15 Tips for Planning the Ultimate DIY Wedding

For Clients

DIY weddings are a dream for many bride’s who want to have a totally unique and creative day to commemorate their marriage. We absolutely love the “do it yourself” aesthetic – and even customized a lot of our own wedding a few years back. Having even just some DIY elements can bring a the perfect vibe to the look you’re envisioning for your wedding day!

In this post, we want to share some DIY wedding planning tips with you to help you get started and put together the wedding of your dreams!

1). How much of your wedding do you want to “do yourself”?

DIY weddings range from “we want to add some personal touches” to “everything from the table and chairs to the florals and other center pieces must be unique and done ourselves!”

The type of DIY wedding you are really wanting will end up impacting a lot from how much things will cost to how long it will take to make everything.

2). Find a wedding venue that suits the DIY style

We have seen DIY weddings take place in 3 key environments:

  • Family property. The infamous “backyard wedding” is often the easiest to customize, and the most cost effective.
  • Blank slate venues. There are some wedding venues (or “event spaces”) that essentially provide you a space to host your wedding, and you do the rest. These are perfect for true DIY’ers out there. A couple types of places to search for include non-profit event spaces and campgrounds, along with a simple search for “DIY wedding venues near me.”
  • All-inclusive venues that allow DIY elements. Many more traditional wedding venues will allow you to decorate and add elements to personalize your day. These will be more expensive, but often include amenities like catering and a wedding coordinator that can help streamline all of the things you need to think about.

3). What things to you want to DIY vs. hire a wedding vendor for?

In our experience, many DIY weddings end up being the result of a team effort. You may have specific things you will be creating to contribute, but may want to outsource some of the more complex things (or that will take you too much time).

4). Find antique and vintage décor easily

One of the funnest parts of putting together a DIY wedding is collecting all of the decor items. DIY weddings naturally attract people who are into antiquing – it’s incredible some of the things you will find when you’re exploring these shops with your own wedding in mind.

Some great places to start looking:

  • Antique stores
  • Thrift shops
  • Hand-me-downs
  • Facebook marketplace
  • Craigslist
  • Etsy

5). Create a wedding mood board

A mood board can be a great way to start visualizing the look of your wedding. These are commonly put together in a computer program like Adobe InDesign, but can just as easily be put together on a cork board with printed out photos or even Pinterest.

What is a wedding mood board? It’s a collage of images that represent your chosen event space, decor, color scheme, etc. It doesn’t necessarily need to be an exact replication, but helps you solidify the “mood” or “vibe” you’re planning to elicit from your day through the visual presentation.

A mood board helps you stay on track to make sure everything you’re getting works well together, and sometimes can help you eliminate things you’re on the fence about if you feel it clashes.

6). Get planning advice from other bride’s-to-be

For some brides, wedding planning (whether DIY or not) can sometimes feel like an unending task where everyone around you wants to offer input. While family & friends are great, sometimes their perspectives can be a little overwhelming.

For this reason, we suggest talking with other brides-to-be (or have just gotten married and gone through the process) that are likely feeling the same things you are right now. Finding a little community can be a nice release, and a way to really submerge yourself in the wedding planning experience.

One online community we like is found on Reddit: r/weddingplanning

7). Delegate tasks to friends & family

If there is any skill that will make your DIY wedding planning easier, it’s the ability to delegate some things to other people in your life.

As you get closer to your wedding day, the need to “outsource” some of the things will become more important. Getting help can range from really small things like running to the store to pick up extra supplies, to helping assemble bouquets or the event space itself.

8). Define your aesthetic

  • Boho
  • Indie
  • Industrial
  • Vintage
  • Luxurious
  • Elegant
  • Romantic
  • Fun
  • Colorful
  • Dark
  • Moody
  • A mix of things?

Weddings where you “do it yourself” can come together in a ton of different ways. The aesthetic you are trying to capture will be influenced by many things. But, through good planning, you can achieve virtually any aesthetic no matter the space.

9). Design around the environment

One of the keys to successful DIY wedding planning and design is using the environment to your advantage.

This might seem like a no brainer, but it surprisingly goes overlooked by some brides who are so excited by what they see on Instagram and Pinterest when they’re looking for inspiration. Referring to inspiring photos is a great idea, but finding ways to implement in the space you will be using for your wedding is so so important.

A few simple ways to do this:

  • Hang string lights on trees already present
  • Pick a color scheme that will align with the colors at your venue

10). Look for promo codes when purchasing online

Some companies are notorious for sending out discount codes frequently. It’s an easy way to help save a little money (sometimes even upwards of 25%) while making purchases for your wedding.

The 2 best things you can do to find promo codes:

Enroll in mailing lists for any online stores you will want to shop at. They often will send out an offer immediately or within a few days just for signing up!

When checking out, try some common coupon code phrases.

11). Negotiate when buying items in bulk

When shopping at thrift stores, farmers markets, and antique shops – often times prices are negotiable. This can be especially true if you are wanting to buy a bulk load worth of things.

Pro tip: Non-profit stores are great for negotiating prices as their goal is not to strictly make money like traditional businesses. These types of shops often are inundated with donations, so being able to move products out of their store (especially in bulk) can actually be to their benefit!

12). Use reusable and recyclable items where possible

One of our favorite aspects of the DIY wedding movement has been the shift towards using eco-friendly options in your decor and place settings.

A popular option are bamboo plates and utensils, which look great and compliment many wedding day aesthetics, and are also biodegradable!

13). Remember: simple is often better

One of the biggest mistakes made in design is overthinking and doing too much. Simplifying your designs can make your life a little easier most of the time, and end up packing more of a punch as a result.

14). Give yourself enough time to create the things you want

The hardest part of DIY wedding planning is having to do everything in a time crunch.

Couple’s with longer engagements tend to have an easier time in this – since they have a lot of time to plan, prepare, collect decor, and create things.

Most DIY ideas are absolutely achievable! Just make sure you’re budgeting in enough time to make things happen. And remember – outsourcing some of your efforts can help you save time (and sanity!).

15). Create your own invitations (easy!)

We recommend sending out wedding invitations around ~7 months before your big day. This gives your guests plenty of time to make arrangements, without being so far out that they end up forgetting to take off of work, book a hotel, or get a flight (depending where people are coming from).

When it comes to invitations, these are so, so easy to create yourself.

We highly recommend Basic Invite for creating your own invitations. They have an assortment of templates you can use, or you can easily customize your own with their drag-and-drop editor.

If you decide to place an order through Basic Invite, use the promo code HANDANDARROW at checkout for 25% off your order. That’s a huge savings for you!

Need some more DIY wedding inspiration? Check out these great blog posts from unique and creative DIY weddings we’ve photographed:

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Whether your already in the middle of planning for your big day or just getting started - we're open books and open ears, happy to help you and show you how photography can compliment your day - beautifully!