With the costs of weddings exceeding the price of a new automobile or the down payment for a home, many couples are finding it harder and harder to stretch their budgets enough to have that dream wedding. Vendors can be expensive as most couples quickly discover. That’s why some couples have chosen to have a do-it-yourself wedding. Making that choice is easier than you might think.
First, you’ll still need to sit down and decide on a budget for your wedding. Even if you’re doing it yourself, you’ll need some funds to pay for your supplies and to pay any vendors you do choose to use. That’s another choice you’ll need to make: what parts of the wedding do you want to tackle yourself? Some couples may want to do everything from sewing the dress to baking the cake on their own while others are happy to turn over some tasks to vendors. You’ll need to make those choices yourself based on your time availability and your budget.
One of the easiest parts of your wedding to do yourself are the invitations. You’ll find high quality paper in hundreds of styles available at online stationery stores which you can purchase then use to print out your invitations using your own printer. Generally, you can find free or inexpensive wedding fonts online, too. Most of the stationery stores even carry special paper for save-the-date cards, wedding programs, reception enclosures, and more.
Another easy part of your wedding to handle on your own is the cake. If you have someone in your family who makes an amazing cake, then by all means recruit them. If not, then buy a few cake mixes, some tasty frosting, and even some fillings (strawberry preserves or orange marmalade make particularly tasty fillings). Borrow or purchase round cake pans in a variety of sizes then bake your own tiers. To decorate your tiers, you can even purchase fondant (a sugar and water mixture that can be rolled out and placed over the cake for a smooth look) at local bakery stores and even some retail outlets. Most bakery stores sell the accessories you need to create your cake very inexpensively, and many will even be able to give you advice on how to put the tiers together effectively. Use candy or pre-made decorations if you don’t trust yourself with decorative icing tips.
Catering is another part of the wedding you can handle yourself, especially with the help of your friends and family. For a low-cost reception, ask everyone to bring a covered dish. You might want to find out what everyone is bringing so that you don’t end up with five bowls of potato salad. If you prefer to cater the reception all on your own, consider some affordable options, such as lunch meat trays, deli salads, and potato chips. Or if you’re going truly casual, just order a few dozen pizzas and have them delivered to the reception location. Combine that with a few dozen two liters of soda, some bags of ice, and plastic cups and you have a perfect party food.
Don’t forget that you’ll need entertainment. If you have a friend or family member who can handle the disc jockey duties that’s great. If not, bring your computer, hook up some speakers to it, and use it for your musical entertainment. You can rip CD’s that you own or borrowed to give yourself a library of hundreds of songs that can be played randomly or requested by guests. It’s definitely a more affordable option than hiring a DJ or a band.
Creating your bouquets and other flower arrangements can also be done without the help of expensive vendors. Instead of buying real flowers, you might want to start with silk flowers so you don’t have to make everything at the last minute. All you’ll need is some floral tape, a few vases, some ribbon, floral foam, and greenery which is available inexpensively at most craft stores. You’ll find books on floral design at your local library with great full-color, step by step instructions. Just be prepared to do some practicing before you start on the real thing. Remember you don’t have to create dozens of flower arrangements – just create a few and use them at both the ceremony and the reception.
Don’t forget that you can also have your photography done without the help of a vendor. You can purchase disposable cameras in bulk at many online stores. Place a couple of cameras on each table, then let your guests take the photographs. At the end of the night, you can collect the cameras, develop the photos, and create a wedding album using the best. Alternatively, you can turn over a nice quality digital camera (cheaper to purchase than most photographers are to hire) to one of your family members who has an eye for picture-taking. With the newer cameras, you don’t need to be a professional to take professional-quality photographs.
The bottom line is that having a do-it-yourself wedding has never been easier. Although you’ll still need a decent budget, you can definitely save money and still have a beautiful wedding if you’re willing to put in a little hard work and have some fun, too.