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. One of the best “inside joke” photos from our wedding is of my newly-minted husband looking closely at the ribbon edge that I basically drove myself crazy sewing onto my hand-made veil. I really wish I remember what he was saying at that moment, because it’s a great photo. But I am NEVER DOING THAT AGAIN.

  2. YAY! Thanks for this!! my hubs to be & i recently decided to scrap one of our biggest projects that we haven’t started yet, with just over two months to go, because it just isn’t that important/no one will notice or care. let me tell you — it’s a HUGE relief to not be making 50 lace covered mason jar candle holders.
    i’ve done a little DIYing (brooch bouquet, cupcake toppers, photobooth props) but it’s all stuff that i like doing so it isn’t stressful. it’s fun & way easier to keep it all in perspective.

  3. An excellent post. And, DIY is not mandatory, period. Whether you’re on-beat or offbeat, whether the budget is large or small, whether the engagement is long or short. A wedding doesn’t have to be DIY-tastic to be you-tastic…especially if you aren’t a DIYer in real life. Yes, like me. I had squeamy moments early on in the planning, like I might be an offbeat failure for not being DIY-tastic. But, I live in the real world where the crafting I do isn’t professional grade and I know I’d be unhappy with sloppy looking stuff. It isn’t always cheaper, I don’t have room to store a bunch of stuff and works in progress, and it’d just stress me out. My mom would shoot me before taking on wedding DIY. My friends with crafting skills are BUSY. Not that they don’t love and support me, but they have demanding jobs and one is very active in local theater and the other’s father is critically ill. None of us have the time and patience, so there will be very DIY in my wedding. And that’s completely fine, both in an objective way and with me.

  4. This is a really good post. Yes. some projects are still worth it. The veil further up sounds amazing and it sounds like you _really_ want to do it, but some things just aren’t.

    I changed sourcing glass bud vases and making over 80 different boxes for favours to Organza bags and picture holders which were far easier and probably looked better and I was far less stressed.

    I also gave up on centerpieces and chair covers. My Chief bridesmaid and her husband made the centerpieces (I didn’t ask them, they offered) and the wooden stars for the backs of the chairs with ribbon attachments.

    If you can picture the wedding without x and it still looks good then maybe you could do it a different way.

  5. I was browsing around on the site and noticed this with my photo, and all my goodies to incorporate to our wedding craft nights with friends and family. I am surprised to see you used my photo but at the same time I hope it shows everyone is capable of a DIY wedding.

    But there are some serious things you need to work out before you do anything, do DIY for the laughter for the 5 bottles of wine you and all your girl friends drank to complete your 60 handmade flowers. Don’t do it to stress yourself out to the massive and to assume that while your stressing out that it’s all going to be worth it. My guess it won’t be, I chose to do DIY touches because of our friends and family we don’t have big family’s and my groom’s family and friends are 1,000 miles away so to get together with those near meant so much to us. I made my own brooch bouquet as pictured in the photo because it meant more to me to have all of our friends and family near and far to send a brooch and have them apart of the day even if they couldn’t travel to be there.

    I guess what I am trying to say is DIY is great, it’s unique and gives your wedding an edge to everyone else’s. But even with out it, your wedding will be just that YOUR wedding not anyone else’s you don’t need DIY projects to clarify that for you.

    So if you choose to do it, do it for yourself.
    I have to say having our wedding craft nights have been the best stress relievers for us I may have too many glasses of wine but it’s just a night to enjoy the loved ones we hold dear and the memories we continue to make.

  6. A bit late to the party I realise but glad I read this. It seems that so many blogs seem to place low budget and/or DIY heavy weddings on a pedastal, thus creating (at least for me) a sense of pressure that if you don’t DIY those bouquets and invites, etc that you have failed somehow. Personally I am poop at DIY. The outcome would never match the vision I have in my head. We will be attempting some projects but only ones we have a talent for or that are so simple a 5 year old could do it 🙂 Ths other stuff? Well with the help of my partner and articles like this we are evaluating what is really important to us and the things that are will be worth spending money on.

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