How to combat "DIY-er than thou": an interview with Khris Cochran, author of DIY Bride

By on Feb. 18th

I recently had the chance to interview Khris Cochran, author of The DIY Bride: 40 Fun Projects for Your Ultimate One-of-a-Kind Wedding and editor of diybride.com. Keep reading for her take on the projects that didn't make it into the book, how to overcome "DIY-er than thou" competitive issues, and what one project even the most enterprising of DIY brides should probably hire someone else to handle.

What's your favorite project that didn't make it into the book?
There were a few favorites that didn't make it in because they were either cost-prohibitive to the average couple or they didn't fit well into the overall tone of the book. My favorite of those, however, would have to be the bridal shoes made from an heirloom wedding gown. They were hot!

How do you suggest combating the "DIY-er than thou" frenzy that some crafty brides work themselves into?
Ah, the Dark Side of DIY! I'm seeing this competitiveness in the ranks as DIY becomes such an accepted (and expected) part of the wedding experience. Part of that competitiveness is benefiting the community by giving us some truly great DIY projects and inspiration. The other part is eating the souls of the innocent.

I'm not exactly sure what the "craftier than thou" cure is. I do know that worrying about what other people do for their weddings (or what they think of one's own) is a one-way ticket to Crazytown, USA. There will always be someone with a better idea, a larger budget, or whatever-pushes-your-insecurity-button.

One of the things I stress with brides is that DIY doesn't mean Do It ALL Yourself. It's perfectly ok to set limits on the projects they make, the money they spend, and they things include in their celebration. My best advice is to pick a few projects that are meaningful to both the bride and groom and stick with those. Do them to the best of their ability, take pride in those efforts and filter out the rest. (And stop looking at wedding craft p0rn after you finish your projects!)

What projects do you think brides shouldn't DIY?

I don't have really have a list of projects that shouldn't be attempted. Instead I try to get brides to assess if certain projects are going to be the source of added stress and problems before they decide to take them on. One bride may have a higher threshold for learning new techniques so something like silk screening her invites might work for her but it might not be appropriate for someone else who hates to get her fingers dirty or who can't reasonably afford $300 on a Gocco machine.

The "is this project for me?" assessment:

1. Do you have the extra budget to buy all of the tools and supplies for the project?
2. How much free time do you have to learn the procedure or technique to make the project?
3. Do you have enough free time to create the project without killing yourself?
4. Do you have reliable helpers to help design, assemble, or deliver/set-up the project?
5. Can you let go of perfection, even a little bit, if the project doesn't turn out to your exact specifications?

That said, I'm very cautious when someone mentions they want to do their own catering. Feeding a lot of people takes a tremendous amount of time, preparation, skill, and a full army of willing, reliable helpers. And then there's safe food handling issue which is incredibly important and somewhat complex. It's not impossible. It's just not realistic for the average couple to do this on their own, do it well, do it safely, and still have time to enjoy their own wedding. Even the pro chefs I know outsource the catering for their weddings.