A little over four months ago, G and I said “I do” with our closest family and friends standing by our side. It was such a magical day that lasted well into the night. I remember feeling so many things all at once: excitement to see everyone who had traveled from near and far to celebrate with us, nervousness about walking down that aisle, and pride because of all the work Graham and I had put into planning together in the year leading up to the big day.
When we started building our wedding budget back in late 2015, G and I were in complete agreement about where we wanted the majority of our money to be spent. Coming in first place was the music, next was the bar (obvi), and because we wanted to get married in my home town of Charleston, SC, we knew we’d also need to reserve a good bit of money for the venue itself.
To get the most out of the remainder of our budget we decided to DIY as much as we could. We made signs, hand painted our cake topper, designed our own stamp for our favors, and designed and printed our own programs, among other things. By following the three rules below, we ended up with a smooth, consistent look, and impressed guests who asked us where we’d bought everything.
1. Pick a Font and Stick with It
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when scrolling through line after line of script, calligraphy and handwritten letters on the many free font sites out there. If you’re design-minded and can pick two (or more) decorative fonts that look great together, well then you go Glen Coco. If you’re not so skilled in that department (yours truly), just scroll until you see something interesting that stands out to you. Once you’ve chosen your decorative font, pick a “supporter” font that’s super simple, easy to read, and won’t compete with the fun one. I chose this decorative font from http://www.dafont.com, and this simple sans serif supporter font. To make the decorative font work for each of our projects, I made small adjustments to letter height, width, spacing, and thickness in Photoshop.
2. Streamline Your Color Palette
Less is more, my friend. Rather than picking 10 colors, choose one or two and utilize variations on each hue. This will make everything from choosing bridesmaid dresses, to ordering linens, to picking out flowers much easier, and your DIY elements will fit seamlessly because it’ll be easier to make them match. When choosing your colors, it helps to think about your venue and what best fits the backdrop it’ll provide.
Our ceremony and reception took place at a venue located on Shem Creek, a busy little Charleston waterway, lined with quaint restaurants and docked shrimp boats draped with colorful bouys and shrimping nets. We wanted the local color to be the star of the show, so we chose a whites and greys to make up our palette. Our DIY programs were printed in a simple charcoal on white card stock, and we used white paint for our signs. I couldn’t find any grey food-safe bags I liked for our locally roasted coffee favors, so I opted for neutral kraft paper bags with charcoal ink for the stamp.
3. Scale Back
Do you really need four different favors with custom DIY packaging? No. Do you really need those custom seat signs for the mother of the bride, mother of the groom, your favorite aunt, and your old babysitter? No. Do you really need a handwritten chalkboard seating chart with place cards made from pieces of the wine barrel you drank from with your soon-to-be husband on your first date to a local vineyard? No, you Pinterest addict, you do not.
Don’t get me wrong, Pinterest can be a great source of inspiration when you’re looking to add some DIY to your wedding. But when your “Wedding Inspo” pinboard is full of those super-cute-but-deceptively-complicated projects, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. It’s hard to recognize which ones are worthy of your time, and which will cause unnecessary stress (and not be remembered by your guests anyway). After you’ve pinned away, take some time to read through the step-by-step instructions for each project. Weigh the time it’ll take to finish each one with the impact it’ll really make on your day, and come up with a timeline for finishing each one. If you do that you’ll arrive at your wedding day with your sanity and finished projects you’ll be proud to show off.
DIY-ers like us know that it’s not just the result of the project, but the process that makes it worthwhile. It’s the doing part of doing it yourself that makes the end result so rewarding. Whether you’re on a budget, or just want to add a bit of your own style to your wedding day, it is possible to make your DIY projects look flawless.
Did you incorporate any DIY into your wedding day, or are you DIY-ing your upcoming celebration? I’d love to hear about your plans in the comments below!