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Thursday, June 3, 2010

What's Your Definition of DIY?

I consider myself a DIY Bride - DIY to an extent. Why to an extent you ask? Because I realize that at the end of the day, our ceremony and reception aren't about how much I did myself with my own two hands. It's not about proving I'm some kind of superhero or a super budget savvy wizard.

Now each couple has their own reasons for their DIY projects: Budget, Uniqueness, Portfolio Piece, etc. For each of our DIY projects, I've walked through Rachel from Heart of Light blog's DIY flowchart (PDF), which she posted on 100 Layer Cake as a guest blogger. And as you know in some instances, like with our guestbook, DIY projects became BIY (Buy and Borrow It Yourself, an abbreviation coined by Miss Snow) projects.

As we get closer to our wedding, our DIY project list continues to change. Original DIY projects get a little more complex (Envelope liners for our invitations). And so on. The projects that have remained are ones that we're doing because it's a unique "us" gift for our family and friends (Wedding Favors) or we already "know" how to do (Save the Dates, Invitations, Programs all of which leverage my design and writing skills).

I'd heard of DIY Brides who'd regretted certain decisions - not hiring a Day of Wedding Coordinator, deciding to handle all catering themselves, etc. As it looked like we were running out of time to get ready, get setup, get married, and have fun, I'd already found myself looking at some of our DIY Projects a little more skeptically. So, I went back to my trusty advisor, the Interwebs.

In searching for "DIY wedding backlash" I discovered The Hindsight Bride Blog. She'd mentioned that there were things about her DIY Wedding that now happily married she would have done differently. She too had seen the DIY flowchart and expanded on it with concrete DOs and DON'Ts:
  1. DO DIY if your project expresses something uniquely you. I made my own wedding cake. I am a baker at heart. When I was 12, I was making homemade custard-filled pastries. I have patience with the precise measuring, and folding, and whisking, and monitoring that baking requires. ...
  2. DO DIY if you want to give your guests a uniquely you gift. ...
  3. DO DIY if you have a talent that lends itself particularly well to a DIY project. If you are a graphic artist and you have the time and interest, by all means, design your own wedding invitations. ...
  4. DON'T DIY if your sole reason is to save money. ...
  5. DON'T DIY because all the major wedding blogs and magazines are featuring one DIY wedding after another. ...
I applied #4 and my #6 today. My #6 is DON'T DIY if you don't have time for a backup plan. If you are trying something for the first time, give yourself extra time to complete the task. Also, if you have a really tight timeline, don't throw DIY into the mix.

A little bit of background... We'd put off the search for a DJ a little longer than we should have, especially for an extremely popular wedding date - 10/10/10 anyone? We immediately struck out with 2 of 3 vendors we'd contacted. So naturally I'd assumed that the 3rd vendor would politely tell us they were unavailable. I didn't want to search anymore. Our alternative was to create a playlist and ask ask one of our friends who'll be DJ'ng for a dance set later in the evening if he could MC. But the 3rd vendor came back with availability AND with an option to amplify our cocktail reception. Double Score!

Yes having an iPod would save money. But with our chock full timeline, multiple room setups, buffet dinner with two-tier seating? All I saw was countless headaches. (Remember our space limitations? Tight time frame to turn ceremony seating into dinner seating? Sound equipment in the main hall is but not in the room where the cocktail hour is? All solved with this one decision.)

Today, we decided to skip the DIY Reception Music (iPod playing songs both cubes and I enjoy) and hire a DJ to handle the ceremony and to act as Master of Ceremonies. With one decision - hire a pro - we simplified our timeline, gave our caterers and coordinators more time to polish the dinner tables, and added more time to dance!

I consider myself DIY for the personal touches that can be planned, designed, produced, and packaged before the day of the wedding. The day of the wedding I don't want to be DIY. I want to enjoy the day. I want to be pampered. I want to enjoy spending time with our guests. I want our guests to enjoy themselves.

My definition is "Do it Yourself" or "Do it Together." For me, whether you start with raw materials or with a template or a kit, as long as you and/or your family and friends worked on the project together, it counts as DIY. I love that I can DIY things I love (paper, omg paper!). I'm also incredibly thankful that I can hand off projects that I view as work. So I'm comfortable labeling myself a DIY Bride to an extent.

How are you deciding what projects are DIY Projects? For those already married, any projects you wish you had outsourced?

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