Featured: Is Wedding DIY really worth it?
Now everyone is trying to save a quid or two these days and especially when it comes to weddings. One of the main ways people think that they can save a few quid is by “D.I.Y ing” some of the smaller mass produced things for their wedding (like invites, centre pieces and favours). But at the end of the day, will you really be saving yourself anything? or will it actually cost you more in the long run?
There are a few questions to ask yourself seriously before you embark on your DIY cost cutting exercise…
What is my current skill level in craft A / B / C or do I think it is something I could learn to do quickly?
So the last time you made a card was for mothers days circa age 6, which looking back resembled a picture of your whole family being eaten by some sort of Daisy monster (come on we all have one)! But you have seen video tutorials on on YouTube telling you how to make your own, so how hard can it be, right?
Well it all depends on your creative ability, combined with your ability to follow specific instructions OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER again. YouTube is a fantastic resource for learning how to do things. I, myself, have done no end of YouTube hair styles after watching videos (maybe 5,6,7 times.. and I’m really not that great with hair) but still they have been good enough to wear out of the house and even to the odd black tie dinner after some practice. Graham is fonder of looking up things to cook on YouTube or videos of bunnies hopping around! On the flip side though, I am a passable baker. I make the world’s best mini scones, no really I do (ask Graham, the size of his tummy will tell you I am telling the truth!). Sadly I don’t make them as often as Graham would like but probably more often than is good for my waist line. Now cake, that’s a whole different story! I’m really not great at that and to be honest, if I had to make 50 identical cakes I would probably have to make 200 to get 50 even reasonably identical looking ones! But then again, that is 150 cakes I get to eat trying to practice! 🙂
My advice would be to watch the video a couple of times, then have a go and if you can make 3 identical things then it’s probably not out of the question skill wise.
Does it need any specific kit to complete the project that is prohibitively costly?
My mum makes cards as a hobby, she sells some at her work in Wales and at craft fayres there. She has turned my old bedroom into her card making HQ. She is totally into the whole thing and has spent probably upwards of £1000 on kit over the years she has been doing it (Good thing my dad doesn’t read Wedding Wednesday isn’t it?!). She has a myriad of stamps, cutters and machines that emboss designs on paper, a relative Aladdin’s cave of paper craft. Now I’m not saying that you would need to kick your only child out of her childhood bedroom to get a room like hers and all that stuff to make your own invites, but even a few of the cheaper stamps and cutters along with a good pair of scissors could come in at the £150 mark which you might well never use again.
Or what if you are thinking of making your own bunting – will you need a sewing machine? They can be really pricey and will you ever use it again? or how about doing your own wedding video, rather than getting a professional to do it? Do you need to get a video camera and if so how much are you going to spend? Will you ever use it again? Also, like photography, videography is a skill aquired after years of work. But you never know, your mate filming it could be the next Spielberg!
How much do the materials cost to make your project, not with-standing any practice materials you might need to buy?
Let’s talk about card stock… Stay with me on this one… It’s NOT CHEAP. Like really really not cheap. Neither is fabric for that matter and how much will you need to buy? The vendors who specialise will be able to take advantage of buying in bulk so this will keep the costs down. They also won’t need to purchase “practice materials” as they are more than likely going to do a great job first time. You however, won’t really need 5000 sheets of medium-thick card to make 70 invites… probably not! Yet to buy just as much as you need can work out to be really expensive buying single sheets at maybe £1.20 a sheet, which ok doesn’t sound like much, but when you find you actually need 35 sheets of this and 10 sheets of that and maybe another 5 sheets of the really pretty lace cut one at £2.70 a sheet, then your per invite cost is maybe up around the £5.10 mark before you even start gluing it all together.
Also be prepared to throw away a third to half of your attempts while you figure out exactly how things best go together.
How much time will it realistically take to complete the project and do you have the time to spare?
It is great to think, “I will make this” and “I will make that”, but think about this one really carefully… if the YouTube girl takes 7.5mins to show you how to make one paper rose, and you want to make 400 to decorate your venue, then that’s 50 hours of making paper roses. That’s if you can make them as fast as the video (which I’m betting to begin with at least, will be more like 10mins per rose until you get into your stride). Also realistically, you aren’t going to want to spend more than about 2 hours at a time making them, so that’s 25 times you have to sit down and make roses or to put it a different way – that’s practically every night after work for a whole month (just making roses). Can you give a whole month over to your project? Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?!
I know I can hear you saying it already – you aren’t going to make all of them by yourself, you are going to rope all of your friends/family into it too – and possibly your SO/OH/HTB (Don’t you love my use of acronyms?!). Still you are going to spend a whole day making paper roses. Best get the wine and pizza in that day 🙂
So before you embark on your Wedding DIY project, just think “Am I really going to save a whole lot of money and is that money I save worth my time and stress and gluey fingernails or would I just be better off paying a pro?”
Graham Crichton is an award winning professional wedding & portrait photographer based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. With 10 years of experience and having photographed hundreds of weddings he has photographed weddings all over Ireland, the UK and abroad.
Hannah Crichton is the principal photographic assistant, blogger and studio manager (and other half of Graham Crichton Photography). Hannah and Graham recently married themselves in Ynysybwl, Wales, where Hannah is originally from. Hannah loves “everything wedding"!
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