— Ben Franklin, Founding Father and kite enthusiast
In this city of maximum efficiency, people are always willing to pay a premium if it means saving an hour or two. When it comes to wedding planning, marriage services and products are often exorbitantly priced for exactly that reason: Vendors know brides and grooms don’t have time to take on complicated projects, so they’re willing to shell out for convenience. Case in point: When searching for my bridal-party transportation, I came across one vendor that charged $400 per hour for “regular” minibus service. In the wedding-services section, however, that same minibus went for $500. Why? Because, according to the Web site, “Weddings require an extra level of service.” Correct me if I’m mistaken, but I’m pretty sure brides don’t require any additional drivers or special seat belts.
These special rates got me thinking. If I’m willing to spend time doing things myself, will I actually save money? The online wedding bibles Theknot.com, Martha Stewart Weddings, and Brides.com all urge brides to save money by doing some aspects of their weddings DIY-style. Blogs such as OnceWed and Style Me Pretty have endless pages dedicated to Do-It-Yourself instructions, videos, and templates. Sure, most projects seem time consuming, but they also look like great ways to create a memorable wedding on a tight budget. A January 2010 Brides magazine survey even found that 85 percent of couples create some part of the wedding themselves. Ah ha! Take that, overpriced vendors!
Encouraged by several friends that have gone the DIY route, Matt and I decided to give homemade a go. We purposefully dedicated smaller pieces of our budget to flowers, decor, stationery, music, video, and favors because we decided we could do those ourselves. Doing these projects will require lots of time (gulp), but we know it’s not impossible. With help from a talented family friend, my sister did her own flowers (pictured above). They looked like the work of a true professional. She’s got me convinced that my personal decor dreams—which currently involve M&Ms—will turn out just as pretty.
Though I can’t offer many tips this month because my DIY activities have yet to officially commence, I will say one thing: Don’t be scared of DIY. Matt and I don’t consider ourselves especially creative, but, with the help of family and friends, I know we can pull it off.
>> To read Stephanie’s story from the beginning, click here.