Friday 7 March 2014

Guest Post: 10 Tips for a Creating a DIY Wedding

This week's Guest Post is from Laura Strutt of Made Peachy

In 2012 I was lucky enough to tie the knot with the man of my dreams (yes, I said that, I really am that soppy!). As a pair of creative folks, and also a couple with a fraction of the average UK wedding budget as our disposal, we decided that we’d much rather have a handcrafted, fun and colourful wedding. We had the very best time on our wedding day, and had heaps of fun making all the little bespoke touches. But, taking on a DIY wedding is a big project, here are a few of my top tips for creating your own DIY Wedding…

Photo credit: The DIY Wedding Manual

1. What to Craft & What Not To Craft

When you first decide to go DIY for your Big Day it is hard not to get caught up in the moment and proudly declare that you shall make every single thing all by yourself…even if that means you won’t sleep for six months before the wedding. While we might love to be able to say that we made the whole shebang with our own fair hands, it is important to be realistic too.

If you’ve never sewn a stitch in your life, do you really want your first attempt at dressmaking to be a full length, frothy wedding gown? Will you really have time on the morning of the wedding to hand-tie all 15 bridesmaid’s posey bouquets? I’m not  for a second doubting that you are capable of making each and every element if you put your mind to it, but, it might be wiser to select the items that you confidently know you can make with your current skills, budget and timeframe.
Photo credit: The DIY Wedding Manual

2. Find inspiration

Before you start cutting paper, slicing fabrics and going wild with the glue gun, it is always best to have a strong idea of what you are making before you begin. This not only takes the stress out of the whole making process - which is great if you need to make 100 of the said item -  but it also means that you won’t be wasting precious supplies (and time) by scrapping an idea halfway through and starting over. Check out bridal magazines, blogs, Pinterest boards and wedding books for lots of ideas to get you started.

Photo credit: Kerrie Mitchell

3. Keep an eye on the costs

In many cases, it can often work out cheaper to make up your own invitations than to buy bespoke designs from a high street wedding stationer but as any crafter will tell you, handmaking does not necessarily go hand-in-hand with low-cost – more’s the pity

If cost is at the forefront of your planning, be sure to cost out each and every make before you begin – mini jars of homemade chutney as wedding favours that cost £4 each to make sounds like great value, until you realise that you need one for each member of the 250 strong guest list!

4. Set a schedule

If you are making a number of different elements for your big day, you will need to work to a schedule – which sounds like a bit of a passion killer, but looking at the different elements and assessing the time required for each you will be able to prioritise each make.

Working on things in a logical order – rather than picking out the thing that your most excited about making – will help to bring all the many elements of the DIY preparations together. Now, it would be shame if the 35 vintage tea cup candles that you so lovingly made weren’t enjoyed by your guests because you didn’t get the invitations finished up in time to invite everyone you had hoped to attend.

Photo credit: The DIY Wedding Manual

5. Recruit your friends

What are bridesmaids for if not to get busy with glitter and glue? By calling on your nearest and dearest you’ll soon find if anyone has a flare for baking and might want to make your wedding cake, or is a whizz with a sewing machine and would be happy to whip up an army of bridesmaid frocks. Well, if you don't ask you’ll never know!

Getting together a group of crafty friends and working production-line style is a great way to get through a mountain of labour-intensive makes, like the invitations, place settings or even the order of service stationery. Remember to offer you team of helpers refreshments, or they may not come back to help again!

6. Buy handmade

If handmade is your passion and you find that you have run out of time or lack the experience to make that last crucial thing on your wedding to-do-list, all is not lost. There are a wide range of professional designer/makers out there that offer a whole host of beautiful wedding supplies – many can even worth with your current design ideas to really personalise your wedding. Check out some of the amazing handmade wedding goodies on Etsy, Folksy, and NotOnTheHighStreet to get you off to a flying start.

Photo Credit: Kerrie Mitchell

7. Make space

One thing that comes with a handmade wedding is a whole heap of creative clutter. It won’t be long before you’re falling over boxes of tulle and showering the place in sequins. If you can, set out a small area of your home in which to work on your wedding projects – this way everything will be kept neat and tidy in one spot, ready for when you want to get stuck in.

Clear plastic storage boxes are great for stowing away both makes-in-progress and finished projects – this also makes transporting decorations, table settings and other carefully made goodies to the venue (and back) quick and easy.

Photo credit: The DIY Wedding Manual
8. Find ‘Together’’ tasks

Depending on your fella, the thought of spending a Saturday adding a halo of glitter to the petals of 4000 silk roses might make his blood run cold. Let’s not fall out over this, find creative projects that you can do together. Divide out projects based on each other’s skills. Failing that, has he always fancied himself as something of a DJ? Great - he can work on your wedding day play list!

Photo Credit: Kerrie Mitchell

9. Make a day of it

Wedding themed workshops are growing in popularity, with local craft stores offering a wide range of creative one day sessions ideal for learning new skills. These make a great idea for a hen party – what better way to have some crafty fun with your chums than by making your own tiaras or fascinators? Better yet, you’ll be able to take away these new found skills and put them to good use on many of your other wedding projects.

Photo credit: Kerrie Mitchell

10. Enjoy it!

You enjoy making things, you want to enjoy your wedding planning and the Big Day itself, so make sure that the things that you make aren't stressing you out – if a project isn’t going to plan, try not to get upset about it (often easier said than done, I know), think if you can update it or change it, check online to see if there are any how-to guides that might help you. Or, failing that, consider ditching it in favour of something else.

DIY Weddings are a whole heap of fun, so have a giggle, take and share lots of photographs and have your self some pre-wedding fun – remember you're not only making the bits and bobs for your special day, you're also making some pretty fabulous memories too!


Laura blogs daily at sharing projects, how-to guides, recipes and handmade style. She is the author of The Sewing Manual (Haynes, 2013) and her new book The DIY Wedding Manual (Haynes, 2014) was published last month. You can also find her on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook.

Pop back tomorrow for a chance to win a copy of Laura's new book: The DIY Wedding Manual.

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