Let's face it: money is a scarcity, these days, and the amount of money some people spend on their wedding is ludicrous. You can be thrifty, making your own versions of many of the high-end services like flower arrangements, being your own DJ, and making photo booths at a fraction of the price. As long as you're not trying to be uber-traditional, DIY weddings can be charming, bohemian, rustic, and lovely with a little planning, foresight, and talent! So, you should also take these same principles into account when selecting what to wear for the wedding; such as this tid bit of advice on stud or drip earrings: how to choose the perfect pair for you.
First, you need to look at your venue. This will help guide decorations and more. Are you going more rustic? Modern-but-DIY? Using land you can rent cheaply, or even convince the owner to let you use free, like a friend’s acreage, will help you save money over renting a traditional wedding venue.
The first question you need to ask yourself is if your venue is set up for weddings. Are you simply having your ceremony in the wilderness? You might need to cut down grass or spread bark on your friend’s acreage, which takes time away from other wedding duties. Or are you using a winery’s wedding area, which already has a wedding arch and power supply? Will your DJ have access to power, or do you need to supply a generator? Or if you are just using an iPhone and speakers, do you have a dock? Bear in mind that acoustics are important. Sound can echo in a wedding hall, but is likely to only travel away from speakers outside, rather than bouncing around. If your venue is remote, you could incur extra delivery fees. Where are your guests going to park, and will they need to walk a considerable distance? Women in high heels will not appreciate the jaunt.
If your venue is out in the open, make sure you anticipate wind. If decorations are not heavy or bolted down, they may not be able to handle a strong gust of wind. Candles will constantly blow out, or worse, be knocked over while still lit. Cloth napkins could fly off tables, unless they are wrapped and tied around cutlery.
Local flowers tend to not only be easier on the wallet, but they help connect to your location — especially if you are having a local wedding, and even more if you are outside. Plus, there are some added benefits to certain flowers, local or not: Sprigs of mint, thyme, rosemary, and lavender are all natural insect deterrents, something your guests won’t notice until there are swarms of bugs. Avoid baby’s breath, peonies, and scabiosa, as these attract pests.
If the wedding is on private property and the owners are amiable, hire an exterminator to spray 48 hours before the event. If that isn’t possible, use citronella torches to curb mosquitos and other insects. On the subject of plants, succulents in mason jars add the perfect rustic touch to your decor, yet are still an option for modern-style decor due to their popularity.
Speaking of mason jars, tea lights in mason jars or string lights can help guide guests, either to the front door of the venue or to the reception area outside. You can also take inspiration from felt pennants meant for gift bags and line the walkway with pennants bearing the bride and groom’s initials. Instead of felt, use burlap, and glue dowels to the burlap to keep it straight and taut.
Hang a wooden frame from a tree instead of renting a photo booth. Or, if you are inside, create your own standing frame. You can even put out a Polaroid camera for on-the-spot photos. If you use a digital camera, there are plenty of services that will let you create a photo album, ranging from fairly cheap softcovers to intricate hardcovers — with prices to match, of course.
The honeymoon doesn’t have to be a globetrotting affair, either. Instead, consider renting a fully furnished apartment for a month. Or, a cabin, condo, or lodge — whichever fits your style. It can give you a base of operations for both before and after your wedding, and can be near the venue. It eases the entire process of finding a place to stay, like staying at an AirBnB without actually having to live in someone else’s home. You don’t have to move, and you get to feel like honeymooners in somewhere that is not your own home without spending a fortune on travel.
This also allows you to combine the wedding and honeymoon, saving travel time and money. The honeymoon can be at the same location, staying in the apartment for a few days, relaxing, winding down from the stress and excitement of the wedding. While it may initially sound a bit boring, it’s actually a breath of fresh air, a downtime after the culmination of what is likely months of planning.
The Tools to Make it Happen
Finally, you’ll need tools to make this happen — especially if you are saving money and acting as your own wedding planner. This list of tools — the project management section in particular — can help you keep track of everything you need to do and stay organized. For example, Evernote can help you collect ideas for DIY decorations. Create a to-do list in Trello or Asana to keep yourself on track for when projects need to be done, or help you make sure any contractors you end up hiring get paid on time using reminders. Using Google Calendars lets you sync across multiple devices, so others can also see your calendar. The tools provide easy, automated solutions for everyone involved.
With the right tools, time, planning, and a little bit of talent, you can create many of the pieces of your wedding without paying exorbitant prices. It’s also a fun way to personalize a special day. The most important, part, of course, is having fun with making your wedding truly yours.