Recognizing when DIY projects aren't worth it

Guestpost by Kirsten Hansen on Feb. 18th

Project - making our own petticoats - 2

Photo by Amy Dawson

I read an awesome article recently about a 22-Hour Piñata, which I think we should all consider applying to our weddings. Sometimes projects are just not worth an insane amount of work. Some projects do not deserve to be priorities. For some people, that means the whole damn wedding.

Yes, you heard me.

Maybe your wedding does not deserve the amount of attention you're giving it because you could be doing something more important. Like what, you ask? Living your life. Enjoying the moment. Having a relationship, doing your homework, playing with your kitty. But there might be other things that actually matter to you more.

I've been there, actually. My poor husband ended up pulling two all-nighters to do the art for our wedding invitations — a first one doing an amazing digital image, and a second after I pointed out that the first image would not work with the invitation I'd designed. Grand scheme of things, not really worth all the lost sleep and frustration on his part. I'm betting the custom labels I put on all the Jones Soda bottles count, too.

I've seen a lot of posts on the Offbeat Bride Tribe about trying to get all these amazing projects done, finding out things are more expensive or time-heavy than expected, and yet still pulling through with it — only to lament it later.

Maybe it's just smaller, DIY projects. I remember when I first saw black bridesmaid dresses at a wedding (15+ years ago, so it was pretty surprising). I remember putting up twinkle lights and blowing up balloons for another wedding. I remember paper fall leaves at another. In general, though, I don't remember invitations, thank you cards, the food, etc. I remember having fun or feeling awkward.

One month after your wedding… will you wish you'd spent your time and energy on something else?

What I'm trying to say is that it really is worth thinking about how important certain projects are to you. Or, to help you evaluate this better, how important is it going to be a month after your wedding? One month after your wedding, when you're starting to settle down, are you going to care about that? Will you wish you'd spent your time and energy on something else? If certain projects really matter, awesome. Do it! If not, then don't. Or just do a quick job of it. Get it done to a level that it deserves. It does not all need to be Martha Stewart-perfect.

I'm getting better at recognizing this sort of thing myself. We did not end up making origami dragons and ferrets. The invitations I made were relatively simple (for me) and, once the art was done, they were fairly quick to prep. I didn't put my heart and soul into labels for the food. I used pinking shears on the edges of the table cloths instead of hemming them. I was busy and our wedding was still fun. That's all that really matters in the end.

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About Kirsten Hansen

Kirsten is an academic out in the world, or at least out in Canada. She has been involved in teaching university courses, worked for a non-profit organization, researched and played with technology, and is an occasional freelance writer. When not working, she can usually be found with her nose in a book, playing video games with her husband, designing jewelry or cards or baking something delicious. Her house has been likened to a zoo with three cats and two ferrets frequently misinterpreting who is in charge.