From the moment I got engaged I always knew I wanted a DIY wedding. For me it, a DIY wedding meant we could create a wedding completely personal to us. Doing it DIY though is no easy feat. There is so much I learnt along the way and some things I wish someone had told me when I started. Having said that, I’m so stubborn that I doubt I would have listened! But anyway, here goes…
DIY weddings are the perfect excuse to learn new skills and expand your DIY repertoire. For our wedding I learnt calligraphy, how to make sugar flowers, the best ways to sew paper, how to paint with watercolours, the many function of my home printer, how to build a website, how to design using Adobe, the best ways to fold paper, how to treat glue gun burns, how many pieces of card I can cut at once, how to walk in high heels, how to flavour gin, basic lighting electronics, how to master spreadsheets…. The list goes on.
Your hands are your ultimate tool when creating a DIY wedding – they don’t call it handmade for nothing! So understandably your hands will get a fair beating through the entire planning and preparation process. I lost count of the number times I died my fingers gold, chipped a nail trying to open a paint can or got a paper cut folding my 100th paper fan!
When you first get engaged it’s very easy to get over excited and decide to make every single thing on Pinterest. Trust me, I’ve been there! It’s important from the start to know what challenges are possible and what you really will struggle with. Sometimes it is better just to pay someone to do it for you rather than waste time, energy and money on something you are not happy doing. For me, I always knew the flowers were something I definitely didn’t want to get involved with the day before my wedding so I found a wonderful florist who embraced my ideas and was able to take one thing off my to do list.
You will know it when it happens to you. The pain! And you don’t know what is skin and what is glue! Best advice I was given was to try and ball up the glue before it has time to cool by rubbing it between your fingers. This will make it easier to remove – but I can’t guarantee you won’t take skin with you! (See I told you your hands will get destroyed!) Aloe vera and my Comfort Balm from Balmology are an absolute god send for me.
I recently introduced a fellow bride to stamping out her own confetti from Harry Potter books and she regularly texts me to tell me how much she loves doing it. Weddings can be stressful at the best of times and getting immersed in a world of creativity can be the best distraction. I’d often light some candles, put on a period drama and pour myself a cocktail before an evening of DIY and it was just the best. There’s something calming in the repetitiveness of making and gives you time to centre your energy and re-focus your mind.
I’m terrible at asking for help. It’s just not in my nature. I learnt the hard way though that I could not do everything myself and I did need help. My family and friends were more than willing to lend a hand when needed and I often wondered why I even tried to do it on my own when I saw how quickly I got things done with helpers Sometimes it’s good to give your hands some rest and let others take the strain for a bit.
Some DIY projects just aren’t meant to be. If something isn’t working out, no matter how hard you try, there is absolutely no shame in quitting. This is how I felt every time I tried to work with glitter. It’s not worth the hours of frustration, self-doubt and wasted money to work on something when you’re not enjoying it. If someone else wants to do it for you then great but the cons are greater than the pros just draw a line and move on to your next project. You haven’t failed, you’re just accepting that you’re human.
When you learn how simple it is to create something unique to you it’s a feeling you just can’t beat. I loved every single one of my creations and often created waaaaaaay more than I needed just because I got caught up in the moment. With DIY decorations more is definitely better, you’ll be amazed at how much space you have to fill so it’s probably a good job you can’t put down the scissors when you’ve cut your 3000th paper flower…
There will be moments when you will seriously question your life choices. Why am I doing this? Is anyone even going to notice my hard work? Why is there glitter EVERYWHERE?! Sound familiar…? Just remember, when the fun stops you stop. No DIY is worth your sanity. Sometimes it’s best to put down the paintbrush/scissors/staple gun and just walk away. If you want to continue after a break then crack on but if the mere thought makes your feel suicidal just keep walking! Just remember, you can wake up from every nightmare and sometimes you learn important lessons you wouldn’t have got from dreams.
It’s often hard to take pride in your work. For me I was always worried I would come across arrogant and I always saw the flaws in everything I created. Don’t get bogged down always striving for perfection. Remember you are a human being, not a machine. Part of the charm of a DIY wedding is its imperfections. What thing might lack in finesse they will more than make up for in the love and devotion you pour into every craft. There will come a point where you can actually sit back and think, you know what, I’m pretty awesome. For me this wasn’t until my actual wedding day but hopefully for you it will be sooner!