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!