The answer: it depends.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for DIY, especially for weddings. I’ve always loved making things and when I got engaged I went a little overboard with it all. That’s how Haus of Ariella and my brand new bridal shop, Lace Over Heels, came into being. I’m making our cake toppers, my veil, a wedding/reception dress (I haven’t decided which it will be), and many of the decorations, but there are a lot of things that we are buying/hiring someone to do or omitting altogether.
The trick, I think, is to prioritize your DIY projects much the same as you prioritize items in your wedding budget. If you’ve spent much time in the wedding blogosphere, you’ve undoubtedly read about amazing couples who had their 100 person wedding in the rustic barn behind their cottage. They’re the ones who made their own wedding cloths, hand painted 10,000 mason jars, folded 1,000 paper cranes, wrote the wedding ceremony, hand cut every invitation, brewed their own beer for the reception, baked a wedding cake, and self-catered a full-meal for their wedding. Oh, and they did it all in about 3 months.
Most of us realize that as cool as all of that is, those people are also freakin’ nuts. Everyday life doesn’t stop just because we’re getting married, despite what some bridezillas might think. Just because you can DIY something doesn’t mean you have to or even that you should. Here are a few things to ask yourself when deciding whether to take on a DIY project or leave it to the professionals.
How important is it?
One of the great things about DIY wedding projects is that it gives your wedding a personal touch and makes the items you made even more special to you. If you’ve always dreamt of baking your own wedding cake or sewing your own dress , and you have the ability to do so, then do it. If you think that making your own bouquet would make it that much more special to you, then put it higher on your list than the decorations that you think will just cost less if you DIY them.
The importance of the item can swing the DIY factor in the other direction too though. If you’ve been fantasizing about the perfect tiered wedding cake with intricate fondant flowers, but you’ve never decorated a cake in your life, go with the pros and DIY another project instead.
How much will it cost?
The most common misconception about DIY projects is that they always save you money. In fact, some of them could cost you more than it would to buy the items in the first place. As any crafter who’s ever spent a bit too much time in Michael’s or Joann knows, crafting supplies can add up fast. Plus, you may only need two feathers for your fascinator, but your going to have to buy the whole bag anyway. If the material is something you’ll use again, then it’s not a big deal to buy more than you need, but if it’s something that’s just going to sit around your house until you get sick of looking at it and throw it away, you need to take that into account.
Of course having some extra supplies is a good thing when you’re DIYing something, because you have to take the learning curve into account. Even experienced crafters who’ve made something 100 times before mess up every now and then. If you’re completely new to making a particular item or using a certain technique, then you should count on a few failed experiments before you get things right.
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t do a DIY project just because it won’t really be any cheaper to buy it/pay someone to do it. However, it’s
How long will it take?
Don’t forget that your time is valuable. If you’re DIYing something to save money, just ask yourself how much an hour you would expect to be paid if you were doing the project for someone else, then add your “hourly wage” to the cost of materials for it. Will you still save money in that calculation? If not, go back to “How important is it?” and decide if it’s something that DIYing would really make special or something that you would really like to DIY.
When does it have to be done?
Your time is valuable anytime, but even more so in the weeks leading up to your wedding. You’ll probably be chasing down those last RSVPs, coordinating everyone’s schedules, and finalizing details. You also might be stressing/freaking out a little bit. The last thing you want to be doing the week before your wedding is making 500 paper flowers that should have been done months ago. It’s important to try to start DIY projects for your wedding as early as possible (I should follow my own advice here).
Some projects, however, can’t be done that far in advance. Making your own bouquets with fresh flowers, baking your own cake, and self catering your wedding are all projects that can’t really be done more than a few days in advance. If you decide to take on a project like that, try to make it easier on yourself by not procrastinating on other projects that can be done ahead of time. Also, do a lot of advance preparation. Don’t just assume that the alternation to the recipe you’ve made 100 times won’t be a big deal – try it out well in advance of your wedding.
Will you enjoy making it?
To me, this one trumps the cost/time factors. If you don’t like making things, then don’t start just for your wedding. DIY weddings may be all the rage right now, but I assure you there are plenty of brides out there who still do things the old-fashioned way and just buy items or hire people for their wedding needs. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Even if you’re a crafty person who enjoys making things, not everyone likes every type of project. If you love sewing, but making paper flowers bores you to tears, don’t make the paper flowers and spend your DIY time making the ring bearer pillow or accessories for your bridesmaids. Keep both your strengths and your preferences in mind when deciding what to DIY.
And remember, DIY doesn’t have to be all or nothing even for individual projects. If you’re dying to have a wedding dress that’s uniquely yours but don’t have the time or sewing ability to make your own from scratch, buy a plain dress (which you can often get relatively cheaply) and ad d your own lace appliques, beads, or flowers. The same goes for items like veils, shawls, and clutches.
One last word of advice – don’t be afraid to delegate! DIY doesn’t always have to mean do-it-yourself, it can also mean ask-a-friend-to-help. Friends and family are often very willing to help out with DIY wedding projects. Even if they don’t feel up to gettin’ crafty with it, they might be willing to help in other ways, such as tracking down those RSVP-less guests, leaving you more time for DIYing.
What did you decide to DIY for your wedding?
If you just can’t get enough of fabric, ribbon, and paper flowers, then I have another tutorial for you! These fabric flowers make great accents for purses and clutches. I wrote the tutorial for the Interactive Blogging Team’s Blog, so go check out it out here.
I love pesto sauce, and since I had gotten a basil plant when we moved into the new place (we have a balcony now) I decided it was high time to actually use it. John suggested we use the sauce for pizza because he knows that pesto pizza is a favorite of mine. We made it last night and it was delicious!
I kind of ad libbed the recipe because pesto isn’t an exact science or anything. The pesto I ended up making was cheap because we left out the most expensive of the traditional ingredients – pine nuts – and it’s easy because you just throw it all in a blender and turn it on.
I originally had every intention of using pine nuts, but when we finally found some (our little Food Lion apparently isn’t posh enough) they were $9 for a small bag of them, which would have nearly doubled the price of dinner. We talked about using another nut as a substitute, but eventually decided to just do without. If you’d like to add pine nuts to this recipe, just throw in about 1/3 cup of them in the blender along with everything else. I apologize for the less than stellar backgrounds for the photos.
- 4 cups of fresh basil leaves – make sure you press them down a bit when measuring them
- 1 cup of olive oil
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, depending on how garlicky you like your pesto
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese or a Parmesan blend (we used Trader Joe’s blend of Parmesan, Romano, and Asiago)
As I said before, making pesto isn’t an exact science, so feel free to adjust the ingredients to taste. If you prefer a thicker or thinner sauce, just use a little more or less olive oil.
Throw it all in a blender.
Turn on the blender.
And that’s it really – blend it until it’s a nice, pesto-y consistency. If you prefer chunkier pesto, you can use a food processor instead, but I like my pesto nice and creamy. At this point, you can use your pesto on pizza, pasta, sandwiches, etc. If you want to save it for later, just cover it, put it in the fridge, and make sure you mix it well when you take it out.
We took our pesto and spread it on a premade thin pizza crust from the store.
Then we topped it with mozzarella mixed with the cheese blend we used for the sauce, mushrooms, and turkey pepperoni.
We ended up with a delicious, though slightly overcooked (we need to have our oven recalibrated) pesto pizza. The pizza crust came two to a pack, so we have plenty of stuff for another pizza tonight. All of the ingredients that we bought (we grew the basil and already had olive oil and salt) cost about $12, which is pretty good for two nights’ worth of food for two. What do you like to put pesto sauce on?
Don’t tell me that floofy isn’t a word, because I think it describes these fabric flowers perfectly. I love the way they look on my Record Birdcage Veils, but they can be used for all sorts of projects.
They’re quite easy to make, though it does take a little while. They also don’t require many materials. Chances are the only thing you’ll have to actually buy is fabric.
What you need
- Fabric – you can make these flowers with just about any kind of fabric, but keep in mind that very lightweight fabrics won’t be as crisp and will require more fabric to make the flowers full. How much fabric you need depends on the type of fabric you use and how full you want your flowers to be. For this one, I used a fat quarter (18″ x 21″) of cotton. You can use remnants from other projects in coordinating colors too.
- Needle and Thread – about 20″ of thread. The thread won’t be visible when you finish, so feel free to use whatever color you have laying around.
- Cardstock – you need a square of cardstock that’s the size than you’d like your finished flower to be. You can use a lighter paper if you want, but I like cardstock because I can tell when I’m starting to cut into it instead of around it.
- Scissors – I’m pretty sure you already have a pair of these.
Cut a square of cardstock so that it’s about the size you’d like your finished flower to be. This is going to be the template you use to cut your fabric. I used a 4″ square for this flower. You’re going to fold the cardstock the same way I described in my sheet music flower tutorial. If you need a refresher (or didn’t read it in the first place), this is how you do it.
Take one of the squares and fold it in half diagonally to make a triangle. Fold it diagonally two more times until you have a triangle that’s about 2″ on the shorter sides. Find the corner that’s at the center of the sheet (I often unfold the triangle just to make sure) and cut off the corner. Starting under the corner closest to the hole you just made, start cutting in a semi-circle across the top and under the other corner. To finish your template, cut a line from one fold to the hole in the center.
Put your template over the fabric and start folding it back up with the fabric between the folds of the template. Cut the fabric around the template. Next, with the fabric still between the template, sew the thread through the fabric where the hole is.
It should look like this once it’s on the thread.
Repeat step 2 until you have between 15-25 pieces of fabric on your thread. How many you need depends on the type of fabric you use and how full you want your flower to be. I used 20 for this particular flower because that’s how many pieces I can get out of a fat quarter. Your thread should now look like this:
Pull the thread on either side and push the petals close to each other. Once they’re nice and bunched up in the middle, tie a knot in the thread.
Congratulations – you have a Floofy Fabric Flower!
Sorry it’s been so long since my last post. The exam period officially ended on Friday, May 4, which was when my 20 page paper on domestic violence law was due. I wish I could say I’d just been lounging around the house relaxing since then, but I had a number of Etsy order to catch up on. I still do actually, but the Dalek cake toppers have to dry between coats of paint (and my god the white ones require a lot of coats of paint!), so I have some time to take a breath right now. Also, Mr. Darcy has made a full recovery from his kitty cold, so he’s back to “helping” with my craft projects. I found a few cool new ways to make fabric flowers during the exam period, so I’m going to try them out soon. I may have a DIY post for one way if it works out well for me. For the other method I found out about, check out The Bitchy Bride‘s post How to Personalize Your Bridal Clutch – she put a fabric flower with her awesome, custom-printed book fabric on her clutch, but she also used the same method (and same awesome fabric) for bouquets.
In other news, I worked out for the first time in forever today. I wrote in my Bridal Weight Loss Rant a while ago that I wanted to get back in shape, not just for the wedding, but because I wanted to feel – and look – better in general. John and I have been trying to be more active, but it’s hard sometimes. With the stress of moving and the end of the semester, I just didn’t feel like I had the time or energy to do much of anything. Now that I’m feeling more normalized, I thought it would be a great time to get back into the habit of hitting the gym. The little fitness center at our apartment complex isn’t much, but it has everything I need – namely an elliptical machine. I got on it today and did a moderately vigorous half-hour workout. It seemed to go by pretty quickly (of course Queen makes everything better) and I didn’t feel like I was going to die during the workout. Now, I can tell that I worked out (my thighs are probably going to be a bit sore tomorrow), but I feel good. I definitely need to start doing that a few times a week at least.
In other, other news, we went to the Asheboro Zoo on Sunday. It was fun, though they didn’t have as many animals there as we were hoping. I like the fact that many of their exhibits try to mimic the animals’ natural environments, but they should have the viewing areas set up better so that you can actually see the animals. I meant to take lots of pictures with my awesome new camera, but I forgot to bring it. However, I thought I share some revelations we had about my cat, Lily. Lily is a sweet cat, but she’s a bit tubby. She also desperately wants to be an outdoor cat. This is a picture of Lily as she actually is.
This is what Lily thinks she is – a terrifying, roaring lioness.
This is what Lily would be if she were a sea creature – a harbor seal.
Alright, enough rambling for today. I thought of several good blog posts that I didn’t have time to write during exams, so those might go up soon. I also will try to post a DIY fabric flower tutorial soon.
Have you been waiting in mute anticipation to find out more about this cool upcycled vinyl desktop organizer? Well, if you didn’t immediately go to my Etsy shop and buy it, then I assume you want to make your own. This project is a bit more involved than the record bowls I showed you how to make last week. Read the rest of this entry »
So many projects, so little time. It’s been another busy day for me. I went to Walmart, Michael’s, and the Habitat Restore to pick up some more supplies. Then I got down to the crafting.
I finished my Dalek cake toppers and listed them on Etsy. I think they’re pretty adorkable. I started painting another bride Dalek with a metallic white paint too, though it seems to be coming out more silver. I was thinking about getting some small wires and making a tiny paper flower bouquet for her instead of the single, large (compared to her) ribbon flower. If I stick with the ribbon flowers, perhaps I shouldn’t put the leaves on there though. What do you think?
For our wedding, we have larger Daleks, but we probably aren’t going to paint them. Of course, they’re 5″ tall and might not fit on the cake. We’ll see. Read the rest of this entry »
Have some useless vinyl you don’t want anymore? Want a cool-looking bowl instead? Here’s how to turn your trash records into neat home decor. Be warned – this probably isn’t the healthiest project. Melting vinyl can give off toxic fumes, so make sure your kitchen is well ventilated and don’t do this if you have children around. Read the rest of this entry »
Since getting home from class at 4:30, I’ve gotten a lot accomplished. I went to Walmart to get some crafting supplies, photographed all of my Etsy items on a white background and edited them in Photoshop, put the first coat of paint on my bathroom door (there was a hair dye incident), started on some Dalek cake toppers, and made an upcycled record desktop organizer.
I’m making my own bouquet (and bouquets for my bridesmaids) with the ribbon flowers I showed you how to make last week and these sheet music paper flowers. Making these isn’t as easy as the ribbon flowers, but they aren’t too hard once you get the technique down. You can use any kind of paper you’d like with these – book pages and spiffy colored papers also work well. Since I’m making so many of them for the wedding, I usually do them in batches of eight or so and leaving off the stems for easier storage. A note of warning for all cat owners – these apparently make excellent cats toys, so keep them in a kitty-free zone.
What You Need
- Sheet Music – thrift stores are a good place to go for cheap, useless sheet music (I feel bad cutting up anything I like). I found some mine at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. If you don’t want to buy any, you can also just print some free sheet music from online.
- Hot glue gun
- Measuring tape/stick unless you’re good at judging distances
- A small stick of some sort – I used a Q-tip with the ends cut off
- Pipe cleaners
- Floral tape