Planning a DIY wedding? Start here!

The holiday season brings lots of joy...and engagements! If you recently got a ring on it, congratulations, Lover!! Becoming a fiance is a very special thing and comes with all the feels. Next comes the wedding planning, which has it's own set of feels, including excitement, curiosity, confusion and to be honest, stress. Keep the unwanted feels to a minimum by knowing where to start.

Planning for a DIY wedding is a different process than a full service wedding. No doubt the to-do list is long either way, but if you are a DIY bride here are a few pointers to get you going in the right direction. 

Step one.
You need to know your budget. I know you might not have any clue what a photographer and caterer will run you, but the average may not apply to your needs and wants. Regardless of the average cost, if you can't afford it you can't afford it. Don't get discouraged just yet! With the right plan you can spend in the areas that are important to you (more on this in the next step) and skip in the areas that aren't.
To determine your budget you will need to know how much money you have between you and your finance and exactly how much possible "contributors" (parents, grandparents, etc.) are able to give. Asking for monetary assistance might be an uncomfortable task, but chances are the contributors know it's coming so get it out of the way as soon as you can. Also decide how much you will set aside each month from your paychecks. 10-20% is a general average. Do what you can without going hungry. After gathering this data it's time to add it all up. Here's the key: be realistic with yourself now or you will easily face going over your allotted amount. Keywords, REALISTIC and EASILY (it is sooo easy to go over budget, so look out!). Tip: avoid all the tempting small purchases until you truly have a direction. Not only do they add up, they almost always go unused.

Step two.
Sit down with your fiance and discuss what are the important must haves at your wedding. By determining what is most important to you both, you will begin to bring your big day to life. Think about what you love, how you want your guests to feel and what resembles you two as a couple. This is the foundation to making the day yours. Write down your priorities into three simple categories; high priority, medium priority and low priority. Try to list only three items per category. Your lists may differ from each others but communication and compromise will settle that and result in a day that is ideal for you both.

Step three.
When you DIY you do not have to Do It ALL Yourself. A DIY wedding takes the whole village and you will need to determine who you can count on. Round up your village and assign tasks. You will primarily rely on your bridesmaids and groomsmen to work the event. Assign tasks accordingly by personality, strength and dependability (just be sure you do not assign all the big tasks to one person). Remember, this is work and you should set a level of expectation, but most importantly express major gratitude to them during the whole process. Want help assigning tasks and managing the big day? Take a look at my DIY Wedding Planning Program.
Find tasks that interest the individual. Teach them what they need to know so they can be fully prepared. Start by asking them what they would enjoy doing prior and day of. Treat them to a crafty workshop and you may even discover hidden talents such as calligraphy or floral design (this can even dub as a bridal party gift, too!). Sign up for our Newsletter to get announcements of crafty classes we offer! Go beyond the bridal party. Is there a florist, a baker or a candlestick maker in the house?! Reach out and see if they are able and willing to contribute to your wedding.

A few rules of thumb, do not ever assume contributions will be free and be sure you do not sign someone up for too much. It is ok to ask for help but you don’t want your friend to work for free if it puts them in a jam. Second, you should only reach out to people who you wouldn’t mind returning the favor for. If you wouldn’t contribute to your talents to them then reconsider asking them for any favors, because your mama taught you better than that, right?! Lastly, proper and continuous thank you’s go a long way are a must. Don’t skip on a heartfelt gift either. Do not ask for help if you are not prepared to show appreciation and gratitude no matter what the outcome may be.

With a budget, priorities and your village lined up you can decide where you are going to save, spend and splurge. One thing I can guarantee, if you spend money you save time and energy. If you need to save time and energy you'll need to spend money. After you determine the above factors you will be able to answer the preliminary questions that everyone will ask of you and you will be able to answer with confidence because you know where you stand. Whether you are a DIY bride or not, be sure to fill your heart with love, appreciation and always express gratitude to all involved from beginning to end. I guarantee it will serve you well. Happy planning, Lovers!


Budgets- Who What When Where Why & How


Hello Lover! Starting to plan your big day? How exciting! What’s your budget?

If that offended you, keep reading. It’s time to get comfortable with dropping the B word everywhere you go. Seriously, this is thrown around left and right in the wedding industry. Some brides hate it, some are all over it and some think they'll be fine if they just spend with caution. If that is you, no girl! Stop what you are doing and let’s breakdown the importance of the B word with basics- the 5 W’s.

Who. Who needs to know your budget? Everyone! This will be a question at the top of every vendor's list. If you are not prepared with a plan you are setting yourself up for a sure-fire way to make your wedding dreams a far stretch from your wedding reality. Never been good with budgets? This may be an expensive time to learn. Don't risk it! If you need help, seek it. Want to dive deeper? Attend our Wedding Planning Workshop.

What. What is a budget? Think of it as your wedding bible, your rule book, your go to, user manual, you get the idea. Your budget is going to have the final say and a lot of the major decisions are based on what's in the budget. Some people think that everything is decided by the bride but it’s secretly the budget.  As you get down to the wire a common question will be, “Is there room in the budget?” Figure it out now and live by it or you’ll be sorry.


When. First thing first! And the first thing is budget. Start this now! You can find blank templates that have suggested percentages of what you should spend and adjust it to your needs. My favorite free and user friendly template is on Google Sheets. If you have any questions or if you are searching for guidance with DIY Planning, take a look at my Services and contact me for help.

Where. Where to start? Start by determining your priorities and what is most valuable to you. What do you want most out of the day? Next, figure out the source of funds.  These two things will determine your wedding reality.  Keep it real and give yourself some cushion or you’ll be disappointed in the long run.

Why. Here’s why; you can’t get a reliable quote without first giving a vendor your price range. Who wants to spend all day considering features or services that they’ll never get? Not me! It happens all the time, “I’m reaching out to vendors first then I will set budgets.” Or, “I have no idea what I’m supposed to spend.” I get it, but trust me, that is working backwards. Don’t do that! Only spend what you can and be realist. Don’t waste your time or a vendor’s time.Want to find affordable LA vendors? Fill out this contact form and your information will be sent to our favorite local wedding professionals.

And How. A few surefire ways to budget success;  be confident and get comfortable with whatever your budget is, this is not a time to fake it till you make it. It’s ok if you can’t afford certain things. Work with vendors that can give you what you need. There are plenty of vendors with budget-friendly pricing. Find them here!  Another great tip, be nice. Oh Lawd! I can’t believe I even have to say this! But just like you screen vendors, we screen clients. This is a time for love and happiness, exude that everywhere you go. Lastly, budget for a planner. Find someone that has different levels of services with price points that will match what you need. You will not regret getting guidance from a pro, even if it just a little.

Look Mom, I have a Blog!

Hi! Thank you to all of you taking a peek! I'm a newbie at blogging, but I always have something to say so this should be fun. I will chat about my favorite things in the wedding world- new and old, tell you about what's going on around the shoppe and show you cocktail recipes from time to time. Subscribe to my newsletter to get alerts on my latest post. Thanks for joining!


Sabrina Fay

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