D-I-WHY!? Confessions of a non-DIY bride

Guest post by Kaitlin T

In a community of artists, seamstresses, metallurgists, and crafters, I am awed at the DIY talent that abounds on Offbeat Bride. So many of the women and men here lightly discuss projects they've done that would make my head explode. They sewed their own dresses! She made 400 book-page roses! He forged an iron bouquet/weapon of mass destruction! They friggin' self-catered!

I always fancied myself creative, but I don't have the passion, the patience, or the prowess to do the massive projects undertaken here on a daily basis.

It's not even that I'm bad at crafting, necessarily. I enjoy things like woodworking (though I can't, in my little apartment), and I am good at turning abstract concepts into working designs. But while I can follow directions as well as anybody and thrash my way through hands-on projects well enough if I need to, I'm not the type to, say, hand-emboss invitations that I could just order online.

I was discussing venue options with my boy today — venue is a top concern for us — and he pointed out that we've been steering toward buildings with a raw, urban feel, or wooden beams and lots of windows looking out upon nature. Venues, in a nutshell, that do most of the decorating for us.

While I absolutely drool over the meticulously-detailed, gorgeously-festooned weddings, frankly, making decorations just isn't appealing to me. I'd rather dangle a bunch of wholesale Chinese lanterns or drape some white organza strategically, and be able to call it done. Making the beautiful things just isn't worth the effort, to me.

I mean, there are some things that I want to do. We're purchasing folded invitations designed like a book, and I plan to buy library index cards as RSVP cards, stamp them with dates, and glue them into the “book.” I'm planning on making fruit bouquet centerpieces (think edible arrangements, only not $80 apiece), which is a pretty big project that has to be done with virtually no lead time. I may even make our cupcakes.

But for the most part, my time is worth enough to me that I'm willing to pay to not have to DIY. I know that, for me, most DIY stuff would feel like a chore, and I would rather forgo décor at my wedding than spend 50 hours on wedding projects, and grow to resent it all.

We'll see how I feel once money starts rolling out of pockets and paralyzing me with horror — who knows, I might suddenly decide DIY is the way to go!

But to sum up: You guys and your crafty hands and hearts are very inspiring and wonderful… but for me, satisfaction may lie in convenience over gorgeousness.

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Comments on D-I-WHY!? Confessions of a non-DIY bride

  1. Good for you for sorting that out before buying supplies, starting a project, THEN deciding it’s too difficult/expensive/time consuming/unsatisfying.
    Even so, making fruit centerpieces last-minute seems like a truly creative venture. I hope you have done a few practice runs just so you’ll know what to anticipate.
    A wedding, or any event, doesn’t have to be DIY to make it your own. You & your special someone(s) are making the decisions and inviting YOUR people that matter, that is what makes it your own. Having your day your way will make it wonderful!

    • We’re still a long way out, but you can bet I’ll try out the fruit bouquet things about five times before it actually matters. xD I figure I’ll build one until I love it, then make a blueprint so it’s easy to recreate for every table.

      Thanks for your kind and happy words! <3

  2. Good for you. I am a SUPER creative person who always assumed I’d do a ton of DIY/DIT projects for my wedding. And yet, I’ve found that with everything else going on, I don’t have much creative energy left.

    We’ve been assessing what I like to call the “convenience tax” — if it’s something I can look at and say “that seems like a lot of work, and I’m not sure I have the energy to do it, even though I know I could and it would turn out great” then we evaluate “what price (increase) are we willing and able to pay to not have to deal with this item.”

    • “convenience tax” … YES.

      My partner and I have used this concept in planning big & little projects for years (including our weeding). Now we have a term for it! 🙂

      • …just noticed the autocorrect to “weeding”…

        Well, that has its own convenience tax.

  3. I am WITH you. I have been a DIYer all my life, but I don’t view my wedding as the time to be too crafty. We are constructing our own centerpieces and I may do my own makeup (maybe hair), but that’s about as far as I am going on this.

    I made my prom dress and it was a NIGHTMARE and more expensive than any I saw in stores. I have hosted parties and I am no good at timing all the food appropriately, while also socializing. I have crafted invitations for 150 people, and it’s a LOT of work. My back still hurts from last year. Just no. When Vistaprint makes adorable invites and offers Groupons? My friend spent a few hun on DIY invites for a couple dozen folks. It just doesn’t work out the way you hope sometimes.

    There are many places where DIY does make sense, or is important enough to be sentimentally created (maybe my guest book since I keep it), but there are more things that have become an industry for a reason, and are actually cheaper to shop around for.

    As a poet (lover of metaphor), an artist, and a momento hoarder, I can still get on the “not at my wedding” train with confidence in terms of the DIYing I always dreamed about. (“WHY would anyone PAY that much for a CAKE??” I hear my teenage self laughing about. Because strangely, it’s a kind of practicality.)

  4. So.much.yes!

    A friend shared a gorgeous necklace from Etsy with me on Facebook, and another friend commented “oh, you could totally make that Stina!” Yes, I probably could, but why would I when someone else has already put the time and effort into making it and probably enjoyed making it far more than I ever would.

    I’m doing my fair share of wedding DIY, but all of my crafting ventures are being driven by the fact that I have several very crafty brideslaves and girlfriends that truly enjoy doing these things. These projects (along with the DIY projects of other friends) are something we are doing together and a way of bonding. If that weren’t the case, you can be sure I’d be buying most of the stuff off the internet.

  5. Great read! DIY isn’t for everyone and I absolutely see where it would be worth it to go the other route for some things instead.

    I was one of those that diy’d everything about my wedding. I started a year in advance making stuff. It got pretty overwhelming — and I LIVE for making stuff.

    Do what will not drive you crazy in the end, after all the wedding is just one day in a lifetime of days. 🙂

  6. I’m right there with you! We are going to DIY our invites and I’m making book page flowers for my bouquet, but that’s it. In fact, we are getting married during a baseball game so I don’t have to worry or plan a single thing.

    I *love* the idea of your invites. Would you mind sharing where you found the invites shaped like a book? They sound adorable!

    • During a baseball game–I love it! PLEASE tell me you’re wearing a pinstriped dress or something.

      I actually designed the invitations myself on Vistaprint; basically I got a high-res picture of a lovely, classic book cover, uploaded it to the front of a folded card, and used Vistaprint’s text and images to personalize. On the front I titled it “For the Long Haul,” put a little picture of a tandem bike under it, then wrote “by [FH] and [me].” After I got my wording down on the inside, I had to call them and ask them to put the it on the left side instead of the right, so I could paste the library index cards (cheap on Amazon) into the ‘back inside cover.’

  7. Agreed. I decided early on that I wasn’t going to do crafty projects just to do crafty projects, so anything essential to the wedding was purchased. Everything else – if I feel like I’ve got the time, energy, and interest in it, I’ll do it. Otherwise, we’ll probably be fine without it. The other thing I feel like I did right stress-wise is pick vendors who were happy to customize for me, so it doesn’t feel cookie-cutter even though I’m not DIYing everything, and who I felt like were going to make this EASIER for me.

  8. This post is a breath of fresh air! I feel so much pressure to DIY elements of my wedding to make them “personal” – but there are some tasks that I know would drive me nuts. I’d rather feel pride in the few things I do DIY than feel anxiety, stress, and resentment because I’ve taken on more than I can handle.

    I just helped some friends put together handmade foodie favors. There were six of us working together, and since we all love cooking, pickling, baking, etc – it felt like a really fun project rather than some onerous wedding task. I think you should only DIY if you’re going to take some joy in the making process, not just in the final result.

    • Exactly! That’s why I’d consider making cupcakes–I love baking cupcakes. But sewing a dress… ye gads. I’m pretty sure I’d be more likely to sew my hand to my face. And that wouldn’t be fun now, would it.

  9. We definitely did DIY light. There was one point, about halfway through making my broach bouquet, where I seriously wondered what the hell I was thinking (it turned out so awesome that there were no regrets, however). Things like my manga decopaged shoes? Those I had made, along with anything else that I wanted and knew would be easier to buy. I wanted a good combo of “Yeah, I did that!” And low stress. And that’s what I got. Do what works for you.

  10. Thank you!!!!
    I needed this today. I am hardly doing any dyi and have been feeling increasingly guilty about it. I had originally planned to diy so much, and had a very long engagement, so that it would be doable.
    Now I feel guilty. Guilty like bc I won’t give the time and energy to diy my wedding, that I must not care as much as other brides. Or I worry that I am being judged (by myself and others) as spoiled when I fork over the dough so that I can cross something off my list with little/no effort on my part.
    I like to think I am a very creative and capable person. Pretty crafty and also a bit of a seamstress. But wedding planning has been so hard, that I don’t think it would be fun for me to diy anything. Plus, I feel like I would put so much pressure on myself, that my diy results would not be able to meet my neurotic standards. For an example, all I want is a simple one-layer raw-edge tulle viel. And everyone seems so shocked (in my anxious mind, that is translated as disappointment) bc I don’t want to make it myself 🙁
    So luckily we had the long engagement. Not bc I needed time to diy the wedding. But bc I needed time to save up the money to pay for everything that I won’t/can’t do.
    I LOVE what someone else said about a convenience tax. I hope that can really help change my perspective and get back to happy wedding feelings 🙂

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