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. Thank you, I needed this post. I’ve got time before our wedding (year and a half) so I have been putting pressure on myself to figure what I can make for our wedding since I have the time to do it. Thinking about what is really important has made me realize it is not worth the stress. If I get a few projects done, cool, at least I will be focusing just on what makes me happy!

  2. Great post! And it reminded me of our own struggles… But we had a great idea (or I hope so)!
    This Sunday we will have a little DIY-Party with our friends where we will make all the stuff together that the both of us would like to have but just don’t want to spend that much time on (like paper flowers, signs etc.)! This way we can spend time with our beloved ones, drink some beer AND get all the small DIY-Projects done without the feeling of wasting our time. I think I’ll post some pics and Info afterwards and let you know if it really worked… 😉

  3. Pew Cones. On the night of my rehearsal, they still weren’t done. Instead of staying up all night to finish then, I recognized that no one would notice if they weren’t there. Not even me. So I said eff it. And I got a good nights sleep and was totally right, I forgot all about them not being there! It was a good choice.

  4. A great idea to put things in perspective. Some details count. Months after out November wedding – I remember the look on my mother-in-law’s face when she saw I had used HER grandmother’s hand-carved, Swedish cheeseboard – a gift at her 1920-something wedding – as the base for our unity candle. Surrounded by the flower ring (made by me, all 12 of them)… That’s a detail I do not regret. Had a ball doing it too… Some details don’t… no one cared that I had NOT put up the fancy outdoor hanging lanterns. They were all too busy boogeying. I also remember all the guests coming up and saying “Best Wedding EVER!” So all details aside, something went right. 🙂

  5. Thank you for this. I really needed this right now. One of the things I am known for with my friends and family is being a calligrapher (amateur, I am nowhere near to being professional!). I initially wanted to do our invitations by hand, but after a few trials and tears I decided to just take them to the printer when the time comes. I simply don’t have the skills yet to do what I want and make it look how I want. That being said, even if I did, it is a time consuming project to make approximately 50 wedding invitations with hand done calligraphy in about 7 different colors. I know how frustrated I get. It isn’t worth my time or sanity to even attempt it. I have gotten grief from one of my friends and one of my Uncles for not doing it, even after I explained my reasoning. I know why they think I should, because it is “me” and it is one of the biggest “me” things I could put in the wedding. But it still isn’t worth it. I will be hand addressing the envelopes though and making those look awesome.

    But thank you for saying its ok to NOT do these things. I feel better now.

  6. I really needed to hear that this week, thank you!! I’m getting a little bit ahead of myself thinking I can complete a zillion projects before June.

  7. Been here! As a graphic designer, I had all kinds of projects in mind to create myself: photo booth, paper flowers, invite package… the list goes on.

    Now, under 5 months to go, I’ve narrowed my DIY down to designing the save the dates (came out SUPER cool!), my pedestal table numbers, and only about 3 dozen paper flowers. I’ve let my friend (who is an AMAZING graphic/invitation designer) design my invitations, letting my mom and culinary-student sister work on the edible favors, ditched the photo booth and hired pros for everything else.

    Time management is key! I plan on taking advantage of the cold nights and weekends to get stuff done. Also know your limits. There’s so many details that are already involved in a wedding. You don’t need to add more and drive yourself even more crazy.

  8. I am DIYing custom favors because I have a medical condition that makes me unable to work and drive, so I am home alone all day while the fiance’ works. Basically, I am using it as something to keep me busy/keep my sanity, even though I know that a lot of people are going to just kind of glance at them, shrug, and not remember to take them home. There will be people who absolutely love them, though. But I am not doing it for them. I am doing it for me.
    In contrast, my artistic fiance was going to design our invitations. He drew out a sketch of a pretty awesome design. When we were trying to figure out the logistics of how to color it, how to get typed text on it, how to print it, etc. We kept hitting brick walls. So we looked on etsy and found an invitation that we loved. The lady basically made a design that we could customize with our colors, send her the written info we wanted on it, and she emailed us a completed design as a pdf file for $10. We then printed them ourselves. So we saved a buttload of money and a lot of stress by getting help from a professional.
    Basically, pick your battles. Love this post.

  9. Currently planning my own wedding, and my florist recently made a very poignant comment: “Sometimes I wonder if people put half as much thought into their marriage as they put into their wedding.” In the interest of our sanity, we’re choosing our battles, DIYing things we are inclined to do anyway (graphic design for me, chuppah construction for him) and farming out the rest to people who know what they’re doing.

  10. My partner and I don’t have a lot of money to play with, so we are making our own invites as he is a graphic designer and I enjoy card making and cross stitch, and for the cake we will be making our own as I do love cooking. But otherwise it will be the help of professionals that will make the day, after all the money you could save by doing it yourself means you can put it towards the future, but also think of the people you will be giving work too, if you aren’t a DIY. You are helping your local businesses to stay in business. So forgive yourself if you can’t do everything and plan your future together. I know I will have a lovely day when I get married this year on the 19 July and will be spending it with the people that matter the most.

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