens and practiced writing! Looking back, I probably would have used a Cricut to cut out vinyl for a more professional and even look.
I wanted to make our folding tables look a little more elegant, so I decided to rent table linens. They arrived pretty wrinkled, so steaming out the fold lines took a bit of work. Overall, I'm glad we had these! After the wedding, we threw them in a trash bag and sent them back (we didn't even have to clean them)!
The very first stationery I ever designed (years before Alyssa Napier Design was born) was my own wedding invitations...and boy, have I come a long way since then! I used Vista Print to design them. I have no idea why I wanted the black chalkboard as the background, but I definitely wanted to incorporate sunflowers. Looking back, I made so many wedding etiquette mistakes! I should NOT have included the registry information on the invitation, I should have had a separate insert card for reception information, and I should have included the wedding website information on a separate insert card, too. Thankfully, I've learned a lot since getting married four years ago and I can share what I've learned with you!
I hope reading about how I DIYed my wedding was inspiring and made you feel empowered to DIY yours! It really is possible with a little patience and practice. Do you want to DIY your wedding invitations? Head to our shop to start personalizing the perfect stationery for your wedding vibe!