DIY Planning Tips + Tricks

We are adding new events, blog posts, and services this year during the off season to help all the DIY couples who deserve the help of experts, even if you don’t have the budget to hire a planner.

We’ll have a lot more info coming to help you over the next few months. Follow us on Instagram, subscribe to our mailing list, follow us on Pinterest and watch for new boards related to topics we discuss here (we’ll add relevant links to blogs) and always feel to ask us questions online, by email, in person by joining us at an upcoming event, or right here in the comments.

So let’s get started. You’re engaged, it’s time to get serious about planning. We’ve already discussed the importance of setting a budget first, and choosing the right venue. Now let’s discuss the little things to do to save your sanity on your wedding day.

1) Buy a planning + scheduling guide book or set your own month-by-month to do list

If you attend one of our planning events, or purchase our DIY Planning Package, we will connect you with our digital planning tools and To Do Guide. If you are looking for a book or physical planning guide we recommend The Knot Ultimate Wedding Planner. You can buy one online, or get a gently used or new one at Powell’s. It’s important not to procrastinate. Book your vendors early, or your options will be limited. Stay on track and you’ll have less to worry about as your wedding day approaches.

2) Design Your Wedding Colors, Decor and Feel. Use Social Media To Help You

Creating a custom design is a specialized talent. Creating a color palette, style, and design board is easy – thanks to Pinterest. The trick is to set one specifically named wedding board, and within it break apart and organize elements into subheadings. Share the link to your Pinterest board with your vendors – rental companies, site planners, florists, etc. To start select pictures of ceremony decor you like, centerpieces you want, room set ups and table layouts, cakes and dessert tables, dresses, hair and makeup, flowers + bouquets, and tuxes + suits. Next, start putting in key words, colors, venues, flowers, and start pinning. You can go back and reorganize, delete or change things later.

We can’t stress enough how awesome this tool is for keeping everything in one place to easily share with others. We’ll teach more about this in future workshops.

3) We’ve said it before. We’re saying it again. Create a wedding specific email and social media accounts.

Incorporate your wedding hashtag, mesh your names and create a shared new family social media presence and email account so you can both have access to all of your wedding social media and tools. If you’re using a wedding website incorporate that theme, share save the date and other relevant info and evolve all of this in to your future family page. Keep your personal social for yourself and your own identity. Having one email that can be forwarded to both of your phones prevents you from having to forward ten emails to your future spouse every day and it makes it hard to lose your wedding related info in a sea of work emails.

4) Choose your photographer ASAP.

Please go check out this blog by Georgia Ruth Photography on how to choose the right Photographer for you. After your venue and catering your photographer is the most important vendor you will hire. You have to commit the budget to a good photographer even if you are eloping and having two guests at your wedding. Pay a professional photographer to be there. Budget for photography at the top because in fifty years your photos will still exist and remind you of the best day ever.

5) Invest in your wedding

If you are eloping and have a tiny budget, that’s ok. Still invest in your wedding. Buy a new (or new to you) special dress. Pay a florist to make you some bomb ass flowers. A floral crown, nice boutonnières, a lovely bouquet, treat yourself! It’s worth it. Go get your hair and makeup done. Go to a local salon, or even a Nordstrom makeup counter that morning, last minute if you have to. Just do right by yourself!

If you are planning a large wedding on a tight budget set the budget as high as you comfortably can. The current average price of a new car is $34,000. The average price of a used car is $20,000. We hope you keep your marriage longer than your car. Invest in your wedding! It’s worth every penny. You ideally will never throw a bigger or happier party in your life so do it! Again see the last paragraph, if you are eloping invest accordingly and enjoy your ideal day whatever it looks like. But do not feel guilty or wrong for investing in your wedding.

6) Be true to yourselves. Be bold.

This captures so many things. Please plan a wedding that makes your souls happy. Don’t do traditions you hate. Don’t serve food you think is shit. Don’t go to a venue you don’t love. Don’t have a rehearsal dinner that makes you stabby. Don’t borrow from cultures that aren’t your own or feel compelled to participate in rhelics of the patriarchy that make you cringe. Do what makes the entire experience fun, enjoyable, and soul pleasing for you.

Your venue is only free at 5pm Friday, downtown for a rehearsal and you have 35 people between the bridal party, key family and beloved out of town guests, and you don’t want to eat at an expensive restaurant in a formal setting – you just want a relaxing bbq at home with a brief moment aside at the park around the corner where bridal party members can walk through the ceremony and organize how you’ll line up, do it your way!

Your parents really want you to get married in a church and you don’t want to – don’t! A good compromise is a ring warming ceremony where those who want can warm your rings in their hands and say a private prayer for you in their head, and you can have the non-traditional ceremony and vows while respecting others at the same time.

You don’t want to love, honor and obey anyone, don’t say you do. You don’t want to throw a bouquet or a garter, don’t. Do everything your way.

All that said, don’t be that couple who’s wedding pics go viral on a faux modern wedding blog, because you wrongly appropriated somebody else’s cultural traditions, or you thought a homophobic “prank” would be funny. Just don’t.

And finally, be bold. Have a Man Of Honor, three groomsmen, no bridesmaids, or just ten of your favorite humans randomly standing on either side up front with you because they love you both. Use bold colors everywhere in your design. Let them eat pie and boozy pops, and ice cream instead of cake. Plan a wedding weekend starting with a wild home bbq, a ceremony wherever floats your boat – maybe quite literally on a boat, followed by a buyout of your favorite restaurant for the reception with no dancing, and a rad after-party at your favorite club or dive bar or in a ballroom or industrial venue space turned cocktail dance party with late night snacks.

7) Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Reduce waste at your wedding. Instead of a ton of arch flowers that will die and go to waste use a dried statement sculpture as a backdrop. Use pieces at the ceremony that can be reused at your reception. Have your designer create pieces that can move from altar to sweetheart or head table. Or if your ceremony and reception happen in the same place use your ceremony backdrop as the backdrop to your sweetheart table.

Put floating candles and varying height vases of water at guest book and escort card tables and place bridesmaid bouquets in them for the reception. They can still take them home at the end of the night.

Have aisle designs in easy to move containers that can be moved from the ceremony aisle to the center of each table. You can add more flowers and accents to fill out the space but leave room in the center for easy room switch action.

Don’t buy junk favors. If you do favors, use something that can double as a place card or extra decor at your tables, or a snack they can eat now.

Do plated dinner service. There’s always so much leftover and waste involved with wedding buffets. Make sure your caterer has a plan to donate excess.

Let your bridesmaids rent the dress. Everyone seems cool with men renting suits and they seem to forget your bridesmaids can rent, too. Rent The Runway, and others have a huge selection and they’re easy to use. Or have them buy an outfit they’ll actually wear again and consider their budget.

Use decor pieces that are dead or living. Dried flowers or potted plants > centerpieces that will die tomorrow. If using living pieces reduce waste by using pieces that transport easy, you can send them home with guests, or they can be reused the next morning at a goodbye brunch.

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