Recognizing when DIY projects aren’t worth it

Guest post by Kirsten Hansen
DIY Fascinator

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.

Comments on Recognizing when DIY projects aren’t worth it

  1. Awesome. this really helped me put things in perspective. Im gonna make a list (im one of those pesky list makers) of my top priorities and let the diy stuff fall to the bottom from most need to least important. I don’t want to be bogged down with all the stuff I have to do. I want to spend time with my family. thanks for posting this 🙂

  2. Thank you for permission to cut at least 10 unnecessary DYI projects out of my wedding that were weighing me down.

  3. Ah, so timely. As our May date gets closer I had a vision of incorporating tons of paper flowers. 5 hours and a tiny box of just-the-petals-put-together I can’t help thinking that time suck isn’t really worth it. Are these cool paper flowers REALLY important. Will people just die if they don’t see them at the wedding? Will the whole day be ruined without PAPER FLOWERS? Do I really WANT to spend ALL OF THIS TIME on these damn things? Do the couple finished ones look cool? Hell yea. But is all that time and energy worth it for hundreds of paper flowers that I will struggle to give a home to post-wedding?


    • Totally this. It was taking me FOREVER to fold all of these little petals and I just hit a wall on night and decided “screw it”. So, I went to a produce place near my house and had them do the flowers for a really good price. Definitely worth it!

    • Depends on priorities and interests. I’m an origami ninja, and my partner-in-crime and I are both allergic to “real” flowers, so I’m working up kusudama (flower balls). Guess it’s all different for everyone, eh? 🙂

  4. This is a tough one for me. I committed to making the lace for a full-length mantilla veil. yes, you heard me right – I’m making the actual lace and then attaching it to the veil. I estimate it will be about a 200-hour project. At the same time, I’m setting out with the intention of making it a family heirloom. I have 2 sisters and 2 cousins who have already asked if they can wear it, and my intent is that my (or their) future daughters (or sons!) can wear it if they so desire. Sometimes its a 22-hour waste of time, sometimes it isn’t :/

    • Oh totally. Sometimes it is worth the investment of a heck of a lot of time. That sounds like an amazing project that will continue to be meaningful. 🙂

      • Making my veil (though admittedly NOT the lace) was really important to me because I expected the Beddekken to be far more intimate and personal than the actual ceremony. And I was right. My favorite picture from the whole day is me staring at my husband with absolute adoration as he places the veil on me. Some projects are worth it.

        But other projects, like the guest book, STILL aren’t finished (five years later) and you know what? I don’t really miss it.

  5. As we’re planning for our June wedding, I’ve danced the in the spaces of “we can fit in more diy” and “No. We’ll pay for it”/”It’s just not worth it.” I just finally sorted out my flower situation. Making 25 six inch pomanders for centerpieces has gone on the wayside, to be replaced with simple hydrangea blooms. Making (well, learning, sourcing and practicing ) boutonnieres and corsages got got outsourced, but I’ve wanted to make my own bouquet for years, so that stays. In the end, I had to pick and choose, even though it’s months away. I would have never given myself time to if I really executed all of these diy projects.

  6. Great article. I think a couple really needs to consider what their strengths are, and how much time and effort they want to put into something, versus the cost to just pay to hire or purchase something.

    We’re doing our own save the dates, invitations, bunting, table decoration, brooch bouquet, and signage. For us its been great fun having an excuse to scour charity and vintage stores in search for various different elements, and I’ve loved the design aspects of the save the dates and invitations. And well I just love creating things and organising large events, so I’m actually really enjoying the planning stage. But I can totally see how some people would hate it. In that case farm it out!

  7. This is fantastic! I had several projects that got shelved at the last minute and it didn’t have a lick of impact on the wedding. One thing I will say is that I wish I had more pictures of the stuff that I DID end up spending time on. In my last-minute rush I didn’t have time to write up a list of detail shots, thinking my photographer would get them. She totally did, but not as many as I wish we’d have had. If something was important enough to you to spend all the time on it, document that shit!

  8. I remember I wasn’t wild about the 2 choices we had for table cloths provided by our venue. I spent a few minutes online looking at table cloths when I realized it would turn into an obsessive quest for just the right texture, shade, size, price etc when I had a bar exam looming overhead. So I picked one of the venue’s options. To this day, I don’t remember which option I picked without looking at a photo. I was too busy having a blast. This also applies to a few DIY projects I had in mind for the wedding.

    • I’m getting married in November right after my July bar exam and this really rings true for me. We ultimately decided to go with a venue with most things included to save me the stress of decision making and DIYing. I’m so happy we did. The location still has enough character that I feel the wedding will be very personal without costing me much time.

  9. As a wedding blogger whose daughter just got married a few days ago, I can definitely relate to this post. We are NOT diy’ers. For our family diy’ing would have been an exercise in futility or just aggravation. In my blog I label projects EEEBCDI (Easy Enough Even Bill Could Do It) better known as my husband, the uncraftiest of us all has tested them and was able to complete them without a lot of hassle. Still we avoided diy projects other than videos to show during the wedding (TY for the easy project), invites which were only semi-diy, and programs (template diy). Yes we did some fun things for her bridal shower but nothing that was hard to execute. So while DIY is great for some brides, for others, like my daughter (and me, her mom), diy would have done us IN! So we didn’t. It didn’t mean her wedding was any less personal or special, it just meant she made choices that other people executed. Now I’m sleeping for a week! She gets a honeymoon, I get a week of sleep! So don’t overdo the DIYing—unless it’s something you love to do and are enjoying doing.

  10. Hey this is a great point. There’s no point in saving a bit of money if you and your family are exhausted by the time the day comes around.. diy is a lot of work.

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