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Do’s and don’ts for the DIY bride

Apr 1, 2015

by Alice Young handmade and vintage goods

As wedding bloggers, we here at Bridal Musings have blogged about, swooned over, and repinned hundreds of DIY weddings. They are often the most creative, unique, beautiful and utterly romantic big days. But they can also be all kinds of stressful!

It’s wonderful to be able to put your own stamp on your wedding, but if you and your other half spend the six months beforehand, drowning in a sea of burlap, clocking up glue gun scars, and forgetting that you’re supposed to be having fun and throwing a party, then is it really worth it?



Some of our favourite Etsy shops for DIY supplies. Clockwise from top left, 1. Pelemele 2. TalkToTheSun 3. The Makery Bath 4. MyVintageTeaParty 5. NeonLDN 6. KnotandBow 7. SmittenOnPaper

Planning a DIY wedding can be so enjoyable, and so rewarding, but only if you’re realistic.

We’ve put together a few tips for DIY brides and grooms to hand make their way up the aisle, without losing their sanity to DIY doily bunting…

Do play to your strengths

Got beautiful handwriting? Pen your own wedding invitations. Have mean skills in the kitchen? Create edible wedding favours.

You don’t need to be a carpenter, AND a baker, AND a calligrapher. Instead of stressing yourself out over the skills you don’t have, show off the talents you do.

(And, if you have a particularly illegible scrawl, leave it to the professionals with our fave Etsy stationers!)

Don’t take on too much

Pick one or two tasks to DIY, and spend your time focusing on them, rather than trying to do it all.

It may seem impressive to tell your guests you made your cake, and arranged the flowers, but if you’re too tired to hit the dancefloor at your own (albeit beautifully crafted) wedding, it really won’t be worth it!

Do delegate

So it’s not fair to pawn all your DIY-ing off on your friends, but why not create a fun way off sharing the workload?

Get your girls over for a crafternoon, and thank them with some sweet treats and bubbly. Spend the weekend hanging out with your dad, making chalkboard signage. Or while away a day out with your other half, trawling thrift shops for vintage adornments for your centrepieces.

DIY-ing is so much more fun when you make it social, rather than try to do it all yourself.

Don’t forget your supplies

Make sure you have everything you need before you start a DIY project, rather than realising you’ve run out of washi tape half-way through your geometric table plan.

As a rule of thumb, get 10-20% more of your supplies than you think you’ll need, you can always put it to use again if you’ve got lots left over.

Check out our pick of pretty (and handy) DIY wedding supplies.

Do set deadlines

Give yourself the week before the big day entirely free of DIY tasks, and try to spread your projects out over the months before your wedding.

Setting deadlines will make each job more manageable. Get bigger projects done with a month or two to go, and leave daintier crafts to the few weeks before your wedding so they don’t get damaged. And if you’re doing anything last minute, like desserts or flowers, start early and leave yourself plenty of time so you won’t be stressed.

Having a deadline also means if the DIY project isn’t working out, there’s time to go with a backup…

Do have a backup

When a craft project works out, it can look incredible. But they don’t always work out!

There’s no shame calling in the pros if your craftiness doesn’t turn out as expected (you’ve seen Pinterest Fails, right?).

Whether it’s those save the dates, your tissue paper pom poms, or that flower crown, incredible pro crafters are just a few clicks away, and by choosing an Etsy maker, you won’t lose any of that made-by-hand charm.

Don’t think short term

So you’ve put your evenings, weekends, and days off (not to mention your heart, soul and credit card) into your DIY projects, and they’re only going to be enjoyed for one day. That’s kind of tragic, don’t you think?

Try to plan projects that can be used again in your home, or gifted to your guests and enjoyed for weeks, months or even years to come. Hang your bunting up in your garden, use your ceremony backdrop in your guest bedroom, or give your DIY ring pillow to a friend as their Something Borrowed.

Try to create meaningful keepsakes rather than one day wonders.

Don’t forget the cost

Many couples opt for a DIY wedding to cut costs, but all too often, it ends up setting them back even more.

Tassel garland? All you need is paper and string. A calligraphy backdrop? A sheet, ink, paint brush, (and a very steady hand!)

But if you love the laser-cut look of paper goods and cake toppers, buy them ready-made rather than investing in a pricey laser cutter that you may never use again.

Specialist supplies or equipment may need to be bought in bulk and can be costly, so make sure you factor in if it’s really worth the added expense, just for the DIY bragging rights.

Do find tutorials

Just because sewing your own bunting sounds easy, doesn’t mean it will be when you sit down to do it. There can be several ways to do things, and some might be faster, and easier, than others.

Look for crafty inspiration in magazines and on Pinterest, and consult your favourite blogs for step-by-step guides or video tutorials to help you on your way.

Don’t forget what it’s all about

When it’s three in the morning, two days before your wedding, and you’re frantically tying dried lavender to your wedding programs, step away. Put it down, give your partner a kiss, and remember what it’s all about.

You’re getting married!

And while all your efforts will be adored by your guests, no one’s going to mind, or notice, if your menus are lacking a ribbon, if two centrepieces are smaller than the others, or if your Mr & Mrs calligraphy turned out a little wonkier than planned.

They’ll be too busy being chuffed to bits for you and your other half.

If you’re planning on DIYing your own big day, check out our pick of DIY supplies, or should you choose to fake it, rather than make it, peruse our very favourite Etsy decor buys and detail finds that have will give your wedding a handcrafted polish, without you getting Mod Podge Sparkle on your mani!

Oh, and take a peek at our Best of British Etsy picks, too – homegrown prettiness to be proud of!

Etsy wedding fair May 2013

The Etsy UK wedding event in 2013

If you’re getting married soon – or know someone who is – come to Etsy’s Wedding Fair in London on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th May. For all the event details and to book tickets, head here.


  • thenativestate

    The Native State Native State from TheNativeState said 6 years ago

    Don't forget what it's all advice out there! Celebrating nine happy months married today xxx

  • aurelianq

    Aurelia from WeddingBlingz said 6 years ago

    Love the advice.. It's all about preparation preparation!.. For my wedding, I bought all my supplies way ahead of time, and tackled each project one at a time so it wasn't over whelming. is another great DIY shop that you can purchase bulk brooches, pins, buttoms and flatbacks to accessorize and sparkle your projects.

  • shinypigeon

    Rebecca Lismer from ThePigeonsNestUK said 6 years ago

    I DIY'ed most of my wedding and having a crafternoon with the girls helped me get sooo much done...they were chuffed that we could watch Disney and drink cocktails during it! :D

  • ghazalz

    zarifa ghazal said 6 years ago

    i like it

  • PaperDoilyParties

    Paper Doily Party Shop from PaperDoilyPartyShop said 6 years ago

    Wonderful advice. I'm soon to be celebrating my first year of marriage and I definitely caught the DIY bug after it! I haven't stopped designing wedding and party accessories since!

  • eternalbloom1

    Jamila Hirtenstein from EternalBloomCornwall said 6 years ago

    I love DIY weddings, they are so much more personal!

  • LittleWeeShop

    Jennifer from LittleWeeShop said 6 years ago

    I've gotta be FAB shop #8 - Little Wee Shop - I was the cheapest bride, I bought my dress for $35 it was at the end of prom season and you'd never know it wasn't a wedding gown, I bartered with the local airport to let me fly in and get married on the run way for free in exchange for a story in the local paper. I even wheeled and dealed with my photographer for a major discount with the promise of some unique photos for their portfolio from the airport runway. I do love the tip about delegating - that's one thing I wish I had done more of. Come visit my blog for more fun details.


    G Vega from GVEGA said 6 years ago

    Great tips!

  • QueenofCuffs

    mary from QueenofCuffs said 6 years ago

    Such good advice - keep it simple - keep it personal - keep it fun. It often takes much longer than you think to make those wonderful special pieces - but helpful friends can shorten the time and increase the fun !!

  • sunnyluludesign

    SLLD from SunnyLuLuDesign said 6 years ago

    Sewing my first bunting / garland was not easy as I thought, it took me 7-8 hours to make a perfect one. Thank you for your great tips!

  • ChilliPeppa

    ChilliPeppa from ChilliPeppa said 6 years ago

    Great to see bright colours making it to weddings now, something at the heart of Chillipeppa!

  • towngarden

    katherine olivia slicher from EnglishRegalia said 6 years ago

    What a fun blog and great advice. It brought back memories as I got married in 1981 and it was a DIY wedding indeed! I so remember getting stressed and upset because I decided to make my own cake! Disaster, looked awful, but tasted great. My sister made my dress and Mum provided venue and food. We forgot about evening entertainment until some one turned up with a cassette player and some tapes. We had to ask friends to take us home, having forgotten to arrange transport after the event! But I remember family and friends having a lovely time, and feeling proud of my parents and husband! Now, I help young girls create their event, with cool and funky items to decorate the location and they all seem so cool and in charge of what is going on....... well done to all the young brides to be.

  • custombybernolli

    Berna from CustombyBernolli said 6 years ago

    Awesome tips! Thank you! I love to design DIY wedding projects. I think they are special for the great day!

  • ancekaramanova

    Wiigora from Wiigora said 6 years ago

    super ! great tips!

  • CherryMadeThis

    Cherry Drudge-Coates from CherryMadeThis said 6 years ago

    Great tips! Especially about setting deadlines and getting ahead, I made a lot for our wedding and it all took WAY longer than I'd anticipated!

  • didilou

    Didi Lou from DidiLouCrafts said 6 years ago

    I had a DIY wedding, a themed one too. I spent a lot of time researching and planning, booked the venue over a year in advance. Sadly the venue burnt down 9 months before the wedding and we had to rebook another place that wasn't as suitable to the theme, but we managed and the place we ended up with went above and beyond to cater for the unusual themed menu. My mother made the wedding dress and wedding suit using just measurements and brought them from the other side of the world with her. The cakes were made by an auntie. I remember stamping and embossing the invitations myself and made up all the favour boxes using stickers on top that matched the theme. I also remember sitting the night before the wedding with my future father-in-law finishing the flowers myself. They were artificial flowers and each type was individually sourced having special significance to me or the theme. We didn't use an expensive wedding photographer, instead hiring a re-enactment specialist and also put disposable cameras on each of the tables. The family still talk about the medieval wedding and how good it was 10 years on. For a modern solution to bunting, table cloths and chair covers that doesn't need as much sewing, try the fabric honeycomb parc, which is fire and water proof and very inexpensive. Note: It is very like the material the inners of cushions are covered in, which may not be a look that suits all, but it does come in a range of colours. I'm using it for some crafts I am working on now and finding it very useful as it doesn't fray at all so doesn't need edging. It can even just be finished by cutting with pinking shears for effect, saves on lots of sewing and I know some people have just used staples to fix the bunting triangles to tape for indoor bunting (not so good outside in strong winds).

  • gillbray9

    GILL BRAY from HangingHeart said 6 years ago

    Love weddings.....great tips!

  • VeryFeriGifts

    VeryFeriGifts from VeryFeriGifts said 6 years ago

    Brilliant Blog and lots of tips,Lots to learn but same time really exciting.Thank you for the Alice young and the team.!

  • BigRockPaperCo

    Melissa Cyrenne from BigRockWeddingFavors said 6 years ago

    Oh the memories! By the time I was done with my wedding I had loads of branches in my garage and 8 or 10 boxes of handmade paper flowers to twist and glue onto the branches! It only took me 7 months to make although it did look pretty - when I see paper flower vendors on etsy I always think to myself "where were you in 2010!" because I would have totally hired them to make the flowers instead. Although on the plus side - I had l family (and wine!) to help me along...


    WOWWOWMEOW from wowwowmeow said 6 years ago

    So many cute tips and ideas here. Excellent article, with some fantastic advice! I must say our wow wow meow wedding activity books for kids are very popular, so i know at weddings brides love to go the extra mile and check everything is perfect for they're guests. I loved being very crafty for my wedding too, wish i could do it all again, the day goes too fast! x

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