DIY Wedding Ideas – Worth It Or A Waste Of Money?

More and more couples seem to be going the DIY wedding route when it comes to their special day. Some want to save a little money, some want to be more involved in their wedding, or some have a certain plan they want to follow and DIY is the only way for them to do that. There…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: May 31, 2023

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DIY Wedding Ideas - Worth It Or A Waste Of Money Wedding Dessert Table PictureMore and more couples seem to be going the DIY wedding route when it comes to their special day.

Some want to save a little money, some want to be more involved in their wedding, or some have a certain plan they want to follow and DIY is the only way for them to do that.

There are many things you might want to think about before you decide to go the DIY route for your wedding.

You will want to think about why you want to DIY the project, how much money it will save or cost you, how much time it will take, whether you actually have the time to complete the project, and if you are even creative enough to do it.

The last part is what stopped me from DIYing too much for my wedding because I know I’m not creative enough.

I often have Pinterest fails when I try to DIY so I knew for a fact that many ideas I found online would look like garbage if I tried to attempt to do the same. Oh well, at least I am honest with myself! 🙂

There are many different areas you can DIY with a wedding. You can have a DIY wedding dress, DIY bridesmaid dress, DIY wedding invitations, DIY wedding hairstyle, DIY wedding desserts, DIY wedding cake toppers, DIY wedding bouquets, and more.

Below are some of the different areas you may be thinking about DIYing for your wedding:

 

Outdoor Wedding On Private Property.

Okay, so this isn’t exactly a DIY, but having an outdoor wedding on private property does mean you have to do everything yourself. It can be a DIY wedding nightmare or a DIY wedding dream.

We had to plan the event rentals (such as tent, tables, chairs, linens, dance floors, etc.), weather backup plans, maintaining the property, coordinating everyone and everything, planning the best times for everything, setup and locations of everything, the bathroom situation, and more.

There are a TON of things to think about when having an outdoor wedding. All things wedding related will be the only thing on your wedding. We ended up hiring a wedding coordinator to help us with everything because the stress was mounting quickly and I didn’t want to forget anything important.

I think having an outdoor wedding on private property is more about having the wedding you want because you can usually have everything your own specific way. We were able to choose our own event rental company, caterer, coordinator, music, and more.

Usually an outdoor wedding is not a way to save money, so having a DIY wedding for that sole reason may not work out for you.

I don’t regret our wedding at all. It was a great day and we still have people telling us that it was the best wedding ever.

It was a TON of stress though planning everything for the amount of people we had. I also knew that having an outdoor wedding wouldn’t mean we would save money. The amount of people we had come up to us (during the planning process) asking if we were too poor to have a “real wedding” was ridiculous!

 

DIY Wedding Invitations.

We did not DIY our wedding invitations. I calculated the possible cost savings, and it was very minimal for us. After calculating the time and money, I decided it wasn’t worth it for us.

Instead, I found an awesome website called PaperStyle that has many affordable invitations on it. They do have expensive invitations on there as well, but we found ones that we loved for cheap.

Our invitations, including envelopes and our address stamped on each one, cost around $160 altogether, which was equivalent to the cost of making them ourselves in the style I wanted.

I know that many DIY their wedding invitations but it just wasn’t for us.

 

DIY Wedding Ideas - Worth It Or Not?

DIY Wedding Flowers.

We DIYed our wedding flowers and saved a decent amount of money by using FiftyFlowers (affiliate link, but I only joined their affiliate program because I liked their flowers). I can’t remember the exact amount we paid, but I believe we paid around $350 for over 2,000 flowers. We were able to save so much because we used discounts, bought at cheaper times, and they accidentally messed up the address on one of our orders and gave us a 50% discount.

DIY Wedding Ideas - Worth It Or Not? FlowersThe address mix up was where they sent the flowers to the wrong address (my home instead of the wedding location). It wasn’t a big mix up, but I did have to have someone drive 1.5 hours to make sure the flowers didn’t die.

FiftyFlowers gladly refunded 50% of my money for the mix up without any questions asked. Their customer service is great and they apologized for the mix up. My tip to avoid this is to confirm the address with them after you book.

I looked at many different wedding flower wholesale websites, and FiftyFlowers won hands down for me for many reasons. They had many, MANY flowers available, they have flower combo packs, you can choose flowers by wedding color, and more.

Another big reason is because FiftyFlowers has someone there who helps you choose your wedding flowers for you depending on the theme and colors of your wedding. This was awesome and it was nice having that help. She gave me different flower suggestions and she also helped me choose flowers that would do well sitting outside during a HOT and HUMID summer wedding.

You might be wondering “But I always kill flowers!”

Fifty Flowers has a really easy to use guidebook on how to take care of your flowers once you receive them. I didn’t kill any flowers and I am a known plant killer. I was afraid of the same thing but I didn’t have any problems.

Arranging the wedding flowers was a lot of fun too. My bridesmaids and I all got together the day before the wedding and arranged them. It wasn’t stressful at all and it as a lot of fun.

 

DIY Wedding Lighting.

The place where we rented our wedding supplies (tent, tables, decorations, dance floors, etc.) also offered to hang up the lighting for our wedding. We said no to this because like with all of the other even rental companies in the area, they charged $0.75 per FOOT. Considering we had hundreds of feet of lighting to hang, that price just seemed insane.

This is something I do not regret doing myself at all.

We hit up Target right after Christmas and bought a bunch of Philips Christmas outdoor lights for something around 75% off. These were supposed to be the best lights out there, but sadly they only lasted about an hour and then everything died. I’m not sure what happened but I was extremely upset since we hung it all up and they all went out.

Luckily we still had backup lighting. We got the rest of our lighting from the Paper Lantern Store (affiliate link, but I only joined their affiliate program because I liked their products), and surprisingly those worked the best. Not a single one of those lights went out!

 

Did you DIY anything for your wedding? Why or why not?

When was the last time you DIYed anything? How much money did you save?

 


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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. We made our wedding invitations using PaperStyle which my wife recommended. It was really good because lots of beautiful templates are available. We also had our wedding held in a private property owned by my boss so we were thankful that we received discounts. It was really stressful but very fulfilling once it went as planned.

    1. Sounds great Jayson! That is so nice of your boss as well.

  2. Lisa Brown

    i could not afford anything for a wedding, parents could not pay anything towards it, as well; no big deal.

    1. Yes, no big deal. It’s all about the marriage, not the actual wedding.

  3. Honestly I think that DIY could help you save money but is true it depends how time you have and how it could affact your finances, depends also fo the kind of event you’re going to organize, DIY is ok for small and intimate ceremony. If you’re going to invite at least 100 people is better to limit DIY!!!

    1. Yeah that’s why we didn’t DIY a ton of stuff. We had around 250 people and it would have been a lot of work!

  4. If you have the time I think DIY is always the most affordable route. Wedding vendors charge ridiculous rates (at least in my experience) so there is a big premium for the convenience of NOT going the DIY route. We did a lot of DIY for our wedding, though I admit my wife did most of the work πŸ˜‰

  5. Brian

    We DIYed our invitations, our centerpieces and most of the decorating at church and the reception venue. This saved as a fairly large amount. We did not DIY the flowers since we used a local lady that my grandmother knew very very well and she gave us quite the hook up.

    1. Good job on saving money!

  6. I’m impressed that you DIY-ed your flowers! I am the worst at crafts of any kind and at art, so we tried not to DIY too much of our wedding. I found super cheap vendors and just eliminated anything unnecessary.

    I did make our programs and place-setting cards myself, which was nearly disastrous. I had this complicated ribbon-tying idea that I wanted for the programs, which didn’t exactly pan out. We just sort of knotted them together and they looked fine. I agree with you–DIY does not always save money (or time!)!

    1. I was a little scared to DIY the flowers, but it turned out to be a ton of fun!

  7. Robin

    I DIYd so much at my wedding and it was great. I did my flowers too, which was fun but I didn’t use a wholesaler….wish I would have! We also had an outdoor wedding at one of our friends’s lake houses, so we had a practically free venue which was perfect. I would definitely do it again!

    1. Your wedding sounds wonderful!

  8. I was not into my wedding at all so my mom did a lot of DIY stuff for it. She created a fancy wedding cake out of three sheet cakes from Walmart and she did all of our flowers. She also made our invitations! I wouldn’t have done it myself but she did a really good job. She’s really crafty =)

  9. I don’t know that I would personally want to DIY, but I think I’d use my wedding party to help out. Rather than spending money on wedding shower and bachelorette party stuff, I think it would fun to use those events to prep wedding stuff like invites or centerpieces. Just some glue sticks and a lots of wine πŸ™‚

    1. Yeah we mainly DIYed just so I could get the specific look I wanted. Like with choosing the private property as our wedding location – I knew there was no other wedding venue in the STL area that was as pretty, so we chose that hands down!

  10. We did photo invitations, people loved them, and they only cost $0.30/card including the postage!

  11. We made our own wedding invitations since my husband used to design different invitations. We had a garden wedding before,my relatives helped us to design the place and they did our flower arrangement. My two professional singer friends volunteered to sing our wedding songs.

    1. Wow sounds lovely! πŸ™‚

  12. raymond crisostomo

    well you will only get married once and i think it’s really worth your money πŸ™‚

    1. Haha thanks Raymond πŸ™‚

  13. We did not DIY near as much as we should for our wedding, but that was 11 years ago, back when I was still making stupid financial choices. The one thing we did do was fill our mini bubble bottles. We ordered 200 online and when we got them, the bubble material was the consistency of body wash and didn’t blow anything, so we went to Toys R Us, bought a huge bottle of bubbles and filled 200 bottles with a turkey baster. Hubby did that while I tied ribbons on the bottles. The whole process took us HOURS, but we had fun and drank lots of wine along the way. We still laugh about the bubble project.

    1. Haha sounds like a lot of fun!

  14. Tarah

    We did our own programs for our wedding, simple and inexpensive!

  15. Flowers are what really worries me about the day I have to plan a wedding. They are so expensive! Thanks for the info- I will check out that website you used πŸ™‚

    1. Yes, I would definitely check out FiftyFlowers. We had a TON of flowers leftover too, so I’m sure we could have saved even more money.

  16. sandra

    there are some items that are worth the extra effort because it’s fun and saves money. but there are some things that you shouldn’t skimp on.

  17. We did a lot of DIY stuff and ended up using our church’s gymnasium and just spruced it up. It actually looked pretty good and we got by under $3,000.

  18. I would imagine that will all the great cheap stuff you can find on Etsy that DIY isn’t really all that necessary anymore. I’ve been to some really nice weddings recently that had great centerpieces that really didn’t seem to cost a whole lot.

    1. Yeah our centerpieces were cheap and really cute!

  19. I’m not very crafty either. My DIY projects usually look like Pinterest fails. We had a lot of customization with our wedding that we took on ourselves, but I wouldn’t consider it DIY. For instance we purchased our own paper online and printed invitations at a local print shop, but we paid for a design. We wanted a groom’s cake that looked like the periodic table of elements, so we bought and unwrapped a bazillion starburst candies and gave them to the baker. I bought reception decorations at various places to save money, but still paid someone to set up the reception while the wedding was taking place.

    1. Aww I love the groom’s cake idea!

  20. We DIY’d our invitations more because we wanted a certain “look” that I knew we wouldn’t find anywhere (teal Celtic knots, that can be found in regular stores, right?). In the end, it cost about the same it would have if we had bought them in a store. I bought all the paper/envelopes in bulk online which helped with the costs. We also DIY’d flowers but bought them from a flower wholesaler, that was a great money saver πŸ™‚

    1. Yes, wholesale flowers saved us a ton!

  21. We DIYed several elements of our wedding – cake, centerpieces, invitations, save-the-dates, DJ, and probably more I am not thinking of. Honestly, the advice I’d be inclined to give is to consider skipping the element in question rather than DIYing it – not for every element, but for the ones you really don’t care about. I’ve been to a lot of weddings with a range of (apparent) budgets, and it is usually evident when things are DIYed or skimped on. On the contrast, it’s more difficult to notice when something is just not included (favors, centerpieces, what have you). We don’t all need to have cookie-cutter weddings with all the same elements, DIYed or professionally done!

    1. Yes, that is important. Not everything needs to be done.

  22. Cami

    So I may be a bit of a curmudgeon…but I think spending too much money on a wedding is a waste of money. I hope no one hates me for saying that. But, it is just one day, your family and friends love just being there to celebrate because they are happy for you and don’t need to be completely wowed by everything. We had a beautiful wedding but kept things pretty simple and saved the money for a house.

    1. I agree, an expensive wedding is definitely not a need.

  23. No qualm the ideas you mentioned above are good but I have 6-7 years for wedding, will surely remember your ideas during my marriage. Hope so. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

  24. Ronald G

    My wife and her newly immigrated Italian family made ALL the wedding plans, as per their customs, so I was not involved much. But it was great.

    1. Sounds great Ronald πŸ™‚

  25. Good job on saving money on the wedding cake. They can be so costly!

  26. We did not DIY anything for my wedding but it was 24 years ago and people didn’t DIY so much back then. I have definitely seen some gorgeous DIY weddings, but I agree – you have to have the time/passion/creativity to make it work. And sometimes, as you noted, the savings isn’t always huge when you factor your time.

    1. Yeah, the savings isn’t always worth it. Too many people assume that DIY always means it will be cheaper.

  27. I DIYed a lot of wedding details and saved a bunch of money by doing so. We bought the stationery and printed our own save the dates, invitations and programs (with our University print credits that were about to expire!); I did all of the flowers myself and I made my own veil (with saved $350 on the veil that they tried to sell me with my dress). But I had the design training and sewing skills to do it.

    I think a lot of brides end up with an inflated DIY confidence because Pinterest and don’t take into account their own creative aptitude, or they falsely believe that their one or two crafty bridesmaids can do it all. Thankfully Pinterest wasn’t a thing when I was planning our wedding! DIY can definitely save money when done well and in moderation. I know a bride DIYd a lot of aspects of her wedding and through a bunch of trial and error wasted a ton of money.

    1. Wow that’s awesome that you did so much!

  28. Thanks for the link love!

    My best friend was a bridesmaid for one of her college friends about a year ago and her friend decided to DIY like 75% of her wedding stuff, but she was super disorganized and waited till the last minute. She pretty much turned her bridal party into a DIY-ing sweat shop for the week leading up to the wedding. It was insane!

    1. Ahh that sounds crazy!

  29. dv8

    I’ve seen horrible results with DIY wedding photography. Although digital cameras are omnipresent, a talented professional photographer is hard to replace.

    1. Yes, I think a professional photographer is well worth it.

  30. Andreas Mikellides

    worth it for most of the parts

  31. Andreas Mikellides

    worth it for the most parts

  32. DanielleD

    I love these ideas, I DIY’d a lot for our wedding 10 years ago including all of the flower & I try to tell any friends to do this along the way to help them save money. It’s not worth it to spend so much on a few hours! The only thing that I wouldn’t DIY is photography!

    1. Yeah, I wouldn’t DIY photography either. Photos are so important to me!

  33. I feel like pinterest has brought out the DIY in EVERYONE.

    For weddings, I get it, but sometimes you’re saving money just to spend hours and hours of your own time making 200 whatevers, and I’m not sure if that’s a good tradeoff.

    But I think people spend too much on crap for weddings regardless so I’m probably not a good judge of this haha

    1. Haha yeah I didn’t DIY too many things for our wedding. I really only DIYed the items in this post.

  34. I think it’s a nice idea! Of course, things like a DJ or a photographer are worth it but I see a lot of good points in your post. My friend had a wedding with about 160 guests few months ago. They DIYed the decoration of the wedding place, put names of guests on small butterflies cut out from some type of cardboard and they even made flower bracelets for single ladies who wore them all night. Like you, they didn’t save on invitations because it would be pretty difficult to make them for 160 guests, right? My friend has a flower shop so she helped them to buy and arrange flowers with a discount. I think DIY is a good way to get more involved and also to save some money. It’s a pity it wasn’t so popular when I had my wedding.

    1. Yeah, a DJ and photographer are definitely worth it! I’m glad I skipped DIY in some areas of my wedding and DIYed others.

  35. Jennifer Speed

    I have never been married but is always a good idea to make as much as you can so that you can spend your money or more important things. I can never see people spending thousands of dollars on decorations and flowers.

    1. I agree! Thanks Jennifer.

  36. Susan Smith

    We were on a tight budget for our wedding so I did some DIY stuff like the invitations and decorating, I hired a professional photographer, I didn’t want the pictures to be messed up.

    1. Yeah, I would never have DIYed the photographer either.

  37. Love this post! We just got engaged, and are thinking of where to DIY and where not to. I have to say, I love a good crafting session and think we might DIY a good portion of the wedding decorations. We are having a small wedding of 50-60 guests, so I think that makes a big difference!
    Glad you made the points you did – good things to keep in mind as we plan πŸ™‚

    1. Congrats on the engagement! πŸ™‚

  38. I would DIY things that can be done at least a couple of days before, to avoid stress on the wedding day or the day before. I went to a wedding where the bride did her cake and that you can bake three days before without stress.

    1. I didn’t know you could bake that in advance that far. Good to know!

  39. I am so not a DIYer!! The only thing I did was our centerpieces. I’m capable of floating a carnation in water but that’s where my creativity ends!!! I really wish I were into crafts and and restoring things though. Just like I wish I were into cooking!

    1. Haha yeah I am not a DIYer much either.

  40. Richard Hicks

    DIY weddings may be right for some couples. If time is not an issue, then I would say go for it.

    1. I agree. Thanks Richard!

  41. Lance Ottley

    Great ideas for my upcoming wedding

  42. We did do quite a bit of DIY for our wedding, but not the invitations or flowers. We alternated flower centerpieces with floating candle arrangements that I made from stuff at Hobby Lobby, so that cut flower costs in half. Since our ceremony was in the national forest, we didn’t have many decorations there, but a dear friend did make an aisle with painted white stakes and tulle with bows. It was awesome and cost me a few dollars for materials. This wasn’t really DIY, but since my sister is a dentist, she ordered toothbrushes with our names and wedding date and we gave those out as favors. It wasn’t like I could give out eyeballs, and people really liked the toothbrushes. I would say DIY if it’s easy, but otherwise, don’t stress yourself out.

    1. Love all of these ideas!

  43. I think the trick with DIY’ing a wedding is to only pick SOME projects, otherwise the stress and time commitment is just totally not worth it and can ruin the wedding experience. I DIY’d a few things, but we didn’t live by our wedding location, so there was very little that I could do myself.

    1. Yeah I agree. It would be very hard to DIY everything so choosing just a few you care about is key.

  44. Sounds like the DIY flowers worked out really well. I did DIY flowers for my wedding years ago and they didn’t turn out too great on my end. I didn’t really know what I was doing and didn’t order enough. In the end, it wasn’t that terrible and we made it work.

    1. Oh no! That really stinks πŸ™

  45. Wow that’s awesome! Very nice of her to do that.

  46. Yes, they are very expensive! For us, we just wanted a fun party though.

  47. Yes, that was the main reason we didn’t DIY the invitations. I do not have enough patience to do that. It was annoying enough to have to hand write all the envelopes, stuff them, and stamp them haha!

  48. DIY, I think, should be considered as meaningful participation more than a money saving aspect as much as possible. Of course if funds are very tight you may have to do some things out of necessity. But a lot of DIY things can add a lot of meaning and value.

    When my daughter was married, her church (where she was very active), contributed a lot to the marriage ceremony including much of the meal, especially serving. Her grandmother (my wife’s mom), was a professional cook and donated the cake which meant a lot. They will never forget her cake or her thoughtful gift.

    My niece had one of the most beautiful weddings I have ever seen. It was all music, including the minister’s role. The groom’s father was the director of an internationally known musical group and provided the orchestra and singers (about twenty participants I think). Again, the church provided a lot of volunteer help since her dad was a principal/teacher for years in their high school.

    Not everyone will have such an opportunity as these might be, but there are many people who will consider it an honor to help in various ways. But even if they are talented I agree that it is best not to use a DIY photographer unless they are not a central part of the family.

    Wedding photography is very difficult even for professionals as I observe them pointing out to newer photographers at the Nikonian forum quite often, and if a close family member they will really miss out on the wedding as well.

  49. Mario B. Kight

    Thank you for the tips! Some wedding DIYs are really exciting and amazing. I like it when couples do their best in order to make their wedding the best day of their lives.

  50. Tennille

    We DIYed everything from the invitations to the food for our wedding. The only thing we paid for was the wedding cake. We spent $5,000.00 on our wedding and 6 years latter people are still talking about it (in a good way of course).

    I think if you have the time, the patients, and the skill DIYing your own wedding is a great way to go. Just make sure you have help along the way, some projects may require more help then others.

  51. Haha hopefully they will wait πŸ™‚

  52. We are hoping/planning to do mostly DIY our upcoming wedding. We’re not all that traditional and aim to keep it under $5,000 so there will be a lot of “us” in everything. We might even make our own wine πŸ™‚

  53. I had a pretty simple wedding and did a lot of everything DIY. It was probably a lot cheaper but also a lot of fun to put everything together. The only thing I did purchase was the invites. Those I felt needed to be ordered.

  54. I worked at a copier company so we did the invitations and programs. We just had to buy the invitation paper which we found at a special Hallmark store and we ended up getting back money to spend in the store because of how much we spent that month. We made CDs and labels for favors and place cards and I knitted all of the bridesmaids different blankets. We did simple centerpieces that came with the venue and added something like a candle or floating flower (which obviously wasn’t that important because I don’t remember). I know that we did most of the stuff ourselves to save money because we live in a really expensive area. We got a wonderful wedding cake that we paid for and that was the highlight of the wedding for me…besides my groom πŸ™‚ I wish we spent less on a wedding or had a smaller wedding but we did everything we could to save money and have family and friends have a great time.

  55. Johnny Shi

    Right after I read you went to Target after Christmas, I was sold. It sounds like the perfect time to purchase lights. Then you mentioned that they only lasted an hour. I do think when you do the lighting yourself you can save a lot of money.

  56. Dana

    Great Tips! I’m not near getting married yet, but I have always envisioned an outdoor wedding and would love for it to be on personal property! I plan doing a lot of DIY for budget reasons, but I also understand you have to weigh the time/money saved because for certain things it won’t be worth it. I’m hoping I have some friends who might help out (baker, culinary, artist, etc). I’m intrigued by your fifty flowers tip because when I browsed on there it seemed like you had to buy a lot in bulk, am I misreading it? I want very few of a lot of flowers if that makes sense, and for example the cattails were $119 for a box. At that rate I’d be spending tons on different flowers…Just curious for when the time comes, I plan on referencing all your articles soon!

  57. Hi Michelle, great tips there. I agree with you that DIY can save a lot of money, especially for things like bouquets. I would say that it also helps someone choose what they love most, their style. We have our cousin’s wedding coming up and I was shopping around for some DIY ideas. Thanks for sharing this.

    Cindy