DIY? KIFS (Keep It Fucking Simple): simplifying wedding DIY projects

Guest post by Adrienne Lojeck
Simplifying wedding DIY projects
DIYing some seed bomb favors sounds easy enough…

DIYing? Remember to K.I.F.S.: “Keep It Fucking Simple!”

Moving my stash of wedding craft supplies and projects over to my mother's house today, I had a frightening, important realization: I have too much DIY shit for this wedding.

I wrenched my back lugging oversized storage bins into her spare room, a room destined to become my new wedding crafting space because my stash (hoard?) is starting to take over our tiny one-bedroom studio. Pounds of silk floral scavenged from cannibalized holiday wreaths. There are two dozen metal candle holders, thrift-scored for $2 a piece, slated to become my centerpieces. Frames and frames and more frames, all in various tones of gold. Empty wine bottles. Sauce jars. Dozens of mismatched heavy glass votive holders. Two huge ornate gold tassels that looked like something out of mescaline trip at Graceland: “these are ridiculous and hideous and so fun,” I gushed, after finding the tassels for $1 each at a local church thrift shop.

I had to have them.
I had to have it all.

Today, however, I realized that I have too much. I am trying to do too much. In my excitement, I have thrifted too many treasures and planned too many DIY projects for this wedding.

Oh, and our wedding date? It's still 13 months away.
My partner proposed to me 3 months ago.
I have hoarded this much shit in just 3 months.

I don't know whether to be proud of myself or terrified.

“Less is more,” my mother said, her eyes scanning my towering ziggurat of Sterilite bins.

“Less is more,” my mother said, her eyes scanning my towering ziggurat of Sterilite bins. “You need to ask yourself, ‘What is my focal point?,' and then worry only about that one thing. If it's the centerpieces, then only do the centerpieces. If it's the DIY photo booth, then make the perfect photo booth and forget the rest. Remember: when you focus on each tiny component of everything, it backfires, and nothing looks like anything.”

My mother-cum-crafting-goddess was right, of course. She always is. She's the most talented crafter I know. A theater-trained seamstress, she even sewed her own wedding dress. When she gives me craft advice, I know enough to listen.

And it felt good to listen. I started sorting through the bins, eliminating the extraneous, the heavy, the breakable, the too-varied-to-be-eclectic, the crossing-over-into-bag-lady. The piles of plans and possibilities. I would hold things up, and my mother would laugh, or just stare at me in bewilderment: “Why are you saving Mardi Gras beads and used wrapping paper?”

There, with my mother, my senses sharpened. I could see all the trinkets and supplies that simply did not fit with my vision. I cast aside more than I kept, and it felt great.

What remains now is stronger, clearer.
I have the supplies to make my centerpieces: mismatched candle holders (all painted black), topped with DIY floral pomander balls in deep purples and rich reds. I also kept the dollhouse I want to turn into a receptacle for guests' cards, and the vintage gold frames that will hold photos of our grandparents on an Ancestors' Table, so that the family members we loved so much can be with us on our special day.

I have everything that I need, and nothing that I don't.

Most importantly: I have a partner who has been with me for over 11 years, knows that I am craft-supply-hoarding maniac, and loves me anyway. I have a mother whose talent I admire, whose judgement I trust, and whose skills as a tough-love editor of my DIY projects are already proving invaluable. I have the talent and creativity needed to create a unique offbeat wedding, without buying into the consumerist rhetoric of the Wedding Industrial Complex.

I have the OffbeatBride.com community to connect with, to be inspired by, and to learn from.

And I have 13 more months to craft one epic DIY wedding.

Simplifying wedding DIY projects
Maybe buying that ring box filled with moss is a better idea…

More tips for simplifying wedding DIY:


Comments on DIY? KIFS (Keep It Fucking Simple): simplifying wedding DIY projects

  1. My entire decor DIY centered around one pack of coordinating green, blue, and purple paper. I made confetti, signs, the guestbook, and yay! flags. It was instant coordination, really simple, and tied everything together with bright colors. The venue was already pretty uniquely decorated on its own, and centerpieces would have gotten in the way of board games!

    • Sounds awesome: I am quickly learning the value of SIMPLE, and of using colors and an already-interesting venue to your advantage! Way to go 🙂 The board games sound fun too!!! Thanks for your comment!

    • I’m doing the same thing with a roll of matte wrapping paper from Zazzle! When I found the paper I decided it was my theme, that life could be easy, and was happy that it had enough colors and floral motifs to satisfy me.

  2. Oh how I know the drama and fury of making DIY wedding plans. I was going to dip-dye napkins, and glue hundreds of book pages together for table runners. Sometimes, the artist inside me can’t be tamed. But at 7 months out (last month) I realized I needed to get decisive. Was I really going to dip dye 120 napkins? I have a DIY spreadsheet where I can see all my projects and goals, and tick off the ones I’ve completed, as well as eliminate others all together. It’s really keeping me sane as I craft.

    • I hear you–especially the part about the untamable DIY artist within. Kudos to you for eliminating the unnecessary or impractical: and YES to your idea about the running-list/spreadsheet…I recently heard that advice, and now have my own project list going. And I am sure some stuff will be cut eventually. Thanks for reading, and thank for your comment!

  3. I’ve always known it as KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid.

    I think if it’s not a craft you already do regularly, and enjoy, mid-wedding-planning is not the time to start it. It will be expensive, it will be stressful, and it will take so much more time to get it right than you’ve planned for. I was looking at that post about the cost of DIY and someone mentioned the time costs. If it’s not something you do already for fun, work out how much it would have cost if you also paid yourself minimum wage to do the work. Is it still cheaper? Is it a better use of your time than paying someone else to do it? Especially if you’re looking at taking time off work to get things done in the run up to the wedding!

    • Excellent point, and I heartily agree: DIY the stuff that will be FUN to work on (I love hot glueing stuff, so fake floral pomanders are actually enjoyable for me to make), but I actually HATE doing hand-lettering (not really “hate”, I’m just not great at it, and too much of a perfectionist to let that go 🙂 ) So in the case of the hand-calligraphed envelopes, I am passing of that DIY to my crafty mom! You bring up awesome points about the value of your time, the concept of wages/cost, and of course, the element of FUN (as Ben and Jerry’s cartons say, “If it’s not FUN, why do it?”…Uh oh, I am basing my life philosophy on what ice cream pints tell me to do…that can’t be a good sign…). Thanks so much for reading and for your comment 🙂

    • I’m taking a similar route but with stress instead of cost. If it’s a craft that’s stressing me out (because it’s difficult, or I feel like I don’t have enough time, or the materials are difficult to find) then I’m dropping it. If it’s a craft that helps me zen out (bonus if I can do it while watching Firefly and Lord of the Rings) then it’s in (mostly because I need to feel productive and not stressed with this wedding).

      • good call Beth: the crafting can be either the stressor, or the stress-RELIEVER! and we must be careful to choose the right craft 🙂 thanks for reading and thanks for your comment—happy crafting!

  4. This article speaks to me! My wedding was just a year ago now, and I spent an intense 6 months DIY-ing as much as I could, and keeping it simple is KEY. My biggest DIY was ribbon and candy bouquets! Manipulating ribbon into the shape of roses, then putting them together with lollipops, took WEEKS but is still one of my favorite things from the wedding. I would have loved having the centerpieces be these too, but since I didn’t have enough time we just went with flowers in bowls for centerpieces and I don’t regret it at all! I also diy-ed: the table numbers (glittered 3d wood numbers that my hubby cut out), diy programs, place cards, glittered my shoes, and made boutonnieres out of extra ribbon roses for the boys. My sister DIYed my fascinator, cake, robot cake toppers, and our makeup, and one of the bridesmaid did all of our hair (not sure if this counts as DIY since she’s a professional hair stylist…). We wouldn’t have been able to DIY any more things so keeping a “keeping it simple focus” is soooo important. I’m also SO lucky to have talented people in my life willing to give up evenings and weekends! Good luck to you for your DIY wedding!

    • Wow, sounds like you had a super awesome, crafty, epic DIY wedding, and I love your mention of how important it is to LET PEOPLE HELP! (I struggle with that bc I am very controlling, particularly when it relates to my artistic vision for a project, but I am slowly working to find meaningful ways to let others help that I will be comfortable with.

      I really want to see PICS of those bouquets!!! (and all your other DIYs): do you have a website, or were they maybe posted here on OBB?

      Thanks for reading and thanks for your comment!!!!

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