How to Plan and Budget a DIY Wedding

Posted in DIY Planning Tips, Wedding Planning

DIY Wedding PlanningWe get a lot of questions about how to go about planning your DIY wedding, so we thought we’d take a moment to go over some of the most important aspects involved. To start with, there are several things that can really help you get a “leg up” in the world of DIY wedding planning such as craft skills, planning skills, and the help of your close friends and family. However, there are a lot of thing to consider when taking on such an incredibly large project, so having a little direction can only make things go smoother.

I will, however, warn you in advance that this post may be a bit lengthy; but overkill is underrated and this arena is the farthest thing from an exception. There are many of you soon-to-be-brides out there who are craving the information and guidance this post will offer, and those who have heard all of this before. Either way, we thought having this information in one place will help serve as a guide to planning your own DIY wedding and eliminate the need to endlessly track down bits and pieces of information.

Find Your Inspiration

Though this may seem obvious to many with weddings in the works, the term “inspiration” is somewhat ambiguous and can be interpreted in several different ways. When it comes to planning a wedding, the best way to think of this stage is as laying out the framework for everything you want out of your special day. For instance, you may want your wedding to have a strong focus on your family with a large dinner party and a rustic country theme. On the other hand, you may after something more intimate involving just your closest friends and family, or maybe even a small destination wedding. Whatever your thing happens to be, you should think of every detail possible from your guest list, location, food preferences, and color scheme as far out in advance as possible.

Know Your Budget

While many couples aim for the popular $10,000 mark when planning their DIY wedding, it’s important to be realistic figure out a price range that you can live with. If $10,000 is truly your maximum, I recommend aiming for around $8,000 to avoid going over. Very rarely do I meet a bride who doesn’t go over her budget by nearly %15-%20, so always figure out your top dollar and use that percentage to determine your realistic goals.

Also, finding a good wedding budget worksheet will help you keep track of your expenses and prioritize where your money should go. Many well put together worksheets will even include predefined percentages for specific elements of the wedding to help you know exactly what portion of your budget is appropriate for any given thing. This will give your DIY wedding a perfect balance of all the key elements and make sure you are dead on budget instead of spending too much for certain items and having to spend too little on others as a consequence.

If you happen to be good at crafts, you can certainly save some cash by making some of the decorations for your ceremony or reception yourself, as well as making your own wedding invitations. Things like table centerpieces and RSVP cards can really add up some unnecessary expenses if you opt to purchase them from a retailer. Many brides use their bridal shower as an excuse to get their friends and bridesmaids to give them a hand in making certain wedding decorations or invitations, and it can even be something fun for all of the girls to do. Even if you’re not the handiest bride in the world, use your imagination to find things you can do in advance rather than purchasing them from a store.

Another crucial part of you budget is choosing an appropriate venue. While you certainly want to choose a place that fits your taste and style, this is one of the areas where you can save the most money. A good idea is to look at public facilities that are available for private bookings such as parks and beaches. Other popular options are having your ceremony at your local church which is usually free or very inexpensive. Regardless of where you decide to have your wedding ceremony, careful planning and a little creativity can go a long way in saving some of that valuable wedding budget for other aspects such as catering or even your honeymoon.

Unless you are having a very small and intimate wedding, you are probably planning on having a reception after you’re officially married. Feeding each of your guests, especially if you’re having a very large wedding, can really eat up a massive chunk of your wedding budget. This is another area where creativity can save some big money with options like buffet style service, serving appetizers and finger foods only, or even preparing some of the food yourself in advance. Regardless of what you choose to do for your catering service, saving even a dollar per person can literally give you hundreds of dollars to use towards other parts of the wedding depending on the size of your guest list.

Scheduling, Hiring Help, and Other Logistics

Having good time and schedule management skills can really go a long way when planning a DIY wedding. A good thing to keep in mind with tasks related to a wedding is that EVERYTHING takes longer than you expect. If you keep this in mind when you start to schedule out your time, you should be able to have everything done and ready with as little stress as possible.

First off, schedule everything. The best success stories I’ve heard with couples planning a DIY wedding is to print or purchase a calendar specifically for your wedding preparations. Circle the date of your wedding, and start filling in every appointment and task imaginable starting from your wedding day and working backwards. No matter how small or mundane the task seems; put it on the calendar. If you think something is going to take 2 hours, factor in 3. Give yourself more than enough time for every task, and you should be able to get it all done without pulling out your hair.

Also, you need to be realistic about what you can accomplish and know your limits. Let’s face it; you simply won’t have time to do everything yourself. Fortunately, you have your fiancé, bridesmaids, and family to help you get all those things on your list done before the big day. Things like making centerpieces, choosing flower arrangements, and baking cookies or other snacks can be delegated out and scheduled as if the tasks were your own. Don’t be afraid to let go of a few tasks for someone else to take care of, it may just save your sanity.

Much like scheduling everything within an inch of its life, you should also make an endless supply of lists. The fact is, the more DIY elements you add to your wedding, the more planning, transportation, and overall responsibility is involved. By making an assortment of detailed lists in advance, a trained monkey would be able to achieve your goals and all the thinking will be taken out of the day. While hashing over details for days (or even weeks) before the wedding date and painstakingly writing every little detail down, you are actually making the days leading up to your wedding a breeze and eliminating any residual stress when your arrive at your wedding day.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to hire help if the need arises. While the point of doing all this DIY wedding planning is to avoid the cost of hiring help, it is a small price to pay compared to scrapping pieces of your vision if you get too bogged down to get it all down. Unless you have a very large and motivated family, you may find that doing everything without the help or guidance of a professional is too daunting or down right impossible. If it comes down to hiring someone or scrapping your wedding, the obvious choice is to shell out their fee and have the day of your dreams.

While there are undoubtedly things we forgot to mention or didn’t cover, this is a pretty good outline for what to expect when planning a DIY wedding and some of the most important details to keep in mind. By starting as far in advance as possible and really hammering out every detail, you can come up with excellent ways to save money and still have every detail perfect for your special day.

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