DIY has become a phenomenon in the wedding planning world, largely thanks to sites like Pinterest. Brides (and sometimes even grooms) are pinning arts and crafts that only the creative team at Martha Stewart could handle while being completely oblivious to the pitfalls of the DIY world. All because of the misconception that wedding vendors are just out to empty a couple’s wallets and that the numbers companies are quoting are far higher than they “should” be. As a wedding planner, I’m here to tell you that is not the case. Naturally, I am anti-DIY because it’s my job to make your wedding stress free. And DIY often times equals stress. So that you know exactly what you’re getting into I’ve outlined four problmes you’ll likely encounter when you choose to DIY your wedding decor. While professionals might seem more expensive than a glue gun and burlap, chances are, for what you paid in retail and your time working on the project, you could have paid the same to a floral designer and been off enjoying your engagement.
PROBLEM #1: YOUR RETAIL IS NOT MY WHOLESALE
When couples DIY their centerpieces, too often they think they can do the flowers as well. This is especially true of those couples with a laid back wedding with “wildflowers” for their tables. It is not as easy as pulling flowers from your backyard or taking a trip to Publix the week of the wedding and stuffing them into containers. In fact, for the couples that think they are going to simply do a supermarket run the week of their wedding, they should keep in mind that there will not only not be enough flowers, but that they will have to take what they can get and they will be charged at least 5 times the wholesale price. I can tell you that while Whole Foods will ask me for $6 per stem of white hydrangea, a florist can actually get them for 32 cents a stem.
If you are looking to DIY your centerpieces, that will mean supplying containers to hold flowers, candles, water or whatever. You could hit up a chain craft store and possibly get lucky to find everything that you need. But you will have to buy extra, in case anything breaks, and you will be spending more because you cannot get a wholesale price like a planner, designer or florist can.
PROBLEM #2: UNLESS YOU’RE A FLORIST, YOU’LL BE MISSING THE ART OF ARRANGING
Arranging of flowers may look like a breeze, but there’s so much more to it. It’s an art and it takes years to develop the skills to create those pictures you are pinning. Something as simple as knowing how many peonies will be needed to fill a container that is 4 inches high and 3 inches wide, is what a florist will know without needing to google it. Speaking of googling it, if you go that route, know that you will find a billion different answers and only frustrate yourself even more. Then, of course, the personal flowers like bouquets, corsages and boutonniere are an animal onto themselves. While you may see an arrangement of “wildflowers” tied together with a satin ribbon on Instagram and think it’s easy, believe me…it’s not. There’s more than just a ribbon holding it together and you won’t find that out until the day before or day of the wedding when you put together the bouquet. Too late.
PROBLEM #3: WHAT YOU SEE IS NOT WHAT YOU GET AND THEN ITS TOO LATE
If you’ve ever baked a cake or worked on a craft project you found on Pinterest, you know for yourself: what you see if all too often, not what you get. We’ve all seen that happen and it’s usually marked with the hashtag: nailed it. The “nailed it”, of course, is sarcastic, and the original picture is not what was actually accomplished. Those pictures are funny, but when it’s your wedding, I doubt you will be laughing. You could practice ahead of time, but again that’s more money and more time you’re paying for making the DIY cost continue to add up.
PROBLEM #4: PLANNING FOR THE UNPREDICTABLE
When you bring all the working parts of a wedding together for the big day, there is one thing that is almost always true: If something can go wrong, it likely will. This includes things like one of your centerpieces breaking, one or more of your centerpieces not making it to the venue, being short a centerpiece because you changed your seating chart and table count 10 days ago aka 6 weeks after you had already ordered all of your centerpiece materials…the list and the nightmare can go on.
Chances are, for what you paid in retail and your time working on the project, you could have paid the same to a floral designer and been off enjoying your engagement.
There is a saying “time is money” and you probably just spent a fortune trying to circumvent the system. Planning a wedding is a full time job and if you already have one of those, then the amount of time you have to be playing arts and crafts isn’t much. You will find yourself up until 2-3am, arguing with friends that said they would help but didn’t, and getting mad that your fiance doesn’t care how perfect the ribbons look on your 497th try. When you pay a professional, you are absolutely paying for their time, but you’re also paying for the time that you don’t have to spend doing it yourself.
Images by Jessica Janae Photography