How To Throw A Great Do-It-Yourself Wedding

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Getting hitched is an exciting time but it can be an expensive one, too. And, as the country rides out a recessionary economy couples are looking for easy ways to cut the cost of their special day.

One way to save is to throw a do-it-yourself wedding, which, in addition to being less expensive, also helps brides and grooms to forge a more personal connection around their special day. “A wedding is all about the union between two unique individuals and a do-it-yourself style wedding really celebrates this uniqueness,” says Amber Dusick, founder of Do-It-Yourself-Weddings.com.

Of course do-it-yourself, doesn't mean do everything. It is important to realize what is realistic and how long each project is going to take. (If you've never baked a cake, now may not be the time to start.) “Sit down and decide what things are most important to do yourself and which things you're willing to pay for to have done,” Dusick says. “Don't plan to do too much without trying out a few things first. Favors are a good place to start. If it seems like a lot of work you might want to stop there, but if you enjoy it then keep doing more. This will help you get a clear picture of how many projects you can really do yourself.”

It is helpful to have a creative flair when it comes to making centerpieces, programs, and gifts for bridesmaids and groomsmen. For additional inspiration, check out online resources such as do-it-yourself-weddings.com and diylife.com. Anna Sattler, a blogger on diylife.com says that thrift stores, dollar stores, and garage sales are great places to get the ball rolling. “You just can't beat the bargains you find there,” says Sattler. “You will find all the items you need to make your wedding a day to remember if you decide to shop at these bargain places.”

Not every do-it-yourself project will save you money, however. Some parts of a wedding, such as food preparation and photography, can be more difficult when you do-it-yourself. It depends on the couple, according to Dusick, what their skill set is and what is important to them.

“Unless you have professional wedding photographers at your wedding you might want to spend the money to hire a professional,” she says. “This is one area where couples commonly feel disappointed afterwards if they didn't hire someone.” Dusick says hiring a caterer often makes sense because it allows couples to enjoy their big day. “With food, there is a lot of busy work on the actual day of the wedding which would be too stressful for a couple to worry about,” says Dusick. “Unless you are doing something potluck style with the help of friends and family it can be very hard to do yourself.”

No matter how much or little of the planning is do-it-yourself, any areas where you can trim from the wedding budget can help prevent couples from having to take out a wedding loan, which is almost never a good idea. Obviously, the more projects that are homemade the more money can be saved and some projects are better on the wallet than others. “The savings really depends on your style of wedding,” says Dusick. “Obviously if the ultimate goal is to save money, you can save the most by doing things yourself. I've helped plan weddings where we slashed many wedding costs in half with do-it-yourself projects.”

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