How to slay a DIY wedding!

As much as it pains me to say (for obvious reasons!) not everyone has the desire, or the budget, for a full wedding planning & design service. A DIY wedding, whether by choice, or by necessity, is not only very possible, but can lead to an incredibly beautiful and personal day. To help you decide if this is the route you wanna go down, here are some lessons I picked up along the way!

It takes a village! Like, really. I started out thinking I wanted to do every little thing myself but the reality is, it just isn't possible. Don't be afraid to ask for help and utilize people's talents! My mom made the cake. My step mom did the florals. My Dad collected the beer from the Brewery and set up the barrels. My maid of honor made the favors. My brother in law, an avid climber, was the only one brave enough to scale a 30 ft ladder to hang lanterns from the barn ceiling! Seriously, I would have been lost without them all! You need a tribe of supporters. Get them on board early, and be nice to them.... really, really nice!

There are hidden costs everywhere! When we started looking at established wedding venues we were horrified at the costs, and a blank canvas barn seemed like a much more cost effective option. And yes, you can buy booze more cheaply, but don't forget that you need someone to serve it and things to put it in! You also need to factor in set up and take down time, when booking the venue; which often means you need it for at least 2 days, rather than just the length of the event. Then there's furniture hire and the cost of decorations, even DIY ones can get pricey - your Pinterest inspo board can quickly become the death of your bank balance! Basically, when you're comparing costs, make sure that you make a complete list of everything you're going to need to make the space work as a wedding venue, and don't get suckered in by the initial low price.

Find a really great online community. You know, as excited as your friends and family are for you, at some point, they might, if they're anything like mine, get just a teeny bit bored of hearing about wedding signs, RSVP frustrations and nail polish dilemmas! Yeah, it sounds ridiculous, but it can happen to the best of us! Having a place where you can go and vent, or seek inspiration from people in the exact same boat, can be invaluable. 

Sit down, as a couple, early on and work out what is really important to you. For some people, it's having the dress of your dreams, for others it's a rad photographer... or an open bar that keeps on flowing. Once you've agreed what your top priorities are, feel good about your compromises. If you've decided that you're not going for a designer dress, don't torture yourself by trying on ones that you can't afford!

Hire a day of coordinator. Whilst this may sound like a shameless plug, I swear it's not! As the day wore closer I started to panic about small things, like, who was going to press play on the iPod so the processional music started at the right time, or clear the ceremony chairs to ,make way for the dance floor. Yes, my mom or bridesmaids would have helped, but I didn't want me, or any of my guests to have to worry about it. I wanted the day to be perfect and enjoyable for all of us, and it was. I mean, apparently a couple of things went wrong, but my day of coordinator dealt with it like a ninja fairy godmother, so I was free to float around on cloud 9!

 Showing my day of coordinator (SAMA of  UTTERLY WOW )  some love!!  CHARLIE DAVIES PHOTOGRAPHY

Showing my day of coordinator (SAMA of UTTERLY WOW)  some love!! CHARLIE DAVIES PHOTOGRAPHY

If you have a DIY wedding coming up and think a Day Of Coordinator might be for you, get in touch - I still have some 2017 dates left and I'd love to help. Alternatively, if you are feeling a little stuck with your planning, you can take advantage of my consultancy service to help you get back on track, and pull off the wedding of your dreams.