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DIY Wedding: Personal Touches for a Special Day

Filed Under: wedding

More and more couples are choosing to do their wedding preparations themselves. Whether it is because they are on a budget or because they are trying to stamp the wedding with their own personal style, it is a growing trend that shows no signs of abating any time soon. Just do a google search of the terms DIY wedding and over a million sites will pop up.

A DIY wedding does not mean having to sacrifice anything. It is not just something for the super crafty who make their own dresses out of fabric scraps, hot glue, and stray buttons. No, it means having the wedding that you want on your own terms. While many couples are DIY-ing their weddings to save money, most DIY affairs are driven by the desire to add personal touches to such an important day.

Writer Holly Burns, along with her fiancee Sean Slinsky, has been blogging about their DIY wedding plans for the past several months on her blog Nothing But Bonfires. From the proposal in Italy to making their own invitations, their wedding plans have a fairytale quality. They are the first couple that I have known personally to undertake a DIY wedding.

For Holly and Sean a DIY wedding was a natural extension of things that they already loved doing.

Sean and I are both pretty creative -- he's a graphic designer and I'm a writer -- so it just seemed pretty natural to want to have a lot of control over certain elements of our wedding. We both take a lot of enjoyment in making things in our everyday lives, so it seemed like it would be kind of fun and easy to carry that over into our wedding too. I'm also, admittedly, a little bit of a perfectionist, so I knew that if I had a vision of something -- and I had a lot of visions of a lot of somethings!

Looking through the various wedding websites it is hard not to fall in love with all of the home-spun touches, the things that make the weddings unique to each couple. For many couples it is about making the day more personal and intimate, about appreciating the beauty in the simpler things. Having lots of homemade touches is sweet and fun and charming, I think, and when you look at the things you made, you'll remember the fun you all had making them together, Holly says of their DIY efforts.

I asked Holly what sort of response she was getting from people when she tells them all of her DIY plans. I think more and more people are DIY-ing elements of their weddings these days -- whether it's due to budget or to the preponderance of wedding blogs packed full of eye candy and interesting ideas to try -- so I haven't really met anyone who's been too surprised. My mother thought I was creating too much work for myself at first, but it's the kind of thing I just love doing---it's not work to me!

It isn't just about doing things yourself in lieu of hiring people. It is about a level of attention to detail that many people might overlook, but were things that were important to them. Holly bought vintage stamps and mixed them together with contemporary stamps for sending their wedding invitations. The look reminds me of a well worn suitcase covered with travel stickers, which is fitting given the theme of their wedding is travel. And have you ever heard of having your mail hand cancelled?

Even the most adventurous DIY-ers have a line that they will not cross when it comes to wedding projects. Holly says," I'm pretty in awe of anyone who makes their own dress---I don't think I'd attempt that one. I'm not really very good at anything to do with sewing, actually, so I think I'd steer clear of that, lest I make a terrible mess!"

Look! Gluing teeny tiny doilies into teeny tiny RSVP envelopes. No touches are too small.

Needless to say, the list of things that Holly and Sean are doing themselves is impressive. The wedding plans have also turned into a family affair with siblings and parents lending a hand.

Sean and I are doing all the paper products ourselves -- the invitations, the place cards, the butler cards, the programs, the signs, the menus, the cocktail napkins etc -- because that's where our strengths lie in our day-to-day jobs; my mother is making the cake because she's an excellent baker; my sister and I are going to arrange the bouquets and centerpieces because I have a very clear idea of what I want and how to make it happen...we're also DIYing the music for dancing -- no DJ, just doing what they call an iTunes reception; hooking our computer (with loooong playlists) up to a PA system we're borrowing from a friend.

Holly suggests that anyone wanting to DIY their own wedding start with the following websites where she has found inspiration.


Once Wed

Oh So Beautiful Paper

100 Layer Cake

and of course, Martha Stewart Weddings Magazine, the online version is here

Holly's final piece of advice, as someone who is heading into the final weeks of planning before her wedding, Start early! Seriously, start as early as you can. I've got a Google doc a mile long of all the projects I want to do before the wedding, and I want to get to everything, but time just starts to fly once you get to the three-month mark. Start early! Start now!

You heard her.


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