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3 DIY Wedding Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

DIYing your wedding decor and flowers sounds easy. Right? It looks like a great idea online. It seems like DIYing everything will save you money, be more fun, and give you the opportunity to add a personalized touch to your wedding day. All those things are true. It’s how you approach DIYing your wedding decor and flowers that matters.

10 years ago, I made the mistake of trying to DIY my own wedding invitations with a Gocco machine. In 2009, Gocco machines were all the rage in the wedding DIY community. A Gocco is a home screenprinting machine made by a company in Japan. It was discontinued, although the materials were still floating around ebay. I thought – “great idea, Michelle. Teach yourself a whole new DIY technique using an outdated machine with hard to find supplies. WONDERFUL.”

As you can imagine, it was a total disaster. The screens never developed properly, I was running out of paper, the inks were blotted. It was a mess. I eventually smartened up and sent my invite designs to be printed at a local print shop. I ended up spending the same amount of money it would have cost to hire a professional stationery designer. Then I incorporated some DIY elements into the suite – like fun stamps and a wax seal.

This leads me to the 1st mistake that couples make when trying to DIY decor and flowers for their wedding:

DIY mistake #1: Learning a new technique or new tool simply for a wedding DIY

Don’t make the same expensive, time consuming mistake that I did by convincing yourself that you can learn how to screen print/calligraph/website design/floral design/wood work/insert craft medium here in the months before your wedding day. You’ve got enough going on with managing a budget, booking vendors, and dealing with family stuff. Trying to learn a new DIY technique should not be on your wedding to-do list. Investing in the unknown territory of a new-to-you tool means you’ll need to find extra money to buy all the supplies you don’t already own, space to complete the project, and time to troubleshoot. Because we all know that DIY projects do not turn out perfect on the first try.

Instead, decide to tackle DIY projects that you already know how to do or have super low bars on entry, like cheap supplies and quick results. Examples of simple DIYs to tackle are: cutting and gluing projects (like envelope liners), painting projects (spray paint or with a brush), and straight line “sewing” (use fusible webbing and an iron to hem fabrics).

Use your strengths to your advantage.

DIY Mistake #2: Not giving yourself enough time

The time constraint shows it’s ugly head in two ways: A) you procrastinate to start a project until the last minute, or B) a project takes you way longer than you anticipated. Always give yourself double the amount of time to finish a wedding DIY project than you think. When I say “time”, I’m talking about minutes, hours, days, weeks, and months here. Think applying vintage postage stamps to 100 envelopes is going to take an hour? Block off three hours of time. Oh, those eight bridesmaids bouquets should only take about thirty minutes, right? LOL. Try four hours, at least. Really want to hand calligraph all of the signage for your reception? Start at least two months before the wedding date.

My best tip for DIY projects (SERIOUSLY, TATTOO THIS ON YOUR ARM): Time yourself with the stopwatch app on your phone making ONE of whatever you are working on. Start the timer, apply those vintage stamps onto one envelope, stop the timer. Now take that amount of time and multiply it by the number of envelopes you have to stamp. Ta-da! Now you know how much time you need to block off to get them all done. Queue up some Netflix and get to work.

That stopwatch secret eliminates the awful feeling of being half way done with a project and getting angry that it’s taking so long. DIY projects are supposed to be enjoyable!

DIY Mistake #3: Not Getting Help

I see this happen all the time with wedding DIY projects. You are putting your heart and soul into a project, you have a very specific vision on how you want it to look, so you do everything all yourself because you don’t want someone else to screw it up.

Your family and friends want to help you. But you won’t let them.

Yes, you’re right, they aren’t going to do it exactly the same way you would. What you’ll lose in perfection, you’ll gain in free time and self-care. Do not make the mistake of not asking for help out of fear that you’ll A) be a burden, or B) the projects won’t turn out exactly how you want. Loosen the reigns on your vision a little bit, give people very, very specific instructions, and let them help you. Then with all that free time of yours, grab everyone to go to brunch. With lots and lots of mimosas.

There are other ways of getting help too, often highly talked about in the working parent world: hiring housekeepers, cleaners, dropping off your laundry, ordering grocery delivery, using taskrabbit and postmates to run errands for you. These are versions of help you could get too! Obviously, crafting help would let you get the projects done faster. But household help would give you the time to do them all yourself.

Either way – invest in crafting help from friends and family or paid household help.

I could probably keep going here, but you get the idea. Avoid these top 3 mistakes for DIYing your wedding decor and you’ll be golden. There is nothing worse in this world as a stressful crafting experience. Smartly plan the DIY projects you are going to tackle, block off extra time to get them all done, ask for help, and for the love all things craft, do NOT try to learn a new skill.

Happy crafting!

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