So you think you want to DIY your wedding? We ask: Who will help you do-it-all? There is a lot in question about the responsibilities of modern day bridesmaids and the role they play in planning your wedding these days. Are they there for support, friendship and fellowship or to be put to work? What about your family members? When you choose to DIY your weddings, are you to assume that your friends and family with automatically be up for the responsibilities of pulling all the details together? That is a big question! We’re all about teamwork and taking advantage of everyone’s offer to help, but we think you should be privy to a lot of the behind-the-scenes things that will go down on the day of your wedding that you and your bridesmaids may not be thinking of. Like finding, filling and transporting water for centerpieces at your venue or who will light the candles? Have you ever wrapped a bouquet or made a boutonniere?
There is a lot at stake and a lot to get done on the day of. If you think you’ll be toasting it up with your bridesmaids in matchy-matchy bridal party robes like the girls below, you won’t. Let’s break down the entire week before the nuptials to give you a taste of what you’ll be up to.
7 DAYS BEFORE THE WEDDING
It’s almost showtime. This week you’ll spend quite some time firming up timelines for all situations and confirm with your vendors so that they are all on the same page. Make sure that you have the phone numbers of everyone you need to deal with on the day of the wedding and finalize all payments that are owed.
Saturday – Taking inventory of your items: You should probably spend sometime taking an inventory of the items you’ve planned for your DIY extravaganza. If you need more, better mark off time throughout the week to do more shopping and hope you don’t have to order anything online and risk it not being delivered on time.
Monday – Review your timeline: Did you make your wedding weekend timeline for all vendors and bridal party involved? If not, you better get to it. This is the roadmap for everything that will take place on the day of the wedding. Who is making sure this plan gets executed on time on the day of?
Tuesday – Confirming vendors: Make sure to have the contact number(s) of the person or persons that will actually be there on the day of the wedding, and make sure they have the planner’s contact number. Oh wait, there is no planner. Who will you designate as the contact person if a vendor has a question or issue on the day of? Confirm this person has the rules including set up times and breakdowns, as well as a full and comprehensive timeline. Again, which guest/maid will be working for you to accomplish this?
Wednesday – Check the weather: Will you have to implement “Operation Plan B?” That last week it’s really important to confirm anything weather related that will effect the flow of the day. Depending on the time of year, sometimes you can wait until the day of to make a decision, but other times a week long forecast is going to be more accurate than other times in the year. If the venue has a plan B option should the wedding be outside, this is the time to firm up all of the details. What happens to the band if it rains? Confirm the floor plan and all electricity needs as well.
3 DAYS BEFORE THE BIG DAY
As your family and bridesmaids slowly trickled into town for your big day, remember these guests paid money to be here early to enjoy their vacation. Have you pre-discussed with them tasks that you need them to undertake?
3pm: Site visit. The week of your wedding will include one day where you visit the venue for a final walk-thru and drop off small things like your champagne flutes, cake cutters and so forth for the venue coordinator to set up. You will not be allowed to drop off any centerpieces, ceremony set up items (like an arbor) or any other large pieces. That means that they will have to stay in your house (or where ever you have them) until the day of the wedding. You’ll want to confirm where tables like the cake table, escort card, sweetheart table and more will go. Confirm your guest count and possible plan for the un-planned guest. Has this venue ever encountered electrical issues? Is there a generator? This is going to be a long meeting.
DAY BEFORE THE WEDDING
4pm: Rehearsal Dinner
5pm: Rehearsal Dinner party
9pm: Ceremony site decoration prep. Instead of soaking up the excitement of your pre-wedding day bliss, you’ll be hot glueing craft store bought ivy and lace together to be later draped on the ceremony pews tomorrow. Any other last minute decoration prep you’ll be doing with your mom or bridal party instead of toasting champagne and telling stories of your love will take the place of rest and relaxation.
Finally! It’s the day of your wedding and you’re nursing your hot-glue-gun-incident-related fingertip burns from last night’s crafting spree. Cheer up buttercup. It’s your day! Let’s get the schedule going and keep your team on task.
9am: Setup begins. Your team arrives at the venue and the tables aren’t up yet. In fact, the room is empty. There they stand, centerpieces that need to be constructed on site because they could not be transported all put together (because professionals have trucks, but your group has Honda Accords) with no idea what to do. They find out that the tables aren’t being set up until 2 hours prior to the reception, during the ceremony. Oh boy. They begin to craft centerpieces on the floor and wait on the tables.
9:30am: Time to make the centerpieces. With regard to the floral arranging there are basic things that you might not consider including how much water you will need, and what types of tools and “emergency kit items” are necessary. Did you and your non-florist friends pre-plan for the following…
- Clippers. If you are using fresh flowers for your centerpieces, assuming they have arrived with your helpers, how are they going to cut them? If they have to be set up on site (when you DIY, they typically do), then you will need to provide your helpers with flower sheers because ain’t no pair of scissors cutting through a hydrangea stem.
- Water. Whether for flowers or floating candles, where does the “team” get water from? Did you purchase buckets and/or pitchers for them to fill up constantly? Is the water source a bathroom faucet down the hall and around the corner? Is your venue (plot twist) a barn or other creative space where a water source isn’t that easy to find?
10am: Make the bridal party bouquets. Time to make the bouquets and boutonnieres! Who is handling this? Whoever is not currently getting their makeup done? Sounds good. The art of crafting a wedding bouquet and groom’s boutonniere is not as simple as one might assume.
11am: Hair and makeup. The team needs to get dressed, hair and makeup too. Stop the decorating and head back to the hotel. Is everything done?
12pm: Ceremony decorations. Send a bridesmaid to the ceremony site to sprinkle rose petals down the aisle. She’ll miss out on being photographed in the “getting ready” pictures, but no one will notice. Except her.
2:30pm: Did the reception decorations ever get completed? Quick! Somebody confirm with the venue that they can put the linens and centerpieces on the tables! If not, which bridesmaid or family member will you sacrifice from photos to send ahead to the reception to make sure the tables get setup? Did they set up the sweetheart table the way you saw on Pinterest? Too late to send a picture? Too late to drive over and double check? Yes.
3pm: Wedding Ceremony. ‘I do.’ ‘I do.’ Yay!
5pm: Candles. Candles need to be lit in preparation for the reception – which bridesmaid or family member will not be photographed in the group photos or miss out on the cocktail hour so that they can leave early for the reception and light the candles?
AFTER THE WEDDING
Before long, the wedding is over, and all of your decor remains. The boxes that everything arrived in have most likely been relocated if they were in the way of the venue and the caterer, and that relocation spot is often the dumpster out back. Frequently, clean sweeps are done, and no one looks at what they are moving or throwing away.
10pm: Packing it all up. All of the centerpieces and everything you brought in, must be broken down, packed up, and taken out of the venue immediately. As guests are saying their final “good-byes” to you, you watch out of the corner of your eye as centerpieces are being shoved to the side of the room so that the tables can be cleared of everything including the linens, and set up for the next event. You hear a crash, a glass break, the sound of your money catching on fire. Somehow, with or without the help of your team, everything gets packed up … whether or not the boxes are still anywhere to be found.
10:30pm: Transport. Time to transport it all home. It’s your wedding night, not too sure you want to bring mountains of boxes of vases (after you’ve tossed the flowers and the water) back to your hotel room while wearing a gown.
Note: If the venue won’t keep them until the next day (as if you really want to come back the next day or could send anyone else that would), then you have to consider sending them home with someone who is going home … if that someone is going home and not to the hotel where everyone else is, they might have left immediately after cake cutting. This means you have to get them to stick around, and might have to help carry stuff out to their car. Fingers crossed that it all fits in one vehicle.
2 weeks later: Lingering wedding decorations. When the wedding ends, the weekend is over, and you get back to reality or back from your honeymoon, the items are still there. Like a stain on a carpet that you just cannot get out, these items will haunt you. First and foremost, if someone else took them home for you, you will have to retrieve them quickly. Just like you didn’t like having them take up space in your own home, trust me, your friend doesn’t either. Now you have to take the time to pick everything up only to re-store it in your home. Then comes the process of lying to yourself about how you will re-use it, or the arduous task of selling these items.
2 months later: Selling old wedding decorations. Selling these items might seem like a breeze once you have cleaned them up, taken pictures, and cross-posted their descriptions and pricing across multiple internet sites. But then you have to deal with people. People getting married. People that are on the DIY path just like you were. They are price-shopping, they are busy, they are stressed out. And after the fourth bride tells you that she wants your collection at half the price (which you’ve already lowered by now since the wedding was forever ago) only to go radio silent when you try to set up a payment plan, you reach the DIY breaking point…and you give them away. Or throw them out.
ARE YOU TIRED YET? This is all of the stuff you don’t see on Pinterest, social media and wedding websites. This is all filtered out and hashtags like “easy” and “cheap” take over your mind and melt it into believing that DIY is an actual alternative. Besides the skill and talent that a professional has, when you opt to hire wedding vendors for services like wedding planning and flowers, you are also paying to not deal with any of the scenarios that I have listed above.