The Ultimate Guide to Ensure Your DIY Wedding Goes Without a Hitch

Published
September 2021
Planning

So you want to DIY your wedding?

Good on you! DIY weddings allow you to put that personal touch into your big day and let your guests have a peek at who the two of you are together.

Doing it DIY is a great way to utilise your craftiness and potentially save some money. However, DIY is not a guaranteed way to save money on your wedding. Buying all those little bits and bobs will soon add up. Use your Online Wedding Budget to price out all your craft goodies and keep track of the costs as you start collecting.

There’s a reason why so many wedding vendors exist, and that is because doing a wedding yourself is a big task. A DIY wedding is going to take a lot of planning and coordination. If you're determined and have a can do attitude, then a DIY wedding can be so personal and rewarding.

Use this ultimate guide to help you get the best start and stay on track throughout the planning and execution of your DIY wedding. We’ve even got a handy cheat sheet of DIY wedding tasks to give you some ideas at the bottom of this article.

Get your dream DIY team on-board

Bride and Bridesmaids celebrating in their robes

You will want all hands on deck, so discuss your plans with everyone who is going to be a part of creating your dream day.

Get your wedding party excited about literally creating their best friend’s wedding and make Grandma’s year by asking her to help with the flower arrangements.

There will probably be pieces you create that will be moved and used throughout the day, make sure your team includes some people who are willing and able to move and set up the different areas as the day goes on.

Make a definitive decision on your wedding style

Wedding ceremony setup with ribbons on chairs and petals on the ground

Some styles lend to DIY more than others. But hey, it’s your big day so you can DIY glam if you want to!

Regardless of what you choose; make sure you settle on it and stick to it.

Having a clear style for your wedding is going to help you plan, purchase and set up all the amazing little pieces that go into your big DIY day. If you need help with deciding on a wedding style, read our article: What’s my wedding style?

Plan before you buy

Table setting with delicate flowers in a jar, candles on a tree stump

DIY is so much fun! Which means it’s all too easy to get a little carried away… just ask the 15 terrariums dotted around my house.

Gather your team and run through the entire day. Make a list of everything you will need to pick up or create for each part of the event. Use our pre-made DIY needs list to get your mind going and add all the shopping and craft days to your online checklist.

Remember though, it is DIY after all and you are going to discover extra things you need along the way so be prepared to be flexible.

Embrace the DIY in your wedding outfits

Bride & Groom kissing at the head of a picnic table

Come back to your wedding style. How are you going to dress for the occasion?

Weddings are typically more of a formal affair, but if your laid back styles are really coming out in the DIY style you’ve created maybe you want to keep the dress code casual.

While we’re in the DIY mood why not apply it to your outfits too. Is someone in your team crafty enough to cut and sew your special outfit for the day? Maybe not, but there are so many little things you can add to your outfits for that additional flair and to tie into your wedding style.

Build your own ceremony

Wooden wedding arch draped in white sheet and fairy lights

You’re going to be lost in each other’s eyes and your guests are going to be holding back tears, focusing on you. Ceremonies are a beautiful part of weddings, full of love and focus for the couple.

Because of this, ceremonies can have minimal decoration to set the scene while leaving the focus on the love that’s floating through the air.

Give your guests somewhere to sit (or not), an aisle to walk down, and some decorations up the front and you’ve got yourself a ceremony. There are some beautiful ceremony arches that you can hire or even create yourself.

Bonus tip: You can re-use the ceremony chairs at your reception!

Dress your reception tables in style

Table setting with candles and proteas in jars
Faintail Photos

Your meal is where DIY can really shine! Dress your tables and venue to set the mood.

First of all. Is your reception indoors or outdoors? Secondly, how casual are you keeping it? Will you be providing a sit-down dinner or is it more of an afternoon tea kind of a thing?

Now envision your wedding style. How can you showcase it in your DIY table settings? This is a great time to get crafty and buy some bulk items to create centre-pieces for each of the tables. Think Burlap sacks, faux flowers, fish bowls, candles, op-shop knick-knacks or favourite books. Why not theme each table instead of using table numbers? Let your imagination run wild.

But this is a big part of the day, what else do you need to remember?

Feeding people is no small task and there is so much more than table settings to pack into this. You will need to source cutlery, dishes, glasses and all the trimmings like napkins and tablecloths.

Be sure to take some time to plan out all you will need, and consider both options of renting and buying. Both have their pros and cons and sometimes buying can be cheaper than renting.

Keep a copy of the DIY Wedding Checklist at the bottom of this article to make sure you don’t miss anything.

Self-styled reception decor

Dining hall with dressed tables and fairy lights in background

You and your guests are going to spend a lot of the day at the reception and there are some pretty simple ways to make it look amazing.

Here are some great ideas to add some decor to your reception:

  • Keep attention on yourselves by hanging a net curtain in front of some fairy lights set up behind your head table
  • Capture some amazing memories with a polaroid camera left on a table in front of a home-made background
  • Set up some simple games like corn hole or giant Jenga to keep your guests entertained (you can even make these games at home!)
  • Use an old wine barrel to display your beautiful cake - If it suits, you could use the same barrel to sign your marriage certificate at the ceremony
  • Burlap sacks or cuts of another material would make great table runners to add interest to your guest’s tables

Remember to keep it fun and get your team involved in the bigger projects. Setting up some activities around the venue will encourage your guests to move around and mingle with each other.

FTY - Feed Them Yourself

Table spread with sweet baking and fruit

Catering your own wedding is a massive task, make sure you are prepared.

Consider how you will prepare, cook and serve the food while also being approached by every guest and escorted off for photos. You will not get too much free time so prepping and serving food is something you do not want to be doing during those few spare moments.

We would recommend keeping the catering simple if you are going to do it yourself. Can you prepare all your food earlier and either serve it cold (did someone say grazing table!) or can you assign one of your team to heat it up before serving?

How about finding a great vendor that can cater for you while keeping that DIY feel? Having a food truck or a bar park up and serve guests would be ideal for an outdoor DIY wedding.

You can find amazing food trucks and bars on Dream Day.

However you do it, plan ahead, prepare ahead and ensure you have enough food per head!

Flowers

Crate of petal confetti

Something I learnt when planning my own wedding was there are flowers everywhere. Like, everywhere!

Flowers on lapels, flowers in bouquets, flowers on the tables, flowers in your hair, flowers being thrown at you, flowers on the chairs. As I said, flowers everywhere.

This is, of course, if you are styling your wedding in a reasonably traditional way. Flowers often represent love and so feature a lot in weddings. They also make for beautiful photos. Your flower choice is of course up to you and you will ultimately decide how you want to use them in your big day.

A couple of tips from us:

  • Weigh up the price of fake vs real, you might be surprised
  • Talk to a florist. They may be able to do some of the flowers (like the bouquets) and you can sort the rest yourself
  • Re-use where you can. You won't be carrying your bouquets all night, can you turn them into a table setting at the reception?
  • Talk to flower friendly friends. Arranging flowers is an art and some pointers would never go amiss

Doing it DIY

Chalkboard reading: Popcorn Bar with buckets of popcorn beneath

So gather your DIY Dream Team and get stuck in! Remember to take time to set your style and work out your plan before you begin.

Use our handy checklist below to make sure you haven't missed any of the key things you'll need for a DIY wedding. When you’re ready to begin planning, create your free Dream Day account so we can help you right up to the big day.

Checklist of DIY wedding items