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Dear Ask the Experts,
Every article I read gives different advice about what sorts of things you can and can’t DIY. In your experience, what are the best things to DIY, and what are the best things to leave to the professionals?
From Wendy of 1812 Hitching Post:
Do it yourself centerpieces and party favors are a great way to personalize your wedding reception. A candy bar with cute bags for candy is one of the most popular party favor options we've seen. Centerpieces that include floating candles, silk or dried flowers, fabric, or any other material that lasts can be planned and created months in advance. A single live flower or live garden flowers added last minute can add color, dimension, and freshness to your centerpieces.
Best left to the professionals are photography and catering. You don't want either of these elements to suffer the day of your wedding. Food tastes best when it's prepared directly before it's served by people who are used to taking care of groups. Professional photographers can add their artistry to every photo for memories your family will cherish for centuries. Don't put your family and friends to work; they want to celebrate with you. If you're working, they can't have fun, either!
From Jeff of Blackbird Images
My advice is general rather than specific. Definitely do plan, at least in overall terms, your own wedding: The events, the timeline, what you want to do… it’s your wedding and should reflect your desires and dreams. Don’t take on anything you’ll have to participate in or oversee on the day of your wedding. You’ll have enough to do… and should be able to focus on enjoying the day, not on supervising and making sure everything goes as planned. So DIY the planning – leave implementation to others.
Thea of Rose of Sharon
Ideally, your budget will be adequate to cover all your desires. Realistically, you'll end up doing a lot yourself or cutting things from the plans. DIY sounds like a good idea when you still have months before your wedding. Keep in mind that wedding professions spend time and energy learning the best way, the most creative way, the most artistic way to make weddings wonderful.
The best place to DIY depends on your talents, the amount of help you have, and how much you have to do. A project that can be completed two months before the wedding is much easier to handle than one that has to be completed the day before the wedding. Creating your own personalized favors can usually be done early, but your bouquet shouldn't be made more than a day or two in advance. And if you use a computer to write everything because nobody can decipher your handwriting, hand-addressing your invitations may not be the best idea. If you're not quite sure if you are up to a project, try it out on a smaller scale--preferably while you still have time to find a professional if you find it's not your cup of tea.
Be realistic. Are you trying to DIY to save money or because you're secretly Martha Stewart? After you purchase all your supplies and materials, dedicated hours of your time (and probably some of your friends' time as well), and the end result isn't quite what you expected, was it really worth-wile? Yes, you may have save a buck or two...then again, maybe not.
About our Experts:
Jeff Haden is President of BlackBird Images, wedding photographers based in Harrisonburg, VA. Not only is he a well-respected and talented photographer, but has also gained recognition as a ghostwriter.
Thea Daniel, owner of Rose of Sharon Event Florist in Fayeteville, Arkansas, has been designing floral arrangements for events for 15 years.
Wendy Waldron, photographer and wedding coordinator of 1812 Hitching Post Wedding Venue in central North Carolina, has 10 years experience planning and photographing "simply beautiful" outdoor weddings.